Rhetoric, Rhetoricians and Rhetorical devices

Munich Prostmasters Meeting, 2nd August 2017


If you missed the Munich Prostmasters Meeting on 2nd August 2017, then you missed a fun-filled, action-packed evening. Here´s a summary:

Our president Ranjith opened the session by sharing a personal anecdote about feedback he received on his YouTube channel video. The speech, which was delivered four years ago at the District level, opened with a powerful reference to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala. The critical feedback referred to stereotyping — a topic which was mentioned a couple of times during our meeting. Our view is that as Toastmasters, we should listen really carefully to feedback and use it as an opportunity for introspection. While we like to occasionally poke fun at certain groups of people (often in the form of self-deprecating humour), we should also be mindful of individual sensitivities and always aim to rally, not divide, with humor.

Paul, our Toastmaster of the evening, kicked off the evening with a poll to select which of the three objective evaluations would benefit from additional time for a more in depth talk during the objective evaluations. Ineke, our Grammarian extraordinaire, was more than happy to get bonus minutes!

Our warm-up session of Table Topics was led by Delightful Darya. She sparked some interesting impromptu speeches on (intentionally) controversial topics such as the benefits or risks of Extreme sports, Superfoods and Vaccinations. Each topic was argued by two speakers in a pro vs. con format: speakers and audience alike responded well to this format – shall we do this debate setting more often?

Our first prepared speech came from Lorenz who not only achieved the goals of his Speech #2 (Organize your speech) but also gained a few fans in the audience he captivated. If you haven’t met Lorenz yet: he is the energetic entrepreneur who co-founded an innovative company, MySnackBox (check it out!). The passion for his company was evident throughout the speech!

Irina then defied the challenge of delivering a tough speech: “The adversary relationship”. The primary goal was to deliver bad news, and we (employees, investors, stakeholders) found out that a large product line manufactured by our company would be shut down for strategic reasons. Irina mastered the skill of presenting the situation and the bad news in a factual manner and addressed with brio all concerns raised by the audience in the Q&A session that ensued.

Last but not least, our “Immediate Past President” Stephanie ended our prepared speeches series with an Educational Presentation “Going beyond our club”, highlighting the numerous speaking and leadership opportunities available at various levels in Toastmasters. If you haven’t done so already, please mark your calendars for our Humorous Speech and Table Topics Club Contest on the 6th September 2017: from speaker to judge and ballot counter, Sergeant at Arms and contest chair, there are several interesting roles to fill during a club contest. Bring a friend or colleague along, this will be an exciting and highly entertaining evening!

Magnificent Mel, General Evaluator, picked up where Paul left off, citing examples of rhetorical devices that could be praised by our Grammarian in the extended report – Rockstar Ranjith, Precious Paul were amusing examples to illustrate the sticky impact of alliterations. Mean Mel has no issues overstepping the boundaries of political correctness and poking fun at speakers and members, engaging the audience in an entertaining segment.

Ineke´s “Grammarian on steroids” evaluation reminded us about some grammar rules and highlighted noteworthy examples of rhetorical devices such as metaphors, similes, anaphoras… How about spicing up your next speech with some inspiration from this brilliant ‘Cheat sheet’?

Some may have even learned a new German word along the way, “Besserwisser” – roughly translated as “Know-it-all” or rather “Know-it-better”. If you have lived in Germany long enough, this sketch by Comedy Club Munich´s Matt Devereaux might brilliantly illustrate the point. Oops, is this another stereotype?

A couple of Toastmaster awards were presented before closing the meeting: Stephanie, well done on your Advanced Leadership Bronze status! Mikaela, congratulations on your completing your Competent Leader manual!

Speaking of awards, our next meeting will honor one of the most engaged, passionate and likeable Toastmasters around – see you on the 16th of August, 2017!


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