In our special theme meeting for Thanksgiving our Toastmaster Jeff had done great preparations: We had candles, yummy original pumpkin pie brought by Calvin and a great spirit. With an attendance of 15 people in total we happily welcomed our two guests Helen and Wolfram and also Stefan from the German club who visited us for the first time!
During our round-table talk we all discussed what we are thankful for. We have found out that a lot of people are thankful for Toastmasters, being able to buy what they want, education, their family and having a happy life!
Jeff then gave us some great information on how Thanksgiving is conducted in the US. He explained the history of the holiday starting in 1621 and told us that feeling thankful also helps people to feel better.
Calvin gave us the very fitting word of the day “enspirit” which is like enspire and is also related to building such a great team as in Toastmasters! It was well used in that evening. Mauro continued with the joke of the evening in which an employer had a great surprise for any employee that would roll a 6 with a dice.
In his thought of the day, Martin disclosed that his knowledge on Thanksgiving primarily from TV shows and movies. He found that Thanksgiving is a day of meeting people and consequently quoted Johnny Carson: “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”
Our Tabletopics-Master Günter had prepared a theme that also reflected on being thankful. His first question went to Li who had to speak about what his favorite holiday is and why. Li said he generally liked all holidays because he had the day off and did not need to go to school. However, as a child, spring festival was his favorite holiday because children receive cash from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives.
Calvin was asked to talk about the obstacles he had to overcome. He began by talking about getting up and talking in front of people and getting noticed by them. Also he mentioned the challenge of being a role model for younger people and concluded that this helped him become a better person.
René had the challenge of giving a spontaneous speech about Cicero’s believe that thankfulness is the parent of all virtues. He carefully weighed the facts that on the one hand a lot of people interpret gratitude as a wish to receive more, but also stated that it might be right because nobody brags about not being thankful, so it might be true.
Yafang spoke about who she would invite to a Thanksgiving party and what would happen there. Thinking quickly on her feet, she invited all of us first! Then she would also invite some famous football players and have a party with a sports game, Chinese food and at the end of the party she wants the new NBA season would begin.
After the break we continued the meeting with three prepared speeches. Martin began with speech number 2 from the Competent Communication Manual “Organise your Speech”. He talked about situations in which you need quick answers and the basics of ready wit. This was structured into the three elements strong analysis, humor and reaction to an attack. In his very funny speech in which he served as a live example, he gave us the hints to ask for solutions, assume your opponent is worse than you and don’t explain yourself and did a great job on that!
Perrine let her “body speak” in the second speech. She talked about her trip to an agricultural show where she had the roles of a farmer, the daughter of a farmer and herself on a special mission. She vividly demonstrated to us all the great things such as a potato harvester, new tractors with cool seats. She told us she was working as an international spy stealing secrets on new tractor technology, but she soon found out she was not the only spy in there.
The third speech on that evening was given by me. I did the project “research your topic” and talked about how I looked on Google and was shocked that you could only find Toastmasters with search terms as “public speaking”, but not leadership, communications or presentation skills. Following up with the creation of our new website, I demonstrated what I found on Search Engine Optimization so that people will be able to find us better.
René served as the General Evaluator and introduced the three evaluators Günter, Katharina and Jeff who all gave some great and useful feedback. Yafang kept track of the time during the meeting and ensured we would stay in it. Li gave his detailed report on the Ahs and other filler words that were used by the participants. Katharina also gave the grammarian’s report and pointed out good examples of the English language and gave some advice for improvement.
Awards went to Li, Perrine and Jeff. It was another fun evening with a great atmosphere. I would like to thank everyone and especially our Toastmaster Jeff for making this possible. Hope to see you at the next meeting, please sign up on Easy-Speak!