Palindromes and a backwards meeting

What is a backwards meeting? Well! The meeting starts with the President closing the meeting and wishing everyone farewell and the meeting concludes 2 hours later with the President welcoming all present. The entire programme of the meeting is reversed. Does this have any benefit? For one thing, one becomes acutely aware of the order of events. Evaluations take on a new meaning. The evaluations are given before the speeches and the evaluation were superbly general, allowing the speakers to easily adapt their presentation to suit. And the evening is a lot of fun as everyone stumbles over programme order or tries to reverse what has become habit.

The theme for the evening was palindromes (and in case you need to look this up – these are words that can be written forwards as well as in reverse and still have the same spelling, such as the unused word of the evening: redder).

After the concluding formalities, the grammarian for the evening provided a report on splendid use of idiom and word pictures that the impromptu and prepared speakers had to try to fit into their speeches. “Capering around corners on two wheels” was attributed to Rod Taylor who would later speak about his motoring experiences as a young man. I wonder how Ruth Taylor, our grammarian, so accurately guessed at Rod’s speech content.

The evaluations of the prepared speeches followed, but by this time the speakers had confided the title of their speeches to the evaluators. Keith Bowen evaluated Ruth’s “A remedy for stress” and John Russell evaluated Rod’s “A marvelous motoring experience.”

Other than the fact that the timekeepers report preceded the Table Topics, this section of the programme proceeded as usual. Each topic was a palindrome.

  • Rod explained that a terret (one of the metal rings on a harness through which the reins pass) is a small squirrel-like creature that has never been seen although it has been photographed.
  • Ruth explained how her daughter had heard a pathologist on CSI exclaim that it was the strangest murdrum ever reported and was not far off the mark for it is the killing of a man in a secret manner.
  • Keith detartrated his muffins from the residues of baking agent instead of removing the potassium salts from his grape juice in the making of wine.
  • John-Peter took a walkabout Down Under with aibohphobia (the fear of palindromes) describing it as the fear of native Australians who have gone walkabout.

Snacks were enjoyed and thereafter the recess was called. Finally the prepared speeches were heard. Ruth presented a Competent Communicator project 4 speech which requires the use of body language. She took us all on an 8-day holiday and re-enacted the packing of luggage, the arrival, de-stressing and her speech culminated in her 80 year old mother climbing a mountain at dawn. Her gestures amply augmented her wonderful tale that was a remedy for stress.

Rod, in his speech in fulfillment of a project 5 Competent Communicator, took us back forty years and had us roaring around the English Lake District in an Alfa Spider and competing in hill climbs.

In back to front order we eventually toasted the benefits of being backward, such as countries with a low carbon footprint, societies that are close to nature, people with a high propensity for love and prosperity of Japan based on reverse-engineering. After the loyal toast everyone was welcomed by the President and we all went home!


If you missed the District 74 Humorous Speech contest on Saturday afternoon, you missed an outstanding show!
The speeches were of the highest quality, but one speaker triumphed over the rest.
Ben Brown from Division B set the stage alight with his speech on his cars, and I'll be perfectly honest: it was flawless.
Well done Ben, you are a speaker with a bright future ahead!

Giant Leaps, Giant Flights, and a whole lot of Criticism!

What do "A lost limb", "A crashed car", "A collapsed economy", "A destroyed crop" and "a lost job", all have in common?
Well they're all good things of course - since they happened to you.
Of course you might have to dig deep to find the positive in them, but that's exactly what our intrepid Table-topics speakers did when Area H3 Governor Andrew Timberlake led the session. He asked all participants to explain why each of these particular events in their lives was actually a good thing, resulting in some rather delicious and hilarious results!

Before the table-topics began, 3 prepared speakers took the stage and delivered speeches from the Competent Communicator and Advanced manuals. First up was Keith whose speech, titled "Giant Leaps for Mankind" was well rehearsed and excellently presented, in a way only Keith can. As with all of our speeches it is critical to find the passion within them, and this came through in leaps and bounds in Keith's delivery. Another CC under the belt.

Ryan's many years of study in two very different topics, namely digital security and birds, allowed him to merge the two through the breaking story of Winston the Pigeon and his historic flight to deliver 4 GB of data - faster than a Telkom ADSL line. Ryan went through the 3 most critical security risks Winston will face in his forth-coming journeys, and what will be done to mitigate these risks. Some of these included specialised training in the art of Pigeon flirtation and Social Engineering techniques, as well as hiring decoy pigeons from the JKCPES (Japanese Kamikaze Carrier Pigeon Elite Squad) to counter possible hacking attacks from Peregrine Falcons.

Rod's Advanced speech required him to "Respond non-defensively to verbal criticism", and "Defuse the situation." He staged a role-play with his wife Ruth and did exceptionally well to acknowledge her complaints and to garner a mutual understanding! Some of his 'mistakes' included not picking up the dog-poo on the lawn to not following up on Ruth's squeaky brakes - He did an admirable job of defusing the situation and keeping the peace!

Andrew then took the stage and participants in his table-topics did their best to deliver the good, from what appeared to be the bad and the ugly!
Ryan explained why "Losing a limb" was a good thing, whilst Ruth explained why her crashed car was no problem whatsoever. Keith gave us the plusses of a collapsed economy, whilst Cheryl-Lynn explained to the farmer why his destroyed crop would work out very well indeed. Ele found she had more time at home after losing her job, whilst Rod explained to his company's ex-employees why their lives, and the organisations success, would all be significantly improved!

Join us on the 28th of September for our next meeting.
Guests and visitors welcome!

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!