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Meeting on May 14th [photos]

Mapping the Toastmaster’s genome (meeting on Apr 23rd)

The Panda bear, dogs, a chameleon, butterflies, a cheetah, worms – just to mention a few, all kind of animals are the favorites of Mannheim’s Toastmasters. They were the answers to MartinS warm up question what animals fascniated the audience. He handed over to Guenter as Toastmaster of the evening who chaired the evening successfully. Explainations of the main structure, smooth transistions between different parts and roles and a precise meeting process made it easy to follow. „Lunacy“ was Steven’s choice for the word of the day which means a stupid behaviour that will have bad results or (old fashioned) mental illness. Then Lorna told the funny story of Bill who started a new job as painter. He delivered an outstandig performance in painting yellow lines on his first day. But from day to day his efficiency declined as the way to the paint bucket became longer and longer. „Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.“ (Robert Louis Stevenson) was the thought of the day presented by Jeff.

Being the Table-Topic Master Jazzmin encouraged the members of our club to take on different roles and to present dialogues off the cuff. So Perrine and MartinS acted as a couple. Returning home she had to communicate carefully that she crashed his Porsche. Rudy played the role of a little boy who had to convince his father Rolf that aliens were in their garden. As a police officer Steve wanted to fine Lorna on her black and white painted horse for speeding. But instead of paying a penalty she offered him a ride into the sunset at the Neckar beach. Than the audience witnessed a historical argument. Napoleon (Jeff) and the Emporer of China (Artur) argued who would be the greatest man in the world. Finally the little Frenchman wanted to know the way to China to conquer Asia and offered some fine French wine as a good and valuable consideration.

Continuing the meeting after the break Steve presented his Icebreaker. He said that relationships play a fundamental role to us – some they kill, others they bring back to live. An important relationship to himself began when he was in Spain and met his girlfriend for the first time. Because of her he came to Manheim and now he learns German and discovers the culture and the people of the country. In her evaluation Sophia emphasized the flow and the clear structure and suggested to work on vocal variety and pauses between the different parts. Steve delivered his first speech in a serene and confident manner.

Vivian explained the differences of „nature and nurture“ that influences children when growing up. By using profound facts and examples she illustrated the main impacts on personality – heredity, shared environment and unshared environment. Being her evaluator Rudy noticed the good organisation and the awesome composition of the speech. In his opinion a little story related to each statement would make it even more memorable. By using a sharp contrast in her opening Vivian immediately draw the audience into her presentation.

Being on the verge of despair Rolf shared his experience with his new tablet computer. Whether it was an e-mail account screwed up, a film dubbed in the wrong language or unwanted facebook buddies, Rolf gave a lively report about boon and bane of modern technology. Now he wonders if his airline would accept tickets that are printed into „the cloud“ instead onto a sheet of paper. Reviewing the speech Jeff was happy about the great choice of the topic. He pointed out the strong and lively voice that makes it easy to listen. Jeff recommended to use a joke or a funny story in the beginning to fullfill the objectives better. After all Rolf’s entertaining speech convinced with subtle irony.

Taking over again MartinS talked about the „beat the clock“ membership contest. If the club gains at least 5 new members in May and June the person who brings in the most guests and new members will win a one-year membership of our club! At the end of this evening it became clear that active members, entertaining Table Topics and profound presentations certainly are part of the Toastmaster’s genome sequence.


pictures: foto-planet.com/pixelio.de, C. Falk / pixelio.de, Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de, Matt Buchanan (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)

Talk, talk, talk – off the cuff,¹ by presenting your prepared speech² or at the upcoming contests.³

What did you feel when you quit something in your live? Opening our meeting on February 26th René adressed this question to the audience. Different statements came up like heavy emotions when a relationship to someone you love comes to an end, coping with the reactions of people around you when you give up something too challenging or your own expectations because every end also means a new beginning.

Continuing the warm up our Toastmaster of the evening Alexander asked MartinS for a joke.  He told the story of a man entering a pub, ordering seven vodkas and drinking them quickly. Asked why he was in a hurry he answered everyone else also would be, having just 50 Cent in the wallet. MartinE had chosen a saying by Alfred Hitchcock for the thought of the day. Hitchcock commented on the casting methods of a colleague of his: „Disney has the best casting. If he doesn’t like an actor he just tears him up“.

A kind of moving pictures were also the main element of the Table Topic session. MartinE had prepared a set of power point slides changing in a 20 seconds increment for each speaker. René talked about his recent visit to India and how he said thank you to the guys who offered him transport on the back of an elephant. Unfortunatly they didn’t like his present of a potatoe because they were unaware how to prepare and eat it. Did you know that Lorna had in mind to become the mayor of London? For that reason she invented demanding studies in a creative process concerning drugs and ducks. As an experienced Toastmaster our guest Simon easily combined his past as the „white Ray Charles“ with the competences of Bob the Builder in plastic surgery. Katharina spoke about the difficulties when coming back from Jamaica to Germany. It was a hard time having no proper place to stay, being  bounced around and without proper food. But finally a nice elderly Lady offered her a hearty meal – it was Her Majesty The Queen who gave her a formidable Quarter Pounder. Spending his youth in the jungle of South America MartinS had a terrible time. Whether it were Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkoczy clattering around or an evil clown, Martin was so happy to meet a blond girl who encouraged him to leave the area and live with her together.

Working on the speech project „Get to the Point“ Diego analyzed the world’s drug problems and the  specific aspects of this „market“. To solve the problems he suggested to change the international consensus of prohibition to a legalized and highly regulated market. His evaluator JP emphasized the clear purpose of the speech. Improvements could have been made by using concrete expamples instead of abstract figures. Diego impressed everyone with his confidence and natural appearance.

Ombretta summed up the 5.000 year old history of books. Asking „Dead as Doornail or Alive and  Kicking?“ she had a critical look at tablets and e-readers. Still today she loves papery books and likes to share them with her friends. Being her evaluator Simon stressed out the positive and lively presentation and suggested to work on the body language. Finally Ombretta  convinced with a passionate and personal speech.

As the crowd was a bit smaller than normally everyone could enjoy a  private and face-to-face atmosphere  full of rhetorical activity. Closing the evening René mentioned the contest season ahead and invited everyone to the events.³

¹ Word of the day (presented by Julia).
² 4 club members are going to complete their CC manual until June.
³ Join our Club Contest on March 12th and visit the contests in April on Area and Division level too.


pictures: finlandia.com, Michael Rittmeier / pixelio.de, Arno Bachert / pixelio.de, Wilhelmine Wulff / pixelio.de

Observing the time-limit – a case of randomness?

Our new room was a great place to spend the first Toastmasters evening in 2013. Many people  took part – Club members, Toastmasters and guests who wanted to get to know us. Vice President of Membership and Toastmaster of the evening JP led through the agenda in superior style. First it was Ravindra who presented the word of the day – “to exacerbate” means to make something worse, espcially a disease or a problem. Different kinds of sports are already at the Olympic Games, some new kinds will certainly be there in future. In the joke of the evening René explainded that one activity will never be there — sunbathing, because the best thing you can achieve is bronze. Hye-Jin suggested to do something risky. “To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure. But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” (Felice Leonardo Buscaglia), the thought of the day.

Being the Table Topic Master Guenter referred by to the new year. Again Hye-Jin came up front and talked about a special tradition in her home country. As a child she visited her grandparents at New Year’s Eve and got money as a present. And because South Koreans celebrate New Year twice a year, she hoped to be rewarded twice. Jeff explained the changes that will effect him in 2013 and said that he planned to hand over some of the duties in his professional live to a successor. Looking back at 2012 Ravi was happy to have become a team manager and to get the chance to qualify for even more demanding tasks at work. Many of us know the popular TV show “Dinner for One”. It was René who revealed the secret of Ms Sophie’s old friend Sir Toby who always is part of the round on Dec 31st.

The evening went on with Lale’s Ice breaker. As a professional coach still today she benefits from her experiences as a child – living in several countries, being always the “new kid on the block” and learning to be patient. Hope encouraged us that happiness is something that everyone already has. So do not try to become a kind of black hole and draw as much attention as you can but rather discover that you are already a light. Then Alexander gave an insight of his work to us. By showing several examples he appealed: “Do not try to predict unexpected things“. No wonder that he was able to portray the topic interesting, he is a statistician. Talking about the secret inside the Baobab tree MartinE closed the session of prepared speeches.

Perrine, Jeff, Veysi and MartinS were the evaluators and commented encouraging and precisely on the presentations. Though he did an accurate job as the timekeeper Christian had to remind many speakers to pay attention to the time frame. And right he is – only one prepared speech and one evaluations were within the limit. Rolf was our general evaluator; “We are here to develop and deliver speeches” he summed up the evening.

Ah stop – I forgot something very important. That night we gained three new members. They joined to learn to present better speeches, to improve the ability to chair workshops and even to find inspiration! I’m sure you will – a warm welcome to Heike, Chiafieh and Wenrong!



pictures: Mannheim Int. Toastmasters Club, Hans Peter Dehn / pixelio.de, Bernhard Friesacher / pixelio.de, Ulla Trampert / pixelio.de

Take it and spread the word

We’ve created a new flyer! With this we want to reach even more people and describe briefly what you can experience at our club. The flyer shows what people can achieve with us, how we put the Toastmasters ideas into practice and — of course — how you can get in touch with the club.

Feel free to take a couple of copies and tell your friends and colleagues about Mannheim International Toastmasters. From next Tuesday we have plenty of flyers.