An Evening of Life

Fellow Toastmasters and honored guests,

We had another great meeting on the 8th of November, not only considering the fun and quality, but also the attendance: I counted 22 people, so we had a full room once more! We were happy to have our 5 guests in total: Chia, Coe, Jan, Marc and Michael. Then in the round-table talk my question about everyone’s favorite time of the day received a lot of different answers with a lot of cool facts.

Rolf as our Toastmaster of the evening had set a theme for the evening as “an evening of life”. René’s word of the day “enthusiasm” which literally translated means “god within” fit very well to that. Martin gave us another traffic joke with two guys in a car where the driver learned from his mother to always run over red lights, but suddenly stops at a green light. Li’s thought of the day was to “always look on the bright side of life” even when fear regarding the economical or political situation is dominating press articles.

Mauro displayed his creativity as a Table-Topics-Master when he first let each of us prepare a question and a word on two different sheets of paper. He would then pick one of the questions as the Table-Topic and a word which had to be used by speaker when answering the question. First was Günter who had to use the word “nature” to answer the question “what is time?” In his spontaneous speech he explained to us that you cannot travel back in time, but that the secret to immortality is being close to a black hole as time is much slower there.

Faustina’s impromptu speech answered the question “can a heart really die?” from multiple viewpoints. She stated that a heart can be broken if you are heartbroken, but on the medical side a lot of “inventions” (the word to be used) really help keeping a heart healthy.

Our guest Michael from Toastmasters in Ulm was up next to give an unprepared speech about “Reality” and “What is important to you?” He started out by mentioning basic human needs to survive such as oxygen, temperature, water every 3 days and food, but soon moved on to say that he needs people around himself.

Tony had an interesting way to handle his Table-Topic question “What would you do if you knew you could not fail” with the word “success”. He talked a bit about how it is important to be successful in America while handing out Halloween candy to everyone and bribe the audience.

Finally Katharina talked about “Fruit” at her “Favorite holiday destination”. She mentioned that she really likes Jamaica and remembers how there was a lady on the beach every morning selling fruit and announcing her offer very loudly.

After the break we continued the meeting with the prepared speeches. First was Arne who gave his Ice-Breaker. He began by speaking about words and numbers and how they mean things to people who are usually satisfied to know someone’s age, the years they studied, the speed of their car, the salary and the golf-handicap. Arne continued by giving us more detailed information than that: He explained us that his name actually consists of 6 names, three first names and three last names. This stops him from going to the theatre as he cannot reserve seats with a last name of 33 characters the computers would fail. His speech was very funny and created a lot of laughter – it was a great ice-breaker!

René then gave his first advanced speech from the manual Storytelling. The speech was about a relationship between a Squirrel and Chipmunk which took a bad turn when the Squirrel mentioned his passion for jazz and the Chipmunk did not know what that is, but just said she liked it too. Because the Chipmunk suspected that Jazz could be something dirty, and her mother was against the Squirrel anyway, they broke up. Later, she discovered what Jazz really is and the morale of the story to ask if you don’t know something.

In the evaluations section led by Jeff, Li gave his first evaluation for Arne’s speech and did a really great job, recounting how people enjoyed the speech by telling us how often we laughed. I evaluated René`s speech, Calvin proved his listening skills by giving the Ah-Counter’s report, Thomas once more demonstrated his great knowledge of the English language in his Grammarian’s report and Hye Jin thoroughly took care of the timing.

Awards for best table-topics speakers went to Günter and Michael. It was a great meeting and so will be our next: Jeff is preparing a thanksgiving theme meeting for the 22nd of November. I am looking forward to having you there!

Showing up at Toastmasters meetings is 80% of life ;-)

Fellow Toastmasters and honored guests,

After greeting our three distinguished guests Zoe, Jan and Dirk, we started our meeting on the 25th October with a round-table talk on what everyone would like to see on a Toastmasters Club homepage. I got a lot of great input, thank you very much! Our Toastmaster of the Evening Tony then swiftly took very much care of staying in time, so that our schedule would not become an epic fail (word of the day by Arne).

Jazzmin provided the joke of the evening about the rivalry between England and Ireland with an Englishman, an Irishman and a beautiful girl on a train. Calvin gave the thought of the day by Confucius: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work”.

The spontaneous and impromptu speeches were led by our Table Topics Master Jeff. His theme was aphorisms and sayings which the speakers had to comment on. First up was Rolf talking about “if life hands you a lemon, make lemonade”. He explained to us that this quote is about seizing opportunities and really seeing what kind of juice the lemon contains for us.

René’s impromptu speech concerned Woody Allen’s quote “showing up is 80% of life”. René strongly agreed on this issue as people who just try things don’t have that much competition and that you should just try and see how good you really are! For example at public speaking 😉

Pradeep spoke about the aphorism that “not those who have the most are the most happy, but those who are most thankful”. He explained that rich people have to look after a lot of things and worry a lot. Very poor persons on the other hand have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain and they really value even small things.

Günter was very happy to talk about a quote by Tagore “God respects me when I’m working, but he loves me when I sing” as he had just visited a Tagore museum in India. He expressed his agreement to the statement, saying that work gets you respect from society, but there is more to life than money and singing definitely gives him particular pleasure.

After the break our public speaking session continued with the prepared speeches. Yafang started by giving her ice-breaker. She explained her own character by telling us a story about a small dandelion seed which left home, said goodbye and flew far away. It then found a small nice place for itself. After explaining how she is the small dandelion seed being curious, independent and long-term oriented, she used the great rhetorical device of singing for us at the end!

The second speech was given by me on the topic of body language in order to let my body speak. I talked about gestures that could convey authority and conviction with the purpose of climbing the career ladder. Third came Martin E.’s competition speech “Cycling in the City” which he is going to gave at the Division Contest in Bensheim on Saturday, and won him second place!

Our final speech of the evening was Martin S.’ ice-breaker. He talked about the decisions you have to make in your life, especially career-wise. We learned how he stayed on his path without asking whether this helps his career and after having been a teacher at night school and a normal teacher before finding out that he really wants to be a psychotherapist.

Tony also took over the role of the General Evaluator and introduced our great evaluators Jeff, Katharina and René. Martin E. received a special evaluation by Calvin, Jeff and me on specific issues to improve his speech even further for the competition. Pradeep gave the report on our usage of filler-words, Thomas displayed his knowledge of the English language by giving a very detailed grammarian’s report with a lot of positive suggestions and Calvin took care of the timing.

René won the award for the best Table Topics speaker, both Yafang and Martin S. were decorated as our best prepared public speakers and Jeff won the best evaluator award. Our next meeting will take place on the 8th of November with more practice on rhetoric, I hope to see all of you there!