Public speaking

Interview with a Champion

In the lead-up to the Spring Contest season, we present an interview with our club member and big star of the Fall Contest Season, District 95 Champion of German Language Table Topics, Martin Sturm. Martin has been a long-time member of our club, club president and area governor.

Martin Sturm

2015 District 95 Champion of German Language Table Topics Martin Sturm

Thanks for agreeing to this interview. First of all, congratulations again for your victory. I guess the first question should be – though I am not sure if that can be definitively answered for Table Topics, being impromptu – “How did you do it?”

 

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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

Off the couch into the Club – get a free coffee and travelling advice! (Meeting Report of June 25th)

By invitation of outgoing Vice President Membership JP on the last Tuesday in June many couch surfers visited us. René as President welcomed themand many Toastmasters and gave an overview of the Toastmasters concept.

Then it was time for Katharina to take over the leading part as Toastmaster of the evening. Well structured and confident she designed the whole meeting and first asked JP to come on stage. He suggested “cadenza” as word of the day. The noun has two meanings. Originally it is a musical term and describes a sequence of notes or chords comprising the close of a musical phrase. Furthermore it can mean the modulation or inflection of the voice. As a joke of the evening Pradeep reported the fascinating effect of elephant milk on the growth of infants. 20 pounds per week takes an infant to gain weight when lined with elephant milk. At least if it is a baby elephant.

Guenter took on a double role. First he quoted Nelson Mandela in the Word of the Day: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. “. He then as Table Topic Master challenged the members to use their creativity. From a selection of books he read a brief beginning of a chapter and then asked to continue the story.

Rolf first reported on his incredible experience in Florence. A bolting elephant jumped into the River Arno and kept him away from visiting the Uffizi. After the fright he rather ate a large portion of pasta. The next Table Topic Speaker was JP who had serious trouble. As a good looking man visiting the town of Perugia all women were after him. So the only solution to get rid of all the ladies whas to put on a black cowl. From that on he was known as the black ghost of Perugia. Then it was Perrine’s turn. She told the story of herself and her friend Rosemary. Because of their great passion for languages they kept on learning one language after the other. Concentrating on Hindi they did not want any kind of distraction and avoided all cultural acivity. Last but not least, MartinE told the story of a 2nd son who was supposed to become a medical doctor. Since he had not any talent for this profession he rather wanted to become a piano player.

Excellently prepared Katharina introduced the prepared speeches after the break. Julia had worked on the project „Organise your speech“. As she likes to be abroad she talked about different ways of travelling. Highly she recommended to visit friends who live in other countries and to stay with them for a while. Doing that she discovers the different lifestyle of a foreign culture and reflects on her own life – „The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.“. Being her evaluator Vivian was glad that Julia fully met the requirements of the project by structuring the presentation precisely. She encouraged her to avoid the use of notes because that would make the speech more fluent. By the personal experience and her opinion Julia convinced the audience.

„Random Acts of Love and Kindness“ was the title of MartinS’ speech. He called on everyone to make the world better with little efforts. Explaining this with three little stories his message became clear. Whether it is a man who plants a tree for the next generations, a clerk in a sports shop who allows a little boy a 60$ disount so he can buy the desired baseball gloves or a man who gives his icecream to a crying child – real beauty is something generated in your heart. From time to time Martin himself pays for an extra cinema ticket or an extra coffee for the next person showing up there even if he doesn’t know him or her. Unfortunately Martin didn’t tell where his favourite place for coffee is located . . . Evaluating the speech Awais stressed out the good resarch and the use of anecdotes. Improvemts could have been made with more voice variation. After all with arousing emotions Martin inspired everyone.

Starting the manual „Storytelling“ Alexander presented a folk tale from his home country. A hermit from the mountains came for a confession to the priest. The unmarried man didn’t know his age, had never been to church and committed intercourse with some woman. But he was worried to trample down aunts and bees on the ground so he wore tinker bells at his feet to warn the insects. So is this man really a sinner? May be he knows better. Jeff evalutated the speech and appreciated the development of the characters and the design of the setting. He suggested to reduce the role play and the movements on stage a bit. Doing that the audience could concentrate on the story itself. Alexander impressed with a tale full of wisdom and tension.

Our general evaluator Ombretta commented on the whole meeting, praised Pradeep (timekeeper) and Viktor (ah counter) but wasn’t satisfied with the grammarian (MartinE).

That night the Toastmasters year ended. President of Mannheim International Toastmasters in 2012/2013 René Fritsch handed over to his successor Martin Sturm who will lead the club during the next twelve month. A very warm thank-you to René and his team for leading the club successfully!

pictures: Bernhard Pixler/pixelio.de, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Flugschein.JPG, www.musicandmorestore.de

May 28th: Join the Summer Fashion Show at Mannheim Int. Toastmasters

As the days get warmer, you might be looking for some inspiration for what you can wear in summer. What about colorful T-shirts with flashy patterns or strange imprints?

Have a look into your wardrobe, put on the “dernier cri” of your T-shirt collection and present it at our upcoming meeting! May have been bought as a holiday souvenir, something very stylish (a long time ago) or made for a particular reason (e.g. graduating from High School, stag party). We are looking forward to seeing all club members and guests dressed with screwy and horrible shirts . . . oh yeah!

Please confirm your attendance and take a role >>here!