Hope [Meeting Report of 2022-01-25]

Our President Poorana opened the meeting by greeting everyone, and especially the many guests. Experienced Toastmasters Mike, an American now working in Bulgaria, and Joy, from England, both returned as guests. Joy delivered a wonderful speech, and Mike gave useful feedback as Evaluator for JPs speech. Frequent visitor and Toastmaster friend Chris from the Heidelberg Rhetoric Club served as General Evaluator. Thanks to you all for your valuable support!

We also welcomed Armin back, and were delighted to greet three guests for their first experience with Toastmasters: Petra, Kathy and Moritz. With 18 participants in all, there was a good energy and liveliness to the meeting that really was a reason to feel HOPE.

 As Toastmaster of the meeting, Oliver led us smoothly through the evening, enriching the theme with interesting and sometimes profound quotes:

·        Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. Desmond Tutu

·        In joined hands there is still some token of hope, in the clenched fist none. Victor Hugo

And especially poignant, these words from Amanda Gorman’s Poem “The Hill We Climb”:

·       For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

The Word of the day was Aspiration (noun)

  1. ·        a strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition:
  2. ·        a goal or objective that is strongly desired:

Ulrike did the Joke for the evening: Why can Peter Pan fly? Because he lives in Neverland, which got some wry smiles from the participants.

Kala did a fine job of leading Table Topics, explaining the benefits of practicing off the cuff speaking for everyday life. 

  • ·        Florian talked about the benefits of hope.
  • ·        Petra about what makes you feel hopeful right now.
  • ·        Mike about why hope is important in his life.
  • ·        And Karl about what the power of hope is.

Karl was voted as the Best TTs Speaker.  The Best Evaluator Award went to me for my evaluation of Joy’s Speech, and Best Speech of the Evening was awarded to Joy.

Poorana closed the meeting with asking our guests for feedback on how they experienced the meeting.  Here were some of the comments: “great to have such a large crowd”; “enjoyed the theme and the speeches”; “high quality content, I will be coming back!”; “I found the evaluations supportive and helpful”.

That’s all for now. Hope to see you all at the next meeting on the 8th of February.

Jeff Gordon, Mannheim Int. Toastmasters

Here is a photo from the meeting:

New Year resolutions [Meeting Report of 2022-01-11]

The club is growing, hurrah. The year started with two new members. Kevin and Florian were voted in the club. Welcome to the Toastmasters family to both of you. Again we could welcome a couple of guests who participated well in the course of the evening: Emircan and Karl-Heinz who came the first time to a toastmasters meeting, Lei Li, Mike Greer and James Falcon who already know other clubs.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us”, Hal Borland.The New Year and people’s resolutions are the theme of the evening. Poorana, our presiding officer, took the theme up in a round table talk to use the time since we had only one prepared speech. A round robin with 15 people can be risky but it was a good start and an excellent opportunity to get to know everyone a little bit more.
Sybille as toastmaster of the evening explained the structure and the roles of the evening and presented Jeff as General Evaluator, Lei Li as timer, Harriet as Grammarian and Craig as Ah Counter. She also took up the theme with the quote by Brad Paisley, an American Country Singer:
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

Auspicious” was chosen as the word of the day by Sybille. The adjective means full of promise. We all want to have an auspicious New Year 2022 with many happy moments, so it fits well to the theme.

As thought of the evening Jeff referred to the top five regrets of people dying and gave us a quote by Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from nowyou will be more disappointedby the things you didn’t dothan by the things you did.So through off the bowlines.Sail away from the safe harbourCatch the trade winds in your sails.Explore. Dream. Discover.”

The table topics session was lead by J.P. He explained the value of this part to practice off the cuff speaking and asked the following questions.1. If you could name the next big Corona variant what would you call it and why? Florian suggested to be more creative and make combinations. Tongue in cheek, he suggested that Florian might be a good name for a future variant.
2. Mike was asked to travel back in time before Corona started. He used this opportunity to give examples on time travel.
3. What did you learn during the Pandemic you might not have learned otherwise? Kevin focused on virtual activities and connections.
4. What do you really want to do when the Pandemic is over? Karl-Heinz would like to spend his life in a good and meaningful way and invest more time in social contacts.
5. What should we keep after the pandemic? For Uli the digital expertise should be kept.

After the break Sybille opened the second part of the meeting with the following quote by Joey Adams, an American comedian,
“May all your trouble last as long as your New Year’s Resolutions.”
She welcomed Anika, Karla’s daughter, as speaker of the evening. She very bravely stepped in and filled the gap. She spoke about how the people in ancient Greece thought their gods were made. The title of her speech was “The golden age of cannibalism”.

In his evaluation Poorana praised Anika’s start and her skillful story telling technique. She had a great energy level and is already a very good speaker.  She is obviously a future Toastmaster in the making.

Jeff, as General Evaluator, asked for the reports of the team. Craig gave us a very detailed and entertaining report on the mis-usages of filler words and Harriet kept a good eye on the proper use of the English language.

All in all, again a great evening. The best table topic award was given to Florian.

Greetings from Sybille

Our next meeting is on the 25th of January. Hope  to see you then!

Best wishes,


——————————————————————————————————————————————————————Here is a photo from the meeting:

Thanksgiving – what are you grateful for? [Meeting Report of 2021-11-23 ]

In a round table talk all members and guest shared their thoughts on gratefulness. Mostly good health was regarded as a great treasure.

Poorana our presiding officer warmly welcomed our guests Florian, Armin, Andre, Kevin and Dhiraj who participated together with his son Daksch, definitely the youngest participant we ever had in our club.
Prior to the start roles were filled, Florian took over as time keeper for the first time. As Ah-Counter Kevin focused on filler words that break the flow of the speeches. Harriet concentrated on the usage of the English language as Grammarian.

We had the pleasure to vote in our new member Harriet. Harriet, welcome to the club!

In his thought of the evening Jeff reminded us that gratefulness is good for us. Every evening we should take two minutes to write down three things we are thankful for. Every day you should think of new things. Your brain gets tuned to notice more positive things around you. This will open up your perspective and make you more content.

The joke of the evening, told by Sybille, connected to Thanksgiving:

A man in Phoenix calls his son in New York the day before Thanksgiving and says “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing, forty-five years of misery is enough.“Dad, what are you talking about?” the son screams. “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer”, the father says, “We’re sick of each other and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her”.Frantic, the son calls his sister who explodes on the phone: “What, they are getting divorced, I’ll take care of this. She calls Phoenix immediately and screams at her father: “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. My brother and I will be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do anything. DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.The old man hangs up the phone and turns to his wife. “Okay”, he says, “they’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way.”

The Table Topics Master Sybille presented four questions related to Thanksgiving:1. Which ritual do you connect with Thanksgiving? Kala shared with us Indian traditions celebrating harvest times and the blessing of God.

2. In the US Thanksgiving is a bad time for turkeys. Families get together mostly with an abundance of food. “Which food do you like to eat at Thanksgiving festivities?” Dhiraj revealed that he has a sweet tooth and loves all kinds of sweet Indian dished. His description made us feel hungry.

3. In our modern society people tend to complain a lot, criticize everything and see the glass half empty. What do you think should people be more grateful for?
Florian pointed out that our society is so privileged – wealth, good social standard, good education, health system – things we take for granted but should be thankful for.

4. Quotation by Frank Clark, a former English soccer player: “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he is going to get.” What does this quotation mean to you? Jeff vividly explained that human beings needed a negative bias in order to sense danger and to survive. But in order to live a joyful and happy life thankfulness is the key.

We had one prepared speech delivered by J.P. Working on the path presentation mastery level 2 “Understanding your communication style” he spoke about his analytical approach and his role as treasurer for the club. The outstanding part were the professional slides which were easy to follow. His speech was evaluated by Oliver who especially liked J.P’s encouraging of members to take over officer roles.

In his report as General Evaluator, Jeff gave a brief feedback to all roles of the evening. Again a very enjoyable evening with lots of food for thought. We could only vote for the best Table Topic Speaker since we only had one speech and one evaluation. The award was given to Jeff.

(Many thanks to Sybille for this great recap!)

“There is always something to be thankful for.”

Do join us for our next meeting on 14th of December.

All the best,

Jeff, Mannheim Int. Toastmaster

Here is a snapshot of the meeting:

Festivals [Meeting Report of 2021-10-26]

“Festivals”, theme of the Toastmaster Meeting on 26th October, 2021

“Festivals are happy places, and you don’t really want to enjoy them on your own”, by Christine and the Queens. Our presiding officer Poorana started off the meeting with a round table on the best festival the members had experienced. Also our guests – Harriet and Ulrike who were with us before and two new guests Kevin and Gaurav – took the chance to talk and contribute. Thanks a lot.

Prior to the warming up phase the roles were filled spontaneously, Poorana did the timing, Ulrike took up the role as Ah-counter and had an eye on the filler words, Harriet – as a native speaker – focused on the use of the English language the Grammarian of the evening.

As Toastmaster of the evening Sybille referred to the theme with a quote by David Binder” Festivals promote diversity, they bring neighbors into dialogue, they increase creativity, they offer opportunities for civic pride, they improve our general psychological well-being. In short, they make cities better places to live.”

Jeff started the warming up phase with the word of the evening “revelry” – example “The lottery winner was exhausted after a long night of revelry.” The word was used twice in the course of the evening. The joke explained the difference between wit and a joke:

        A young filmmaker, excited to be part of his first film festival, is attending a talk between a director and a writer. At the end of the talk he asks the question:
        What is the difference between wit and a joke?
        The writer looks at him for a second, picks up his glass of water and pours it over the filmmakers head and says “this is a joke.”
        Surprised by this sudden act the young filmmaker stutters, “and what is wit?
        The writer responds, “Wit is dry.”

Eloisa was the Table Topics master of the evening and asked four questions:
1. In festivals we are surrounded by delicious food. Which is your favorite food when you are celebrating?
    Gaurav talked about Indian festivals and made our mouths watery describing all the delicacies offered there.

2. Festivals are sometimes spooky like the Mexican way of celebrating the “day of the dead”. Kala depicts an Indian festival not at all like Halloween when families reunite and say good bye to their loved ones who passed away.

3. Which is the best gift you have received at a festival? Kevin remembers Easter times when he and his brother were looking for Easter eggs.
    For him the memory on spending time with his brother at this occasion was more important than the eggs.

4. Festivals and holidays can be stressful. Can you give an example? JP mentioned that shopping for presents can be annoying, especially when the people say they don’t want anything.

Thanks to the commitment of our guest Joy from the Spa Speakers, Leamington Spa, England, we had one prepared speech “Growing with gravitas”.  Joy referred to a book by Caroline Goyder called Gravitas. Caroline is a renowned voice coach and speaker in England and around the world. Her speech was evaluated by JP. He praised her great presence and charisma, especially the way Joy smiled and took us in to her speech. Her speech would have even been stronger with more personal examples and less focusing on the book.

Finally, Jeff as General Evaluator, asked for the reports of the Ah-counter and Grammarian. Both did an excellent job. All in all again an excellent meeting. For the round table he suggested to give a time limit because the contributions tended to be a bit long.

Since there was only one speech we only voted for the best TT speaker. The award was given to our guest Kevin. Congratulations!

Thanks to Sybille for this great recap!

Best wishes and hope to see you all at our next meeting on the 9th of November.

Jeff for the Mannheim International Toastmasters.

(ps: if you are looking for a Toastmaster Halloween treat, I recommend the Vancouver club that I have mentioned previously.

Saltspring Canada TM Online; https://us02web.zoom.us/j/984893810    Meeting ID: 984 893 810 . They have a Halloween themed evening on Sunday, 11 o’clock Vancouver time.

Please check the time because Mainland Europe goes off Daylight Savings-time tonight, so instead of a 9 hour difference there will just be an eight hour difference from Germany, etc..)

Here is a photo of the meeting:

Meeting Report of 2021-10-12

Our President Poorana was back after having to miss the meetings for almost two months.  All of us, including Poorana, were delighted to have him and his kind energy back.

Again, we were able to welcome a new member to the club: Ksenija, who has lived in many places throughout the world and is a experienced Toastmaster who will surely bring good stories and energy to the club. Area Director and Toastmaster friend Adam McConnaughy was back, always a pleasure to have him as guest; and Ulrike was here for the third time, which gives us hope she may consider joining the club sometime soon.

JP led us through the evening as TME.  Besides being a  competent host, JP shared information for all on how to use easyspeak to best use the clubs resources.

Eloisa did a great job in her first time role as Table Topics master. Here the questions she brought about vacations:

  • 1 Adam: Your best green vacation. Adam talked about loving the warmth of some vacation locations.
  • 2 Kala: Your best travel experience. Kala talked immediately of how wonderful her vacation in Egypt was.,
  • 3 Ksenija: Your most interesting experience with food on vacation.  She told of loving to travel, and the the food was always exciting, but just one  part of the joy.
  • 4 Jeff: If you could bring along 3 persons from an earlier time with you on vacation, who would it be.  I loved the question and imagined vacationing with three of my favorites: Epictetus from ancient Rome; Henry Miller, the American author, and Mark Twain.

I was kindly voted in as best TTs speaker tonight.

The one prepared speech was from Kala, who was doing her Icebreaker.  The title: Life is Beautiful. As Kala’s Evaluator, I was flabbergasted (the Word of the Day) by how much talent Kala demonstrated in her first project: clear language, great content that told us lots about her life and her values. Well done Kala!
Best wishes to you all, Jeff