Meeting number 375: “Improv-Power of Yes, And”

“Let me put it this way- I’m not a fan of online meetings! But I understand we eventually need to go back to our laptop screens once the weather gets cold. But I would like to host the meeting outside my four walls!”- These were the exact words I spoke to our acting President Shams (Nils was on vacation). She gladly accepted once Prunthani hummed along. I was so happy that I made an announcement to my fellow members that the meeting would be held outside again since I’m having an exciting theme in mind that is enjoyed best when we meet in person (honestly, I did not have a theme yet😊). I brainstormed for a few days and Hola! I decided “Improv-The power of Yes, And” as my theme.

Thanks to all my supportive member friends, the roles were taken up with minimum efforts. On the meeting day, Shams crisply delivered the presidential address and I took over as the Toastmaster of the evening. I wanted all the members and guests to get excited about the theme. With that in mind, I started off with a “Word ball” game. Through this, I conveyed the essence of spontaneity and active listening-two essentials in the art of Improvisation. Later, Jonathan took charge as the grammarian and helped improve our use of English. This was followed by 2 amazing prepared speeches by Shams (understanding emotional intelligence) and Angelina (Focus on the Positive).

Now was the time for the most exciting part of the meeting-the table topics! I wanted my audience to be warmed up for this session. So I had planned another activity called “Yes, And”. The members who volunteered demonstrated how an idea could be accepted and built upon using the principles of “Yes, And”. With this activity, I wanted to convey the most important rule of Improvisation-Making your partner look like a genius! With this, I sensed that the members were geared up for the Table topics session conducted by Dima. She had a wonderful set of topics that pushed the participants towards wild imagination. By this time, Dima’s sister Rama joined us as a guest. That was perfect timing by Rama to witness how her sister performed on stage. By the way, Rama would be joining us soon as a new member!
This was followed by a short break. The weather has already started getting colder, but Toastmasters are always prepared. Everyone put-on their jackets and the meeting stepped into the last leg of evaluation. This is my favorite session since it helps everyone learn from their mistakes and encourages them to perform again! Experienced Toastmasters like Johannes and Dwi used proven techniques to evaluate our prepared speakers. This was followed by the report by our champion speaker Ximeng who had signed up for the role of timer. Atul followed up with the Table topics evaluation with crucial points of improvement to not only Dima but also the table topics participants. Finally, Werner who was a silent observer of the whole meeting delivered his general evaluation. I would like to mention that evaluating the whole meeting in 3-4 min isn’t an easy job. But Werner who is a seasoned Toastmaster made it look like a walk in the park! Kudos to him. As the Toastmaster of the evening, I delivered my final two cents on how Improvisation and principles of “Yes, And” could improve our relationships at work and private life. Shams, who was at the camera the whole evening shooting us all (Of course, with our consent) declared the meeting closed and invited us all to join for an after-meeting hangout at Homeburgers near Bushof- many call it “Quatsch” – I call it the icing on the cake!

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