Six guest, five prepared speeches and 5 impromptu speeches made for an exciting and full programme on Monday evening, 11th March.

We learned from Vero Ardes that poor communication is the cause of relationships breaking down, both in the workplace and at home. This speech fulfilled the requirements of her second project, which is concerned with the structure of a speech.

Chantal Weisshaupt, also completing her second Toastmasters speaking project, very descriptively told us how music can restore one after the “noise” of a busy day.

Judith Taylor described in wonderful word pictures, vocal intonation and gesture an opera project in which she’d been involved in her youth. The carefully created costumes turned out to be barely suitable for the venue where the performance was staged and only luck prevented the very serious production unraveling into a farcical comedy.

John-Peter Gernaat presented a lifetime award for benefits to humanity to Dr Madan Kataria, founder of Laughter Yoga, for the lives that have been saved and the many other benefits of prolonged voluntary laughter.

Finally Rod Taylor entertained us with visual deceptions in a speech that explained how poorly we can or should rely on our sight for determining truth or reality. See for yourself: in this picture the coke bottle is a chalk drawing of the same surface on which the artist is haunched, but will your eyes accept this?

The impromptu speeches run by Sriram Murali required the speakers to regale the audience with their special connection with a season of the year, drawn at random. We heard about the beauty of spring, snow and a white Christmas in Europe experienced as a child from Africa, filming a tropical cyclone in summer, killing a huge black mamba in autumn and the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Toastmaster of the evening, Keith Bowen, provided the continuity of the evening using the theme of the evening "Harvest" to share a diversity of quotes on the subject.

The evening was social - commented on by our guests, entertaining and educational. We welcome guests and hope to see you at one of our club meetings soon.

Annual International Prepared Speech Contest

Once a year our speakers take special care to prepare their best possible speech and participate in the Club International Prepared Speech Contest. Monday, 25th February saw three of our Toastmasters compete for the honour of being Club Champion. Seasoned Toastmasters Mary Byrne and Rod Taylor were joined by Chamu M’Kombe.

Chamu spoke of the ticking time bomb of unemployment in South Africa and cited an example of a company who was taking the initiative of providing a skill that could then be used in an entrepreneurial way to provide a service and up-skill others in the process.

Mary Byrne spoke of the prophesy of the Popes attributed to Saint Malachy, a 12th-century Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland in which Saint Malachy is said to have described the next 111 Popes beginning with Pope Celestine II (1143–1144). Currently retiring Pope Benedict XVI is the 111th Pope. Following this at some unspecified time is the end of the Roman Church and of Rome. This prophesy has not had the same acclaim as the end of the Mayan Calendar but is as apocalyptic and topical.

Rod Taylor spoke of achieving the impossible. He started by saying that even the proponents of Positive Thinking are turning to caution to say that we must guard against the fanciful in our positive thinking. From his personal experience when he saved himself and a female friend from certain death by an out-of-control oncoming car by “transporting” himself and the friend over a 2½ metre high, impenetrable hawthorn hedge he explained that the improbable or fanciful is possible.

The International Prepared Speech Contest was followed by the Evaluation Contest in which four contestants prepared an evaluation of a speech given by visiting Toastmasters (from Morningside Toastmasters Club, Keelan Naidoo. Keelan gave a speech in honour and praise of Lucas Radebe, soccer hero. We learned everything there is to know about this “chief” in 6 minutes. Four well thought through evaluations were delivered by Rod Taylor, Mary Byrne, Margie Skeen and Sriram Murali.

The second place winners of the evening were:

  • International Prepared Speech Contest: Chamu M’Kombe
  • Evaluation Contest: Margie Skeen

And the winners were:

  • International Prepared Speech Contest: Rod Taylor
  • Evaluation Contest: Mary Byrne

The winners go forward to compete in the Area H3 Contest.

Transformers is a-rockin' and a-rollin'

Transformers speakers cannot be stopped.

Winning the Humorous Speaking Contest was just an apatite-wetter for Matthys Meintjes. He went on to win against the champions of four other Area to be crowned Division H Champion of Humorous Speaking 2012 (this is an unofficial title, but he is a champion nonetheless) on Wednesday evening, 10 October 2012. On Saturday he will face up against the champions of the other Divisions in District 74 to determine who is the best humorous speaker is District 2012.

Veteran Toastmaster, Rod Taylor DTM (several times over), continued the winning streak for Transformers. Impromptu speaking is often a matter of luck: the speaker is given a word or phrase as he or she arrives at the lectern and has less than 30 seconds to begin speaking. If the word or phrase triggers a thought and the bones of speech presents itself in the speaker’s mind, he or she must develop this thought into a speech with opening, body and conclusion as they launch into what he or she hopes is a powerful opening. Being a seasoned veteran, Rod had no difficulty winning the Impromptu Speaking Contest at club level. He then wiped the floor at the Area Contest and on Wednesday showed his mettle when he came first in the Division H Impromptu Speaking Contest. He too is on his way to Cape Town and the annual Toastmasters Mini-Conference to square up against the best from the other Divisions in District 74.

The club is firmly behind our champions and we expect to do well in the District Contests.

Transformers Wipes the Floor at Area Contest

Yes, literally …… actually figuratively! Transformers Toastmasters come first in both the Humorous Speaking Contest and the Impromptu Speaking Contest in Area H4 this evening.

Congratulations to Matthys Meintjes for winning the Humorous Speaking Contest and to Rod Taylor for winning the Impromptu Speaking Contest. Both these winners will compete in the Division H Contests on 10 October. The winners from those Contests compete at the Toastmasters Conference in Cape Town on 13 October against the best in Southern Africa.

It was a well organised contest this evening at Da Vincenzo’s Restaurant in Sunninghill. Wayne Perry as Contest Chairman fulfilled the role given him by Area H4 Governor, René Schoeman, and figuratively took the plane aloft and landed it again safely. Wayne always has a host of dry, oh, so dry, jokes up his sleeve and no one is spared. René and her team ensured that the evening flowed like clockwork, trays of snacks arriving at the moment the recess was called. We feasted on pizza slices and delicious salad. The raffle this evening, sponsored by Bytes SI, had delved deep into their stock of good wines and chocolates and four very fortunate people went home with prizes worth the R20 for 3 tickets price and much more.

The four Toastmasters Clubs in Area H4 had a contestant representing them in each of the two contests. The humorous prepared speeches were very entertaining and had been well prepared. Matthys’ winning speech told the tale of his humbling experience of leaning to fly-fish for trout. He did not bring home the fish for dinner as he had boasted he would, but he learned not to underestimate that which at first sight seems inferior to yourself. Second was Keelan Naidoo of Morningside Toastmasters Club with his love disappointment in the Saga of gym-buddy. Know that a girl who wants a boy as gym-buddy has a boyfriend lurking in the background. Barbara Poultney of Sandton Toastmasters Club warned us to be prepared when facing nature because she can be treacherous and a pleasant scramble up a mountain can turn into a race for life. Jacques Beard of Business Engage Toastmasters Club engaged us with the humour of a family of four sons.

The impromptu speeches on the word “spring” were seasonal and uplifting. Rod, in his winning speech challenged every able-bodied person to use their given talents and dig as deep as the Paralympics competitors have done and we would all achieve gold in our own right.

Chocolates in hand for everyone who had helped in one role or another, we went home well satisfied on a job well done.