Annual International Prepared Speech Contest

Once a year our speakers take special care to prepare their best possible speech and participate in the Club International Prepared Speech Contest. Monday, 25th February saw three of our Toastmasters compete for the honour of being Club Champion. Seasoned Toastmasters Mary Byrne and Rod Taylor were joined by Chamu M’Kombe.

Chamu spoke of the ticking time bomb of unemployment in South Africa and cited an example of a company who was taking the initiative of providing a skill that could then be used in an entrepreneurial way to provide a service and up-skill others in the process.

Mary Byrne spoke of the prophesy of the Popes attributed to Saint Malachy, a 12th-century Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland in which Saint Malachy is said to have described the next 111 Popes beginning with Pope Celestine II (1143–1144). Currently retiring Pope Benedict XVI is the 111th Pope. Following this at some unspecified time is the end of the Roman Church and of Rome. This prophesy has not had the same acclaim as the end of the Mayan Calendar but is as apocalyptic and topical.

Rod Taylor spoke of achieving the impossible. He started by saying that even the proponents of Positive Thinking are turning to caution to say that we must guard against the fanciful in our positive thinking. From his personal experience when he saved himself and a female friend from certain death by an out-of-control oncoming car by “transporting” himself and the friend over a 2½ metre high, impenetrable hawthorn hedge he explained that the improbable or fanciful is possible.

The International Prepared Speech Contest was followed by the Evaluation Contest in which four contestants prepared an evaluation of a speech given by visiting Toastmasters (from Morningside Toastmasters Club, Keelan Naidoo. Keelan gave a speech in honour and praise of Lucas Radebe, soccer hero. We learned everything there is to know about this “chief” in 6 minutes. Four well thought through evaluations were delivered by Rod Taylor, Mary Byrne, Margie Skeen and Sriram Murali.

The second place winners of the evening were:

  • International Prepared Speech Contest: Chamu M’Kombe
  • Evaluation Contest: Margie Skeen

And the winners were:

  • International Prepared Speech Contest: Rod Taylor
  • Evaluation Contest: Mary Byrne

The winners go forward to compete in the Area H3 Contest.

Transformers is a-rockin' and a-rollin'

Transformers speakers cannot be stopped.

Winning the Humorous Speaking Contest was just an apatite-wetter for Matthys Meintjes. He went on to win against the champions of four other Area to be crowned Division H Champion of Humorous Speaking 2012 (this is an unofficial title, but he is a champion nonetheless) on Wednesday evening, 10 October 2012. On Saturday he will face up against the champions of the other Divisions in District 74 to determine who is the best humorous speaker is District 2012.

Veteran Toastmaster, Rod Taylor DTM (several times over), continued the winning streak for Transformers. Impromptu speaking is often a matter of luck: the speaker is given a word or phrase as he or she arrives at the lectern and has less than 30 seconds to begin speaking. If the word or phrase triggers a thought and the bones of speech presents itself in the speaker’s mind, he or she must develop this thought into a speech with opening, body and conclusion as they launch into what he or she hopes is a powerful opening. Being a seasoned veteran, Rod had no difficulty winning the Impromptu Speaking Contest at club level. He then wiped the floor at the Area Contest and on Wednesday showed his mettle when he came first in the Division H Impromptu Speaking Contest. He too is on his way to Cape Town and the annual Toastmasters Mini-Conference to square up against the best from the other Divisions in District 74.

The club is firmly behind our champions and we expect to do well in the District Contests.

Transformers Wipes the Floor at Area Contest

Yes, literally …… actually figuratively! Transformers Toastmasters come first in both the Humorous Speaking Contest and the Impromptu Speaking Contest in Area H4 this evening.

Congratulations to Matthys Meintjes for winning the Humorous Speaking Contest and to Rod Taylor for winning the Impromptu Speaking Contest. Both these winners will compete in the Division H Contests on 10 October. The winners from those Contests compete at the Toastmasters Conference in Cape Town on 13 October against the best in Southern Africa.

It was a well organised contest this evening at Da Vincenzo’s Restaurant in Sunninghill. Wayne Perry as Contest Chairman fulfilled the role given him by Area H4 Governor, René Schoeman, and figuratively took the plane aloft and landed it again safely. Wayne always has a host of dry, oh, so dry, jokes up his sleeve and no one is spared. René and her team ensured that the evening flowed like clockwork, trays of snacks arriving at the moment the recess was called. We feasted on pizza slices and delicious salad. The raffle this evening, sponsored by Bytes SI, had delved deep into their stock of good wines and chocolates and four very fortunate people went home with prizes worth the R20 for 3 tickets price and much more.

The four Toastmasters Clubs in Area H4 had a contestant representing them in each of the two contests. The humorous prepared speeches were very entertaining and had been well prepared. Matthys’ winning speech told the tale of his humbling experience of leaning to fly-fish for trout. He did not bring home the fish for dinner as he had boasted he would, but he learned not to underestimate that which at first sight seems inferior to yourself. Second was Keelan Naidoo of Morningside Toastmasters Club with his love disappointment in the Saga of gym-buddy. Know that a girl who wants a boy as gym-buddy has a boyfriend lurking in the background. Barbara Poultney of Sandton Toastmasters Club warned us to be prepared when facing nature because she can be treacherous and a pleasant scramble up a mountain can turn into a race for life. Jacques Beard of Business Engage Toastmasters Club engaged us with the humour of a family of four sons.


The impromptu speeches on the word “spring” were seasonal and uplifting. Rod, in his winning speech challenged every able-bodied person to use their given talents and dig as deep as the Paralympics competitors have done and we would all achieve gold in our own right.

Chocolates in hand for everyone who had helped in one role or another, we went home well satisfied on a job well done.

Catching trout for dinner

Catching trout for dinner; Danes taking Leaf off their Census and the happy pastures of lost socks – Transformers has a great Humorous Speaking Contest and Impromptu Speaking Contest

Transformers Toastmasters Club had a full house for the annual Humorous Speaking Contest combined for the first time with the Impromptu Speaking Contest on Monday, 27 August. Three contestants braved the judge’s ballot sheets in each contest.

First up in the Humorous Speaking Contest was Rod Taylor or Cnut the Great Dame with an ingenious minister of finance, Leaf. Leaf found a way to “pluck the goose without killing it” and taxed both Saxon and Viking alike. Based on a national census Leaf knew everything about everyone, and when a Viking acquired goods though plunder he was charged a Viking Acquisition Tax. VAT has changed little in a 1000 years. Rod had many a great pun and twisted every bit of history until Leaf had to leave Britain and return to Denmark to marry his brother’s wife and so Cnut took Leaf off his census and headed into obscurity.

Next up Matthys Meintjes told us what he had learned about fish from a three day holiday to Dullstroom’s trout mecca. Promising his wife that she would not have to worry about supper, he set off to make a fool of himself and was instructed to go practice casting on the lawn in front of his bungalow for a day. No fish! Next he learned to think like a fish and headed off to buy the perfect lure. No fish! Finally he learned that fish are smarter than to be caught by a lure, stealth and silence are also a prerequisite. No fish! Three days and no fish for supper. The real lesson of the holiday was to always take the wife along or go without supper: she prepared steak, chicken and chops; no fish!

Last up in this contest was Mary Byrne with the tale of where all the lost items in a house go. Yes, they are conscious and resent the arbitrary uses that humans find for them and the neglect they suffer, so they contrive to find their way to sock nirvana, Tupperware meadows and teaspoon heaven. Paperclips evolve to coat hangers and these to shopping trolleys; metal has become plastic and with boomed suburbs shopping trolleys struggle to escape to trolley paradise and end up in ditches of desperation instead.

The result of this contest was fish one, socks two and Cnut took Leaf of his census; Matthys Meintjes winning first prize and going through to the Area Contest with Mary Byrne winning second prize.

The Impromptu Speaking Contest followed a hearty buffet of snacks. The word that was given to the contestants with which to make a 1 to 2 minute speech was “filter”. First up, Mary Byrne punted the super-oxygenated water for which her husband is designing the plant with suitable filtration, that provides oxygen to the body and enhances performance. Next up, Rod Taylor regaled us with the many filters he had met and installed in his career in the metallurgical field. Final contestant Margie Skeen recounted the malfunction of the filter between brain and mouth that lands people in hot water.

The Impromptu Contest was won by Rod Taylor with Mary Byrne taking second place.

A great evening enjoyed by guests, visiting Toastmasters and members alike. We thank our visitors who assisted by taking roles as judges and Sergeant-at-Arms.

Our next meeting will be a regular club meeting and takes place on Monday, 10 September. Guests are always welcome to come along and find out more about Toastmasters and the programme we offer.