Empathy [Meeting Report of 2021-02-09]

Again a very international meeting – we had the pleasure to welcome Toastmaster members from other clubs as well as guest joining us for the first time. Our presiding officer Poorana warmly welcomed Paul from the States, Hannah from Namibia, Sigrid from the Club “Redefluß” in Bonn, Amrith – who had been with us several times already  – and two newcomers Mohammed and Erjon.

With lots of quotations on empathy the toastmaster Sybille led through the evening. One example: “Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world”, by Barack Obama.
The word of the day “commiserate”, well presented by Oliver, aligned to the theme and was used three times in the course of the evening.

Our Table Topics master Poorana explained what Table Topics is about and asked the following four questions:
“Things are never as bad as they seem”. The TT speech was given by our Toastmaster Julian.
“If you want more kindness in the world put some there”. Our guest Erjan took this question.
 “If you can’t determine right from wrong you lack empathy not religion”. Amrith delivered his TT speech on this question.
“How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you”, Hannah opted for this one.

We had two prepared speeches. We had the pleasure to listen to Sigrid’s fabulous speech “The biggest mistake”. A very personal incident triggered off a reflection of her life. Sigrid’s message was that life is precious and we should not make the mistake to think we have lot’s of time left.
Martin spoke about his experiences as VP membership and shared with us the results of the 360° evaluation, a scrutinizing report on what he did well and what could be improved. This report was conducted by Toastmaster members of his club.

The evaluations were given by Jeff and Oliver. The award went to Jeff. The best Table Topic speaker was Amrith. The best speaker was Sigrid. Everybody loved this committed, very touching and personal speech.

Despite some technical glitches we had again a joyful, relaxed, friendly and inspiring evening.

Poorana thanked all participants for their contributions and asked the guests how they have liked the evening. Finally he reminded the team of the area contest on February 27. There are still roles to be filled. The organizers are looking for judges, chief judges and ballot counters.

Letting go [Meeting Report of 2021-01-26]

For our second meeting of the year 2021 our toastmaster of the evening, Martin, introduced the theme letting go and led through the evening with many tips how to let things go in order to get a more relaxed attitude to everything. He mentioned the Sedona technique as a method to overcome difficult situations and let go of painful feelings. He also promoted the book “declutter your life inside and out” by Mary Kando.

As always, our presiding officer Poorana started the evening welcoming our guests. We had the pleasure to talk to Jorge from Portugal, Amrith and Marianka who had already been guests to our club.

Our Table Topics master Oliver introduced five quotations about letting go and asked the individual speakers what they meant to them:

Jeff talked about the quote: “Sometimes letting go is an act of greater power than defending or hanging on”. (By Eckhard Tolle)
Jorge chose the quote: “If you want to fly give up everything that weighs you down”.
Amrith delivered a speech on: “Letting go does not mean you stop caring. It means you stop trying to force others”. (By Mandy Hale)
Marianka opted for: “In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past but you will find yourself”. (By Deepak Chopra).
The award for the best table topic speaker went to Jeff.

We had two prepared speeches. Poorana took a topic from his work and spoke about how to lead a project concentrating on the most important things in order to progress faster. The title of his speech was “Do not sweat the small stuff.” The speech is part of the pathways project Innovative Planning.

Within the path Presentation Mastery Karl – our second speaker –  succeeded in the project Persuasive Speaking. In his speech titled “Just Do It” he managed to convince us doing more sports and physical exercise. Karl was voted for the best speaker.

The evaluations were given by JP and Sybille. The award was given to JP. At the end of the again very inspiring evening Poorana thanked the officers Oliver, Sybille and JP for participating at the toastmasters Leaders Institute meeting last Saturday and congratulated Jeff for his excellent moderation at the meeting. Finally, he mentioned the educational achievements. Fang Fang gained the triple crown and Martin concluded two levels in one Toastmaster year.

Here is a screenshot from the meeting:

The New Year [Meeting Report of 2021-01-12]

The theme of the meeting on the 12th of January was “the new year”.  Our club President and Toastmaster of the Evening Poorana opened the meeting with a warm greeting to all, and especially to each of our 10 (yes 10!) guests. We are always delighted to have guests, and tonight 9 of our guests were from Poland. They are all members of a new club which will have its first meeting on Monday 25th January. The clubs name is: University of Rzeszów Toastmasters Club. Our Toastmaster friend Mindaugas Račkaitis is their club mentor and suggested they visit us in order to get some ideas on running their meetings. Thanks Mindaugas, it was great getting to know this group of smart young people.Sybille gave the Word of the meeting, which was fitting for the meeting theme of the new year: ameliorate. It means make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better, which after 2020 we all could use.

Jan-Philipp gave one of the two speeches on the topic of “My Toastmasters Officer Experience”. JP is a very experienced Toastmaster and it was inspirational to hear of his learning experience as a club President, Area Director, and currently as club Treasurer. I (Jeff) gave the second speech on the topic of how to “Make Habits Stick”. This also fitted perfectly with the theme of new years, since the go-around and Table Topics centered on questions of our own resolutions for 2021. The main message of my speech: one changes habits by making it easy to do what you want to do.

The winner of the Table Topics was our guest Amrith, best evaluator was Martin, best speech, Jeff.

And here is a photo of our great meeting group:

Our next meeting is on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 at 19:15. Be sure and save the date. 
Best wishes till then,
Jeff, Mannheim International Toastmasters

The Holiday Season and (virtual) White Elephant Gift exchange [Meeting Report of 2020-12-22]

Our last evening of 2020 was a special one. Oliver as Toastmaster of the evening led us through the virtual White Elephant Gift exchange. Six gifts were presented and six members and guests delivered an off the cuff speech explaining why this gift is really special to them. The gifts were a frog which can make noise, a lilac cow, a bottle of mulled wine, a pig, a box to put stuff in and a little statue of Mozart. The winner was Poorana with an excellent speech on the frog.

The word of the day was elated, meaning jubilant, thrilled, enthusiastic, extreme happiness. For example: “Her success elated the family”. The word of the day was used twice in the course of the evening.

We had two prepared speeches. Julian spoke for the first time and delivered his Icebreaker speech. Icebreaker speeches are always interesting for the audience because they are a good way to get to know the new member better. Julian spoke about his passion for the English language and how he has changed his approach towards learning it. Poorana delivered an interesting speech about finding fulfillment in life.

The evaluations were given by Fangfang for Poorana and by Sybille for Julian. The best evaluator award was given to Sybille.

Again an inspiring evening with lots of fun. The officers thanked Jeff for all his commitment, effort and dedication he has contributed to the club in his function as president for the club. The members wished Poorana good luck and every success for taking over this role in January 2021.

We ended the meeting wishing everybody a happy and elated holiday season, hoping for a good and prosperous year 2021 with many elated moments.

Passion [Meeting report of 2020-12-08]

Dear friends,

What a great evening again. Poorana passionately led us through the evening as Toastmaster of the evening focusing on the meeting theme passion with many quotes. In a round table talk participants vividly expressed their views on passion, a good way to getting to know each other better.

Our table topics master Julian also centered his questions around the meeting theme and called up our president Jeff and our guests Marcus, Aidora and Johannes to speak off the cuff:
– How does passion develop?
– Can passionate leaders have an advantage?
– What are you passionate about?
– Can passion make a difference in one’s life?
Jeff won the award as best table topic speaker.

It is always a great pleasure to have guests in our club meetings. We were happy to welcome Marcus Bonsiepen (President of Toastmasters Witten) again, Aidora Kebo joined us from Belgium and Johannes from Mannheim participated for the first time in a Toastmasters meeting. They enriched the meeting tremendously.

We had two prepared speeches. Fangfang is working on the path dynamic leadership and spoke about “leading in any situation”. “All you need is laugh” was the title of Sybille’s speech. She pointed out the importance of laughing on our mind and body. This is especially important in these Corona times.

This speech sparked off a little round up with laughter which made us all feel joyful. So the meeting did not only show how passionately dedicated our members are but also boosted our minds positively.

The best evaluator award was given to Jan-Philipp, the best speaker of the evening was Sybille.

(This recap was written by Sybille, our club Secretary. Many thanks, Sybille!)

Our next meeting, and the last meeting for this year, is on December 22. The meeting theme will be “the Holiday Season and (virtual) White Elephant Gift Exchange”.  Do save the date and plan to join us for this Holiday Special!

Here is the zoom link to join us: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/980755286?pwd=Znhwc3dCS1Y3Q1VMUFRQVzhsaHB4dz09

Here’s a screenshot of our meeting:

Best wishes, Jeff Gordon, Mannheim International Toastmasters