An esoteric gathering

eso·teric (es'o ter'ik)
intended for or understood by only a chosen few

Ele's word of the evening (Esoteric) aptly described the gathering for last nights Transformers meeting.
The theme was origins, and as Toastmaster for the evening I took the opportunity to lead the group down a figurative memory lane of sorts, recalling common phrases and where they originated from.
Phrases such as "As mad as a March hare" from Lewis Carroll's classic 'Alice in Wonderland', as well as to "Pull out all the stops", which relates to organ pipes..

Meanwhile, Kay pulled out all the stops in her first prepared speech in Toastmasters, giving us an eloquent personal story entitled "Daring to dream". She provided a wonderful insight into her dreams and goals for the future, which amongst other things included becoming an inspirational speaker. Her prior debating skills will certainly assist, but we've already been exposed to her powerful impromptu skills, so we're already certain that there's an inspirational speaker here!
Richard went though his humorous speech on "Dating in the new Millennium" in fine style.
One of his stories included a segment on kissing, and the four main types there are; for example, the St Bernard, or the Calcutta Big Hole - sometimes a word is worth a thousand pictures...
Mary's educational session covered speeches in general, and centred on the construction of a great speech. It was another excellent summary from our reigning champion of speech evaluation.
Glenice then took hold of proceedings, with a 'place' dropping exercise. Participants were required to talk about a particular location they had "been to", with some rather exotic names coming to light.
I described the exciting hominid find I made whilst walking the streets of Geneva, whilst Ele started out in Lima Peru, before deftly escorting us to France. Jackie took us through the streets of Harare, introducing us to Bob himself, before Richard projected his best portrayal of an Indian accent, from Mumbai.

Eskom also played a part in the evening's proceedings by bringing the final curtain down just before the end - but this didn't stop Ele, who nimbly handled the grammarian's report by torchlight, providing one of our most comprehensive summaries of an evenings words and phrases that I've certainly ever heard.
And how many members managed to use the word of the evening?
Only those who joined us, will know.

Don't miss our Tall Story evening coming up on the 23rd - as always guests and visitors welcome!

Contest Evening - Booties, bribes, and a bash in the night

Transformers Toastmasters
The transformers competitors 2009
Last nights contest evening once again proved that we all have our own interpretations of a scenario.
This was really brought to the fore in the impromptu contest when the word for the evening, BASH, wore a number of faces as each contestant projected their most powerful memory of it.
The International competition was well attended, with 4 speakers giving their all and an excellent array of subjects to boot.
Glenice started the proceedings off in fine style as she wove her story of booties, bonnets and knitting wool in her speech entitled Simply Sensational. She spoke about knitting and how it can be both a relaxing and productive way of passing those quiet moments, along with allowing you to create something special for yourself or for others. Her combination of humour and insight provided an excellent opening for the evening.
Mary then took to the stage with her story of celebrity and it's use in the most unusual of circumstances. Her story of an ex Big Brother inmate and the use of her 'fame' for financial gain and celebrity status was intriguing and highlighted some of the extraordinary and sometimes morbid encroachments that reality TV has had on our lives.
Jerry took us through a story of the rather unusual bribe he encountered with the law and provided an outstanding example of stage presence and composure. It was an excellent example of speaking for those of us who are still new to the game.
Ryan spoke about the plants around us and how when we engage the same effort for our human relationships as we do for our leafy friends, the results of success and flourishing are strikingly similar.
It was then on to the evaluation contest, with Rod providing an excellent display of vocal variety and gestures for our evaluators to interpret. He recalled stories and anecdotes that many of us have seen or heard before and showed why there is always a reason to use them again. Both Mary and Glenice acquitted themselves exceptionally well in their quest for best evaluator.
As above, the impromptu word was BASH, which allowed a variety of usages by our 5 contestants. Whilst Mary, Simon and Kay chose to discuss the late night bashes (aka parties) they had attended in the past, Glenice took us down a one way street with taxi drivers bashing on the roof of her car, whilst John-Peter arranged an excellent array of usages, including the variant "bashful".
Ryan and Mary took 1st and 2nd respectively in the International contest, whilst Mary continued her winning ways by sweeping both the Evaluation and Impromptu titles. Glenice and Kay finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Impromptus, in what was surely a very close race!

Join us for our next meeting on the 9th of March, and don't forget - we have our Tall Story evening coming up on the 23rd in celebration of our 555th meeting. Get those ridiculous, outrageous, and out-of-this-world speeches prepared - it will be an evening not to be missed..

The night communication shone through

Transformers Toastmasters
Ele on her way to best speaker
Here's a snap-survey:
What do a pair of shoes, a record player, an acacia tree and a bicycle have in common?
Answer: Nothing, unless you have a propensity for imagination...
These were some of the Table Topics dished out by Glenice during Monday's Transformers meeting and even our most experienced members were floored by the quality of creative thinking!
Before we delve into them, it would be wise to note the quality of prepared speeches which preceded them.
Buhle led the pack with her first prepared speech in Toastmasters and did a sterling job of informing us about her hair, and her state of being. It was the ideal opener - both for a CC1 and for the evening, and if there were any nerves at the start, they soon dissipated with the onset of applause.
Transformers Toastmasters
Victory Dance - Guest speaker Matt

Here's a question: How many members can claim best speaker with their CC2?
Ele's second speech in Toastmasters was a display of both insight and class. She took us through the Value of Communication and recited facts and figures that were in many cases astounding.
Her use of pause was right on cue, as was her use of "Eschew" - the word of the evening!
A thoroughly deserved best speaker award soon followed.
Rod soon posed a question of a different sort: Am I a fisherman?
His expressions and gestures were fantastic, in a speech that was an intricately woven patchwork of boyhood and fishing memories. He took the audience to all manner of places, before concluding that, No, he wasn't a fisherman, but, "I like to think I'm a fishing Rod!".
Transformers Toastmasters
Kay delivers in the impromptus

Our guest speaker Matt showed outstanding stage presence by taking us through the Victory Dances of those around us. His stories and anecdotes took us from the sales arena, to weddings and sports fields - How many of us choose to dance when we achieve something extraordinary?

Glenice then took control of proceedings - and asked members and guests to explain why they wanted to be a particular item - no small feat considering most were inanimate objects!
But the participants, bless them, came to the party...
Transformers Toastmasters
The wheels of Mary's bicycle come off

Keith somehow made good mileage as a Pair of Shoes, whilst Ruth cut to the chase as a Potato Peeler. Kay's voice shone through when she became a Record Player, just before the wheels of Mary's bicycle came off. Richard showed zip as a fly on the wall before John-Peter provided welcome relief from the heat - as an Acacia Tree.
A more creative and exceptional cast you will not find, with Kay leading the pack for best of the best!

Join us for our Club Contest evening on the 23rd of February.
All guests and visitors are welcome!

Of Food, Phalaropes & Fortune

Transformers Toastmasters
Mzi's 'impromptu' impromptu!
Transformers opened the 2009 season in spectacular fashion when the topics of food, Phalaropes and face-to-face communication filled the evenings proceedings.
In true Transformers style our theme of the evening - "climb every mountain" - provided the ideal platform for those new years wishes. Johns word of the evening "Summit" slotted in just fine with the theme, but what was impressive was the number of members and guests who used it. Ruth managed to top the list with 4, along with providing the driving force for the evening as toastmaster.
Ele's CC1 was one of the highlights of the evening as she took us through the "Things I like".
Her choices? Food, sleep or sex!
She handled this first presentation with aplomb, and her descriptions of lamb shank and other tasty morsels proved to all and sundry that her first choice in life was...yes, you guessed - with sleep and sex both in hot pursuit..
Transformers Toastmasters
Buhle takes on Table Topics
Rod conducted an interview with our 'new' arrival Jackie, originally from Interchange Toastmasters, and whilst it allowed us to gain a little insight into her thoughts on toastmasters, it was her impromptu speech later in the evening that really had all of us on the edge of our seats!
Ryan took us through the passions of other people, in this case weaving the stories of birdwatchers and their many successes and faux pas. He spiced it up with some interesting bird names, including phalaropes and frigatebirds, and concluded that sometimes our passions do overtake our logic - would you really cross a crocodile infested river in search of a bird?!

Mary won the best contribution of the evening with her in depth presentation on toastmasters awards and how to get them - from the Competent Communicator all the way up to the ultimate, the Distiguished Toastmaster. It was certainly enlightening, and put the entire programme into perspective, especially for those of us who are still learning the ropes.

Transformers Toastmasters
Jackie enthralls in the impromptu's
The evening was just warming up though and Cheryl-Lynn was soon putting our guests and members who had yet to take the floor to the test. It must be said that the impromptu's were of a very high standard, with various speakers keeping the audience engaged! As mentioned earlier, Jackie took top honours, in a closely contested race.

Mary's fortune cookies capped a splendid evening - and allowed everyone, in a manner of speaking, to eat their words..

Join us on the 9th of February for our 2nd meeting of 2009.
As always, guests and visitors welcome!