Thursday, February 23, 2012

Valentine Edition - 14 February

We few – we very few – met on this auspicious romantic occasion: only 13 members, and 7 guests. Methinks the love bug must be biting. A most interesting guest was Chris Callahan, current president of the Pretoria East Toastmasters, and erstwhile governor in the Western Cape. He tells us that he went to his 1st Toastmasters meeting when he was just 16, and he has been friends with Tom Horne for some 40 years.
On a social note, we wish member Denise and old friend Linsley Pudney a very happy wedding anniversary.
Business Matters
We have a winner in our Blog Header competition!! Leann Roos has designed the new blog header with a little help from President Colleen Love and her inspirational motto “The Courage to Conquer”. All will be revealed at the next meeting.
Don’t forget to enter the club Speech competition which is scheduled for 28 February. There are 3 sections: The Table topics and evaluation contests which anyone can enter, and the English speech competition for which you need to have reached your CC6. Let Colleen Love or Quinton Jacobs know if you have the courage to conquer!
Tom Horne will be compiling the programme in March as Quinton will be away. Please contact Tom (082 601 9131 or for any of your speaking needs.
Toastmaster for the evening was Quinton Jacobs who, naturally, (being a man in love) chose Love and Romance as his theme. He told us that the first celebration of romantic love was recorded in the 5th century. The original St Valentine was beheaded by the Roman Emperor, Claudius the Goth in 269AD. His head was buried in Winchester and venerated by Christian pilgrims for centuries. His saint day was deleted from the Christian calendar in 1969 – but the worship goes on!!
Timekeeper Plaxcedes put us through our punctual paces (it seems that it’s been a long holiday, and many of us have forgotten the value of watching the clock...), and practised what she preached by speaking for exactly a minute on her table topic (as did Um and ah counter Rhona Murchie).
Rhona complimented scheduled speakers on the obvious level of preparation as no verbal crutches were recognised during the prepared speeches, although the rest of us amassed some 20 hesitations between us.
Grammarian Louise Erasmus offered “ubiquitous” (omnipresent, everywhere – as Valentine
Cards are in February) as the Word of the Day, which was used by 7 members.
Some particularly picturesque language included Louise’s describing herself as a
“pedantic dinosaur”, the notion of an “aggressive volcano”, and a child saying to
Antoinette Baatjes that, without her, her life was like a “broken pencil”.
Table Topics
Colleen Love chose a most appropriate theme for the Table Topics session – heart words. Most people participated – always a mark of a good topic area. And here are some of the suggestions that speakers raised:Girls are more easily alone on Valentine’s Day because they do not need to radio the control tower for permission to land; the weirdest Valentine caper must be bringing your mother along on a Valentine date; heart break was being told by a teacher that you’ll never amount to anything; spending Friday afternoon in detention learning “I wandered lonely as a cloud...” off by heart; and how heart-warming it is to spend in the company of friends at Algoa and to “share the love”.

Speakers - Our first speaker for the evening was our guest, Chris Callaghan, who presented his CC7 (research your topic) – again. In his speech, “Dream Mountain”, he shared his geological passion about a fascinating mountain in the rift valley section of Central Africa – which he plans to climb sooner, rather than later. Mimi Makapula delivered her 2nd Speech (AC) from the Entertaining Speaker manual, in which she had to choose a story from outside of her personal experience. In her speech, “Waiting in anticipation”, she taught us
lessons for life courtesy of an eccentric principal at Kwa Magxaki High – such as don’t drop your books, else you will drop the rest – and babies will follow!
Antoinette Baatjes, also working on her AC programme, chose a project from the Entertaining Speaker, which illustrated speaking after dinner on a theme, extemporaneously. In her speech “Call me Zuma, Jacob Zuma”, she told us that she can outdo the Pres any day. After all, Zuma only has 20 children while Antoinette has 143 – who find it “Fantastic to be a Lawsonion” – real goosebump stuff. She ended her speech by suggesting that February should be the month of spreading the love – to your teacher!
Continuing to grow the love, Roger Ah Kun offered the Toast of the Day to “all our loved ones” – a Happy Valentine’s Day indeed.
More useful advice from some of our senior members:
Start with control – quite a marked silence helps to focus your and the audience’s attention. Don’t thank the floor at the end of a speech – after all, it is a privilege to listen to our members taking up the challenge to conquer.
The mark of an easy speaker who enjoys speaking is when the audience is riveted from the moment you take the floor, but the downside is the tendency not to plan . Remember the page and a ½ guideline when you write your speech. Work out what you can leave out and still make the speech enthralling and entertaining and avoid going way over time. Remember to link your speech throughout to your theme/title/topic. Offer the audience crutches to work through your speech.
General Evaluation
A maiden general evaluation was delivered by Angie Kivido – well done on being capable, prepared and warmly appreciative of our members.
Chris Callahan stated that we are one of the better clubs that he has seen (even among the 9 that he visited often in while Area Governor in Cape Town – eat your heart out Mother City!)
The award for the Best Table Topic was shared by Rhona Murchie and Belita von Steiger.
The Top Toastie was our always entertaining speaker, Antoinette Baatjies.

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