Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Heat Wave - 11 October 2011

So there we were, on the day after the hottest day in 26 years – PE peaked at 41.2o on Monday! And that’s in a city that hardly ever gets into the 30s!

We were a way smaller group than normal – perhaps the bizarre heat laid our members low? Nevertheless there were 16 members and 2 guests: Sindile and Dxy (a returnee who is also part of the current Speechcraft course). We hope you liked what you saw, and will visit again.

Once again, we were delighted to bestow a 5 speech pin, this time on Leann Roos. Leann did her CC5 on her passion for cricket umpiring...
Leann is another member who is well on her way to her CC10, ensuring another year of distinguished club status for Algoa Toastmasters.
Welcome back Denise Pudney and Reinhardt Botha – we missed you!

On a Business note:
Did you know that we have a library of manuals so that you are able to have a look-see before you order your AC choices? Just speak to Marlene Vosloo.
Act’s Speakathon is on 3 November – let the pres know if you’d still like to enter.

Toastmaster for the evening was Quinton Jacobs – our resident weatherman. And yes, Quinton – we are going to blame you for the heat!!

The Grammarian was Nicholas Mitchell. For the Word of the Day he chose candour/candid, denoting frank or open, or alternatively candid camera (an honest portrait) – from the Latin “candidus” which means white or perhaps unembellished. The word was used by only 3 doughty speakers – and, yes, I’m going to blame the weather!
Um and Ah Counter was Alison Immelman. By her count, only four speakers used no verbal crutches. The rest of us had a doosie of an evening with an average of 2.3 stumbles per person, ranging from the usual ums and ahs, to “like”, “okay”, “you know” and “Yeah?”

Table Topics were introduced by Marianah Lourens, who gave us terms from the theatre. Really – these words do have a meaning – really!
Some of the speakers who contributed were:
Alison Immelman, who regaled us with tales from The Bold and the Beautiful – forget the main plot of making clothes – really the “subplot” is way more important – who’s married to whom who used to be married to the other...
Louise Solomons dealt with gaffer tape (really cloth tape, which doesn’t reflect the light, used to hold down cables) that she suggested should be used on Oubaas from 7de Laan to keep him quiet since he always has a chirp. .
Glenis Whitehead, who spoke about “Gel” – like Clinton who definitely spent more time in front of the mirror today than most of our lady members – to get that carefully constructed bed head.

Tom Horne spoke about “ghost lights”. He told us that this would be the light carried by Uncle Pete who died 33 years ago. Really it’s the light kept burning by the stage door to keep the ghosts happy
Reinhardt Botha spoke about “wings” to fly across the world – and don’t forget buffalo wings or the red bull variety. After all – “All the world’s a stage”!
Well done to our guests who both participated in this part of the programme!

As always, we had a varied speaking programme.

Tanja Gauss kicked off with her CC2 (organise your speech, with a strong opening and closing and appropriate transitions), “For the love of the rowing”. Life would just not be the same without it. Did you know that a boat can go for R160000? Tanja suggested that you should rather drop yourself than the boat!! She told us that rowers do more before 8am than the rest of us do all day. Rowing requires total dedication because your crew is totally dependent on you and the boat would just go skew without you. Rowing personalities include the arrogance of the cox, whininess, the amnesia of number 3, the one who is late for everything except for lunch, the cheerleader, and the bowman who has the most to say because he’d be the first in a collision. Tanja’s closing words? Real athletes row – the rest play games

Antoinette Baatjies is heading strongly for her Advanced Communicator: silver. Her AC14, from the story telling manual, was entitled “Do you look back?” What would you do if you found money? When Antoinette tried to hand it in, she was told that she should invest it in the evening’s entertainment – all in the interests of the SA economy. The next morning she woke up with an orchestra playing in her head. In the next year she was robbed 5 times, once at knifepoint. By the end of 2006, the Cops at Mt Road were like family! She even had to sign affidavits for affidavits!! Maybe there’s something to be said for karma and payback. But, after all, life happens!! Antoinette suggested that we should try to forget the past and not look back. We have two things to say to Antoinette – we’d love to be in your class! And ... tell us a story

Tom Horne chose to practise his key-note address that he was scheduled to present at a school prize-giving. This most unusual practice session proves that Toastmasters can help you do anything!! Tom’s message was that we all have a gift for a lifetime – time – and he shared some most valuable insight into how can we use it to benefit others and ourselves.Although Glenis Whitehead is already a distinguished Toastmaster, she has decided to start at the very beginning and share her expertise with us by starting her Competent Communicator projects all over again. Thank you Glenis!

Apparently one of the ladies up north has been through the CC programme 9 times and has qualified as a distinguished Toastmaster 3 times – talk about living and breathing Toastmasters.
Glenis delivered her CC1 (begin speaking before an audience and develop existing skills). After 4 daughters, Glenis’s parents decided enough was enough already – but then comforted themselves that this sixth baby would surely be a boy and a buddy for only son, Trevor. John, however, turned out to be Glenis!
Glenis showed us to great effect what to do when the technology lets you down. Take a deep breath and on Macduff! She introduced herself to us by sharing touching stories about her family. Wise words in closing: Friends will get us through, though, and life is great.

Reinhardt Botha delivered his AC1, an educational on how to do visual presentations. A rule of thumb is to think about why we do what we do. An aid must be there to support what we say. It’s not the message itself. Nor can it fix a bad presentation. Two important things are content quality and presentation quality.
Perhaps a PowerPoint presentation is not even necessary. You could use props as well, like Jamie Oliver who used a wheel barrowful of sugar to show how much sugar there is in flavoured milk!
Make sure you’re ready long before you have to do your speech.
Minimalism is the key! If you find it interesting, the chances are that the audience will too.
Important Advice
• Avoid bullets
• And Keep
• the audience from
• reading every
• single world that you
• plan on
• saying people cannot
• read and listen
• at the same
• time.
For more useful stuff, follow the link to Reinhardt’s blog http://rabotha.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/do-your-slides-help/
The Toast of the day – to medical angels – was proposed by Denise Pudney. Speaking from personal experience, she told us of doctors and nurses who would visit long after 10 at night – as if they don’t have a life of their own. We’re inclined to remember them only when we need them!
Evaluations for the evening were carried out by:
Leann Roos with her maiden evaluation. Well done. A most constructive evaluation.
Denise Pudney, one of our more experienced Toastmasters, offered advice in her usual informative way from which we always learn something.

A note for new and prospective Toastmasters. We clap ourselves stukkend in Toastmasters – in between presentations, and until a speaker reaches the lectern and then returns to her chair. Reinhardt showed us how it’s done by sprinting forward to do the General Evaluation.
He suggested that we have the formula right at Algoa and that we learn by smiling

Best Table Topics of the night was awarded to Reinhardt, while the Top Toastie was presented to Antoinette.

P.S. A serious omission from the last edition was a note about Louise Solomons’ General Evaluation. This was Louise’s maiden GE, and, as with all she is involved in, her comment was gently and constructively encouraging.

And finally, a last word on the weatherman and the heat wave...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Words are all I have........... - 27 September

How wonderful it was to be able once again to greet old and new friends: 21 members, 1 truant, and 2 look-sees. We extend a special welcome to Johannes and William. Hope to see you again soon.
Warm congratulations go to Plaxcedes Ndlovu who has reached the milestone
of 5 speeches. We look forward to hearing number six!!
Toastmaster for the evening was VP Membership, Marianah Lourens.
Here’s a thought: Did you know that every time you carry out a role in Toastmasters,
(as Marianah did last night) you can be evaluated and make progress in your
Competent Leader Manual? These evaluations can also help our club achieve a
“Distinguished Club” status – Don’t forget!!
Marianah chose “Talking” as her theme for the evening – after all, we are Toastmasters!
Marianah also asked the role players what qualifications they have, and how these have
prepared them for tonight’s proceedings.
Marianah’s theme reminded me of my mother, who claimed that women have 3000 words that they need to get off their chests every day. I knew that when she started a phone call with those words, that I should just pull up a chair, pour a glass of red wine, and get ready to say “Yes Dear” every five minutes or so for the next hour and a half!

Barry Serfontein, apart from having qualified with a Marketing degree, worked for Watches of Switzerland for several years. This, we decided, made him more than eligible to be a superlative Timekeeper. Um and Ah counter was one of our newest members, Rosemary Sampson.
Grammarian, Louise Erasmus encouraged us to use the language correctly, beautifully, creatively. She challenged us with the Word of the day, PRESUMPTUOUS (the state of assuming things that perhaps you oughtn’t!) which was used by 5 people.

Belita von Steiger (our Table Topics Master) has a myriad letters after her name, including an MBA, but suggested that her best training has been the 55 years that she’s been on earth!
Her topic for the evening was “learning lessons for life”, OR “How would you talk your way out of ... “
Mimi Makapula did a good take on receiving a disastrous piece of news, via her cell phone;
Guest Johannes convincingly talked his way out of the time he asked a chubby friend when her baby was due;
Plaxcedes didn’t have the money to pay the debt. It was in her wallet, really it was...
Alan Hunter suggested that if you bump into your manager when you’ve taken a day’s sick leave, props are essential – like a Dischem packet. Alternatively, attack is the best form of defence: Shouldn’t you be at the office...?

Annette argued that if her non-baby friend insisted on holding her colicky baby while wearing her power suit, she certainly wouldn’t apologise if the lambkin oopsed all over her. After all, she chose to hold the cherub!
Quinton sent an sms to the wrong person, and suggested that the only thing to do was to pretend like it didn’t happen.

Alison Immelman flicked friends and went to the club when she said she wanted to chill at home. Her way out? Pretend you’re having an out of body experience, and you really don’t know them. (My name’s Alison, and I’m an inveterate liar).

William Tapson fell into the full mailbox trap. It wasn’t his fault that he didn’t get the email!

Craig Stephens (welcome back, buddy) didn’t get his Homework signed. It was all his mom’s fault. After she had an unfortunate reaction to the Botox treatment, she couldn’t possibly sign something she couldn’t see. Now there’s an improvement on the “dog ate my homework” line!

Well done, William and Johannes, for taking the plunge!
And, by the way, don’t ever think that Toastmasters doesn’t teach you anything!

What an exciting line up of speakers Tom organised for us, with four of our newer members proving that they were definitely on their way through the CC manual.
Two speakers, Ayanda Ngwabe and Jessamy Kromhout, both broke the ice with their CC1s

Ayanda spoke about his conviction that God is present and alive, and paid tribute to his parents who gave him the gift of a brighter future. If a boy of his background can make it so far, how can there be no God? He used a touching parallel with Martin Luther King’s famous I have a Dream, only Ayanda’s dream is that we can build a beautiful future for all South Africans.

Jessamy coined the word “Mundanity”, but, unusually, allied it with Magic. Her belief? That there really is magic in the most routine of tasks. She told us that she had had some of the best teachers in the world: she was taught to think by her father (the greatest teacher ever in Jessamy’s view), while her mother taught her to love, and led by example.

We were delighted that Deborah Stephenson honoured us with her long-awaited CC2. She used 25 years of fly fishing as a metaphor for life. Lessons she has learnt include patience, gratitude, appreciating beauty in nature and especially how to relate to people – not to mention “Mrs Simpson at the evening rise”.

Liandra Schoultz (also doing her CC2) entertained us with tales of hysterical travels through Brazil. She entitled her speech Garota de Ipenema (or, the girl from Ipenema). Her experiences included dodgy taxi drivers, playing Survivor in the Amazon with piranhas staring at her from her plate, and egg sandwiches for Christmas dinner

Going from the sublime to the truly awe-inspiring, Nicholas Mitchell undertook his AC 26!! This project entailed delivering the key note address to a group of students: Life is like a Box of Chocolates. Because (something all men should know) what interests women? Chocolate!! Nicholas used chocolate to illustrate a series of valuable life lessons, including that life is a gift, that appearances can be deceiving, and that we should do everything in moderation – even if we really want to gobble the box all on our own.
Nicholas rounded off his speech with a nod to John Donne. Don’t be an island, because life is best shared – and proved this by showering the house with the real McCoy.

The Toast of the day was offered by Liandra Schoultz. Furthering her theme of travel she toasted to safe travel – most appropriate when you consider the state of South Africa’s roads

Evaluators for the evening included Mimi Makapula who has a degree in motherhood with 2 teenage distinctions. She says she can’t wait to get her life back!Also up were Colleen Love (a lady who wears many hats), Alison Immelman, whose years of study have qualified her for absolutely nothing (which is why she’s a teacher, because those who can do...), Tom Horne whose forty-one years of Toastmastering (did he start when he was 12?) have made him ready for anything – but especially gentle, positive feedback, and Annette Lovemore, an advanced Toastmaster (Bronze) herself.
The Top Toastie award was made to Ayanda for his exceptional effort with his icebreaker, and sharing with us a message from the heart, proving that dreams really do come true. The best Table Topic was presented by Alan Hunter.

In closing :