Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The World Cup is over, but the new Toastmasters year has just begun!

Tuesday’s meeting was our first for the new Toastmasters year. Toastmaster for the evening was Elaine Stewart-Coyne who seized on this fact to offer pointers on how members could reignite their passion for the Toastmasters experience.

Some of Elaine’s suggestions included mentoring new members and participating in Toastmasters conferences like the Mexicon coming up in October. Another was for long-term members to redo a speaking manual, which is exactly what Ricky Woods has done.

Ricky, a Distinguished Toastmaster and a member for 14 years, went all the way back to the beginning and delivered the very first speech from the Competent Communicator Manual: “The Icebreaker”. Ricky revealed that there have been many changes in her life since she gave her first “Icebreaker” speech, but that the Toastmasters experience and the friendships she made had served as a constant in her life.

Alison Immelman’s third speech was delivered while wearing a knitted Lapland hat. The hat may have been funny but Alison’s subject was seriously though provoking. She asked us to always consider the true agendas behind the media messages we receive.

Both Candice Finkelstein and Louise Erasmus were all about the “hard sell”. Both delivered their ninth speech from the Competent Communicator Manual.
Candice presented us with some hot cooler boxes we should never be without, and Louise pushed the benefits of Burmese cat ownership. Who needs Eskom on a cold night when you have a Burmese cat on your lap?

Comedian-in-residence, Antoinette Baatjes, entertained her audience with another one from the Humorous Speeches Manual. Fancying herself something of an amateur social anthropologist, Antoinette introduced us to some new subspecies of humanity: “know-it-alls” (KIAs) and “incompetent fools” (IFs). Apparently these KIAs and IFs are responsible for much of the angst in our lives. Antoinette advised us that we are doing ourselves no favours by biting our tongues and that the best way to promote inner peace are toe-to-toe confrontations with these acronyms - or you could buy a Burmese cat.

For the second time this year, a visiting guest beat out the membership to take the prize for best Table Topic impromptu speech. The Table Topics Master was Debbie Stephenson who asked participants to put their case to the IOC as why their particular activity should become an Olympic event at the 2020 Games in South Africa. Reinhardt won for suggesting that kite flying and South Africa’s blue skies would go great together.

And closing off the meeting, Mimi Makupula passed the Top Toastie floating trophy to Colleen Love for efforts in introducing others, like Mimi, to Toastmasters.

The next meeting will be on 27 July. Until then watch this blog for profiles of members who were recently awarded Competent Communicator, Leader and Advanced Communicator Awards.

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