August 27: Summer Inspirations

Our Toastmaster René
Our Toastmaster René

Summer Inspirations was the theme of the meeting and clearly our many guests were well inspired to join us: Galina, Tobias and Stan returned for another visit and we also welcomed Sandy, Daniel, Chris, Judit, Yingqi and Svetlana to the club. Wow, what an awesome start!

Everyone answered the round table question about their summer inspirations briefly. We found inspiration such as sports, sunshine, parties and sex on the beach (the cocktail).

Then our Toastmaster of the Evening René took charge and gave a thorough explanation of the evening, introducing all the other roles. Jeff told an exhilarating (word of the day by himself) joke: Never tell your wife, she’s bad in bed, she might get a second opinion. Jazzmin enlightened us with Thomas Jefferson’s truth to never say 2 words when 1 is enough.

Our Table-Topics master Christian created a very inspired session about new food products: Martin presented the new Weißwurst Beer and then our courageous guests joined the game: Chris convinced us to buy Bacon-flavored Toothpaste, Yingqi’s explanation on putting food in dirty-looking packing is giving rise to a new trend-diet and Stan presented the nuclear food can.

Jeff giving an Evaluation
Jeff giving an Evaluation

After the fun Table Topics, Julia’s prepared speech made us sad, because it was a farewell speech. We all wish her best of luck and nice new Toastmasters Clubs in her new home in Scotland. Steven taught us about being more efficient regarding time management, e-mails and even more. Both completed their 3rd project “Get to the point” with these speeches. Günter gave the Storytelling speech “Bringing History to Life” and showed us Nelson Mandela’s long and ultimately ironic path to freedom.In the evaluation section, Oliver, Martin and Jeff gave excellent feedback to our speakers. Jeff also commented on our use of the English Language. We are very thankful to Sandy for being such a diligent timekeeper and to Svetlana for counting the filler words very attentively. JP served as the General Evaluator and after Martin’s closing session we went to Mario for drinks and fun!

If you light a lamp for someone else…

.. it will also brighten your path.

My dear fellow Toastmasters,

how did it feel to find out about Toastmasters?
How did it feel to act on it and to attend?
How long did it take you?

Maybe there was someone who told you about it, maybe you found out on your own.
It does not matter, now that you are here!

But there are others out there who YOU can give a little light.
That friend, that colleague, that acquaintance who could really benefit from better speaking and leading skills.

Light a lamp for them and invite them to Toastmasters, it will brighten your path as well.

We have our Membership Contest running in May and June. And you can win A FREE MEMBERSHIP!
It’s easy:
For every guest you bring, you get 1 point.
If a guest you have brought joins us in May or June, you get 1 more point.

If we grow by 5 new members in these 2 months, then, and only then, the person with the highest number of points wins the FREE MEMBERSHIP! If there is a tie, we will draw for the winner.

It’s easy, it’s fun and you can help others!

I bet you are already thinking of someone you could invite for Tuesday. DO IT NOW!

Confident Humility – our meeting on November 27

Wow, what a great evening! On our meeting on November 27th we welcomed 8 guests in total. Zarna and Katjusha each visited us for the second time, Renate and Michael for the first time. And I am very happy to mention that we had four guests from Mannheim Business School who visited us for the first time and are very eager to start their own club! What a great plan! We will do our best to support them! Thank you Jia, Ankur, Aniket, Viraj for visiting us.

After Hope started the meeting and got everyone accustomed, René introduced Toastmasters very well as a peer group where we help each other and have fun. Alexander, our Toastmasters of the Evening, explained the structure of the evening very clearly. Then Ombretta gave us the wonderful word of the evening: “exigent” which can mean urgent or demanding. It was used quite often during the meeting.

After explaining the meeting theme “Confident Humility” neither being arrogant nor self-deprecating, Alexander also gave us the joke of the evening. Martin S. presented the thought of the day (with credit going to Sophia): “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less”.

Then it was time for fun! Lorna gave us a challenging Table Topics Theme coming from her scientific background on what makes us human. Hope, talking about what makes us intelligent, contrasted the value of school in our society to the value of learning about yourself in our societies and gave her own opinion on this. Zarna explained that while we might only use 10 % of our brain consciously, the important thing is not only to gather information, but also to apply the information and to act on it. Bernhard started his thoughts on whether men and machine will merge with a brief historical story on the development of artificial intelligence which he used as the reason for his conclusion that machines may always get better but will never replace us. Ankur gave predictions about the potential consciousness of the internet stating that computers will become better in understanding people and in turn communicating better with us.

After our break we continued with prepared speeches. Diego gave a well-organized speech for his second project, talking about principles of business. He contrasted the principles of Goldman-Sachs with that of a Finnish Retailer in a very entertaining way, stating that he prefers the honest statement that companies are there to make money, quoting Milton Friedman: “The Business of Business is Business”.

Hyejin did a wonderful job using rhetoric devices in her fourth speech project. She talked about her memories of Cambodia. From the rising sun in Angkor Wat to finding a four leaf-clover, she explained to us that the Cambodians are happy people. That was well shown by her story about two girls who she made very happy by taking a picture of them.

Martin’s speech focused on fear. The explained to us the matrix of fear by Jeff Wise and drew a matrix in which he told us there are things we fear that are dangerous, but also that are not dangerous, and that there are things we could be more afraid of because of their danger. But he concluded that everyone loves Teddy Bears and they can really help people when they are sad.

René presented an award to Walter Isaacson for his biography to Steve Jobs. He explained about all the achievements and details and the history of the recipient and in the end handed the award to Martin E. as Walter’s representative.

Perrine led the evaluation team. Ombretta, Rolf, Martin E. and Günter all gave wonderful evaluations and helped all the speakers improve. Lale gave the Ah-Counters report which demonstrated her great listening skill. JP reported on the use of the English language as the Grammarian. Our guest Aniket took the responsibility of serving as timekeeper, thank you! Perrine then gave very detailed feedback to everyone and did a superb job as General Evaluator.

René announced the upcoming spring conference in Antwerp during club business. Here is the link: We formally welcomed Lale in our club as a new member, what a great addition to us! Ombretta received the sponsor award for introducing a new member into our club now that Lorna has given her Icebreaker. And finally, the awards went to:

Best Tabletopics-Speaker: Bernhard

Best Speaker: Martin S.

Best Evaluator: Martin E.

What a great evening! I hope to see you soon and remember, in January we will try a bigger room. More people, more fun 🙂

Member Survey – Because your Interests Matter!

Dear fellow Toastmasters,

your Vice President Education Martin had the great idea to conduct a member survey, so he and I – your Vice President Membership JP – have put it into action.

This survey is important to us to find out more about your interest, needs, short-term and long-term goals and how our club can help you! There is also a section where we ask for your opinion about our club, suggestions and feedback. It would be really helpful if you fill this out. With the knowledge of where you want to go, we can help you get into that direction.

Or loosely quoting Alice in Wonderland: “Well, if you don’t know where you want to go, it does not really matter which way you take!”

We want you to take the right way and to support you we want to know where you want to go.

So please fill out the member survey. You will find it on Easy-Speak. Click here for detailed instructions on how to fill out your survey!

Don’t worry about making mistakes, become happy – and distinguished

Apart from improving your English speaking skills is there another language you want to learn and why? Opening the meeting JP addressed this questions to the audience. Our answers varied broadly. From Japanese over Spanish to Xhosa Toastmasters are curious about languages. They give the opportunity to learn more about a foreign culture or to have great holidays abroad. Sometimes even a dulcet speech melody is enjoyable. Jazzmin who was also the Toastmaster of the evening presented the word of the day. “To pull someone’s weight” means to do one’s fair share of work. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. (George Bernard Shaw)” was chosen by Jeff for the thought of the day. A slogan matching perfectly the Toastmasters approach. What are the different techniques of a general practitioner, a pathologist and a surgeon in duck hunting? MartinE’s joke answered this secret.

Günter was able to join us again and chaired the table topics. He wanted the participants to find solutions for the burning questions of limited public budgets. So Jazzmin gave a clear statement that reducing subsidies for the cultural live would be counterproductive. In fact cities with many cinemas, theatres and museums would usually show a greater economic wealth.  The sense of teaching mathematics at school was discussed by Thomas. He was sure that improving the teaching methods would have a better effect than reduced spending on a subject that nowadays many pupils dislike. Lots of money is spent for astronomic research and space missions. But MartinE denied giving up these activities for financial reasons because our modern life would come to a standstill without innovations like Teflon® or GPS navigation. JP focused on the sense of subsidies for sports events. Instead of sponsoring these events with tax revenues he suggested the state should support a Toastmasters convention for that would give a real benefit to many people.

In an educational session Jeff explained the Toastmasters distinguished club program. He outlined the main aspects of the program and analyzed why each part of it — educational skills, membership growth and club management — helps the club to become more successful. And Mannheim Int. is doing pretty well this year. Again our club will reach the status of a “Select Distinguished Club”.

The Story of Mr Happy was told by MartinS. Mr Happy was able to convince sad and unhappy people to come to “Happyland” which made them flourish. With an excellent use of body language he made Mr Happy become alive and enriched the story with awesome dialogs.

Because everyone pulled his / her weight Mannheim’s International Toastmasters and their guests profited from this evening.