Posted: July 5th, 2013


Observe, learn, have fun

Our first meeting - guests and quality speeches


When a visitor, when asked about his expectations at his third visit, says: “to observe, to learn and to have fun”, you know that he’s already been bitten by the Toastmasters bug. Our meeting last Wednesday was the first meeting of a new Toastmaster year and despite the nice weather, we had a full house and a full agenda.

Due to several hick-ups, the agenda wasn’t so full anymore once we finally got started, yet it was still complete according to meeting standards. There was a lot of changing on the fly and the fact that we only had 2 prepared speeches was compensated with 2 jokes and a very unexpected response to Table Topics.

We like to invite guests to participate in Table Topics (impromptu speaking) and of course they have the right to decline, but this time 2 of our guests accepted and got their first taste of the Toastmaster stage. When a first-timer comes on stage, I can’t help but feeling as anxious and excited about it as they are – and as elated for a job well done after!

We had 2 jokes alright, but the first prepared speech, by Stephanie, was so funny that I – as TM of the evening – almost forgot to get back on stage after. I was still giggling with the vivid images she gave of a tailoring mishap in Egypt! Our second speech was more serious: Anne-Kathrin used the recent news of Mandela’s imminent death to frame an account of South-Africa’s identity and how the nation may fare after this great leader will be gone. Despite the difficult topic, we hung on her lips and she left us with a message of hope.

I must say that I’m always in favor of quality over quantity and with 2 speeches of this caliber, the meeting was well-rounded. Of course, the evaluation session was on par with some very insightful and relevant feedback for the speakers as well as hilarious reports from our subjective evaluators. If you think grammar is boring, wait for Chris to be your grammarian and you’ll be cured of that misconception forever!

So it was no surprise to me that our guest, who was looking for an opportunity to learn and have fun, too, was not disappointed. In fact – he is no longer a guest now, but our newest member!

Brand new also, is the 2013-2014 Officers Team, under the capable presidency of Thomas they kick started us into the TM year with some great ideas, lots of energy and ambition to boast. I’ll just sit back and enjoy this ride…