Munich Prostmasters x-mas meeting

Dear fellow Tostmasters and friends,

I’m very pleased to invite you in the name of all Prostmaster officers to our x-mas party 2011 at the 21st December, 7.15pm.

We are going to have three fabulous speeches and table topics. Furthermore, this is not an ordinary evening, as all of us can go to Stadtkantine for a delicious dinner. As a starter we ordered the well known antipasti (about 6 € each person) and for the 2nd course you have the choice between two meals (10 € each), one is filled veggies, the other is rosy veal with Gnocchi. A dessert you can choose from the menu.
Separate bill.

More info:

All officers are looking forward to see you at the 21st, our last Porstmaster eventing this year!
If guests would like to join for dinner, please give me a quick note. (!/prostmasters) I will check for more seats.



Hibernate, don’t emigrate

Fellow Toastmasters, dear guests: First, go make yourself a cup of tea. It’s cold out there and most of us don’t have access to private châteaux on expensive islands yet.

You currently do reside on such a tropical destination? Then fix yourself a Long Island Iced Tea instead. Better still, wear your custom-made suit and order your drink at a pool bar. It will temporarily boost your charisma plus ten. Remember to move slowly and keep your hands out of your pockets at all times. (If female, adjust accordingly, you get the idea).

In case you are not among the chosen few, there is still reason to be happy. Let me break it down:

Reason no. 1: Some have it worse. Think Norilsk, Bratislava, Nizhny Nowgorod (at least, it sounds cold).

Reason no. 2: You are not missing out on exciting alfresco activities. This means, you can fully dedicate yourself to making more money, finding some meaningful social cause, or: improving your public speaking skills – which will, by the way, take care of the aforementioned. To quote a trustworthy, not otherwise specified source: “I had no home. I had no friends. And then I came to Toastmasters!”

(It’s probably time for a new paragraph.)

Until then – thank you for reading, dear attractive people. You could have done some other, mind-enhancing activity. But you chose to spend your time listening to me. You all win a free hug by our Club President or the VP of your choice.

Yours truly,


Where Leaders are Made

Last Wednesday our club, Munich Prostmasters, had the honor of hosting The Area Conference for Munich Toastmasters, Munich Media Speakers, Effective Communicators and of course ourselves, Munich Prostmasters. We are Toastmaster clubs and concentrate our efforts on learning public speaking and leadership skills.

This time I have realized, there is one more skill to learn: chaos management. And oh yes, it was chaos. The second timer was not there yet, all the drinks and snacks were still on the way and the names of the contestants were a secret not only to the audience but to the contest chair as well. It became overwhelming and at one point I started talking to Shawn in all languages I knew. It is when I told myself to calm down and open the conference.

And the magic began. Silence has spread to the four conners of the room. The keynote speaker, Carlo, walked on stage. He is a relatively new at Toastmasters but he did rock the stage with his speech. A wonderful example of a well-prepared and inspiring speech. Witty and smart, encouraging and entertaining – it truly was honey to my ears and taught me that listening is even more important than talking. Great job, Carlo!

It is all coming up roses for Mel this year. He is the winner at Humorous and Table Topics contests. It is officially now – he is the funniest! His story of “Becoming a good German” made us all laugh so hard and so loud that neighborhood complained afterwards. Mel is not only the funniest, he is also the bravest one – talking out loud about german girls not shaving legs!

We had more winners. Verena from Munich Media Speakers has won our hearts and the 1st place in her area with “Dos and Don’ts of partying with the bosses”. Ineke proved she was created for working at marketing and winning at Toastmasters. Good luck ladies in the next round, divisional conference!

It was a lovely evening. And we did manage chaos. Thank you, guys, for being so helpful and supporting! I can’t think of a better place on this planet for learning, listening and getting inspired by you, Toastmasters!

Darya Bilousova,

President of Munich Prostmasters


Contest Time

It was contest time at the Munich Prostmasters on September 21. For the uninitiated out there, our club usually devotes two meetings a year to pure competition, one in the fall and one in the spring. The disciplines on the 21st were Humorous Speech and Table Topics (impromptu speaking). A panel of anonymous judges was charged with finding the best humorous speech of the evening and the best response to the topic, “What happens at the Wiesn’ (the Oktoberfest), stays at the Wiesn”. (We are, after all, the Munich Prostmasters.)

Mel Kelly won the Humorous Speech Contest by default as there were no other contestants. Not that Mel’s speech wasn’t entertaining in itself (we made him deliver it anyway). Mel chose a sure-fire topic: the inevitable puzzlement and bewilderment that ensue when one lives in a foreign culture.

Ineke Vermeulen won the Table Topics contest with a thoughtful reflection on what impressions stay from the Wiesn’, with Mel Kelly taking second place and Martin Brown third place. It was gratifying to see so many members compete in the Table Topics contest and it was also gratifying that the quality of responses was so high across the board.

Thanks and congratulations go to Caroline Deinert for organizing the contests so efficiently and moderating the contests as well on the 21st.

Christopher Magyar,

Past District Governor 2006-2007, Toastmasters District 59


Club Contest 21 Sep. 2011

Dear fellow Prostmasters and friends!

Please be informed about our club contest in Humorous Speeches and Table Topics. You still can participate. Please write me an e-mail. We are looking forward to a funny, terrific, exiting, extraordinary – short – a great evening at 21 Septemer 2011!

Guests are more than welcome to join.



The Autumn Spirit

As much as I love summer, I love it even more when our Toastmasters are back from the road and ready for stage time. The autumn spirit was in the air – the speeches were as fresh and colorful as our Toastmasters and their ideas.

The Toastmaster of the Evening was Prince Charming himself. Yes, Stanko brings so much charm and laughs to the task that the whole atmosphere in the club somehow gets brighter and sunnier. After warming up with a very curious Invocation by Mel and Joke of the Day by me, we moved on to Table Topics.

Well, at Toastmasters they say one should never avoid taking part in Table Topics. It’s a good preparation for real everyday situations. The Table Topics Master, Ranjith this time, called speakers on stage and gave them a topic for a short impromptu speech. It provides an amazing opportunity to practice careful listening, to prepare an appropriate response quickly and to express fluent, clear, organized thoughts in a limited time. Sometimes though, it causes just the opposite – excessive sweating, cluttered thoughts and a strong desire to hide behind a chair. But at Toastmasters we see obstacles as challenges – and every speaker could turn a challenge into a wonderful story: Christopher was robbed on a golf course, Bastian turned a cold war into a hot peace, Stephan spoke Latin, remembering veni, vidi, vici, and Gökhan described a rather unusual (for Western Europeans) custom of sacrificing a sheep in Turkey.

Gökhan was not the only one talking about Turkey. Stephan and Caroline gave two very entertaining speeches about Istanbul. The first thing I did when I came back home was to put Istanbul, the city of dreams, on my Top-Destination List. Istanbul – Here I come!

Then David came on stage. They say the main strength of any public speaker is his personality and there is something about David that makes you listen, nod vigorously in agreement (because it’s TRUUE!), smile, and then smile even more brightly…. This is what distinguishes a good speaker.

My performance on stage was somehow very short: six minutes felt like one. So this is what I’ve learned – speak slowly, take pauses, give your audience time to reflect on what has been said and let your emotions run free. I simply love stage time!

It was a magnificent evening and we all got valuable feedback on our performances.

At next week’s meeting, the 21st of September, the normal program will be replaced by Humorous Speeches and the Table Topics Contest!!!! Rumor has it that some very funny and experienced speakers are going to compete. But I’m saying nothing more; don’t want to spoil the surprise. I can only tell you this much – Learn from yesterday, live for today, have fun next week with the Munich Prostmasters!

Darya Bilousova, President of Munich Prostmasters


August in Bavaria

Our last meeting was very special.

For one thing, I discovered that August in Bavaria means vacation. Or actually: vacate-shun. Everybody vacates town and shuns the things they normally do. With this, our first meeting of August was marked by many visitors. All those visitors came on vacation to us! That was great because they even actively participated in Tabletopics and showed that they too, understand and are able to apply the leadership lessons in ancient chinese warfare.

Due to the fact that most of our members were on vacation somewhere else, we had no prepared speeches but instead we focused on evaluation. Now, how do you evaluate when there are no speakers?

The creative answer is: with a little technology and thanks to the greatest speakers series, we showed three great speeches (Jim Key “Never too Late”, Robert Hince “Let’s Fly over the Rainbow” and Darren Lacroix “Ouch”) and had three great evaluators mastering the challenge of evaluating these great speeches.

Thomas, Georg and Mel showed us that careful listening and paying attention to all aspects that make up a great speech can lead to useful and constructive feedback to great speakers. Yes, they showed us, that even the greatest speakers can continue to improve. No matter how advanced and experienced a speaker is, they keep working on getting the final details down.

Our next meeting is also in August, people are on vacation. Nevertheless, those of us who will be there, will enjoy another learning experience: an educational about the communication and leadership tracks and how you too can benefit from Toastmasters and from Prostmasters.

Our next meeting happens to be on the first day of the international conference in Vegas. That is just about the time when they announce the new brand. Everybody with a smart phone should check out the social networks where you can find the details in real time – also during our meeting (for once)!

last week and next week

oh dear, oh dear, today is Tuesday and tomorrow is a Prostmasters free Wednesday. What to do? Time to reflect on how last week’s great meeting developed and dream a bit on what we will do better next week.

Our last meeting was great. I must admit – in hindsight…

For I was a bit apprehensive before, as preparations had been confusing…

With our president on vacation (well-deserved of course) I was going to stand in (I’d promised) but… I was in Paris that day and wasn’t sure if I would make it on time (flights are known to be directly associated to delay). So I had asked Mel – TM of the evening – to cover for me.
I arrived before Mel and from then on, I knew all would be fine. And it was.

In my opening I referred to the (less than mediocre) quality of the presentations I’d been subjected to in my first part of the day and expressed my sincere wish and hope that Prostmasters would do better. And boy, did they ever!

Ranjith made us laugh about German engineers and the insights one shares over a Weißbier in a Biergarten. After his joke of the day Caroline not only pointed out that she is a pretty good runner, she also challenged us, to use the word “challenge” as word of the day. A challenge only few of us were able to deliver on, unfortunately.

They were followed by Haiyi who challenged us with ideas around outdoor sports to be developed by the “victims” of her table topics session. I certainly learned a great deal, e.g. thanks to Cynthia, Inow know, that sports are not as healthy as I thought they were. And Klaus instructed us on the damages that electrical bicycles can do to a relationship.

We also had 3 tremendous prepared speeches. Stephan O. did an Icebreaker that could shame many a more advanced speaker. Stephan K. taught us what managers can learn from cows and impressed us all with his mooing technique. Last but not least we were entertained by David, a true Scot, on the Germany’s True Scots. Now we finally know why so many Scots come to the Oktoberfest. Not for the beer, nonono, it is to meet their true Bavarian brethren!

As we had Christopher guide us through the evaluation session, we gained valuable insights in the sandwich technique and the difference between subjective and objective evaluations.

To end in beauty, we concluded this packed and inspiring meeting well within time and off we were to reevaluate everything over diner in a nearby restaurant.

And I had been thinking that things weren’t going to run smoothly… Next week, I don’t want anything more than a fun-filled, energy-packed and inspiring meeting. Concluded with an equally inspiring after-meeting!


Movimento Moves

The first blog entry after the club moved to Movimento 🙂

We are now right in the centre of the city between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz.

Stanko led the meeting seguing his way through as Toastmaster of the Evening.

Martin made an invocation with a sparrow flying high till it froze and had a bit of help from a cow and cat. An invocation with some Martin magic!

Stephan made his first stage appearance with a joke.

Stephan Karl made us think about Fathers in his multinational Table topics.

Yulia told us about her life in 5Ms – Moscow, Munich, Motto…

Ranjith tried to persuade the Prostmasters to lend their voice for 1GOAL – Education for All

Stanko moved in with an impromptu Table Topics session wherein more members came on stage explaining what Education meant to them.

Mel finished off the meeting with a report on the District Conference in Portugal.