Meeting Report

Open up for summer action but be aware of grandsons with pillows [meeting report of 2014-05-27]

457102_Rainer Sturm_pixelio.deWhen opening the meeting on May 27th President Martin S got us into the perfect mood. He asked the really relevant question to find out this season’s favourite ice cream flavour. Toastmaster of the evening Christian managed perfectly to keep track of the meeting. After introducing all the supporting roles he started the warm up session.

“Torrid” was suggested by Jeff as Word of the Day; the expression means exposed to great heat and also hot in temper or passion. Women sometimes tend to comment on the driving style of their husbands intensively. What would happen if a man did the same with the cooking of his wife? This was lively described in Jazzmin’s joke. Inspiration for summer activities were given by Martin — drinking lemonades, fishing or counting stars. He quoted a little poem as thought of the day.

To describe the best places for vacation was the challenge for the Table Topics. Chairing this part of the agenda Martin S had prepared photos of holiday destinations. Living on the beach, swimming in the sea and watching fish — for Katharina the Caribbean is the place to be. Heidi felt comfortable spending some time in Palma de Mallorca, though belonging to Spain almost everyone would understand German too. She was almost succesful to convince the Table Topics Master to pay for the trip. Monty Python’s dead parrot sketch was the reason why Guenther wanted to go to Norway; the lifeless bird is said to come from there and the Scandinavian country is ideal for some reflection in the nature.

681848_Lupo_pixelio.de_.jpgAlthough she had already visited Asia Judith wished to go again. Keen on river rafting and nightlife she talked about a perfect time in Nepal. Jeff vividly described how the Baltic Sea and the horizon on the island of Ruegen would inspire him because “If you travel with an open heart you’ll never come back as the same person”. Heading to the Maldive Islands Jazzmin wasn’t sure if spending 4 weeks on her own would be fun. So she invited every Toastmaster to join in. Martin E’s plan was a holiday at home. He recommended a staycation and wondered why his grandma used to go to the mountain’s with her three sisters every year in a small VW Beetle.

After the break JP continued in the session of prepared speeches. He assumed the role of a grandson with serious money problems. Though he hadn’t seen his grandmother for a long time he suddenly became very worried when the elderly lady made acquaintence with “Rosie” — a man who was 25 years younger than herself. The entertaining presentation finished dramatically when grandma drew her last breath because of a pillow pressed on her face.

Alexander powerfully persuaded the audience not to dedicat oneself just to big projects in life. He stressed out that taking care of everyday issues — simple things like health or eating and drinking — is important too. He included a personal experience about his recent relocation from Mannheim to Oxford.

489992_Konstantin-Gastmann_pixelio.de_.jpgIn the 3rd speech Sophia demonstrated how to get a message across without sayinga word. Non-verbal communication is even more important than verbal communication, what an interesting topic for every Toastmaster! Supported by excellently chosen photos she figured out main aspects of confident body language: take up space, remove barriers and maintain eye contact. She will continue talking about the subject in another presentation.

Being the General Evaluator Guenther introduced the feedback speeches by Katharina, Jazzmin and Martin. As an experienced Toastmasters he furthermore had carefully observed the meeting. So he was able to make some fundamental suggestions to improve the meeting’s procedure and atmosphere.

Finally it was President Martin S’s duty to hand over the awards for the best speeches to Katharina (evaluation), Jeff (speaking of the cuff) and Sophia (prepared speech). Before the crowd finished the meeting he announced upcoming Toastmaster’s activities like the meeting of the Rhetorikclub MannheimBASF Toastmasters and the conference of the new District 95 in Frankfurt.

pictures:
Rainer-Sturm / pixelio.de
Lupo / pixelio.de
Konstantin Gastmann / pixelio

Recap: “resurrect​ion and renewal” Meeting on Apr.22 2014

The last meeting for our outgoing VPE Alexander brought lots of surprises and improvisation. Especially since we were on a “special agenda” with a total of no less than six table-topic speeches. Alexander himself led through the evening with a theme of “resurrection and renewal” fitting the Easter Holidays, which he also incorporated into the table topics. The first prepared speech was given by Bikash. As his Icebreaker speech, he not only explained how his becoming an engineer was preordained from birth so strongly that he succeeded in becoming one even though he studied at the best place for doing everything BUT study, but went on to win best prepared speech of the evening – way to go! As the first table topic speech, Oliver speculated on what the traditional color of Easter eggs was and how they came to be so colorful nowadays. Alexander then revealed that they originally were red as a reminder of the blood of Christ.

Wenrong explained some key differences between German and Chinese culture in the second prepared speech. In the following table topics, our guest Farzana sought for an explanation of the origin of the Easter Bunny and added some parallels from her own culture.

The last prepared speech by Christian was from an advanced manual. Christian presented us a laudation for a colleague in which he used the metaphor of fire to illustrate warmth, energy and enlightenment that his colleague had shown. In the following table topics, Pieter was asked what the story of the resurrection meant to him. He suggested that even though we may sometimes reach points where we cannot know what’s ahead of us or see no way to go on, we should never give up.

Evaluations were introduced by Jazzmin, who was general evaluator for the evening. Yinqi praised Bikash’s speech and, referencing a quote from it, suggested that he had the abilities to “aim high” as a speaker. In the ensuing table topics speech, our guest Bea was asked by Alexander to explain some pastry he brought and what its connection to the occasion is. He later revealed it is called “kozunak”, a Bulgarian speciality for the Easter Holidays.

Pieter evaluated Wenrong’s speech, relating it to his own meeting Chinese people. Jazzmin had just handed the floor back to Alexander for the next table topics speech when he called her back for the speech to tell us about her time in Cape Town.

The last evaluation was given by JP, who praised Christian’s use of a metaphorical framework and opening and closing the speech with famous quotes. He, too, had barely returned to his seat when he had to come back and, as the last table topics speech of the evening, had to tell us about the meaning of the light of resurrection. It was all worth it, though, given that he was awarded both best evaluation AND best table topics speech of the evening.

Finally, our president Martin Sturm presented a farewell gift to Alexander, who in turn distributed the kozunak under those attending.

All in all, it was a very rejuvenating meeting. For the club, with an Icebreaker winning best prepared speech, but especially so for Alexander, who has lots of changes coming to his life in the coming days. We wish him all the best and good luck in Oxford!

1511023_704483012928246_2199524700511328033_n

Oliver Hauss

Recap: “Fir and Ice” Meeting on Nov.12th

The last Toastmasters meeting from Mannheim started with Jeff’s friendly warm-up as usual, then followed by Martin.S’s welcome speech. We had embraced a lot of new friendly faces again: Michael, Muralidharan, Wei Xiang and Dominicor . Our family is really getting bigger and more diversified. What a great progress!

Doozy, a word that looked nice and was not known to Sophia as she mentioned,meaning something outstanding or unique of its kind, was chosen as the “word of the evening”. Martin.S has spontaniously applied to be the joker of the evening, who told us the hilarious psychology related joke that he has always liked. “Fire and Ice”, the same topic as the theme of the meeting evening, was picked by Oliver for table topic round. Several new guests as well as experienced TM members have accepted the challenges to give impromptu speeches, from whom Jeff, thanks to his impressive talk about “why hatred is meant to be ice instead of fire”, has won the best speake r award.

During the second part of the meeting, the prepared speeches, we welcomed three speakers, Wenrong, Sophia and Guenter. Wenrong shared her recent experience when her mother visited her from China; Sophia told us one interesting story plot of Alice’s Adventures in Philosophy-Wonderland with very vivid mocking voices; then, Guenter read a really funny novel abstract, the arrival, from one of his favorite books. It was regarding a journey to India as a tourist. Guenter used different paces, passions and voices to succesffully recreate the exact environment of the story to all audience. No wonder he won the final best speech award of the evening!

Evaluation was led by Alexander again with his team members Steven, Diego and Martin.E. All of them have excellent performances and Martin.E was chosen as the best evaluator in the end.

When members and guests almost finished the beverages and snacks carefully prepared by the officer team, the evening session was also over. Though winter was approaching, Toastmasters members continued to have good modes and therefore Mario’s restaurant became the next house for us to chat…

Meeting Recap Oct 22nd

Hi everybody,

Following our theme “Harvest of Abundance,” we had a truly inspiring, rich, and abundant meeting yesterday. Jazzmin revealed to us powerful techniques to make our table topics even more successful. Right away the table topics contestants were able to use them, and Jeff won, relating to us why he thinks that his book “Quick recipes for people who can’t cook” is going to be a bestseller.

WP_20131022_044WP_20131022_034

Sophia won best speaker award by excelling in project #5 from the CC manual.She made us curious to know whether one day there might be a drug that could erase bad memories.

We had so much fun and insights yesterday, so please join us NEXT TUESDAY already to have a wonderful Toastmasters experience in English.

Best regards,

Martin Sturm

Recap of Humorous speech and Table topic contests on September 24, 2013

The toastmasters evening on September 24 was special, not only because we hosted the annual club contest but also because of the “gift” shown by Rene at the end of the meeting. In addition, we welcomed four guests, Stan, Judit, Luefing and Matthias to our club! Big applauses!

After standard opening of the evening, the contest was started by table topic contest. The four contestants, Marting.S, Jazzmin, Jeff and Rene, were very excited about the upcoming topic to be given. The topic chosen by Wenrong was , “if tomorrow is the end of the world, what will you do tonight and tomorrow?”. Each contestant has different angle to interpret the topic: Martin expressed her kindness and love to her sister, whom he definitely wanted to spend the last day with; Jazzmin would rather enjoy the nice food and drinks and make the day as perfect as possible; Jeff slightly converted the topic, based on his situation, to “how will you spend your days most meaningfully for the next day to next 30 years”; and Rene, as coming last, wanted to make some relaxing excursion and observe the special day.

Although four contestants were all performing fantastically, Rene in the end had won the first price. Congratulations!

After short break, the second part of contest, the humor speech, started. The first speaker, JP, presented us with an interesting fantasy story about how he, a 1.98 meter tall person, was actually judged as “tiny” from his “Tighten” tribe. Ensuing that, Rolf as second speaker told us the funny story between him and his daughter regarding “never to lie” rule in a child’s eye, when booking a flight ticket. Afterwards, Jazzmin came to the stage and delivered a vivid speech in German about the comparison between men and women when being in the car. As agreed, in the end Rolf was sent to the next level of area contest for humor speech contest.

WP_20130924_008WP_20130924_016

The grand finale of the meeting was when Rene opened an evelope and showed everyone a shiny purple ribbon. On the ribbon it says “president’s distinguished club”. Wow!!! After long efforts contributed, our club has finally reached this award! Big claps! The present toastmasters and guests then all gave some congratulating words to the newly achieved award. The scene was most touching.

WP_20130924_017

What came more exciting was that afterwards Stan and Judit announced that they have decided to join the club officially! What a happy ending of the evening!

With full of joy and gratitude, the meeting dismissed at 9:30pm where most of the attendants went on to have fun at Mario’s.