Not to be Silent
by Rosalie Ahern and Robert Bicknell

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No to be Silent by Rosalie Ahern and Robert Bicknell
Product details
Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: Australian Rostrum Council
ISBN: 9780947173999
Trim size: 210 x 297 mm
For 100 years Rostrum has attracted people wishing to improve their ability to communicate their message.  Rostrum’s founding purpose was to offer a low-cost opportunity to young men to develop the skills of clear and informed thinking, speak their thoughts, manage effective meetings, and practise public speaking within supportive Rostrum clubs. Rostrum set out to address the spread of misinformation in the community.

The book’s title comes from the Rostrum Promise where members affirm that they will “not to be silent when I ought to speak”.

Rostrum has grown and changed over its history. Women are now integral to the organisation. Members can practise personal speeches for important events, business presentations, interviews or be coached on formal presentations. Skills can be developed further through state and national speaking competitions which are judged for online skills or the ability to present to an auditorium.

Rostrum members host speaking competitions for primary and secondary students. The Rostrum Voice of Youth (RVoY) is the premier speaking competition for schools in Australia. Through this competition Rostrum assist with the skill development of our youth.

Rostrum clubs are made up of a cross section of the community where they meet. Members help form and shape the club as they bring their personal development needs to the meetings. All Rostrum clubs espouse and follow the same principles, but every Rostrum club is different. All comers are welcomed and are gently encouraged to achieve their goals with practice, coaching and fellowship.

This book tells the stories of quite a few people who began with little idea of what they could learn and achieve in Rostrum. You will meet a small selection of the characters who have helped shape Rostrum over its 100 years and hopefully get a taste of the service that Rostrum has brought to our community so far.

Learn more and find your local club at

About the Authors   
Rosalie Ahern
It has been said, perhaps a little unkindly, that I was born both tiny and talking. I started speaking soon after and then I found books and writing. Clearly a pattern was developing. I found my way into editing and publishing educational materials for children. It was rewarding and it was where I learned the skills and perils and importance of accuracy and attention to detail. Always check. After years in what was called the Education Department, Publications Branch I spent the final phase of my professional life at Kew High School where I had the pleasure of managing the schools debating program. My most gratifying moment was coaching a team of pupils whose second language was English to a state final. One of my pleasures in life nowadays is annoying people by sharing my extensive store of trivia.
Robert Bicknell
Unlike Rosalie, I have never been a great talker, but it has been said I had a wondrous imagination. I left school early joining the Postmaster Generals Department (Telstra) where I have had a rewarding career over 51 years. I started as a trades trainee and after many interesting and challenging roles I finished as a manager of an IT team. I went to night school to complete High School and University achieving a Master of Business (IT). I thank my family for their much-valued support. I am not much of a talker and after thinking about it for 10 years, I joined Rostrum to improve my business communications skills. It was a wonderful decision and has brought much enjoyment, introducing me to a diverse range of interesting and stimulating people as well as skills in public speaking and meeting procedure. I am a Freeman, and have been President of Rostrum Victoria and Vice President of the Australian Rostrum Council. One of my other passions is bushwalking. I have been bushwalking since I was 11 years old. I am a member of Boroondara Bushwalking Club, a Director of Bushwalking Victoria, a member of Bush Search and Rescue and I walk in Australia and overseas with a group of longterm friends.

Name : Rod Fraser
Location : Tasmania
Title : A very polished publication
Review : As a Rostrum member I admit to some bias. However, this is a very polished publication which is well produced and filled with interesting stories. The stories of how forming a Rostrum speaking club in Changi Prison helped POWs survive deprivation and tortue during World War 2 are a must read. "The topics these men discussed revealed hope and a vision for the future when they would be free again. They never despaired."

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