What’s in a name?

Every first and third (and sometimes fifth) Wednesday of the month you will find a select group of internationals gathered in one Zoom call. They talk a lot, it seems to be their purpose, they clap a lot, it seems to be their engine, and they laugh a lot, it seems as if… they’re having fun!

The secret is no secret really: these are people with one common goal, with a hobby that unites them. Even in times of quarantine and pandemics, they persevere in the pursuit of a higher end! They want to improve their communication and leadership skills, they want to practice speaking in front of an audience, they want to become better leaders. In short, these are Toastmasters – Munich Prostmasters! 

Last Wednesday they met again and from the start it was clear, not only do they have a common goal, they also have a plan on how to get there. The meeting was extremely structured with a “Toastmaster of the Meeting” – in this case Craig – moderating the show, while delegating certain parts to other moderators like the Table Topics Master (Rizh) and the General Evaluator (Işil). The word of the evening was “multifaceted”, presented by Grammarian Mikhail. Interestingly enough he didn’t just encourage everyone to use this word, he also explained its etymology to help the audience understand even better what the word means and how they can use it. Did you know that the word facet – as in multi-faceted – refers to the sides of a precious stone (e.g. a diamond)? The more facets it has, the more valuable and hence: multi-faceted expresses value. And boy, did we have a multifaceted meeting, chock full of multifaceted speakers and multifaceted topics!

After three wonderful table topic speakers (Fabio, Darya, and Benjamin) we continued with two speeches – and here, another theme became apparent: the naming game! Charles explained to us how important and intricate the naming of children is in his home country Ghana. Our name makes us stand out and thus Charles’ Ghanaian name is Kweku Abeiku – now we all know that he was born on a Wednesday as Kweku means male child born on Wednesday. Abeiku is a further specification because of course, many male children are born on Wednesdays.

Oscar followed with a lesson on trust and Tinder. His best piece of advice is to meet in a bookstore for your first date: if she doesn’t show up, you have something to do AND it makes you look intelligent. His second piece of advice is to stay in the bookstore so you’re not abducted into a bunker-like dangerous and expensive club. Wise words indeed for dating in the 21st century!

With that we seamlessly went into the most important part of any Toastmasters meeting: the evaluations! General Evaluator Işil guided her team very efficiently through the subjective and objective evaluations. Both Ron and Ranjith who evaluated the speakers did so in a clear, analytical, and respectful manner – they gave Charles and Oscar something to think about as well as great tips for their next speeches which is precisely the point of course. This led us to the objective evaluations, kicked off by Christopher Magyar as the Ah-counter. Or should we say: Atilla the UHM? Christopher continued the naming game explaining how his last name means “Hungarian” which led him to the first Hungarians, the Huns – and the most fierce of them all was of course Atilla the Hun – hence, our Ah-counter was really Atilla the Uhm!

Our grammarian Mikhail was very pleased to report that the word of the day multi-faceted had been used quite often as well as that the level of English throughout the evening had been very satisfactory. He noticed a few expressions that could be improved, but mostly he discovered quite a few pearls of excellent English. Our poor Time-keeper Tulia had a rough night trying to keep us all on time and on track. In spite of the fact that she was using the best timer cards I’ve ever seen (with smiley faces!) some speakers didn’t seem to want to stop at red… Don’t do this in traffic! All in all it was a great evening and we’re all looking forward to the next meeting.

The naming game continues here with a riddle: do you know why Munich Prostmasters are called PROSTmasters? Send you answers in before the next meeting on the 21st of October where we will reveal the answer! As Julia said in Shakespeare’s Romeo: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Would Prostmasters by any other name still feel as fun, work as wonderful, and laugh as loudly? 

Ineke Vermeulen

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