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!