A contest of wits

Transformers Toastmasters Contest
Robin & the contestants!
This past week saw 5 contestants all vying for the top spot in this year's Transformers Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. And slug it out they did!

First up was Ruth with her speech entitled TV or not TV. Her speech was based on the CC4 module, "How to say it", and she cleverly used the analogy of watching TV and the particular characters that we and our kids are exposed to on a daily basis. It was a very well chosen topic, and turned out to be the perfect opener for the contest.

Next up was Mary, with her speech entitled, "What's in a name?" She built her story around her name, where it came from and the misunderstanding it created in various parts of the world. As always she put it beautifully together for all of us to enjoy, turning it into a star performance!

Rod was not to be outdone. His speech, entitled "The best medicine", revolved around the use of Laughter as a form of medicine, and the various types there are. He ran through various examples, and invited the audience to participate. At some points it was not clear whether we were laughing for him, with him, or at him...which is exactly why it worked for a humorous speech!

Glenice astounded her audience, before she even took the stage! Her speech title was a mouthful, and contest chair Robin Prowse wasn't going to repeat it. The title? "The subtle complexities of the birding fraternity, during moments of sheer excitement, whilst all around them lack the immediate desire, for further investigation". And who are we to argue! But then she explained...having a bird-crazy family does have it's up and downs - usually more downs than ups, but as it turns out, she's quite enjoying this new pursuit!
Jerry wove his speech around "Procreation or Survival". It was classic Jerry, all humour, all twists and turns, and all very subtly executed. A great performance from one of Transformers all-time humourists!

All in all it was a great evening, and a big thank you goes to all our volunteers who made the night a success.

And the results?

3rd Place: Jerry Goodman
2nd Place: Glenice Ebedes
1st Place: Mary Byrne

Join us on the 14th for our next meeting.
Guests and visitors welcome!

Women of Worth - WOW

The theme for the meeting held on Women’s Day was not only most appropriate, but both our Toastmaster for the evening, Cheryl-Lynn (who, by the way was awarded for the best contribution of the evening),
Transformers Toastmasters Survivor Contest
Cheryl-Lynn with her trophy
for best contribution
and our Table Topics Master, Ruth Taylor were both women.

Our toast for the evening, proposed by one of our newly joined members, Solani Bvuma, toasted women as transformers in society.

Transformers Toastmasters Survivor Contest
Solani toasting transformers

Unintentionally the dominance of women prevailed through the official tasks of the evening. Our Wordmaster-Grammarian for the evening selected a word that should have set a record for highest number of uses in an evening – inspire – and then failed to count the uses. Our Listener’s Corners, making its second appearance on the programme, gave second-time guest, Geraldine Buckton, the opportunity to stump those around the table with questions derived from anything said during the evening. Being an auditor she succeeded with a couple of the questions to show that no one had heard particular statements.

Three prepared speeches were presented. Transformers Toastmasters Survivor ContestEle Mandavha presented a speech fulfilling the requirements of the third Competent Communicator project entitled “My conflict as a modern woman”. She highlighted how closely together traditional culture and modern, western culture reside in Africa and the conflict that this can cause when a woman fulfils her role in a society where both cultures collide. The speech earned her best speaker of the evening.

Glenice Ebedes presented a speech to fulfil the requirements of the first project from the Interpersonal Advanced Manual entitled “Reason, season or lifetime”. Glenice demonstrated that while a competent Toastmaster can deliver an excellent speech it is a different kettle of fish to role play a scenario. A role play requires careful selection of props and the incorporation of props into the role play. A role play should be well rehearsed or it becomes an impromptu dialogue that requires the Toastmaster to be very astute in thinking on his (her) feet.

Transformers Toastmasters Survivor Contest
Glenice and Solani role play
at a wedding expo

Rod Taylor in his speech in fulfilment of the fourth project of the Persuasive Speaking Advanced Manual spoke of the glass ceiling encountered by women in most fields of endeavour.

Transformers Toastmasters Survivor Contest
The glass ceiling - Rod Taylor
A few fields are dominated by women but in most women Rod suggested that the glass ceiling is created by the woman herself. She has the possibility to achieve the same as her male counterpart or she should be content at the level she selects.

Our Toastmaster regaled us with wonderful facts and anecdotes about such great South African women as Helen Joseph – anti-apartheid activist, Dr. Rampela Mampela – director of companies and the World Bank and Zola Budd Pieterse – Olympian.

Table topics provided great amusement. Quotes from well known women were given to each speaker who had to tell the audience who had made the quote and the circumstances that has prompted the quote. Not one of the speakers correctly guessed the owner of the quote and resultant stories that ostensibly gave rise to the quote provided many laughs.

Transformers Toastmasters Survivor Contest
Sya about to stumble
with Zola Budd
Guest Sya Ndlovu attributed Joan of Arc’s quote ”I’m not afraid, I was born to do this” to Zola Budd and provided so much humour that it won him best Impromptu speaker. Mary Byrne attributed Dolly Parton’s quote “If you want the rainbow you’ve got to put up with the rain” to July Garland of Wizard of Oz fame. Helen Keller’s quote “One can never consent to creep when one feels the urge to soar” was ascribed to Batwoman by Glenice Ebedes. Mother Theresa’s quote “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I wish he didn’t trust me so much” was hung on Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 6. Solani thought that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, said by Eleanor Roosevelt had come from the lips of Winnie Mandela. Lastly, John-Peter Gernaat thought that the line by Marilyn Monroe: “I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot” was once said by the leggy Twiggy. The audience managed to attribute the last three quotes correctly.

Our next meeting on 24th August is our annual Humorous Speech Contest. All are welcome to a fun-filled evening of certain-to-be entertaining speeches.

Reverse Psychology

The excellent work of the immediate past Vice President Public Relations (VPPR), Ryan Ebedes, was in abundant evidence on Monday, 26th July when 7 guests arrived at the first full-programme meeting of the new Toastmasters year. With our own club membership having been confirmed at 20 at the end of the old year and a good compliment of members present, we had a well attended meeting.

The theme for the evening was reverse psychology – getting someone to choose the reverse of the choice advocated. Toastmaster for the evening, Mary Byrne, provided mind-boggling definitions for this intuitive technique that only received a name in psychology circles in the late 1970’s. She then made it very understandable with a variety of humorous examples including Homer Simpson.

The evening proved very educational for the benefit of our guests with the roles of office-bearers and the evenings procedures clearly explained.

The toast of the evening was given by Rod Taylor who challenged everyone to consider what was cramping their growth and to remove these restrictions. Growth was heartily toasted and looking around the table the potential for growth was tangible.

Adopting her own reverse psychology in the face of growth, Ruth Taylor announced that the word for the evening was “defiant”, which was defiantly used only four times in the course of the evening.

Three prepared speeches were delivered. The first, by Jonathan Turpin, a new member, who delivered the first project on the way to becoming a competent communicator and entitled it, “Whose your Goliath?” His speech was deeply thought provoking and provided two profound life lessons: firstly that growth is uncomfortable so become comfortable with discomfort; secondly, using the Biblical story of David and Goliath, that when something is really worth attaining and the stakes are high, do not be surprised if very few line up with you to take on the challenge.

John-Peter Gernaat delivered the fourth project of the Competent Communicator manual and entitled it, “My laughter experience”. He described that from a gurgling baby, laughing child, to a giggling teen he became a non-laughing adult. Having discovered a training to laugh again he experienced how laughter through guided exercises can reawaken the spontaneous, fountain of laughter of the joy of life.

Keith Bowen, in a speech entitled “The green way”, explained that the price of renewable energy purchased by Eskom to feed into National Electricity Grid was up to four times as expensive as its own generated power. However, he presented a compelling argument that this premium was cheep in the face of the certain detrimental effect of climate change if there was no move away from harmful power generating technologies.

Transformers Toastmasters
Cheryl-Lynn in control
of Table-Topics
The table topics or impromptu speeches of the evening were very light by comparison and had the speakers apply some cunning reverse psychology.

Transformers Toastmasters
Ryan eating peas
Ryan Ebedes turned the reverse psychology table on his mother when she challenged him, “bet you can’t eat those peas in 30 seconds”. He had her calculating peas to the second.

Keith Bowen confessed that his god-daughter would in fact “do that for you, I’m sure you can’t get those back in the box” for all her siblings.

Rod Taylor was rather brutal in challenging the chicken to “okay go ahead, cross the road by yourself, you’ll just get hit by a car”, because it was chicken.

Ruth challenged her 6 year old son to “okay, don’t take a bath, you’ll just smell and no one will like you” because of his love for dirt and dislike of water, in a bath.

Glenice Ebedes wondered why her childhood dentist did not have a jar of cookies and a jar of sweets on his desk as her doctor had because if you “don’t brush your teeth you’ll just get sick and have to go to the dentist.”

A new item was added to the program: the listener’s corner during which Marlize Pretorius, a guest for the evening but previously of Florida Toastmasters, probed to discover whether contents of speeches had been heard and remembered.

Our guests were asked to give feedback on their experience of the evening and were unanimously enthusiastic and complimentary.

Join us on the 10th August for our next meeting. Guests and visitors are very welcome!

Of ghosts and desert islands

Transformers Toastmasters Club has a new committee. At a well attended dinner, the newly inducted Division Governor for Division H, David Preece, released the outgoing committee under the presidency of Mary Burne

Transformers Toastmasters
Mary Burne, outgoing Club President
from their duties and asked each member of the incoming committee to commit to the duties of the role they were taking on.
Transformers Toastmasters
Ruth Taylor, Club President 2009/10
The new committee under Ruth Taylor was then ceremoniously presented to the members of the club at table. Witnessing the induction were the immediate past Division H Governor, Graham Nicholls, and new Area Governor for Area H3, Andrew Timberlake.

Why Area H3, when the club falls into Area H2? With the close of the Toastmasters year, Areas within Division H (NE Johannesburg and Malawi) have been shuffled again as a result of the formation of new clubs during 2008/9. The Area into which Transformers falls is now no longer H2 but, once again, H3 as before the last shuffle.

The induction dinner on Monday, 13 July, took place at Mike’s Kitchen in Parktown, in an upper room. We were made comfortable in the upper room after our outgoing Sergeant at Arms, Rod Taylor, successfully had us extricated from the passageway to the bathrooms.

Transformers Toastmasters
The dinner table
No sooner were we seated, than our immediate past Division Governor announced that the room we were in was haunted by a ghost. The most ghostly occurrence of the evening was our diligent waitress upending a glass of Horlicks all over the floor, narrowly missing the lap of Ele Mandavha, our new Secretary.

Being the start of things new – a new Toastmasters year and a new committee – Keith offered a toast opportunity as the evening got underway. As this was both a more formal and more social occasion than our regular meetings, no prepared speeches were presented. Our Toastmaster for the evening, Ryan Ebedes, conducted a round of table topics or impromptu speeches in the form of a story that each successive speaker had to continue. Ryan sketched a situation of a scientist on a tiny desert island with a palm tree, two coconuts and a PanAm flight crash landing into the sea within sight. Five entertaining speeches took this scenario and had the scientist turn the palm tree into a raft in preparation for an escape, as explained by Keith, only to have the sea turn into a pond of hungry sharks. Graham discovered that he had better uses for the raft than to escape when a beautiful female passenger from the PanAm flight swan to the island. John-Peter, being gay, found a better use for the mermaid by sending her off in the leaky raft that had sharp spikes in the bottom guaranteed to cause bleeding and attract the sharks away from his escape route to a life raft, only to see the life raft up-ended by a surfacing whale. Lerato decided that the man-eating sharks and whales were certainly a dream and roused herself to catch a flight back to Johannesburg, but found herself staring at the Eiffel Tower when the plane landed. Nchabeng rescued the scientist and brought us all safely to the main course of the dinner.

Transformers Toastmasters
Division H Governor, David Preece
The formalities of inducting the new committee with speeches by the Division Governor and incoming President were conducted between the main course and dessert.

After dessert, we learned of member’s personal achievements in the last weeks: Ryan received the club award for Toastmaster of the Year for 2008/9, due to his sterling work as Vice-president Public Relations (VPPR) that resulted in him having been awarded Best Club VPPR and Best Club Website in District 74.

Transformers Toastmasters
Toastmaster of the 2008/9, Ryan Ebedes, receiving his trophy
Ele sported her new engagement ring, while Rod had achieved the Advanced Leader Silver award.

Underlying the pomp of the evening and the joys of socialising is the important task of Toastmasters in offering a valuable adult education programme in effective public speaking.

Join us for our next meeting back at the Uniglobe offices on Monday 27 July, at 18h00 for 18h30. We welcome guest and visitors.

Visit our committee page to view your new team for the Transformers Commitee 2009/2010!