President Edwin Petrie of Blairgowrie welcomed seventeen members to last week’s meeting of the Strathmore Speakers Club.
After conducting the usual business, handed over the meeting to Helen Gordon-Wilson of Blairgowrie to chair the topics session.
Helen invited six members to speak for three minutes each at short notice on the theme of ‘two wheeled forms of transport’.
She was assisted by Bob Stewart of Kirriemuir in the role of timekeeper for the evening.
Jim Smith of Kirriemuir pushed off with a ‘foot powered scooter’; David Affleck of Kirriemuir rode off on a ‘motor powered scooter’; Andrew Buist of Alyth pedalled his ‘bicycle’; Alex Rae of Kirriemuir sped off on his ‘motorbike’; Douglas Wares of Blairgowrie continued with a ‘pocket bike’; and Jim Gibb of Blairgowrie rounded things off with a ‘penny-farthing’.
The training session was an exercise in how to research and prepare a speech.
At the previous meeting David Howat of Blairgowrie had been given a choice of three subjects and chose ‘Greenwich Mean Time’.
His task was to research the subject and prepare an eight minute speech for delivery at this meeting, preceded by a short talk on how he went about it.
The members, who had also had two weeks in which to do their own research, would then discuss his efforts.
David gave a short power point presentation describing how he had obtained his information: personal knowledge augmented by information on Google, which had provided links to further sources, such as Wikepedia.
He had then structured his material and personalised it to make it appeal to his expected audience before rehearsing and delivering it.
The speech followed. Starting with biblical times in which there were no clocks and people guessed the time from the position of the sun, David went on to talk about the need in later centuries to determine time more accurately.
Leading on from lines of longitude to meridians and the problems of time difference, David explained the international adoption in 1884 of Greenwich Mean Time, now commonly called Co-ordinated Universal Time, or UTC.
The discussion which followed raised a whole host of questions, most of which were answered by David or other members who had found the answers during their research.
General evaluator Jim Gibb said it had been an unusual evening.
The training session had proved very valuable, giving everyone food for thought, and he recommended that similar events should be included in the programme from time to time.
Anyone who would like more information about learning to speak in public in the friendly atmosphere of a speakers club should contact Jim Smith on 01575 574435 or Jim Gibb on 01250 875262.