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You are invited to the Toastmasters International District 74 (Southern Africa) Maxicon Conference at Misty Hills Country Hotel, Muldersdrift, Johannesburg.

Thursday 18 May to Sunday 21 May 2006

PlayCon 2006 – Making Public Speaking Fun!

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Please add it to this web site. For more information see District 74 or Back to District 74 Return to DNAR

International Contest Summaries

Mark Kaminsky -- The Greatest Secret

Do you want to know the greatest secret is?
We start as dreamers. I wanted to be a doctor. But I had to do an advanced maths class, and that meant doing an entry exam. I got 2/25. I proved that day that light travels faster than sound – I looked intelligent until I opened my mouth. I decided to play to my other strengths.
By the age of 25 I was a multi-millionnaire and had a handful of business. Unfortunately they were all in my mind. Because fear paralysed me. It stopped me from going forward. I wanted to stay where it was safe. I couldn't go forward. Fear is "False Evidence Appearing Real."
It's not in the past, and it's not in the future.It's in your mind. You have the power to revoke it at any time. What giants are holding you back?
There's an amazing realization that we get – it's the greatest secret we can realize. It's not about you – it's about others. It's the difference your dream can make to other people. If you can help enough other people get what they want, you can have anything you want.
People need the difference you can make. Go out and make a difference.

Sam Matseneng -- There's no Me without You.

Matseneng started quoting the Manhattan brothers. Love has a way of connecting people very strongly. Gloria discovered she had cancer three months before her husband died. She had 5 children – 4-year old triplets and a visually impaired person. |She reached a bleak time, and contemplated suicide.But she woke up one morning and enrolled in a dress-making course.
She raised daughters who achieved much in their lives.
She had a secret admirer – her neighbour whose name was Sarah. Gloria didn't know how her neighbour felt "there's no me without you." Gloria gave Sarah the strength to fight Sarah's own illnesses.
As time went by, Gloria succumbed to her cancer and died.
Her neighbour spoke at Gloria's funeral. Through her grief, all her neighbour could say was "there's no me without you." A month later, Sarah had died of asthma.
As we sit here, there are people who admire us. They may be at our workplace, our homes. You are the wings beneath their wings. You are the reason they smile. But if you destroy your life, you take them down with you.

Tony Pitwood -- What a tangled web

I'm Tony and I tell lies.
When played in a play of Helen of Troy, and I inadvertently loosened the leading lady's girdle. I never owned up.
We lie because it works.
We lie to escape awkwardness. We lie to maintain relationships and please others. But we lie to please ourselves. Sometimes we don’t know we lie.
A study purports to show that children under the age of 3 can't lie.
I never had to teach my children to lie – I had to train them to tell the truth.
We're learn to lie early, but it's called "tact" or "social graces."
We don't want to hear the truth. We believe it when we hear what we want to hear.
One lie that changed history was Queen Catherine, who married Prince Arthur of Britain. Arthur died of an infection. On his deathbed, he made her promise to tell people that they hadn't consummated their marriage so she would be eligible to marry his brother, who became King Henry VIII.
Look at American presidents – Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton.
There's a great SA tradition of falsifying experience on your CV. "I'll learn that skill, and nobody will be any the wiser." You get the job, stumble from one situation to the other.
That's the problem with telling lies – one lie leads to another. And you have to keep track of what you said to whom. As the poet said: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive."

Christof Appel -- The Plunge

I stood there, determined to throw myself off the edge. "3-2-1…Bungeeeeeeee!"
There are only two things that hold you back – fear and anger.
I was having a drink in a bar when a vision of perfection walked through the door. Every man had just seen his soulmate. My friend was adamant. As a supportive friend, I suggested we first get a drink. Tequila should be outlawed. My friend soon had lots of dutch courage.
And as he left with her, he whispered "3-2-1." My grandmother on her 70th birthday bought a gold BMW with mag wheels. She started drinking red wine every day and traveled the world. Her world changed when she cast away her fear of being too old.
She says she woke up on her 70th birthday and said "3-2-1…" I grew up in a broken home. My father lied and cheated and then he left us. I hated him. As a young man I realized I never had a father. It's been 6 years since I've spoken to him.
I wonder what he thinks of me, whether he's ok. I had to do it. "3-2-1…" <picks up phone> "Hello? Dad? We need to talk.
Cast away your fear and your anger!
As I held that phone I heard him whisper: "3-2-1" And then he said: "I'm sorry, Son. I love you."

Marlene Van Wyk -- The "F" word.

"You're fired". Two simple words.
Some people allow these two words to destroy their lives. Others use it as a launchpad.

  • Walt Disney was fired for not being creative enough. Today the Walt Disney Corporation is a multi-billion dollar operation that feeds the fantasies of children all over the world.
  • JK Rowling was fired for using the computer at work to write stories. Today the craze has swept through the world. She is a billionaire.
  • Elvis Presley was fired from a recording studio in 1954. They told him: "There ain't no place for rock and roll in the USA."
  • Lance Armstrong was fired from the French cycling team while he was suffering from testicular cancer. They didn't pay his severance package, nor his medical bills. To date he has won the Tour de France seven times.
  • Raymond Ackerman is a respected businessman in this country. In his autobiography he writes: "In September 1966, I had a great stroke of luck. I was fired."

What sets these people apart from you and me? Why don't they cringe when the F word comes their way – Failure, Flop?
Failure Teaches Success. Failure is never final unless when you fall, you don't fail forward.
Failure is an attitude of mind. In the study of the psychology of failure, one notices that people crushed by failure don't rebound. The people I have mentioned have a dogmatic attitude to pick themselves up and dust themselves off and start all over again.
What about you? Are you annihilated, or, like Raymond Ackerman, do you regard it as a stroke of luck?
Are you glued to your seat because you're too scared to get out of it?
What is your F word? Failure? Or is it Fortune?

Hugh Solomon -- Lessons from the Lift Club

The minister volunteered me to drive Lorna to church. She was 90 and had been blind for the past ten years.
Mine was the fourth Sunday. The first floor defined "institution". Everybody moved unhurridley. Nurses went by blank-faced.
Nobody paid me much attention.
Lorna's room was 20 confident paces from the lift.
I passed the common room where old people were slumped in wicker chairs. Many were asleep. Some sat unnervingly still.
When I arrived, she'd be ready, with her own soft pillow for the hard benches. "Hello Lorna, it's me." She could walk, but very slowly. I resisted the temptation to pick her up by her collar and carry her down the stairs. We'd take the lift. We would get to the lift to the car in the same time it would take me to run a kilometer.
We would talk in the car – simple childlike conversations. I would describe the scene for her, acting as her eyes. It's been a while since I last saw her. She's had a bad fall.
My 4th Sunday is now freed up for late breakfasts.
But I drew inspiration from her. What started as a lift for Lorna turned into a lift for me. A philosophical lift. In the four years we traveled to church together, Lorna gave me a vision of myself.
If you need a lift in life, join a lift club!

Dave Cairns -- I don't do grass no more.

I spent hours on that lawn. I told the kids a thousand times not to play on the front lawn before the competition judges come round.
"What happened ot the front lawn?" I asked them.
"World championships, Dad," said the kids. "Against the Miller children. We won!"
I wanted to win the silver spade for the best front garden. There in the newspaper was the stupid Cedric Johnson, winner for the third time in a row, clutching the silver spade in his fat podgy little hand.
Perhaps he didn't have kids wrecking his lawn. One year I got it right. The judges were due, the kids were away. Even our weeping willow looked like it was smiling. They drove slowly down the road. I saw four heads looking at our garden.
Mrs Gladys Baxter had won the silver spade. Who the heck was Gladys Baxter? What about Cedric Johnson? Poor Cedric. When the kids weren't playing on the grass, they played tricks on me. "Dad, wake up," somebody has stolen our front garden!" April Fool.
Or they would jump on my bed in the middle of the night shouting "worm attack."
One Saturday, Mrs Green arrived at the front door with the whole committee.
"It is my duty to present you with the silver spade for the best kept front garden." Penny Heynes and Ryk Neethling must have felt like me.
But something was missing. It was the silence. There was no applause. I started to cry. The silver spade dropped frommy hands. The grown-up kids didn't play on the grass.
One day I heard a voice: "Grandpa. Can I play on the grass?" Dare I say no?
I don't do grass no more.

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