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.

Talk, talk, talk – off the cuff,¹ by presenting your prepared speech² or at the upcoming contests.³

What did you feel when you quit something in your live? Opening our meeting on February 26th René adressed this question to the audience. Different statements came up like heavy emotions when a relationship to someone you love comes to an end, coping with the reactions of people around you when you give up something too challenging or your own expectations because every end also means a new beginning.

Continuing the warm up our Toastmaster of the evening Alexander asked MartinS for a joke.  He told the story of a man entering a pub, ordering seven vodkas and drinking them quickly. Asked why he was in a hurry he answered everyone else also would be, having just 50 Cent in the wallet. MartinE had chosen a saying by Alfred Hitchcock for the thought of the day. Hitchcock commented on the casting methods of a colleague of his: „Disney has the best casting. If he doesn’t like an actor he just tears him up“.

A kind of moving pictures were also the main element of the Table Topic session. MartinE had prepared a set of power point slides changing in a 20 seconds increment for each speaker. René talked about his recent visit to India and how he said thank you to the guys who offered him transport on the back of an elephant. Unfortunatly they didn’t like his present of a potatoe because they were unaware how to prepare and eat it. Did you know that Lorna had in mind to become the mayor of London? For that reason she invented demanding studies in a creative process concerning drugs and ducks. As an experienced Toastmaster our guest Simon easily combined his past as the „white Ray Charles“ with the competences of Bob the Builder in plastic surgery. Katharina spoke about the difficulties when coming back from Jamaica to Germany. It was a hard time having no proper place to stay, being  bounced around and without proper food. But finally a nice elderly Lady offered her a hearty meal – it was Her Majesty The Queen who gave her a formidable Quarter Pounder. Spending his youth in the jungle of South America MartinS had a terrible time. Whether it were Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkoczy clattering around or an evil clown, Martin was so happy to meet a blond girl who encouraged him to leave the area and live with her together.

Working on the speech project „Get to the Point“ Diego analyzed the world’s drug problems and the  specific aspects of this „market“. To solve the problems he suggested to change the international consensus of prohibition to a legalized and highly regulated market. His evaluator JP emphasized the clear purpose of the speech. Improvements could have been made by using concrete expamples instead of abstract figures. Diego impressed everyone with his confidence and natural appearance.

Ombretta summed up the 5.000 year old history of books. Asking „Dead as Doornail or Alive and  Kicking?“ she had a critical look at tablets and e-readers. Still today she loves papery books and likes to share them with her friends. Being her evaluator Simon stressed out the positive and lively presentation and suggested to work on the body language. Finally Ombretta  convinced with a passionate and personal speech.

As the crowd was a bit smaller than normally everyone could enjoy a  private and face-to-face atmosphere  full of rhetorical activity. Closing the evening René mentioned the contest season ahead and invited everyone to the events.³

¹ Word of the day (presented by Julia).
² 4 club members are going to complete their CC manual until June.
³ Join our Club Contest on March 12th and visit the contests in April on Area and Division level too.


pictures:, Michael Rittmeier /, Arno Bachert /, Wilhelmine Wulff /