Monday, April 2, 2012

The Success Edition

We had a good turnout with 25 at the meeting, including 3 guests. How lovely it was to see some old friends that we’ve missed recently. We were delighted to welcome Dxy Madikizela as a member at long last. Really, she is part of the family already.
Happy birthday to the following members who will be having birthdays in the next two weeks: Belita von Steiger, Ricky Woods, Johann Harmse, Nicholas Mitchell, Rhona Murchie, Liandra Scoltz and Michael Warren.
Get ready to don your pirate gear. It’s high time we retrieved Andrew the Travelling Gavel. Keep your ears to the grapevine so that we have a good sprinkling of members when we visit Cheshire homes (soon) to claim him back. Let’s take up the challenge!
Divisional Speech Contest
This is scheduled for Saturday 14 April and our hat trick winner – Nicholas Mitchell – will be competing for Area E2. Let’s be there to egg him on so that he goes all the way to Hillcrest.
(BTW - Congrats must go to Gareth Woods (Ricky Woods’ son) who won the English prepared and impromptu sections at club level – lends truth to the apple and tree!)

We also congratulate the winner of the Masthead competition, Leann Roos (did you notice her winning entry at the top?) Remember to look for it on the website – just Google Algoa Toastmasters.
Toastmaster for the evening was the one and only Antoinette Baatjies – who will ever forget her speech entitled “Scotty, beam me up – I need some sacks...”? We always learn from and are entertained by this committed Toastmaster. Her theme for the evening was “Success”, and her advice? Find something you are passionate about. Then you will never have to work a single day in your lives because you are enjoying yourself so much.
Timekeeper for the evening was Angie Kivido, and the Grammarian was Alison Immelman. The Word of the Day was exuberant (adjective; full of enthusiasm; abundant; lavish or elaborate, often to the point of being excessive), which at least 13 members used, Marianah thrice and Marlene quadruply (the over-achiever!) Some verbal gems included Michael’s “Fellow refugees from 1987”, and Mark’s suggestion that “women are like spaghetti”, as well as Jessamy’s plea for a fluidity of identity.
Only Michael Warren can make the introduction to the duties of the um and ah counter into a mini humorous speech! He recently heard a speech in which the speaker had used “like” 43 times! We have been warned that eagle ears is on the alert!
Table Topics Table Topics Master for the evening was Marlene Vosloo, a previous winner of the national impromptu speech competition. Her theme was “a penny of your thoughts”. She offered us a selection of coins (and yes they had been scrubbed). The task for each speaker was to speak about the date on the coin, and what it signified to us. Everyone spoke, and the shortest speech was 56 seconds, true mark of an excellent theme.
Prep speeches – as always we were treated to a diverse selection of topics
Deborah Stevenson – CC3 (Get to the point) showed us how “Blood is thicker than water”. Only 1% of adult SAs donate blood. She told us about the time 3000 Students came together and formed a blood drop – a strong message to donate. It takes just 13 minutes every 56 days. One unit can save three lives. Just one thing – no sex, drugs or rock n roll lifestyles, please
Jessamy Kromhout – CC4 (How you say it) shared with us a “Redefinition of women”, which suggested that a feminist doesn’t have to be a man-hating, bra burning militant! Jessamy expressed a desire for men and women to be who they want to be, with a “jumbled, messy sense of self“.
Belita von Steiger – CC7 (Research your Topic) asked us if we are “Active or passive?” – with regard to our financial fitness. She warned us that only 3 – 5% of SAs will retire financially independently (that’s one in the room). If we want to be that one, all we need to do is earn an income, spend less than we earn and invest wisely. There are three kinds of investors: the Marathoners who invest in the stock market; Middle distance runners who prefer unit trusts; and the “Flicking thro the sports channel” kind of investor who will stick to exchange traded funds. Let’s get physical!
Rhona Murchie – CC8 (Get comfortable with visual aids) told us “How to be a hummingbird” – which means putting out a fire one water drop at a time. Rhona conveyed her passion for the Kenyan tree lady Professor Wangari Maathai, who was proof that even if we start small, we can end big
Reinhardt Botha – AC2 – (Resources for Entertainment) who “Really” entertained us with some classic urban legends. And, although he kept us on the edge of our seats until the denouement, he advised us, when people tell us something as a fact, to say “really?” Good story-telling advice can be summarised with the following mnemonic: aim for SUCCES(S) by telling Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotion-grabbing Stories.
The toast of the day was elegantly offered by Nicholas who embraced the theme of the day eloquently
Evaluations As always our senior members gave us invaluable advice, and reminded us that we grow through doing and through receiving feedback. Great tips included that we should aim to sound comfortable and not too rehearsed and that we should make and hold eye-contact. Be aware of the more unusual verbal crutches (basically anything you use repetitively) – such as “I guess”. Avoid terminology – or define the term – so that the whole audience can be with you. When using visual aids, consider visibility; aim to use pause – especially in story-telling. Be careful of nervous gestures and make sure to end on a bang – like a good Guy Fawkes Day; and finally that understatement can be funny too.
General evaluator for the evening was Area Governor Glenis Whitehead who was as warmly encouraging as always – we are so lucky to have such a knowledgeable, generous, distinguished Toastmaster among us.
Table Topics winner was Louise Erasmus – at last we have a Table Topics queen!
Top Toastie was Deborah Stevenson who epitomises our club motto – “The Courage to Conquer”.
All in all, it was an “exuberant” evening!
They say that those who keep an entirely tidy desk will never know the joy of finding something they thought was lost forever – which brings me to the following photo – of the two grand old men of our club – Geoff Coomb-Davis and Tom Horne. We take our hats off to you (you can keep yours on – with apologies to Joe Cocker)