Welcome spring, goodbye comfort zone!

Last week, as one of the gloomiest winters of the century finally gave way to spring, I started to feel more
motivated and inspired. I decided it was about time that I filled the role of the Toastmaster again, after
almost a year.
The motto I chose for the evening was “spring is in the air”. To make sure everyone got into the spring
mood I dressed up accordingly, brought some fresh strawberries to share with everyone during the break
and tried to use as many phrases and words as possible that evoked spring, sunshine and rebirth. The great
thing was that the entire support team picked up the spring theme and built it into their contributions on
The fist speech was given by Werner Ulbts, a.k.a. “The Dark Knight”, one of the legends of our club, who
continued the journey he had started a few weeks ago with his series of speeches on a fascinating and
highly topical subject: Emotional Artificial Intelligence.
He was followed on stage by Martin Scholtz, one of our club members, who is currently living in Dubai.
Martin opened up his heart to his fellow Toastmasters and shared what he really can´t stand about the
“City of Gold”, even though he is having a good time there, all in all. He mentioned the lack of
environmental awareness and the poor traffic management, just to name a few points.
Last but not least, our Madam President Ashika Lanser, managed to captivate the audience (as usual) with a
speech on birth giving, in which she advocated for the right of each woman to give birth naturally, without
being “overtreated”.
The Table Topics (impromptu speeches) were moderated by Ximeng Chen, whose contributions one stage
are always unpredictable and highly entertaining. This time she came up with a series of ad claims/slogans
that she actually found somewhere and asked table topic speakers to advertise the products behind those
slogans – of course without knowing what it was. Even though this was a tough challenge for most of them,
they all manage to “sell” their story to the audience.
The last part of the evening was devoted to evaluations as usual. This was not an easy task, especially for
the evaluators of prepared speeches, as all speakers were already really advanced. And yet, all of them
came up with a very structured feedback, that included useful suggestions on how to tweak the speeches
and become even better communicators.
Looking back at Tuesday night, I would say it was really worth to step out of my comfort zone and take
charge of the moderation after such a long time, as I could learn a few lessons, that I would like to share
with you:
– When you realize you are running behind schedule you need to “kill your darlings” and keep your
introductions/passages shorter than you had planned. This will help you become more flexible in
the long run
– You need to take the time to brief all team members properly, especially those who are filling their
role for the first time
– You should try to go through the evening in your head a couple of times before going on stage, to
make sure you won’t forget any important point and thus avoid getting confuse (and confusing the
entire support team).
I’m looking forward to my next evening as a Toastmaster and this time I won’t let a year pass by!