Club Officers will be asking themselves this question again before the second round of Club Officer Training (COTii) on the 26th January (in South Africa):  what is the return on my investment of a Saturday morning?

Firstly, from a Toastmasters point of view:

  • -An exchange of ideas with other Club Officers
  • -A chance to learn something or refresh your memory about aspects of your role in the Club
  • -An opportunity to pass on some knowledge that you have gained to other Officers who are newer in the role
  • -Update yourself about District 74 and Toastmasters International
  • -Renewing contacts and friendships

Secondly and most importantly, COT is another opportunity for personal growth and a honing of the skills you need and use in your working life. It is about managing the job which embraces the following factors:

  • -Planning - not just for the next meeting but for the rest of this year and for the next as well.  Surely you want to leave a firm foundation for your successor.
  • -Organising - after the plan has been set you organise for action, not just yourself but the other members who will be helping or achieving.
  • -Motivating - the members of your team, committee and other members.
  • -Measuring - during the planning and organising phases you set objectives which are achievable but with a stretch factor, measurable and with a time-line.
  • -Educating - every manager (and yes, you are the manager) should ensure that the team is trained, updated and communicated with.
  • -Developing - the best managers ensure that they develop their people, and naturally their successors, because the reward is not just the satisfaction of a job well done but also the satisfaction in the advancement of those around you.

So, the return on the investment of your 5 hours for COT is more than you will get at current interest rates.

(As the VPE of Transformers Toastmasters Club I suggest that this training is excellent for anyone considering becoming a Club Officer in July next year. It will provide you with a completely new perspective of the organisation of which you are a member. ~ John-Peter Gernaat)

Transformers Survivor 2010

JP, winner of the 1st round
Lerato makes her opening remarks

On Monday the 22nd of November, Transformers members and guests took to the stage in the Transformers Survivor 2010 Contest.

Tea-light candles and an array of colourful headdresses filled the room as participants tried their best to outdo each other in what has become an annual event on the club's calendar. Making his appearance again this year was Santa, in all his Lindt chocolate glory, and he took his position again at the front of the stage.

Another returning item was the survivor pot, whose depths held the answers to who was still in the contest.

Keith opens with fire

Ruth takes a gamble

10 contestants entered their names into the pot for 2010, and once the formalities of the contest forms and rules had been explained it was all systems go.

The participants for Transformers Survivor 2010 were:
Keith Bowen, Nontu Made, Jim Powell, Glenice Ebedes, John-Peter Gernaat (aka Laughter Dude), Ruth Taylor, Lerato Molefe, Mary Byrne, Jacques Velleman and Lorna Ellis.

1st time Survivor Lorna Ellis
1st time Survivor Jacques Velleman

The first round required the use of visual aids. Each participant received their own impromptu powerpoint presentation with a refreshing new set of images, many of which pertained to events that had occurred in the past year. Famous South Africans such as Siphiwe Tshabalala and Leon Schuster filled the screen, whilst new quotes and figures kept every speaker guessing.

One after the other speakers lined up to take a shot at weaving a story around the strange, funny, and often ridiculous slides, and after the dust had settled, 6 contestants survived:
Keith, Jim, Glenice, Mary, John-Peter and Jacques.

Jim Powell explaining that sound
Glenice through to round 2

A recess and snacks filled the gap before the 2nd round of vocal variety and body language took place.
This time, contestants were asked to choose between two bowls, each containing a sound effect. The choice, was either "Animal", or "Mineral" and the subsequent sound effects depicted either the sound of an unknown creature, or that of an unknown non-creature.

Contestants were then asked to explain what was making the sound, and why it was important to the sustainability of the earth.
As the sounds played, contestants launched into their illustrations, describing in detail everything from ancient creatures to incredible science experiments, all with a view to saving the earth.

Everyone gave outstanding performances, and when the sounds had finally died down, and the judges had had their say, 3 survivors made it into the final:
Jacques, Mary and John-Peter.

The final round was a combination of all that had come before, but this time included props.
The 3 finalists were asked to present to the world their incredible discovery of an ancient scripture found on the island, using a visual aid depicting the location, a supporting object they had found nearby, and the scripture itself.

Jacques' lost scroll discovery
Mary explains the missing diary

Jacques found an ancient scroll lying on a hidden beach. A pine cone lying nearby provided a clue to the original writer's intentions.

John-Peter described the Mesopotamian inscription he had found in a cave, with a strange feather lying nearby.

Finally Mary took up the tail with her story of the lost diary entry and the strange rock found alongside it in the forest.

By audience vote, the results were:
3rd Place - John-Peter Gernaat
2nd Place - Jacques Velleman
1st Place - Mary Byrne

Mary Byrne - Winner of
Transformers Survivor 2010!
Ruth recieves her triple crown!

John-Peter won the prize for winner of the first round - with a score that was "off-the-charts" as one rules official put it!

Two raffles were also held, with Jenny Shiers and Ruth Taylor taking the spoils.
Ruth was then awarded her Triple Crown certificate, an outstanding achievement for the year!
The gavel was then handed back to the President to wrap-up the evening.
A big thanks goes to all those who assisted on the night, as well as to all the participants.
It certainly proved that impromptu speaking is a skill that can be learned, and to watch some our members try their hand in this context was rewarding for all.

Transformers holds it's final meeting on the 13th of December and all guests and visitors are welcome.
If we don't see you then, have a wonderful Christmas, and fantastic new year.

Important events

Here are some important dates to take note of:

22nd November 2010 is the annual Transformers Survivor Contest. This contest is open to anyone who thinks they can give a good impromptu speech. The contest takes place on a tropical island so come dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, bandanna, hat and hula skirt. To confirm attendance as a contestant or audience email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

16th December 2010 is our clubs member end of year function. It will be a breakfast. Please inform a committee member that you plan to attend.

29th January 2011 is Club Officer Training. If you’d like to know more about how Toastmasters works put you name down for COT, even if you are not yet ready to become a club officer next year. This is an interesting and motivational morning.

28th February 2011 is our club International Prepared English Speech Contest, Impromptu Speech Contest and Evaluation Speech Contest. Now is the time to begin preparing your Prepared Speech if you plan to enter. Speak with the Vice-president Education and your mentor and begin work. Look where it took Ryan Ebedes last year. You too can visit the US courtesy of Toastmasters International.


What is Speechcraft? Am I correct – that is what I heard you ask?

Speechcraft is a training programme offered by Toastmasters to non-Toastmasters. It is a programme that covers the basic skills of public speaking. Like the Toastmasters programme, it teaches through practice. The Speechcraft programme may include four, six or eight sessions.

For the first time District 74 has a dedicated Speechcraft Coordinator this year in the person of Robin Prowse. Transformers indicated to Robin that we were eager to present a Speechcraft programme and Robin introduced us to Diesel-Electric. Diesel-Electric have been running Speechcraft programmes for their staff for several years and their Sale Director, Fred Bengsch, reports a discernible difference between staff who have completed the programme and those who have not.

On 4th October John-Peter Gernaat, Jim Powell, Keith Bowen and Glenice Ebedes met Robin at Diesel-Electric in Wynberg and were introduced to seven participants in the programme. During the next six weeks we coached these ‘Speechcrafters’ through impromptu speaking, the basic requirements of prepared speeches and the necessary listening skills to evaluate a prepared speech. The Speechcrafters introduced themselves in a prepared Icebreaker speech, then learned to overcome nervousness by speaking earnestly about a subject they were knowledgeable about. Thereafter the lessons in public speaking began as the Speechcrafters had to organize their speeches with an opening, a body consisting of sequential points and a conclusion, which rounds off the speech. The penultimate speech enabled the Speechcrafters to practise gestures, body movement and body language as an integral part of a speech. For the final speech they combined everything they had learned into a speech in which they experimented with vocal variety – voice volume, pitch, quality and speaking rate as well as the use of pause.

As Monday followed Monday we as Toastmasters, with Mary Byrne and Ryan Ebedes joining in a few of the sessions, witnessed the Speechcrafters progressing in their speaking abilities. At the conclusion of the programme our Division H Governor, Jenny Shiers, Fred Bengsch of Diesel-Electric and Robin Prowse spoke to the Speechcrafters about the value of the skill of public speaking. These motivational speeches encouraged not only the Speechcrafters but also the Toastmasters in their commitment to this worthy craft.

Speechcraft is a programme through which Toastmasters clubs may charge a company a fee, which is also to the benefit of the club. This enables clubs to purchase a library of Toastmasters manuals, for example.

For Transformers Toastmasters Club this Speechcraft programme is intended as the first in an ongoing effort to spread the skills of public speaking, create awareness of Toastmasters and boost our coffers to the benefit of our club and its members.