The Power of Language

A theme such as “The Power of Language” is bound to produce an inspiring evening. With Judith Taylor as the Toastmasters of the evening sharing her love of language the continuity of the evening was motivational.

Transformers Toastmasters meeting number 658 on Monday, 14 October brought ten eager Toastmasters together. These included a “lapsed” Toastmasters recently from Cape Town looking for a club to join in Johannesburg and our newest club member who stayed till the recess before dashing off to keep communication links going on a cellular network. Goran Radanovic came to say farewell as time commitments are forcing him to reduce his membership of three Toastmasters clubs to one.

The prepared speeches this evening were delivered by Tibor Nadj, Keith Bowen and John-Peter Gernaat. Tibor completed the seventh project from the Competent Communicator manual by delivering a speech supported by research. He spoke about bridges – physical, metaphorical and philosophical – using literature and films to illustrate the message.

Keith delivered a monodrama from the Interpretive Reading Advanced Manual. He delivered the soliloquies of Salieri from Peter Shaffer’s play ‘Amadeus”. He delivered these with passion to bring to life the tragedy of Salieri who was called the greatest musician during the latter part of his life, after the death of Mozart, which he may have facilitated, but fades into obscurity after death while Mozart grows in fame. Salieri realises, as he nears death, that he was mediocre as a composer in comparison to Mozart, yet he had pledged his soul to God to be a composer while Mozart was a foolish child gifted with the ability to hear heavenly music complete in his mind.

John-Peter gave the closing out speech of his High Performance Leadership (HPL) project. This project was the convening of LeaderCon in May and the Toastmasters HPL programme is a valuable tool to help leaders build and lead teams. Teams on any project, but more so on a non-remunerative project, are fluid and John-Peter twice experienced the teams that had been assembled vaporise. However, as he concluded, a team can achieve more that a group of individuals, and so it was the work of effective teams that produced arguably the best conference yet in Southern Africa for Toastmasters. However, John-Peter noted, working with teams is an ongoing challenge and each new project can benefit from the HPL programme.

John-Peter ran the Table Topics session of the evening. He provided a topic and asked whoever related to the topic to speak for 1 to 2 minutes on the topic. The topics were related to the power of language. Judith spoke of being embarrassed by not being able to speak a language when, immediately after school, she took a vacation assignment in Finland to teach English and could not communicate with the locals because she had no Finnish at all. Chamu boasted about the number of language he could speak. Alan informed us that there is no such thing as an instruction in plain language. Rod regaled us with a tale that illustrated that some language should not be acted upon. And finally Goran motivated us not to die with regrets but to live to the full, using several quotes from literature to illustrate his message.

Best Table Topic speaker was awarded, by popular vote, to Goran, best speaker to Keith and best evaluator of the evening to Rod.

People stayed to chat for a good half hour after the meeting highlighting the social nature of the acquaintanceships build at a Toastmasters club.

You are always welcome to attend any of our club meetings including our next meeting on Monday, 28 October. Arrive at the Morningside Country Club at 18h45 and make you way to the tennis pavilion on any 2nd or 4th Monday of the month. There is no obligation or fee to be a guest at one of our meetings, and we serve snacks!