Thursday, September 30, 2010

Debbie speaksssssss! (that is how an albino python would say it)

Our Club's Toastmaster-for the-evening on Tuesday night was E1 Area Governor and former Club President Marlene Van Wyk.

The theme for the evening was based on Elizabeth Gilbert's travel memoir Eat Pray Love.

Marlene asked speakers and those officiating what they would do if they could step out of their lives for a year the way Elizabeth Gilbert did.

Craig Stephenson (Grammarian) wants to play barista for a year at the Venice Train Station. Denise Pudney (Evaluator) wants to rent out her house and travel around the world for a year. Louise Erasmus (General Evaluator)would spend the summer months under the big skies of Montana.

The Club continues to grow! Leeann Roos was inducted by VP of Membership Louise Solomons.

Table Topics was presented by Chenielle Badenhorst who asked participants to present an impromptu "day in the life" speech from the point of view of an exotic pet. By way of an example, Chenielle described a typical day for her pet dachshund – using a German accent.

The prize for the best Table Topics speech went to Michael Warren for his hissing albino python. He beat out the likes of Thomas Duthie's gangsta-ferret and Tom Horne's justifiably nervous guinea pig.

There were four prepared speakers for the evening.

After a year as a visitor to the Club and eight months as a member Debbie Stephenson finally delivered her much awaited "icebreaker" speech. Debbie has used the last few months to gain the confidence to present her first speech by participating in Table Topics, officiating at meetings and delivering several Toasts. Debbie, an Australian, recounted how a chance meeting bought her to her to new life in South Africa nearly forty years ago.

Alison Immelman presented her fourth speech to the Club. Her breathtakingly creative use of language transported her audience into a recent experience of hers where she was stuck on a Virgin Airlines flight parked on a runway for several hours.

Alan Hunter presented an important lesson in constitutional law when he tackled an issue ripped straight from the headlines – the proposed Security of Information Bill. While media workers have been making the most noise about the Bill, Alan argued convincingly that this matter should be of concern to all South Africans.

The final prepared speaker was Marianah Lourens who delivered an interpretive reading of C.J. Langenhoven's poem: Die Stem.

Quinton Jacobs presented an educational talk on how to beat glossophobia. For those of you who didn't take Latin or Greek in university, glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Quinton suggested that nervous speakers use positive mental imagery to clip the wings of those stomach butterflies.

Mimi Makapula provided the Toast on the night. After the experience of watching a pedestrian being hit by a car Mimi reminded members and guests to live for now as there are no guarantees that there will be a tomorrow.

Before the gavel fell on another entertaining and informative evening, Chenielle Badenhorst presented Debbie Stephenson with the Top Toastie floating trophy in recognition of Debbie confronting her own glossophobia.

The Club will meet again on 12 October.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Toastmasters are adrenaline junkies!

Last Tuesday’s meeting had Toastmaster-for-the-evening Craig Stephenson compare the Toastmasters experience to heart-thumping, white-knuckling and sweaty-palm-inducing activities like bungee jumping off a bridge and skydiving.

This comparison was apposite, considering that the fear of public speaking is the most common phobia. (Apposite was our word for the day, courtesy of Grammarian Nicholas Mitchell.)

Table Topics was hosted by Debbie Stephenson. She asked players to speak for one minute on the titles of Frank Sinatra songs like “Strangers in the Night” and “My Way”. E1 Area Governor, Marlene Van Wyk, took the prize for her impromptu speech inspired by Ol-Blue-Eye’s cover of the Beatles classic “Yesterday”. Coming in a very close second to Marlene was visiting guest, Jessamy.

The first speaker “to jump off that bridge” was Zuki Skade. Zuki was presenting his “icebreaker” speech. Zuki’s revealed the highlights and the lowlights of his extraordinary life. It was like a bestselling author reading a sample chapter from a thrilling biography. Zuki has certainly whetted the Club’s appetite for more.

The second speaker for the evening was brand-spanking-new member Chenielle Badenhorst. She was inducted just three weeks ago but was so eager to begin her Toastmasters journey that she jumped at the opportunity to present her “icebreaker” when another speaker had to drop out. For the enthusiasm she demonstrated she was awarded the “Top Toastie” floating trophy.

In another life Chenielle graced the stages of Europe as an opera singer. This might explain her thoroughly captivating stage presence and confidence.

Chenielle also introduced a neologism into the Club’s lexicon. She wondered what you would call a former Toastmaster – a “post-Toastie” perhaps.

Our third speaker was Louise Erasmus who marked a milestone by presenting her tenth speech to the Club and completing her Competent Communicator Manual. Louise’s speech was titled: “Coping with Cancer”.

Louise’s family has recently been touched by the dread disease but Louise explained that she has derived the strength to cope from the support of her friends and family, educating herself on the facts of the disease, and relying on her faith.

The final speech saw the welcome return of Quinton Jacobs. This intrepid weatherman has been away working in Jo’burg for the last three months.

His speech was a project from one of the advanced manuals. Quinton gave his audience some insights into science of meteorology. Did you know that a weather forecaster could be held liable for air crash deaths if a plane is downed by weather that the pilot was misinformed about? (Yikes!)

It was another successful and informative meeting. (Who needs DSTV!)

Our next Club meeting is Tuesday, 28 September.