Every first and third Wednesday (and if the month has 5 weeks – also on the fifth Wednesday) Munich Prostmasters club meets to have fun, learn and grow together!
During the last year, pandemic, we would meet comfortably in the front of the web camera on the Zoom call – people would join from across the globe! Since July 2021 we finally got a chance to meet in person – with limited participants and under current Corona rules – to keep everyone safe. And while we all have been exceptionally happy to finally meet after a year of virtual meetings – Munich Prostmasters club has decided to keep Zoom calls as well and run our meetings in Hybrid form!
July 21st has been our second hybrid meeting – and it was simple UNIQUE, as every single Prostmasters meeting is! Technology meets people – that could have been the motto of the evening. Numerous webcams guaranteed exceptional image quality, PCs, tablet, beamer, microphone, high speed internet – combined with highly dedicated officer team – this is the recipe of success!
Our members and guests have joined in the Freiraum center, and online – dialing in from New Jersey, Frankfurt and Munich. As we all learned to conduct the effective online meetings we are now stepping up to the next challenge – run effective meetings in hybrid mode interacting with both online and offline audience!
The evening was truly inspiring, as was the World of the Day, introduced by Navin. The one who uses the word “INSPIRING” most of the times throughout the meeting will be the winner. Yet why is the winner the one who gets to pay for a beer for everyone once we meet for the dinner?
Christopher, The Joke of The Evening Master, ZOOMing in from New Jersey brought us a joke highlighting that perhaps “phenomenal eyesight as that of 20-years old” is not enough to do good when the good memory is missing. Good start, and also a timely reminder for the blogger to open up the PC and start taking notes!
With Mel Kelly as Toastmaster of the Evening we have enjoyed 1.5 hours full of fun, laughter and international humor – best of Irish man in the heart of Munich.
Haiyi brought us very thoughtful table topics, closely aligned with what concerns us recently. We had Ineke, Martin, Craig and Oscar speaking about the climate change, the doom and gloom feeling, our responsivity and the ability of the society as whole to pull together and make incredible changes.
Francesca opened the prepared speech section with the “Jenga slicing”. It has been colorful and brilliant, a Jenga Tower serving as visual metaphor for a working day. Francesca inspired us all to step back and win perspective, while slicing the problems until they get smaller and more manageable.
Fabio with the speech “Watch what you’re doing” thought us how to focus and make life easier. The Kolbe A test, time boxing (meditating, journaling, walking, playing instrument, playing chess and coming here to give the speech…how to squizze it all in?), no “To Do Lists”, rather Focusmate app. Tech meets Italian passion – and last resort being “go to mama and get a hug”
Isil (really Isil – we missed you, how nice to have you back!) took it as General evaluator and perfectly nailed down the main challenge our Hybrid meetings have: keeping the eye contact with the onsite audience and with online participants. Yeah, we got to work on it!
Amazing set of evaluators: Ineke, Ron, the AH-Counter Martin (who calls all those “ahms, and “umhs” the rhetorical prosthetics) and last but not least – our GUEST Carolin who took a role of TIMER of the evening. Indeed, timing people in Prostmasters is a challenge, timing Ineke, a DTM (stands for Distinguished Toastmaster) – in Inekes words, “Do not Time Me” is a double challenge!
Finally we all celebrated Rish who recently became a DTM as well! In Rish’es words: “it Takes a Village To Grow Someone” – we could say – “It Takes A Prostmasters Club to Grow DTMs”! Well done Rish and all Prostmasters members!
Munich Prostmasters is meeting on August 4th – will you join us online or onsite? Whatever you choose – we are committed to make it an equally positive, unique, impactful and inspiring experience!
Stephanie transformed the role of Sergeant-at-Arms and brought order to the Prostmasters. She was a President of the club. She was the active founder of the Isar Speak club. In this interview she shares her journey to becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster.
Since joining Prostmasters in 2018, Isil has been a club trailblazer for the Pathways experience and has brought her talent and enthusiasm to serve the club as an officer, including club President. In 2020, she competed in the Table Topics contest and shined all the way to win 1st place at the District Conference. Isil kindly took time to share with us her insights on her experience.
Last Sunday I lit the first candle on the advent wreath, like every year. Advent time belongs to my favourite time of the year. I love the cosiness with friends and families gathered together, I love the sparkling lights in the Christmas markets, I love the sweet smell of mulled wine and lebkuchen in the air. But wait, instead of festive atmosphere, I smell fear, uncertainty and disinfectant the air. Christmas is only 4 weeks away, the most colourful and splendid time of the year is shadowed by Corona lockdown. When I feel sad and helpless, I very often think of my Grandpa. I grew up by my grandparents in Shanghai during the culture revolution. My Grandpa used to have his own business before the communist took over the government. During Mao´s culture revolution, he became, victim of the movement called “purging remnant of capitalist”. All his property was confiscated. The revolutionary groups quartered the complete ground floor of my grandparent´s house. Whenever I was sad and frightened with the rude behaviour of these strangers in our house, my grandpa would pull me aside and told me gently, “everything will be fine again my child, all you need is patience”. Mao´s culture revolution lasted 10 years, in the end, my whole family survived the nightmare. Six years ago, my grandpa died at the age of 101. His patience, his calmness especially in difficult times helped him to succeed numerous tough situations. For me he is the true winner in life. Are you a patient person? If not, I´m afraid you have a learn process ahead of you and I hope, it won´t be that painful as the one that I had. It was a wonderful day in August when I was on my way back home with MTB. I was only about 6 km away from my home, when a car from driving school appeared in front of me, stop and go, stop and go. Following this car was a test of my patience. After another kilometre, I finally ran out of patience. To be able to overtake the car, the only possibility was to jump onto the pavement. It shouldn´t be an issue for a skilled MTBiker like me. And I jumped so high! The landing of my front wheel was soft and smooth, but my back wheel disagreed to follow. Suddenly I lost my balance and even worse, I was not so quick to free my feet out of the clipless pedal. Bang! I hit hard with my left side against the cement ground. A bloody elbow, a rib fracture and a rotator cuff tear in the shoulder, all that happened within seconds, as a result of an impatient moment. There are many uncomfortable situations in life that you can not change. Like being stuck in a traffic jam or standing in a long queue in super market, or driving behind a car of driving school. 2020 is a special year that demands a lot of patience from us. It´s not only the covid-19 virus that threatens us, but the significant side effects that turned our normal life upside down. We are forced to give up a lot of lovely things that we used to do, keep distance to our dearest ones. It´s hard for me not able to visit my dad the whole year. But the good news is, the vaccine is coming soon and we can already
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?
When you were a teenager, what bothered you the most? I bet, the grown-ups! They were always nagging us: Have you clean your room? have you done you homework? What do you want to be when you grow up? For this last one, I always had a chicky answer: I want to be happy! Little did I know that it will take me twenty long years to figure out what ‚happy‘ means. Sure, being happy at work, having enough money in a bank accout or staying healthy is very important! But for me that essential connection to people I really like is what makes me truly happy. There is a theory that we are the average of the five people we choose to associate with the most. We need to choose wisely, those five people influence us more than we know. To be happy in life, the five key people we need to find and stick to, are a friend, a peer, a mentor, a coach, what everybody needs – a cheerleader. Since I’ve heard about this theory, I started scrutinizing closely my relationships to identify my own circle of five.
I knew immediately who my cheerleaderwas – definitelly my husband Zoran. He cheeres me and holds me up throught the hardsest phases of my life, or of my day. This may lie in his cultural identity: the Croats know how to celebrate life, enjoy the wine and laugh and sing the songs, until the neigbours start shaking their heads in disbelieve. Over the years, as I am listening to his singing, and cheering, I’m thinking why not to enjoy life fearlessly, it is too short anyway.
We all need a friend. Don’t you think? Someone who accepts us for what we are. Warts and all. I’m so lucky I have Anja. She laughs with me when I laugh, cries when I cry. I know she is happy when I succeed, and as sad as I am when things are not working our for me. I hope you have such a friend too.
And we all need a peer. If you like me work for a big corporation, you know: the crowdier, the lonlier. We need a peer with whome we can share, be honest, have fun and who can help us keep the head in the game. The day Barbora joined my team, I felt fortunate. We’ve come up together, there is nothing like a team spirit and there is no challenge we cannot face.
My 3rd speech at Toastmasters was titled: ‚To see Paris and Die‘. In my country we say: you are not supposed to depart this life, until you visit Paris, allegedly the most beautiful city in the world. I almost did die, but while in Paris: freezing to death in a cheap hostel. After I gave the speech in the club, my mentor Martin handed me a bottle of champane, baguetee and soft cheese – the things I did not come accross while in Paris. Martin‘s refined taste for french cousine, and english language, always inspire me to work hard on my speeches. A good mentor will point you in the right direction. And you know what? Everytime I listent to him and went in that direction, I got out a happier person.
Sometimes when we coach people, and we see no result, we give up on them. My school sports coach –Tolik the Torture, used to yell at me: run, Darya, run, as I was dragging myself lazilly behind the rest of the class. Suddenly, so my years later, his words caught up with me. I am a runner these days. A true coach will kick you out of a comfort zone, and into a good shape, sooner or rather later.
For me the true happiness doesn’t come from wealth, success or even working hard. It comes from relationships I have with the peole I like. Do you have your cirle of five? Maybe they are your family, friends, Instagram followers, or simply people you can be vulnerable with, listen and share what is close to our heart. These relationships are the essence of our life and the happiness we all need.
Looking for the work that we love, hiking the mountains of Bavaria, eating chocolates, marrying the man we love, coming to the Prostmasters meeting to hear Craigs’s muah, WUNDEBA
These might all make us happy, but what creates the happiness that lasts?
The answer, my friends, is being of service, helping others.
How can we help others?
We give what we have. We give money. We give knowledge. We give a ffff
If we are fisherman. We give our fellow man fish for help.
That would feed them for a day.
What would be a better help?
Teach them how to fish.
The person is a vegetarian! They don’t eat fish! (Unrelated info: The vegetarians that eat fish call themselves pescaterian)
But they weren’t even hungry.
They came to us to ask where is the closest bathroom! We didn’t even listen. We didn’t even ask. We didn’t even see. They asked us Can you help and we gave them the fish!
Is this absurd?
Well my friends this is happening all the time!
We are giving our fish to people who don’t need it, who don’t want it.
We give our ideas and suggestions without checking in if that is needed, without checking if will actually serve the person we want to help.
What is an alternative?
What is a better way to be of help?
It is coaching my friends.
Do you know what coaching is? It is not Tony Robbinsing! being on stage making talks, it is not shouting what to do from the sidelines!
Coaching is – according to the definition of International Coach Federation – partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.
Coach is a partner and her job is to co-create the process so that the person getting coaching will be inspired and will maximise their potential.
International Coach Federation defines the behaviours that a coach displays to be the best partner which they call as Core Coaching Competencies. There are 8 of those but 2 will already bring you forward if you start implementing in your life.
Number 6 Listens Actively
When you listen you can listen with the intention of understanding what they want to communicate and also check back by if what you understand is true. Listen not only words, but also the body language and the emotions to have a deeper understanding.
Number 7 The coach Evokes Awareness
The people that come to you for help are capable to find their own solutions that will work for their own preferences that only they know if they can think thoroughly and differently.
I don’t know about you but my mind can speak a ton. And I find myself bringing the old ways of thinking (and a lot of complaining). You can help me think through by asking me questions, supporting me to continue to think more and in different ways. “What is on your mind?”, “What is the real challenge here for you?”, “What do you want?”, “What have you already thought of?” . “What else can you do?” What else? What else? What else?
You can help a person gain awareness of not only new solutions but their own resourcefulness.
And only – only if they ask your help – you can ask them how they want you to help.
Next time when you want to help someone hold your fish – your suggestions until it is actively asked of you. First, listen actively and ask questions to help them think deeply.
With that, you will be helping others to find solutions that work for them, which will make them happy, which will in turn make you happy.