The auras of autumn

Transformers Toastmasters
John-Peter reveals the laughter in life
Monday's Transformers meeting saw an amazing variety of speeches, from varied levels of the manuals.
Congratulations must firstly go to John-Peter who successfully presented his CC1, with his speech entitled "Finding my Laughter" which gave us an insight into his life.

Rod engaged the audience with his speech entitled, "Cognition, perception and perceptual blindness", where he proved that if we focus our attention on a particular item we become oblivious to other things happening around it. How many people saw the gorilla?!

Keith simplified the Eskom dilemma of "Load Forecasting" with a presentation that illustrated the main consumption and anticipated growth sectors in South Africa.

Our guest speaker Ian Bratt, entertained us with "Opportunity Knocks", a pair of personal stories that had made an impact on successes in his life.
He delved in the stages of his rugby endeavours and provided a message for all of us to take home.

Ruth then took control of the table topics session, which was highly entertaining. She challenged all participants to choose one animal that they would like to be for just one hour of their lives, and asked them to explain why.
Transformers Toastmasters
Rod presents perceptual blindness
Rod opened the floor with his desire to be an eagle, soaring above the earth with amazing views of the world.
Next up was Ian who was a shark, with views of the underworld. He surfaced for a while to scare off some people on the beach.
Keith was third and chose to be a sloth, for the simple reason that he just wanted to hang around and do absolutely nothing.
John-Peter jetted off to Australia to be a kangaroo for an hour, particularly because he wanted to feel what it was like to have an embryo growing outside of his body.
Glenice wanted to be a cheetah on one specific day, in order to have a record-breaking Comrades run.
And lastly Mary wanted to be one her cats, so that, apart from being pampered, she could get an understanding of what her feline companions get up to during the day.

Transformers Toastmasters
Opportunity Knocks
Guest speaker Ian
Our word master grammarian, Jackie, gave us the word "Victual/ vittle", which means food supplies or provisions and a number of speakers managed to slip it in during the evening.

It emerged that the theme of the evening, autumn, is not only a very colourful season, but also one of the top 100 most popular names for US girls!

Join us on the 20th of April for our next meeting.
In addition, our Area contest takes place on the 15th of April at Hatch Toastmasters in Woodmead, whilst the Division H contest is provisionally set for the 22nd, Election Day.

As always, guests and visitors are welcome!

The story that never was

Transformers Toastmasters
Keith provides some 'real' answers
It has been said that an exceptionally good liar, requires an exceptionally good memory.
This is especially true if you're trying to convince a toastmasters audience that your tall story actually occurred, and when it came to inaccuracies, lies and devious wit, Monday's speakers did not disappoint.

Before the competition began, Rod delved into his CC7 speech, very aptly titled: "Train of Thought".
He discussed the coal trains travelling from Ermelo to Richards Bay, some of which weigh as much as 21000 tons when fully laden.
It was classic speaking from one of our most experienced members, and included vocal variety, gestures and a sense of energy portrayed to perfection.
Ruth's advanced speech required her to present a product and pitch to entice us to buy; and her choice of product? An instant hot/cold water filter! If questions are anything to go by, she certainly had done a great job with her presentation, as well as her homework to answer some of the more unusual enquiries!

Transformers Toastmasters
Glenice breaks IN to prison
On to the tall story contest.
The contestants, Keith, Ryan, Ruth, Glenice & Rod were all required to fabricate an exotic story for the rest of us to enjoy, and as mentioned above, they all came to the party.
Some of the highlights included Ruth's attempt to talk to the animals, Glenice's attempt to break IN to prison, before effortlessly breaking out again, and Ryan's attempt to prove that the ancient hominid bone he had found was indeed 1.56 million years old. Keith's reasoning behind the failing economy was however the pick of the bunch, and after convincing us that fashion was the sole culprit for the current recession, he was duly awarded 1st place!

Our meetings for April have changed due to the public holidays, and will now take place on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month. Please check our calendar for the latest schedule, and of course don't forget to check out our photo gallery for our latest pics.
Join us on the 6th of April for our next meeting - guests and visitors are welcome!

An esoteric gathering

eso·teric (es'o ter'ik)
intended for or understood by only a chosen few

Ele's word of the evening (Esoteric) aptly described the gathering for last nights Transformers meeting.
The theme was origins, and as Toastmaster for the evening I took the opportunity to lead the group down a figurative memory lane of sorts, recalling common phrases and where they originated from.
Phrases such as "As mad as a March hare" from Lewis Carroll's classic 'Alice in Wonderland', as well as to "Pull out all the stops", which relates to organ pipes..

Meanwhile, Kay pulled out all the stops in her first prepared speech in Toastmasters, giving us an eloquent personal story entitled "Daring to dream". She provided a wonderful insight into her dreams and goals for the future, which amongst other things included becoming an inspirational speaker. Her prior debating skills will certainly assist, but we've already been exposed to her powerful impromptu skills, so we're already certain that there's an inspirational speaker here!
Richard went though his humorous speech on "Dating in the new Millennium" in fine style.
One of his stories included a segment on kissing, and the four main types there are; for example, the St Bernard, or the Calcutta Big Hole - sometimes a word is worth a thousand pictures...
Mary's educational session covered speeches in general, and centred on the construction of a great speech. It was another excellent summary from our reigning champion of speech evaluation.
Glenice then took hold of proceedings, with a 'place' dropping exercise. Participants were required to talk about a particular location they had "been to", with some rather exotic names coming to light.
I described the exciting hominid find I made whilst walking the streets of Geneva, whilst Ele started out in Lima Peru, before deftly escorting us to France. Jackie took us through the streets of Harare, introducing us to Bob himself, before Richard projected his best portrayal of an Indian accent, from Mumbai.

Eskom also played a part in the evening's proceedings by bringing the final curtain down just before the end - but this didn't stop Ele, who nimbly handled the grammarian's report by torchlight, providing one of our most comprehensive summaries of an evenings words and phrases that I've certainly ever heard.
And how many members managed to use the word of the evening?
Only those who joined us, will know.

Don't miss our Tall Story evening coming up on the 23rd - as always guests and visitors welcome!

Contest Evening - Booties, bribes, and a bash in the night

Transformers Toastmasters
The transformers competitors 2009
Last nights contest evening once again proved that we all have our own interpretations of a scenario.
This was really brought to the fore in the impromptu contest when the word for the evening, BASH, wore a number of faces as each contestant projected their most powerful memory of it.
The International competition was well attended, with 4 speakers giving their all and an excellent array of subjects to boot.
Glenice started the proceedings off in fine style as she wove her story of booties, bonnets and knitting wool in her speech entitled Simply Sensational. She spoke about knitting and how it can be both a relaxing and productive way of passing those quiet moments, along with allowing you to create something special for yourself or for others. Her combination of humour and insight provided an excellent opening for the evening.
Mary then took to the stage with her story of celebrity and it's use in the most unusual of circumstances. Her story of an ex Big Brother inmate and the use of her 'fame' for financial gain and celebrity status was intriguing and highlighted some of the extraordinary and sometimes morbid encroachments that reality TV has had on our lives.
Jerry took us through a story of the rather unusual bribe he encountered with the law and provided an outstanding example of stage presence and composure. It was an excellent example of speaking for those of us who are still new to the game.
Ryan spoke about the plants around us and how when we engage the same effort for our human relationships as we do for our leafy friends, the results of success and flourishing are strikingly similar.
It was then on to the evaluation contest, with Rod providing an excellent display of vocal variety and gestures for our evaluators to interpret. He recalled stories and anecdotes that many of us have seen or heard before and showed why there is always a reason to use them again. Both Mary and Glenice acquitted themselves exceptionally well in their quest for best evaluator.
As above, the impromptu word was BASH, which allowed a variety of usages by our 5 contestants. Whilst Mary, Simon and Kay chose to discuss the late night bashes (aka parties) they had attended in the past, Glenice took us down a one way street with taxi drivers bashing on the roof of her car, whilst John-Peter arranged an excellent array of usages, including the variant "bashful".
Ryan and Mary took 1st and 2nd respectively in the International contest, whilst Mary continued her winning ways by sweeping both the Evaluation and Impromptu titles. Glenice and Kay finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Impromptus, in what was surely a very close race!

Join us for our next meeting on the 9th of March, and don't forget - we have our Tall Story evening coming up on the 23rd in celebration of our 555th meeting. Get those ridiculous, outrageous, and out-of-this-world speeches prepared - it will be an evening not to be missed..