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!

Parktown Induction dinner

Join us on the 13th of July for our 2009/2010 committee induction dinner.
Meals for your own account.
All guests and visitors welcome!

An award of distinction

Transformers Toastmasters
Ruth receives Toastmasters'
highest honour!
Monday's meeting saw Transformers award Toastmasters' highest honour to one of the stalwarts of the club. Ruth Taylor received her Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) certification from Club President Mary, as well as a resounding round of applause from those present. Before I give my thoughts on this, let's take a look back at the two prepared speeches and impromptus that preceded this.

Jerry once again wowed, and in some cases confused, us all with his entertaining speech about dreams and explosions. The golden rule in speaking is to never be boring, something Jerry most certainly never is! Thankfully the lead character in his story, Joe, survived, but as for the rest of them, well, I'm unfortunately still not sure! But an entertaining speech nonetheless, and another one under the belt.
Transformers Toastmasters
Rod captures the essence
of volunteers
Rod gave us feedback on one of the projects in his High Performance Leadership program, and it was certainly interesting to hear what works, and what doesn't, when trying to get voluntary information from others. "Be nice!" seemed to be a good place start!

Ruth then took control as Table Topics master, and asked everyone to define or describe some rather unusual words. Some of them seemed rather exotic indeed, with examples such as "Hakim", "Pogee" and "Woad" making it onto the list.
Transformers Toastmasters
Nchabeng defines Hakim
A few members did manage to get their definitions right, but for some strange reason it's always the total failures that entertain us the most..

As mentioned above, Ruth was awarded her DTM at the end of the meeting, and from all of us at the club Ruth, our hearty congratulations. It's something every Toastmaster should strive for, and achievements of this calibre, so close to home, provide wonderful milestones for the rest of us. Well done!

Join us for our next meeting on the 13th of July.
Guests and visitors welcome!