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

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