Books that have influenced you the most

Not an unexpected theme for a Toastmasters meeting! The range and scope of books that have influenced the members, visitors and guests of Transformers Toastmasters Club speaks to the erudition (oh! that was the Word of the Evening) of the assembled group on Monday, 22nd April. Ryan Ebedes, Toastmaster of the Evening, revelled in sharing the titles, authors and the briefest of synopses of the lists of books presented to him as the continuity between the segments of the evening’s programme.

The Toast of the Evening, presented by Tibor Nadj, was to the ideas that inspire us; and we were in for an inspiring evening: five prepared speeches, five impromptu speeches and five thoroughly considered evaluations and well as the open evaluation of Keelan Naidoo’s contest speech.

Rod Taylor, Distinguished Toastmaster several times over, presented the icebreaker speech from the Competent Communicator manual, once more going back to the beginning to ensure the basics are never forgotten. Entitled “The Other Rod Taylors” he introduced us to Rod Taylor the Toastmaster, as we all know him, and then proceeded to introduce us to all the other aspects of himself we know less of, or only know of only indirectly: Rod Taylor the imperfect, the academic, the Bohemian, the agitator, the husband/father/grandfather, the friend, the adventurer, the professional and the lover. Well, not really, he did not get to telling us about Rod Taylor the lover, he had already exceeded his allotted time.

Chantal Weisshaupt inspired us to revisit our values and to find our authenticity and live life as the real us. Her fascination for other cultures and for travel has led her to live in 48 countries – that is an authentic living of one’s values.

Judith Taylor shared with us the facts about the negative effects of uranium mining around the world in her 7th project from the Competent Communicator manual requiring a speech on a researched subject. The statistics she presented were disturbing.

John-Peter Gernaat presented the speech that is required at the beginning of the High Performance Leadership programme – presenting the vision of his project. The HPL programme is the pinnacle of leadership in Toastmasters and is a programme that is suitable for every project undertaken in life where leadership is required. His project is the convening of the annual major Toastmasters conference for southern Africa and the vision is required to inspire the audience.

Finally, Keelan Naidoo presented his contest speech in which he compared the trust and faith of a fledging eagle taking its first flight from the nest to his own realisation that he had to leave his comfort zone in order to truly achieve the rewards of life.

The meal during the recess was scrumptious: lentils with chicken, pasta with vegetable and tiramisu.

For the impromptu speeches the speakers had to imagine themselves as the author of the book that inspired them most or the protagonist and share an idea with the audience to inspire the audience. The ideas ranged from Spud to Anthony Robbins and other gurus of our time.

The evaluations and the grammarians report provided a carefully considered analysis of the speeches against the objectives of the various projects, from which not only the speakers learned but everyone in the audience could take away valuable lessons.

At the end of the evening the evening’s awards were presented as follows: Ryan Ebedes received the award for best Impromptu Speech, Mary Byrne for best evaluation and Rob Taylor for best contribution (i.e. for the best list of inspiring books) and best speech of the evening.

We had two guests visiting for the second time and both have joined as members while Goran Radanovic will be joining us as a dual member.

We welcome guests to our club meetings and make you feel very welcome. There is no charge for visiting us and the meal is part of the evening. You will learn from the experience and may even want to join Toastmasters and our club. We look forward to meeting you.