Learning with fun [Meeting Report of 2022-02-22]

Oliver, our presiding officer, was happy to welcome Karl and Katharina as guests. He also informed about the area contest and Jeff agreed to participate in the English Table Topics and Evaluation.

Kala introduced the word meracy as word of the day – example: this gift was made by me with meracy. Jeff’s joke showed a funny side of behaviorism from the point of view of a dog. Kevin presented us the quotation by Alfred Mercier a lecturer at the university of Glasgow: “What we learn with pleasure we never forget”.

Sybille led through the Table Topic session with quotations on learning with fun. The participants of this round were asked to give their thoughts on the respective quote. Katharina shared her thoughts on the quotation by Benjamin Franklin, statesman in the 19th century: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” She gave an example how involving helped her to learn.
Kala talked about Leonardo Da Vinci’s quotation: “Learning never exhausts the mind”. Learning new things all your life keeps you agile and interested.
The Chinese Proverb: “A man who asks is a fool for five minutes, a man who never asks is a fool for life.” Karl pointed out the special wisdom in Chinese Proverbs. It is always important to get to the background of things.
Kevin gave a lot of examples about his studies when he talked about B.B. King’s quotation: “The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.

JP led to the next session of the evening with anecdotes on how learning can be fun. He told about his experiences in language learning. Eloisa and Harriet shared their examples.
Uli delivered her Icebreaker with the title “Brainscientist”. She gave us a great insight into her personality and her activities. Jeff, her evaluator, praised her speaking skills, especially the great use of humor which made her speech extremely enjoyable.

Oliver summed up the meeting as General Evaluator and reminded everyone to sign up for speeches for the next meeting on March 8, 2022. In the award session the best Table Topic Award was given to Katharina.

Thanks to Sybille for this great recap!

Our next meeting is on the 8th of March, looking forward to seeing you all there!

Best wishes, Jeff

PS our Area F1 Contest is on Saturday, the 5th of March.  It is online, and I will send out an invitation when I have more information. 

Here is a photo of the meeting:

Storytelling [Meeting Report of 2022-02-08]

“Inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.”
— Robin Moore, author

Wow, 18 participants! The online format of the club is successful, again a good number of guests joined. We could welcome Adam from Ramstein again, Moritz who participated the second time,  Martin from BASF Toastmasters, Christiane from the Rhetorik Club Heidelberg and Sabine from TM Wiesbaden. Sabine took the opportunity to inform about the Division F Conference which takes place online on March 26 (https://wiesbadener-toastmasters.de/division-conference/ ).

Jeff as Toastmaster of the evening introduced the theme storytelling with an anecdote. Storytelling techniques were used in the joke by Martin and the thought of the day by Kevin. Both parts were vividly depicted with vocal variety.

Harriet led through the table topics session for the first time and also used the storytelling format. She told the beginning of a story which was then continued by Adam, Sabine, Uli, Ksenjia and finally Karl managed to round the story off and found a logic ending.
A firework of creativity was released by the speakers. This was very funny and everyone enjoyed it.

Jeff as Toastmaster very well introduced the two speakers of the evening. Florian delivered his Icebreaker speech with the title: “How (not) playing the cello brought me to Toastmasters”. This was a very powerful speech with lots of information about Florian we could connect to. Kala, the second speaker, talked about her experiences when getting a driving license: “Driving a car is not your cup of tea”.  Her very different experiences regarding her driving lessons in India and Germany were extremely entertaining.

Sybille led through the evaluation part of the evening. In his evaluation of Florian’s Icebreaker JP pointed out the excellent speaking skills Florian already showed – strong confidence, clear structure, lots of vocal variety. Martin liked the way Kala started her speech involving the audience with questions. He especially liked the different perspectives of becoming a car driver and her personal experiences, as well as her use of humor.

Sybille gave feedback to all roles that were performed during the evening highlighting Craig’s report as Grammarian who again kept a very close eye on the use of the English language and gave valuable tips e.g.for proper pronunciation. Also the Ah-Counter report by Kevin was very detailed and exact.

Our presiding officer Poorana finished the meeting with the award session. The best table topic speakers were Uli and Karl. The best speaker award went to Florian and JP did the best evaluation.

All in all again a great meeting. This time the agenda was filled well in time prior to the meeting and all participants registered in easy speak. This was a big improvement and made preparation for the Toastmaster of the evening easier.
Thanks to Sybille for this great recap.
Our next meeting is on 22th of February, hope to see you all there!
Best wishes,  Jeff

Here is a snapshot of the meeting (three participants had to leave early)

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:

White elephant gift exchange [Meeting Report of 2021-12-14]

Hurrah, again a new member. Uli Kerstin joined the club and was voted in. Welcome Uli in the team.

White elephants are sacred and expensive. When this animal is given as a present it is more trouble than it is worth. In a white elephant gift exchange participants have the chance to get rid of something that has been given that you definitely don’t want to have. You might say: one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. In our Zoom sessions this can only be done virtually. Six Table Topics sessions were based on this gift exchange and were good fun.

– Uli got a girl’s dress. She explained how wonderful this gift was.
– Harriet received an empty connective box. She made up various possible usages for this box.
– Armin admired the statue lovers in a heart and talked about the importance of true love.
– Kala liked the beeswax candles because they give so much light in these dark days.
– Adam received a white mug which suited well to his room and he likes coffee.
– Oliver’s oriental rug fitted well with the decorations in his flat.

Our guests participated eagerly in the Table Topics and we were glad to welcome Michel, Armin and Ira. Michal and Ira even delivered prepared speeches as guest speakers. Our friend and Area Director joined us again; it is always a joy to have Adam with us.

The word of the evening  “loquacious” was presented by Karl. It means to be talkative in the sense of talking too much. It was used three times.

The four prepared speeches were a real gift to the evening:

Michael Kana started with his speech “The bright side of shame”; in a very humorous way Michael depicted is first love story and the reaction of his family to it. JP evaluated the speech and advised Michael to use more pauses to give the audience the chance to digest the punch lines and laugh.

Poorana took over with his speech “Where are the cats”. He vividly described how a misunderstanding in a foreign language can cause trouble – a very entertaining and well-structured speech. In her evaluation Sybille pointed out the excellent use of body language and changing positions for the dispute of his inner voices.

Karl, our third speaker, talked about his Christmas experiences as a child: “Christmas, my story”. Jeff like the speech very much and suggested to use more vocal variety, body language, and to paint a fuller picture for the audience with more details (smells, descriptions, etc).

Our fourth speaker, Ira, gave a speech titled: “A hidden Gem”. Working on level 4 of Visionary Communication, Ira talked about how to develop the skills needed to effectively use public relations strategies for any group or situation.  Poorana was his Evaluator.

Craig rounded off the evening with his wonderful and lively General Evaluation and gave helpful feedback to all speakers and functions of the evening.
In the award session, Poorana was selected as best speaker and also as best evaluator. The award for the best table topic speech went to Harriet.

We wish all members and guests a great holiday season with lots of fun, joy, time to fill up the batteries and good health.
Stay negative and see you all in 2022.


Our next meeting is on the 11th of January. Hope  to see you then!

Best Christmas wishes,


Here is a snapshot of the meeting: