What’s been happening? What’s coming up?
I can’t believe it’s been nearly five months since my last report. So, what has been happening?
On the personal front we had an interesting 61⁄2 week cruise around the Indian Ocean, visiting 15 ports across 9 countries. Lots of different experiences and caught up with an old school friend in Cape Town. The down side was too many sea days—30 out of 45. No rough weather but, as the song says, ‘I joined the Navy to see the world but what did I see, I saw the sea’! That’s a bit like how I felt by the end.
But while I was away enjoying myself, you—well about 50 of you—were all enjoying yourselves at the 2011 Convention. From the report in the Informer and feedback from participants, it seems to have been up to Freeman David’s usual high standard. I was particularly impressed with Freeman Graeme Byass’ summation, feedback and call to action, which Katy circulated to you all.
Interestingly, there were only three responses to that email, all from members who were unable to attend due to other commitments, but all supporting future conventions, with one making the point that non-attendance due to other commitments does not indicate a lack of interest or not caring.
It obviously doesn’t because those three did care and showed their support by responding, but what about the other 250 odd who didn’t attend and didn’t think Graeme’s report worth responding to? As Graeme said ‘I doubt whether Freeman David and the people who helped him will bother to waste their energy and time next year on such a thankless job of putting together something that doesn’t seem to be appreciated or wanted by the majority.’
This is a real problem. I can tell you David is unlikely to put his hand up next time, so who is going to offer? I know we are a volunteer organisation and there are many distractions but many of us have given/are giving time in both Club and Dais positions while also holding down responsible jobs and raising families. So, apart from speaking in your club, ‘What are you going to do to ensure Rostrum is relevant and still viable in the 21stcentury?’
Think about it!
In July I attended Freeman David Mead’s funeral in Albany. David had been ill for some time and in residential care for the last year. However, as the chaplain from that facility, who also performed the service, reported, David was still very much on the ball to the extent of helping the chaplain develop his speaking and presentation skills.
As Freeman Bill Smith was unable to attend, I delivered the eulogy that he’d prepared and David’s wife, Heide, and his family appreciated that a representative from Rostrum was able to attend. Heide said to me, ‘It was a very important part of his life and very few people in Albany knew of his achievements.’
At the end of July we hosted the Australian Rostrum Council made up of the National Executive and all State Presidents. The Rostrum Voice of Youth National Final was held on the same weekend. I enjoyed the weekend and was impressed with the National President and his team.
The National President, Secretary and Tasmanian President, who arrived in Perth earlier in the week, attended meetings at clubs 11 and 64, and then they all attended meetings at clubs 34 and 50. They were all impressed with the diversity of our programs and have taken away Freeman David Price’s handout on revitalising club meetings.
The Arthur Garvey Speaker of the Year semi-finals will be held next week. I attended two heats and have been very impressed by the quality of the speakers; it has been especially pleasing to see wins by our younger and newer members. Don’t forget the final on 12 November at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club. This will also include presentation of the Club of Excellence awards. So, book it in your diary and, if you haven’t started developing your Club of Excellence submission, get cracking!
Freeman Terry O’Meara will be representing WA in the Sidney Wicks speaking competition at the Convention in Adelaide on 7-9 October. Of the five previous winners of this trophy, two have been from WA (or three, if you count a former WA speaker who moved interstate). If you’re able, please consider going and supporting Terry.
Finally, I’m sorry to report that Katy Dymond, the friendly voice, face and email respondent at the Rostrum Information Centre has decided to return to permanent employment. She has been a very able and willing help to me and the Board and, while sorry to see her go, we wish her all the best.
Freeman Tony Lightman, President, Rostrum WA
VALE Freeman David Mead
There are no words that can adequately mark the passing of a man like David, a man whom I admired and from whom I learned a lot.
He was already a distinguished speaker when I joined Rostrum in 1979. He had won the Arthur Garvey Speaker of the Year three times in the days when there were so many entrants that it took almost as many rounds to reach the final as it does Wimbledon! In addition he had won a speaking competition run by the Australian Broadcasting Commission and was soon (1980) to win Rostrum’s first Sidney Wicks National Speaking Competition and Speaker of the Decade.
The first time I heard him speak was at the 1979 Rostrum Christmas lunchtime meeting. I had organised time off work to attend. I was so enthralled by his warm, whimsical, word-pictures to suit the occasion that it filled me with the desire to be able to do what he had just done. Without David knowing it at the time he had infused me with a desire to ‘want a piece of that action’.
My first real contact with David was in 1983. As the then WA President of Rostrum, he asked me to join Rostrum’s Executive as editor of both the Informer and its now defunct quarterly magazine the Rostrum News. On confessing that I had no skill in that area, he said, ‘I know you can write, I’ve listened to your speeches. Stamp your personality on it and make it your own—just like you do in your speaking.’
It was typical of David to give you the space and just enough advice to get you started rather than bombard you with dos and don’ts. I, mistakenly as it turned out, gave him a copy of my first editorial, prior to publication, but he handed it back to me unread. ‘You’re the editor,’ he said, ‘you don’t need my approval on what you write.’
I had the pleasure of ‘being on the same bill’ with him on several occasions, from club meetings, to Rostrum’s 50th Anniversary Dinner at the Parmelia, where he gave a delightfully funny speech about words and their many meanings. He talked about ‘chopping down trees’, so you could ‘chop up firewood’!
I have always marvelled at the way he could a draw a moral from the most innocuous of subjects. I discovered more of that aspect when David asked my opinion on each of his This Game of Life newsletters—it was a sequel series to his earlier This Business of Speaking. It was a truly delightful experience to debate either small points of grammar, or the ‘sense’ of a sentence, with both David and his wife, Heide. We would exchange several emails and phone calls on whether a comma should be inside the quote marks or not! This led to our collaboration on a small book on speaking and chairmanship called The Conference Chairperson and Conference Speaker.
David gently admonished me on one occasion because I used the word hope as in ‘I hope you are well’. ‘Hope is such a wishy-washy word,’ he said, ‘use trust—it’s solid.’ Whilst I have subsequently, and out of habit, written the word hope in similar contexts, I have always heard his voice, erased it and replaced it with trust.
And that word, trust, denoted David Mead, a man of solid principles, generosity of spirit, and in whom you could trust.
On one occasion, in 1982 when David and I were speaking at a meeting in Merredin, I was taking some notes whilst he was speaking. A fellow member tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, ‘Forget the notes—there is only one David Mead.’ He wasn’t wrong.
I shall miss him.
Freeman Bill Smith
Club 33 members hone their debating skills
L-R: Priscilla Nguyen, Tinashe Kamangira, Steve Longwood, Andy Cairns and Sylvie Bouffard. (Photo by Margaret Heyns)
On Tuesday 28 June we held a debate at our meeting in West Perth. The debate, organised by Alain Bernay, was on the topic:
‘That men are more complicated than women.’
The teams prepared well and presented informed and logical arguments following the standard debating rules. After a spirited and enlightening debate, the Affirmative Team of Andy Cairns, Sylvie Bouffard and Frank Kroll won by a very small margin, convincing the audience and the adjudicators that men are indeed more complicated than women! Congratulations to the winning team and to Priscilla Nguyen, Tinashe Kamangira and Steve Longwood for providing some stiff competition.
We had two visitors, Aldis Purins our visiting Critic, and Susan Broughton from Club 1/2. Everyone agreed it was an enjoyable and worthwhile exercise, which will help Club 33 prepare to defend the Anzac Day debate next year….
Margaret Heyns and Andy Cairns, Club 33
Arthur Garvey Speaker of the Year
The competition is ‘hotting up’ in the premier speaking event of the Rostrum calendar. Five heats have been held and ten speakers are through to the semi- finals. As always, there are disappointed competitors who think the adjudicators got it wrong, and others who are relieved that they gave a good speech even if it didn’t win. Then of course there are those who are excited and delighted to be speaking in the semi-finals. I thank all competitors for entering and ‘giving it a go’. The semi-finalists are:
Monday 19 September
Joanna Whitney Club 11 Wendy Wardell Club 50 Natalia Gavrilova Club 19 Frank Butler Club 50 Lynne Ellis Club 34
Wednesday 21 September
Sue Broughton Club 1/2 Richard McCarthy Club 2230 Greg Swensen Club 19 Dominic Faraone Club 2230 Shilna Shah Club 42
The semi-finalists would appreciate having an audience so please attend one or both of the semis in support and give them the experience of speaking in front of a crowd before the final. Contact the host clubs ahead of time to get all the details and register your intention to attend.
Six speakers will go through to the final to be held at the Rostrum end-of-year dinner at Lake Karrinyup Country Club on 12 November. Let’s all frock up (well, the women, anyway) and enjoy a great night out, while supporting the speakers, enjoying the rest of the programme, and catching up with Rostrum friends. Bring along a table of friends and see who takes out the $500 first prize and $250 second prize. Flyers will go out in late September or early October. The cost of the evening will be approximately $70, plus a cash bar.
Freeman Sue Hart, Co-ordinator, AGSOY
I thought we were travelling really well in June, when we’d increased our membership to 360, and then I got the July figures and found we’d had lost nearly 50 in the term changeover. So, whilst the Find Five campaign has worked, we obviously need a ‘Don’t Lose Five’ campaign to counter balance. It doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
I think that the losses were really people who hadn’t been attending for some time. I hope we’ll pick up more in this term and not lose too many at the end of the year. In the meantime, please keep ‘Finding Five’
Freeman Tony Lightman, President, Rostrum WA
New format for Critics Training
Critics Training will be offered in a new format this semester. The course will begin with a full-day programme on Saturday 24 September, which will include an interactive workshop from Freeman David Price, ‘Raising the bar on the art and craft of speaking in public’. This will be followed by two half-days on Saturday 22 October and 19 November to introduce participants to delivering critiques and coaching other speakers, with lots of opportunity to practise the techniques and receive immediate feedback from experienced Rostrum critic-coaches.
In the weeks between sessions, participants will be able to practise and develop their new skills in their own clubs with feedback from club mentors and visiting critic-coaches.
The course will be held at the Shenton Park Community Centre. Morning tea will be provided each day and lunch on the first day. For more information, please contact me email@example.com on 9341 4134 or 0408 415 922.
Freeman Ruurd Speelman, Director of Training
‘Changing of the guard’ at RIC
There will be a new voice on the end of the phone when you next ring the Rostrum Information Centre. Katy Dymond, who until recently ran the RIC, has left after nearly two years as an integral part of our organisation. In that time, she was always friendly, helpful, responsive and willing to take on any task. Those of us on the Dais Board who called upon her many skills, some on a daily basis, would know that nothing was ever too much trouble and her turnaround time to respond was usually gauged in minutes. Add to that grace and wit, she was a ‘gem’. From all of us at Rostrum: ‘Thankyou Katy and we wish you all the best!!’
We welcome Debie Brockhoff as the new person, and voice, at the RIC and trust we’ll have a long and happy association! The contact details are the same for now however, the new address and phone number will be advised shortly.
Freeman Tony Lightman and Karen Reid
Rostrum Voice Of Youth National Final
The grins say it all: winner of the Junior section Tyson Leung and Senior section winner James Monaghan
‘The future leadership of the country is in good hands’, were the words Dario Tomat, the National President of Rostrum, used to describe the quality of the speakers in the Rostrum Voice of Youth National Final, which was held on Saturday 30 July at Hale School to coincide with the Australian Rostrum Council meeting in Perth.
WA finalists Hamish Robinson and Joshua Dunne, both from Hale School, performed extremely well in a field of 14 talented young speakers from around the country. Hamish’s prepared speech ‘A Dangerous Pursuit’ and short notice speech ‘Down a Path’ earned him second place in the Senior section, while Joshua was placed third in the Junior section with his prepared speech ‘It Comes at a Cost’ and short notice speech ‘A Single Thought’.
The winners were James Monaghan from Sydney Grammar School (NSW) in the Senior section, and Tyson Leung from Walford Anglican School for Girls (SA) in the Junior section.
Several members of the WA Dais and the ARC attended the final. Chairman of Adjudicators Freeman Ruurd Speelman, in giving his summation, remarked that, ‘boys just didn’t get up to speak when I was at school,’ and ‘this year we’ve heard some of the best’. He noted that the speakers had obviously thought deeply about their topics, had clear ideas, and had put their message across well.
Ruurd’s comments were echoed by WA RVOY Coordinator Juliet Park who congratulated all the speakers and thanked Ruurd and Freeman Ken Holzman for adjudicating, and Karen Reid for her organisation of the short notice speeches.
It was a great night!
Rose Fogliani, Editor