Rosina completes her Competent Communicator Manual, Chrstine Dazzles

On the 5th of April, CIS Toastmasters held its 1030th meeting. The President, Michael Silberman opened the meeting and welcomed everyone including the only guest, Cynthia Makhubele. In the spirit of Toastmasters she went on to perform the role of Timekeeper with aplomb. The president welcomed back Linda van Deventer, CIS’s irreplaceable VPE. Alon Davidow was the evening’s Toastmaster, a role he performed in addition to Sergeant at Arms responsibilities.


Evening’s Toastmaster: Alon Davidow

On a somewhat quite evening, three speeches were delivered by Ipelo Gasela (CC2), Christine Kwok (CC8) and Rosina Malebatja (CC10). Ipelo’s speech was titled, ‘Mooi van Ver’. Christine spoke about ‘The Game of Life’ whilst Rosina asked the audience to ‘Decide to decide right’. Christine’s speech was without doubt one of the best speeches ever delivered at CIS in recent memory. For her efforts she walked away with the evening’s Best Prepared Speaker.  Christine’s interpretation of visual aids was stimulating and innovative from a chessboard to swinging pendulums. Her use of the chessboard when she spoke about every move having consequences and using the pendulums to demonstrate that every action has a reaction was beautifully done. Her speech was an inspiration and an example of the quality of speeches that continue to come out of CIS. Rosina closed the prepared speaking session with her inspirational CC10. She gave the audience four tips on how to decide to decide right. In true CC10 style Rosina was flawless in her delivery and showed her readiness to spread her wings and conquer the world through her voice, grace and the confidence that this programme fosters. The end result was that she has now completed her Competent Communicator Manual, in the process she joins a proud group of Toastmasters that have reaped the rewards of staying the course.


Best Prepared Speaker: Christine Kwok

Our guest, Cynthia walked away with the best impromptu speaker. She spoke with the eloquence that typifies a seasoned Toastmaster. The best evaluator award went to Colbert.


The eloquent Best Impromptu Speaker: Cynthia Makhubele


Best Evaluator: Colbert Nengovhela

Other role players were Julian Blonski who with his word of the day, Serendipity, performed the Grammarian role as well as the Uhm counter. Linda was the evening’s Evaluations Chair with Cyril Chessex performing the Table Topics Master role. Colbert was the general evaluator with Kazik Blonski giving the Toast to TMI.

The next meeting will be on the 19th of April 2016. CIS looks forward to seeing you all there.

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Last nights meeting fell in the Easter Holiday Period, and so we many of our members could not attend. However whoever says size counts wasn’t at last nights meeting, as we had a fantastic time.

We were entertained by the CIS Toastmasters power couple Craig and Avigail Sacks who delivered 2 fantastic speeches. Avigail gave a CC2 entitled “Victim” in which she described the horrors of bullying and the damaging effect it can have on young vulnerable people. It was a very sobering speech which had a definite impact on all who listened. Next up was her Husband Craig with a speech entitled “The Handcuff King”. Craig took us on a journey to the late 19th and early 20th Century and the heroic antics of the world renowned Harry Houdini. We were enthralled by Craigs graphic description of Houdini’s tricks, especially the Handcuff trick and how he managed to unshackle himself from a very tricky set of Handcuff’s even though it took him a long time and he damaged his bicep tendon in the process. It was a great lesson to us all “Never to Give Up”. Craig won the prize for Best Prepared speech, Congratulations Craig!

Next up was the Table Topics Session handled Brilliantly by Thato Radebe. Thato picked on 8 speakers with a very interesting mix of titles, speakers were really forced to think on their feet. In the End it was Christine Kwok who was voted Impromptu speaker of the evening. Congratulations Christine.

Congratulations to Billy Radebe for Best Evaluator

Congratulations to Kazik Blonski for Toastmaster of the evening

Other Rolls were fulfilled by Alon Davidow (Grammarian), Chris Harper (Uhm Counter), Angus L’pine Williams (TimeKeeper), Thato Radebe (Invocation), Michael Silberman (Toast to TMI), Rob Douglas (General Evaluator)
We have a great line up of speakers for the next meeting and we are looking forward to seeing you all there back and refreshed from your time away.
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It was an evening of ‘cool jeans’, an evening of great speeches, an unforgettable evening. A whopping 7 speakers delivered their prepared speeches ranging fromCC1 to CC8. The evening was yet again another reminder of why we are Toastmasters, why every second week we walk, run and drive from all corners of Johannesburg and surrounds to come be a part of this historical club that is CIS. Well done to all the speakers.

Nomonde kicked off the evening with her CC1 speech titled, ‘Speak or forever succumb to your nerves’. A fitting opening which saw her walk away with the evening’s speaker of the evening award. Nomonde was followed by Avela, who gave a beautiful musical speech taking us back to where he grew up, the family that has shaped the man he has become and the different memories the different soundtracks of his life represent. A great ice breaker. Ernst Dill also delivered a CC1 simply titled ‘Who am I’.


Best Speaker Nomonde Booi (left)

Warren’s speech, Mr. Cool Jeans, was titled ‘Conversations start relations’. A reminder of the dangers of our over reliance on social media to communicate with our fellow humans. As always, Mpumi gave another beautifully written speech on ‘The Art of Selling’. This was followed by Kane, a visitor from the Greenside Club who talked about the reason ‘why we should give up hope. Swazi’s speech, a CC8 was titled ‘livelihood strategies of women in Orange Farm.

Chris Harper facilitated the Impromptu Speech session and picked on 6 speakers in Goran, Simon, Aadrian, Puleng, Ephraim and Alon. Puleng with her speech on ‘make-up artistry for the dead’ took home the Best Impromptu Speaker award. In terms of the valuations, Chris Harper was fittingly awarded the Best Evaluator Trophy with Billy Radebe accepting the Toastmaster of the evening award from the evening’s Acting Club President Kazik Blonski.


Best Impromptu Speaker: Puleng Lephondo


The evening’s Toastmaster: Billy Radebe


Best Evaluator: Chris Harper

Other role players for the evening were, Ephraim who took on the role of Uhm counter, Avigail who served as the timekeeper, Colbert was the evening’s grammarian with Kazik executing the Evaluation’s Chair role. Goran gave the Toast to TMI.

The next meeting will be on the 22nd of March 2016. Please join us then.

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International Speech and Evaluation Contest – 23 February 2016

CIS Toastmasters held its International Speech and Evaluation Contest on the 23rd of February at the Waverly Sports Club, a day after Ralph Smedley’s birthday. Five contestants entered both the evaluation as well as the speech contest. The Division Director, Lazola Belle was the Chief Judge. Linda van Deventer took on the role of Contest Chair.

The Club received the President’s Distinguished Certificate for the year 2014 to 2015 ending the year as the Top Club in Division L. A well deserved accolade as the club continues to move from strength to strength. Alon Davidow won the Best Evaluator award and will go on to represent the club in the area contest. The evaluators were evaluating Lee Roebeck’s demo speech titled ‘Queen of My Heart’. A beautiful remembrance speech for his grandmother.

Kazik Blonski with his speech ‘Fight of the Century’ walked away with a well deserved ‘Best Prepared Speech Award’ and will be flying the flag for CIS in the next round.

CIS is proud of both Alon and Kazik. The quality of the speeches and the evaluation sessions typified the health of the club. Other prepared speakers and evaluators were Michael Silberman, Colbert Nengovhela, Chris Harper, Billy Radebe for the speech contest. Alon was competing against Rob Douglas, Kazik Blonski, Michael Silberman and Billy Radebe.


Alon Davidow, the winner of the Evaluations Contest with the Contest Chair, Linda van Deventer

Club Champion speaker, Kazik Blonski


Alon, Kazik, Billy, Michael, Colbert, Chris and Rob Douglas

The next meeting will be held on the 8th of March. Hope to see you all there.

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Club Contest in JHB and Surrounds

Many brave Toastmasters across the globe are taking up the challenge of competing in the annual International speech contest.
Please support our clubs and members by assisting as a role player (timekeeper, tally counter, judge, contest chair, SAA) or attend as a spectator.
For your convenience, below is a list of club contests taking place in JHB and surrounds.
  • Please contact the relevant organiser for more info on venue, times, costs etc or if you want to volunteer as a role player.

18 February – Westrand club - please contact Kyle 

22 February – Transformers – Please contact Rick Raubenheimer 

23 February – CIS Toastmasters – at Waverley Sports Club  

3 March – Kempton Park Club - please contact Thabo Malefane

3 March – KPMG – please contact Njabulo Thela at

3 March – Rivonia club – please contact Judith Taylor at 

8 March – Egoli - please contact Sheryl at ​

9 MarchBenoni Toastmasters – please contact Mark Eifler at 

10 March – Afrikaans club – please contact Adri Rothman ​at

10 March – Sandton & Morningside clubs – please contact James at ​ 

10 March – The Sages – please contact Cathy Angus on

10 March – Rosebank Toastmasters – please contact Maliile at

12 March – Bryanston Breakfast club – please contact Bryanston VPE on

12 March – Modderfontein Breakfast club – please contact Karen at ​

14 March – Honeydew club – please contact Rowene at

23 March – Bedfordview club – please contact Laureen Mutch at

23 March – Johannesburg club – please contact Luis de Sousa at

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Time is of the essence (CC2) by Craig Sacks

Sometimes we have too much time. We take things slow. There’s no rush. We say things like “I’ll do that tomorrow” and “why do tomorrow’s work, today?”. We watch TV for that extra hour, we sleep just a little later and we mark that email unread for tomorrow.

Sometimes we’ve run out of time. Everything is a rush and a whirlwind. We say things like “I wish I had more time” and “if only I had gotten started a little earlier”. We slap together whatever we have, we drive like a lunatic on the road and we apologise for being late.

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. Procrastinators love instant gratification. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things instead of less pleasurable ones.

Do you remember sitting in matric English class? The teacher was explaining your latest assignment due in two weeks time. You were so smug, this was going to be real easy. You were sitting in the shade of the tree next to the tuck shop, laughing with your friends at how silly this assignment is and how you are going to class just so that you can collect you’re “A”. Do you remember how you kept putting off doing the work, there were so many things to do. You finished that 5000 piece puzzle and you knitted that jersey you will need for next winter. Then you got that sinking feeling, it’s 6 o’clock, the night before the due date and you have to pull an all-nighter to get the work done. You got whatever you could together and told yourself that marks aren’t that important, there’s more to life than an English assignment.

Research has shown that up to 20% of adults report being chronic procrastinators. That number could have been higher if most of the procrastinators had actually gotten round to filling in the survey.

Procrastination can also have negative health effects. When stressed, our bodies release a steroid hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is known to interfere with learning and memory, lower your immune function, and is linked to increased risk of depression and generally lower life expectancy. We’ve all felt that stress, when your stomach is tied in a knot, you feel the hair on your arm stand up and you have that nervous swallow.

Is pre-crastination the solution? pre-crastination, is the urge to start a task immediately and finish it as soon as possible. As soon as that email arrives, you bang off a reply. You write that toastmasters speech two weeks before you give it over. For the pre-crastinator, progress is oxygen, postponement is agony, distraction is the enemy.

When tackling complex tasks, one needs creativity. Is one more creative when procrastinating or when pre-crastinating? An experiment was set up at the University of Wisconsin. Two groups of people were tasked with coming up with a new business idea. One group was told to start immediately, the other group was told to play solitaire for 5 minutes and then start. The business ideas were rated and the procrastinator’s ideas were judged to be 28% more creative. Why? Because pre-crastination can stifle creativity and suck up the oxygen that an idea needs to breath. Sometimes ideas need to percolate. You might go back to your toastmasters speech which you wrote two weeks ago and say “what on earth was I thinking, who would write such nonsense?”

As with most things in life, it’s about balance. Too much procrastination can mean more stress and failed potential. Too much pre-crastination can mean still born ideas and stifled creativity.

At the end of the day the job needs to be done, how do you avoid the destruction of procrastination? Here are a few tips:

  • Imagine the consequences of you failing spectacularly and that anxiety might get you into gear.
  • If you’re procrastinating because you are disorganized, set yourself time bound tasks and an action plan. Keep a to do list.
  • If you are finding the project overwhelming, break it up into smaller pieces and start with the easy tasks first. Small victories go a long way.
  • Remember that the task is probably not as unpleasant as you imagine. Give it a try, you might find that it’s not so bad.
  • Lower your standards for progress and perfection. Perfectionism is an unattainable trap.

My fellow toastmasters, I had a very busy weekend. I built a model airplane, I watched the super bowl, I read war & peace and I solved a Rubik’s cube. I was so busy. I must admit that I ran out of time and I couldn’t write a conclusion for this speech. I, as a seasoned procrastinator, would tell you, in the bigger scheme of life, is a conclusion really that important?

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1026 – 09 February 2016

CIS Toastmasters on the up and up!!

CIS Toastmasters held its 1026th meeting at the Waverly Sports Club. This year’s record audience of 30 people was treated to four prepared speeches and an educational which was delivered by Kazik Blonski. Kazik spoke about the value of goal setting. The year 2016 has seen the club attract an unprecedented number of visitors to its meetings which bodes well for the continued growth and sustainability of this great club.

The President opened the meeting and handed over control to the evening’s Toastmaster, Rob Douglas. Thando, a visitor, carried out the role of the evening’s Grammarian with Ephraim acting as the Uhm counter and Cyril Chessex as the general evaluator.

The four prepared speeches ranging from CC1 to CC3 were delivered by Avigail (The Interview of a Lifetime – CC1) and Craig Sacks (Time is of the essence – CC2), Ipelo Gasela (Who am I? – CC1) and Thato Radebe (Love languages – CC3). Avigail was awarded the evening best prepared speaker award. Craig kept the room in stiches as he explained the difference between pre-and procrastination. Ipelo kept the audience engaged when she revisited memories of her first, second and third visits to the City of Johannesburg, her love of food and how she came to love the art and science of baking.  Prior to Ipelo, Avigail had kicked off the evening with a speech laden with twists and turns, religiosity, the meaning of life and the value of family. A fitting demonstration of how a CC1 should be put together. Thato spoke about love in the only way she knows how inserting herself in her speech and dispatching pearls of wisdom to the men in the room.


Best prepared speaker: Avigail Sacks

Table Topics was chaired by Michael Silberman. Warren Sithari walked away with the best Impromptu Speaker of the evening. Alon Davidow and Rob Douglas were the best evaluator and the evening’s Toastmaster respectively.


Best Impromptu Speaker: Warren Sithari


Toastmaster of the evening: Rob Douglas


Best Evaluator: Alon Davidow

The next meeting will be held on the 23rd of February 2016. This will not be a regular meeting but a contest, The International Speech and Evaluation Contest as CIS as always tries to unearth a worthy representative to continue flying the flag.

Please come support your fellow toastmasters. See you all at the next session and thank you for helping the club assist members in achieving their communication and leadership goals.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1025 – 26 January 2016

CIS Toastmasters hosted its 1025th meeting on the 26th of January 2016. The President, Michael Silberman opened the meeting and welcomed all the guests. a total of 8 guests walked into what is fast becoming an incubator of aspiring public speakers in the Johannesburg area.

Nomaswazi Tinus did a sterling job as the evening’s Toastmaster.


Toastmaster of the evening: Nomaswazi Tinus

Three prepared speeches were delivered by Craig Sacks (CC1), Julian Blonski (CC4) and Cyril Chessex (CC5). Their speeches were titled, 1. remember to follow through, 2. The ultimate human race, and 3. Lasting longer, respectively. Craig talked about the value of following through on one’s commitments which has earned him build a wonderful family. Julian took us through a grueling comrade marathon experience. A wonderful speech which took us into the mind and body of an ultra-marathon runner. Cyril closed-off the prepared speeches session with a refreshing and funny rendition of a CC5. For his efforts, Cyril proudly took home the best prepared speaker award.


Best prepared Speaker: Cyril Chessex

The visitors got a chance to participate in the Table Topics session with Ipelo and Florence and Avigail giving their first impromptu speeches at the club with Michael and Linda completing the line-up. Avigail was awarded the best impromptu speaker trophy.


Best Impromptu Speaker: Avigail Sacks

Billy Radebe was the general evaluator for the evening with Puleng Lephondo and Christine Kwok executing the roles of grammarian and uhm counter respectively. The word of the day was ‘Impeccable’. Rob Douglas who was evaluating Cyril’s speech took away the best evaluator trophy.


Best evaluator: Rob Douglas

All in all a great meeting, a healthy attendance of visitors and as always CIS proving to be the quintessential club.

The next meeting will be on the  9th of February 2016.

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Rob Douglas Presidential Citation Award – Celebration Video at CIS Toastmasters

CIS Toastmasters joined in the celebrations for Rob Douglas’ Presidential Citation Award. The celebrations were hosted at the Waverly Sports Club on the 20th of October 2015.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1024 – 12 January 2016

CIS Toastmasters held its first meeting of 2016 on January the 12th 2016. 27 people graced the meeting with a fair turn-out of guests and visitors alike. The President, Michael Silberman opened the meeting with a fitting quote as people start with their new year’s resolutions. “Someone once told me not to bite off more than I can chew, I told them I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity“. The quote set the tone for what was to be a great evening of 6 prepared speeches including 3 advanced deliveries.

Ms. Thato Radebe kicked off the evening with her CC2 speech titled, The Addiction to Conforming. A great speech well beyond her years but a reminder that the country is in good hands as long as it continues to produce great future leaders of Thato’s caliber. Julian Blonski followed with a CC3 speech titled, El Nino – The devastating effect of the current drought. The speech was well received as it served to remind the audience not to take fresh water for granted and to conserve this limited resource. Julian layered his speech with great humour particularly on tips to save this precious resource including more communal showering activities. The last speech from the prepared speeches was delivered by Christine Kwok. The title of Christine’s speech was Shaken not Stirred which paid tribute to the author of the James Bond stories, Ian Fleming. She finished off her speech with a great quote fitting of what Toastmasters is about. ‘Never say no to adventure’. For her efforts Christine walked away with the best prepared speaker of the evening.

The speakers for the advanced speeches session were Billy Radebe, Judith Taylor and CIS’ bright spark Ms. Linda van Deventer. Billy titled his speech Takers and explained that life in essence is about giving and taking with the latter seemingly more dominant. Billy’s speech was entertaining. Judith gave a short talk which was a presentation of a floating trophy, The Bright Spark Award which Linda duly accepted. CIS Toastmasters is very proud of the service Linda provides to the club and Toastmasters at large for it is from her industry that the club continues to prosper. Well done Linda, you are an inspiration to all of us who aspire to serve this great organization.

The impromptu session followed, presented by the colourful Mr. Kazik Blonski. Kazik picked on the visitors, John, Bonke and Queen. The visitors took on the challenge with aplomb. Queen’s task was to tell the audience what makes her smile. She took us through her day job which brings about positive change to people living with HIV and Aids. For her efforts, the room voted her the best impromptu speaker of the evening. A great accolade for any visitor to receive.

Other notable contributors to the success of the evening were, Mr. Rob Douglas who served as Grammarian and gave the room the work of the day, Castigate. A great word that almost all the speakers could use.  A great lesson on how to pick a world that allows everyone to participate. Nomonde Booi performed the role of General Evaluator, with CIS’ new member Ebrahim doing a sterling job as the Uhm counter. Colbert Nengovhela was the evening’s Toastmaster. Cyril Chessex took home the evaluator of the evening award.


Judith Taylor presenting Linda van Deventer with the Bright Spark Award


The President, Michael Silberman with the evening’s Toastmaster


Best evaluator award went to Cyril Chessex


Our visitor, Queen Makwela took home the best impromptu speaker award


Christine Kwok was honoured with the best speaker of the evening trophy

All in all the evening was a great success. A good start to the new year with the club aiming to re-energize itself by recruiting new members to take this great club forward.

The next meeting is scheduled for the 26th of January 2016. CIS looks forward to seeing you all there.

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