Inspiration [Meeting Report of 2023-04-11]

“Do your little bit of good where you are,it’s those little bits of good put togetherthat overwhelm the world” – Desmond Tutu

In our online meeting 12 members participated and we were happy to welcome two guests, Paul from the US who had joined in previously, and Alex, our Area Director, who also delivered a speech.
JP led through the evening as toastmaster and introduced his team members who explained their roles, Jeff as General Evaluator, Alexya as Grammarian and Ah-Counter, Nadine as Time Keeper and Shruthi gave the word of the day. JP spiced the evening with quotes on inspiration: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”, Mark Twain, a nice transition to jump directly into the heart of the warm up phase. As table topics master Caroline led through the impromptu speaking phase:

1. What is the most bizarre place you visited in the past. How would you inspire us to go there? Paul shared with us his experiences with the Holy Land.

2. Lot’s of people visit Germany. What is the best place to go to? Shruthi picked Freiburg in the Blackforest as her favorite and described her stay there with friends.

3. How would you inspire people to stay fit and healthy throughout the year. Gabi gave very professional tips on nutrition, sports and relaxation.

4. What is your best advice for a good marriage? Oliver as a single pointed out some aspects he had observed with couples he knows.

Our table topics master JP found nice transitions to the various parts of the evening: e.g. “In a gentle way you can shake the world”, Gandhi, or “I never lose, I win or I learn”, Nelson Mandela.

In the second part of the evening we had two prepared speeches. Alex, our Area Director from Darmstadt Toastmasters Club gave a 10-12 minute speech on engaging humor. He reflected on his path and shared with us all various activities he had done with toastmasters in the last years. This speech was very impressive.
Sybille gave her first speech of level two of her path presentation mastery. Her title was retired by not expired. In her speech, she share how she struggled for four years to prolong her retirement and how she finally managed to embrace this situation and feel happy in it.

Alex’s speech was evaluated by Oliver. Florian gave feedback to Sybille’s speech. He gave the advice to work more on effective body language. Even in an online format this should have been possible with more gestures.

Jeff gave a final wrap up of the meeting as GE. He encouraged the new members to take up roles soon to benefit from the new experiences.
In the award session the best TT speaker was Gabi. The best evaluator was Florian and the best speaker of the evening was Sybille.

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong”, Ella Fitzgerald.

(Thanks to our President Sybille for this great recap.)

Join us for our next meeting on the 25th of April (in-person meeting).

Best Toastmaster greetings,

Jeff, Mannheim Int. Toastmasters


Here is a photo of the  meeting:

Fun [Meeting Report of 2023-03-28]

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”― Dale Carnegie

We were happy to welcome two guests to our meeting, Pio and Elisa, who joined the last online meeting already.

Jeff focused on the theme fun when he led through the evening as TM.

 Magnus Carlson, the world best chess player,
said "without the element of fun it is not worth trying to excel to anything."

Gabi introduced the word of the day: "light-hearted", which fit perfectly well to the theme and was vividly used by the
participants of the club meeting. Gabi gave us a full spectrum of synonyms of the word which helped to increase our vocab.

Uli's joke was short and crisp and easy to remember: What do you get when you cross a parrot to a pigeon = voicemail.

Nadine presented the Thought  of the Evening. She shared with us an incident when she threw stone in water and watched the circular waves enjoying it.
Her question: When was the last time when you did something only for the purpose of fun?

Oliver chose some fun world records for table topics  and asked the member how they would managed to out-do these records.

1. Shruti explained how she manage to place coke cans in her face and how she made people feel light-hearted.

2. Pio's record was to eat the hottest chilli in 8.2 seconds. He very convincingly explained that he practiced that with pizza funghi.

3. Uli had to break the record walking on a tight rope with high heels. She very lively performed the scene and
   described the record with excellent body language.

4. Elisa's record was to sort letters in a soup. She vividly described the process of sorting the letters faster and faster and eating liters of this soup.

We had two prepared speeches. In her speech "Leaping off the edge", Gabi shared with us how bungee jumping came into her life and how she became a member of the A.J. Hackett
Team and worked for the first bungee operator in the world. Oliver evaluated her speech and underlined her vocal variety and body language. The speech was very convincing,
well structured and entertaining. He advised her to work on a stronger ending in her next speech.

Alexya delivered her speech she gave at the contest "Adversity - Take charge or run away". She shared her experiences with adverse situations to encourage us not to give up and face challenging situations.
Alexya benefited from an evaluation round and received feedback from each participant of the evening. She did an excellent job and spoke like a professional speaker. Jeff's advice was to use
the stage more to strengthen her message.

Sybille rounded off the meeting as General Evaluator. She gave feedback to all TT speakers and praised Oliver's idea for the Table Topic questions. They were well received and enjoyable, and, yes, fun.
Uli gave her report as grammarian and pointed out a few grammar issues. Shruti gave a very detailed feedback on the filler words used by the speakers.

The best Table Topic award was given to Uli. Alexya was the best speaker of the evening.

All in all a successful evening with lots of fun elements.

"Never ever underestimate the element of fun." Randy Pausch

(Thanks to our President Sybille for this great recap!)

Best wishes, 

Jeff Gordon, Mannheim International Toastmasters. 

Next meeting is online: 11th of April, 19:14.


Here is a photo of the meeting: 

Spring [Meeting Report of 2023-03-14]

Our Presiding Officer Oliver opened  the  meeting by warmly greeting all our guests.  It was  exciting to hear the many corners of the  world that they came from: Rebok is an experienced  Toastmaster from Australia; Aldo is a returning guest from Chili; Paul was also a returning guest and lives in upper state New York; Joy also returned from England, and last but not least, Alisa from Mannheim.

Caroline was voted into the club as a new member: welcome Caroline, we are delighted to have you on board.

Oliver was also our Toastmaster of the  evening. He smoothly led us through the meeting with meaningful quotes on the  brilliance of spring.

As Table Topics master I presented  the  following questions:

1.    What does spring mean to you? For Alisa, Spring symbolizes new beginnings.

2.    What is your favorite season and why? Paul enjoyed telling us about the freedom he experiences in Summer, all the long  days he enjoys.

3.    With spring comes daylight savings; do you think that changing the time 2x a year is a good or bad idea, and why? Caroline explained that she comes from Kenya, and that they do not have daylight savings time. For her the changing of the clocks have no special meaning.

4.    “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” – Pablo Neruda.  Rebok told a story about a great horse race, the Melbourne Cup. His enthusiasm got us all  into the scene of his story. 

5.    Spring symbolizes for most of us a sense of new beginnings, a fresh start.  Tell us about an experience that you had of getting a fresh start in some area of your life.  Joy movingly told of her “new beginning” with Toastmasters some years ago, and how it changed her life in wonderful  ways.

Joy and Rebok shared the  honor  of being voted best TT speaker.

After the break, Oliver introduced our one speaker.  Nadine’s project: Presentation Mastery #1-2 – Writing a Speech with Purpose. The title: Not every friendship is forever. In her speech, Nadine told about how an important friendship ended, and gave us three lessons that the experience taught her.  Her Evaluator, Jan-Phillip, praised her delivery, and that the  lessons learned were certainly relevant for many of her audience.

The evening was rounded up  with a report from the  General Evaluator (me). After a helpful and exact report from Craig as our Ah-Counter  (he also jumped in as Timer), I gave some short feedback to all other roles, also giving some feedback to the Table Topics participants.

After getting feedback from our guests, Oliver reminded us of our next meeting on the 28th of March (in-person) and wished everyone a good evening.

Best Toastmaster greetings,

Jeff, Mannheim Int. Toastmasters


Here is a photo of the meeting:

Serependity [Meeting Report of 2023-02-28 ]

“Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for”, Lawrence Block.
We had the pleasure to welcome six guest at our in-person meeting. We got to know Sohil, who has participated in the John Deere Club already, the Russian couple Tanja and Ilia who were here for the first time, Marc from Mannheim and Pio who has attended two online sessions. Lena came to her third in-person session.

Poorana led as Toastmaster through the evening and thoroughly explained the structure of the agenda. Sybille gave the word of the day: copacetic – very satisfactory, fine, ok. Example: I was worried the concert was going to go badly, but John assured me everything was totally copacetic. The word was used three times.

Nadine as TT Master explained the TT rules and gave questions with reference to the theme serendipity:

1. Are you a lucky person or haunted by misfortune? Oliver tells us a personal story about his struggle to be self-employed.

2. A woman turns to you and tell you you have some toilet paper on your shoes. How do you change the situation?
Pio referred to the toilet paper shortage during the pandemic and manages to invite the women for coffee.

3. Share with us a story from the past when you felt so lucky. Tanja gave us a personal story when someone brought back the phone she had lost.

4. It is your Wedding Day and you can’t find the rings. What do you do? Marc had many ideas to make up for the loss. In fact, he had just proposed to his girlfriend and she said yes.

5. What is your biggest lesson about luck and to be lucky in your life.
Lena shared with us how she experienced serenpidity twice when she came to Germany without knowing the language.

Quote from Laura Lippman:
“There is a serendipity to real life that the internet cannot duplicate. Do you use the library? For anything? Well, sometimes you end up picking up the book next to the one you were looking for, and that’s the book that changes your life.”

We had one prepared speech by Gabi. It is a non-manual speech. The idea is to give her the opportunity to practice a speech she has to deliver as head of the parents’ association of her daughter’s school. As an exception she spoke in German. The title of her speech was: “Geschafft” – und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne.
Her speech was evaluated by Sybille. The intro was catching with rhetorical devices like repetition. The voice was clear, pauses good. However, she might work on the structure and focus more on the time when the young people prepared their A-levels and include the challenges during the pandemic.

We only voted for the best TT speaker. The award went to Lena.

“Sometimes serendipity is just intention unmasked.” ~ Elizabeth Berg

(Thanks to Sybille  for this fine  recap!)

Our next meeting is on the 14th of March and is online.  Please  join us!

Best Toastmaster wishes, Jeff

Mannheim Int. Toastmasters

Love [Meeting Report of 2023-02-14]

We were happy to welcome Sharon, Brian, Johannes, Pio, Turin and Bianca at our meeting on Valentine’s Day – a great occasion to think share thoughts and ideas about our topic love.

Paulo Coelho: “Life is short. Kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.”

Sybille our TM of the evening introduced the theme with background information on St. Valentine. There are various stories. One dates back to the year 270 CE when Roman emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men to get better soldiers. But bishop Valentine continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret (and was beheaded for his efforts).

In the warm-up phase Sybille gave the word of the day: adulate which means admire. Example sentences: Most critics adulated Leigh’s work. Or: Honors were showered at him and he was adulated everywhere he went. The word was used four times in the course of the evening.

She also gave the joke:
A wife asks her husband: “How would you describe me?” Her husband replies: “A B C D E F G H I J K.”The wife asked confused: “What does that mean?Husband replied: “Adorable, beautiful, cute, elegant, fashionable, gorgeous and hot”.Wife reacted: “Wow, thank you. And what about IJK?”“I am just kidding.”


Gabi explained the rules of the table topics session and informed about the timings. Our guest Bianca spontaneously took over the timer role and did a really good job.

Table topics questions:
1. If you were to change something about Valentine’s day, what would it be?
Alexya talked about the commercial side of Valentine’s day, which she does not like.

2. Would you rather kiss 100 frogs to find out your dream partner or forget the frogs and run the risk of not finding the right partner?
Pio dealt very well with this difficult question and explained his trust in God to find the right person,

3. What is the most romantic thing you have ever done?
Johannes organized a big event for over 100 people to impress the love of his life.

4. If you were to design a dating site what would it be like?
Oliver explained technical issue of this site focusing on the ability to pres-elect.

Quote by Daila Lama:
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

The second part of the meeting consisted of two prepared speeches. Gabi worked as an outdoor guide in the past. In her speech with the title “well planned and organized is half the summit” she tells the audience about her personal experience as an outdoor guide and points out the most important criteria to plan a hiking trip so that everybody feels well at the end of the day.
Her speech was evaluated by Poorana. He liked the power of her voice the comfort she has when speaking. He advised her to work on a clearer structure to get a better impact of her speech.

Jeff shared with the audience his experience running Bonding Groups in his center in the German countryside. After describing the elements of their setting, he talked about the special format for 3,4, and 5 residential bonding workshops. The title of his speech was “Have you ever had a dream?”
Oliver evaluated his speech. As this was a trial run for the a professional presentation that Jeff will be giving soon. Oliver gave some tips about the content and the structure of the speech.

As General Evaluator Jeff praised the participation of the guests and especially the timer who jumped in spontaneously. In the award session the best Table Topic award went to Alexya. Best Evaluator was Oliver. The best Speaker of the evening was Gabi.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “True love begins when nothing is looked for in return.”

(many thanks to Sybille for this recap!)

Join us on the 28th of February for our next in-person meeting.

Best Toastmaster wishes,