by Ineke Vermeulen
Last Wednesday – a regular day in Munich – with a superb grand finale! As per usual, on every first Wednesday of the month, I was rather looking forward to going to our club meeting in the evening. Munich Prostmasters! And I wasn’t disappointed. The agenda looked promising: 4 speakers with a wide variety of projects and an excellent meeting team. We had a good representation of members (20) and 6 guests with great expectations! The word of the day was relocation – which might not seem very easy to just throw into an impromptu or prepared speech, but our speakers showed their prowess and were almost all able to throw it in. It’s also appropriate to us as a club – if you’ve read our history, you may have noticed that we have relocated a lot in our 15 years’ existence! The table topics were hilarious: the topic was kept very simple “New Year’s resolutions and how much progress you’ve made to date”, but there was a twist! Our dear esteemed table topics master had a set of cards with phrases on it varying from “crying baby” to “black male” and the speakers were supposed to integrate these into their performance as she flashed them. I can assure you: it was a blast – impromptu speaking taken to a whole new level and the brave speakers not only held their ground, they showed that practicing table topics is a great way of getting yourself prepared for literally any situation. And this was only the warm up session – the heat was definitely on last Wednesday in the Saarstrasse! Our first prepared speaker – our esteemed president – kicked it off masterfully with an advanced project from the manual “Interpersonal Communication”. His delivery of “A Conversation” was a textbook example of grabbing the essence of the project and delivering it with personal style and aplomb. More of that please! After this we were treated to a perfectly delicious warning about “The Dangerous Concept of Honesty” – indeed, in certain situations, honesty could get you in a mean twist! And the show wasn’t over yet. We had 2 more advanced speeches from the manual “Interpretive Reading” – and having just finished that one myself, I know that reading sounds easier than it is! The cherry on the pie, however, of any Toastmasters meeting are the evaluations. In the capable hands of our Sergeant at Arms, the subjective and objective evaluations were every bit as entertaining and inspiring as the speeches themselves! We even received relationship advice around the concept of honesty, a poetic speech evaluation and a humorous mini-speech as an introduction to the ah-counter’s report. It’s a relief to note that even our masters of public speaking come from humble beginnings. It goes to show that the Toastmasters concept of practice, feedback and more practice pays off. I’m already looking forward to our next meeting on the 19th of February – I’m sure it will be every bit as entertaining, inspiring and fun. I hope to see you there – as members or guests, or, as one of the guests said at the end of the meeting: it’s amazing that we can have so much fun in a structured way! You almost forget that this is a learning environment. Come and rediscover the fun in developing your public speaking and leadership skills with Munich Prostmasters!