Thursday, September 22, 2011

Words of Wisdom - 13 September

Once again, we had a resounding turnout: 26 members, 4 guests and two inductions.
We were delighted to welcome Ayanda Ncwabe and Jessamy Kromhoudt to our ranks. May your stay be long, and happy, and fruitful. This takes our membership to 43. We must be doing something right!!

To Colleen Love for the 4th,
Mimi Makupula (5th),
Elaine Stewart Coyne (7th),
... and still to come, Thomas Duthie on 21st

The Toastmaster for the evening was Marlene Vosloo, our very experienced past president and area Governor, as well as being the face of youth leadership in the city. As Elaine Stewart-Coyne said, “She should have been a dancer,” because she’s always on her toes! Hope she knows what Socrates might have meant! Her theme for the evening was “What would you tell
the 21-year-old Marlene?”

Setting the scene, she told us...
The year was 1987, the man of the moment was Patrick Swayze (be still my beating heart), and Marlene was in love! Sad but true, though, not all men can dance like Swayze – and the waves don’t crash and violins don’t carol when you do it!
She told us that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. For Marlene this is Toastmasters – and we’re definitely not average!!
Her words of wisdom to herself?
“Be careful of Patrick S’s charming ways but go with your gut!”
After all, to quote Paulo Coelho:

Further pearls of advice came from timekeeper, Tanja Gauss (Don’t sweat the petty stuff), Um and Ah counter, Cheneille Jeffries Badenhorst (Stop trying to be everyone’s saviour), and Louise Solomons (If a man walks out on you, close the door behind him), our grammarian for the evening. Louise’s word of the day was “WINSOME” – sweet, innocent, charming. This was used impressively by 6 Toastmasters

Table Topics Master, Mark Barry, (Risk a little more. It’ll still be there in the morning) set us the challenging topic of what we would tell our local barman if we were in low spirits after a tough Monday at work. (And how does that make you feel?)Drunken personalities included Antoinette as a cop who doesn’t have to buy a fake moustache because she already has one to suit the job

Alison as the Post office worker, stamping everything – and everyone – in sight;
Glenis – sad, because with everyone in NZ, no-one is visiting Glenis’s hotel;
Jessamy, the sad shrimp, jealous of the barman who spends his day serving all the winsome young girls;
Deborah, who was generally having a blue Monday, but was very grateful that Tuesday always comes;
And Colleen who told us that she can’t complain about work. Friends? Job? She hasn’t got one!!

As always, our programme involved a variety of CC projects.

Rosemary Sampson broke the ice with her CC1, (Begin speaking before an audience, and find and develop skills she already has), a moving tribute to her father, Victor, the Champion.
Her wise words were Wait – wait – wait! Compatibility is essential, while her father’s were Never tolerate the assault by one on another’s dignity – no matter who the person is.

Belita von Steiger – well into her CC schedule – delivered her CC3 (Get to the Point), with the interesting angle: “To the point, but what point?” She drew attention to the fact that although we are a family, we comprise many distinct members. How on earth does one choose a topic for this disparate audience – from gender and rugby to IT or politics!? What a challenge. Her advice to us? Relax, take it easy..

Our third and fourth speakers both tackled their CC4 (encouraging the use of vocal variety). Interestingly these very different speakers gave us an object lesson in personalising the CC series. Peter Peters chose to inform with his speech entitled “The Controversy of Living a Healthy Lifestyle”, while Plaxcedes Ndlovu opted to take us along on a walk through “The Smoke that Thunders”. Her speech brought to mind a (probably apocryphal) story about an old white dude who was sitting on the verandah at the Victoria Falls Hotel (the real Last Outpost) sipping his G & T. He said to the steward: “What do you people call that over there?” (pointing to the Falls). He was trying to elicit the Shona name: Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means “The smoke that thunders”. The reply, with the straightest look possible, was, “We call it The Victoria Falls”!
Peter’s speech, apart from pushing all my guilt buttons, was thought provoking as always.

The Toast of the Day was presented by Liandra Schoultz (Don’t be afraid to ask questions). Her toast was to the hope on everyone’s mind: Spring – to renewal and growth

Evaluators for the evening included Quinton Jacobs (Don’t get that puppy!), Alison Immelman, (Buy property – it lasts longer than fast cars), Rhona Murchie (Get contact lenses) and Marianah Lourens (Carpe diem –how she wishes that she hadn’t let opportunities pass her by). Quinton agreed with the whole property thing, but added that he might give in to the fast bike temptation!

OR MAYBE.................BUT THEN AGAIN..........

It was a bitter-sweet moment when Elaine Stewart-Coyne (Follow your innocent intuition) presented her general evaluation. She has sadly had to resign from Algoa, owing to her commitment to another City club, of which she is the immediate past president. She commented on the friendly atmosphere at Algoa that keeps us coming back. She also noted the welcoming committee that Marianah (VP Membership) has organised. All we know is that Elaine will always be part of our family, and is welcome any time.
Top Toastie of the evening was Rosemary Sampson for bravely wearing her heart on her sleeve, while the best Table Topics speaker was Jessamy Kromhoudt, the “Sad Shrimp” – well done! And on the occasion of your induction, too!

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