Monday, July 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions?

30 July 2012
Yes, I know it's nearly August, but since Toastmasters is an international organization with its headquarters in the United States, we are obliged to start our year in July. That said, it is time for all members to have a look at their goals - both with regard to the educational track and to the leadership track.  If you are not sure what this means, do take some time to speak to the VPEd, Alison Immelman or to any of the other members of your Exec.  You will also be receiving an email from her which will help you to focus you on those goals.

   Some bits of news that will be of interest to members :
  • We welcomed Tom Horne back after he had spent some time in hospital. He gave us quite a scare, but bounced straight back to the meeting out of his hospital bed.  May you continue to be the blessing to our club that you are, Tom.
  • We want to wish Quinton well as he goes off to get married in August - and then to a magical honeymoon , in Russia, no less! ( At least it is summer there.)
  • Club Officer Training took place on Saturday, 28 July at VP Grey and was attended by 27 executive members from most of the clubs in Area E1. Grateful thanks to Glenis, Marlene, Nicholas, Yvonne and Megan  who undertook the training.  Attendance at this training also ensures us of Club points in the Distinguished Club Programme.
Our last meeting was varied and interesting - as always.

After a fascinating stint of Table Topics during  which time we were asked to explore the fascinating world of phobias - including the fear of washing, ghosts and even of food! - we went on to a range of prepared speeches from both the Competent Communicator and the Advanced manuals.

Anton Barkhuizen started off with his CC2 (Organize your Speech). We learned about Your Secret Weapon, our unique style of communicating with others : visual,aural,tactile.

Then, Trevor Wells had us rolling as he regaled us with his tale of a body surfing experience gone wrong with the Washing Machine(CC4 Ho to say it).

In her first advanced speech from the Public Relations manual, Louise Erasmus sold us all over on the benefits of Toastmasters with her speech entitled So, You want to be a Public Speaker? 

Finally, Nicholas Mitchell demonstrated once again how he has competed and won at national level with his AC27 speech from the Professional Speaker manual, Why Four? in which he expounded on the joys of having a large family

The level of humour evident in some of these speeches serves as a reminder that our annual Humorous Speech Contest is coming up very shortly, as is the Impromptu Speech Contest. Both of these contests are in preparation for the National Contest which will take place at MiniCon at Kirstenbosch Gardens on 13 October.  We are hoping to take a really representative group from Area E1 to support our competitors.  If you are keen, speak to an Exec member, or visit the District 74 website at for details. The sooner you book, the cheaper the rates - and flights!

It is my sincere attempt to make this blog an interactive site for Algoa members - and for visitors.  Last time I asked members to give others tips on how they get to finding a topic to speak on. I think there were some gremlins at work then, so I am extending the same invitation to you this week.  Just click on the Post a Comment link and then let's see what happens.

Until next time.

Ricky Woods

Saturday, July 14, 2012

May I Propose...............? 10 July 2012

There is a saying about death and taxes – they are the only certainties we have in life. I would like to suggest that the inexorable passing of time is also inevitable. It feels as if it was just a month or so ago that we saw Colleen Love being installed as Club President – and had Annette Lovemore regale us with her humorous first-hand accounts of life in Parliament. Then, we blink our eyes and another Toastmasters year is behind us!
We enjoyed a wonderful Induction Dinner on 20 June at the PE Women’s Club in Summerstrand. Good food and good company in very pleasant surroundings culminated in a presentation by Tim Marshall on Generation Y. It was most entertaining and for those of us involved with teenagers in any way, very insightful.
Denise Pudney was installed as the Club President for 2012/2013 and we are certainly in for a great year with her and our new Executive at our helm. Congratulations to those hard-working members who won our annual awards.
Algoa continues to take the lead in Toastmasters: Did you know? • Having gained 9 of the possible 10 points in the Distinguished Club Programme, Algoa has once again achieved Select Presidents Distinguished Club status. By meeting the needs of our members, we have managed to achieve those goals too. • According to our new VP Membership, Antoinette Baatjes Algoa is officially the largest club in District 74, with a start-up for this Toastmasters year of 40 members! At least another two visitors have indicated their intention to sign up, and we had no fewer than four very keen visitors at the first meeting of the new year. • Our Immediate Past President, Colleen Love, has taken office as the new Area Governor for Area A1 in Division E • Our past Area Governor, Glenis Whitehead, is the new Division Governor for Division E (the Eastern Cape). Well done, Algoa! May the year ahead be filled with many exciting and fulfilling challenges. The first meeting of the year, despite being in the school holidays and so having quite a number of folk away, was as always a learning experience. Michael Warren most ably performed the role of Toastmaster and challenged all participants to think about how they would ideally like to be known – instead of the usual introductions which relate us to what we do. There were some delightful responses ranging from ‘I do my best’ to ‘I do what I like’ to ‘I am fantastic!’ Our Sergeant-at-Arms, Angie Kivido also had us thinking outside the box as she encouraged us to put ourselves into the minds and lives of others. It was a challenge which we all enjoyed meeting. Mimi Makupula gave an enthusiastic account of a day in the life of a car guard and Antoinette Baatjes revealed some of the mysteries of the day to day experiences of Bra Sipho, the taxi driver, but Jessame Kromhout won the day with her convincing portrayal of the oh, so wild Mr Oscar Wilde! We were then treated to three very different prepared speeches: Deon Basson started off by explaining the mysteries and challenges that surrounded naval navigation with his CC2 speech (Organize Your Speech) entitled Longitude. Then DTM Glenis Whitehead showed us the ropes of using body language while entertaining us with her amusing and embarrassing accounts in her second round CC5 (Your Body Speaks) speech entitled My Sister and other Embarrassments. Finally, Mimi Makupula pulled out all the stops in her AC4 speech (The Dramatic Speech) entitled Toe to Toe from the Advanced Manual: The Entertaining Speaker. Drawing on her childhood of being raised by a father who was passionate about dogs and boxing, Mimi gave a passionate and hilarious account of two encounters she had with ferocious dogs. She is definitely someone to have in your corner when you face opposition. A toast was proposed by Trevor Wells ‘To Life’; Mark Barry gave the General Evaluation and Michael Warren won the Top Toastie award. So, another successful Toastmasters meeting was concluded. It is my hope that these fortnightly blogs will become more than just a replay of the meetings. Instead, it would be good to make them a forum for our members to ask and answer questions; make suggestions and offer advice. Remember, we learn by doing and it would be good if we could share our experiences so that other members can learn too. Let me start by asking members to offer suggestions on how they go about deciding on a speech once they have read the objectives. I know that I have often sat for months before the inspiration has come. It can be really frustrating. Can anyone help? If you have suggestions, questions or comments, just Reply to All. Remember the next meeting is 24 July. If you want to be on the programme, speak to Alison. You can get hold of her on 0845150110 or Until next time. Ricky Woods