At the beginning of this year we had a lot of new members, and most probably a few more will join in the next weeks.
Last year, we had to find a new venue for the first two months in 2017 since our regular place is being renovated. At first, everything went incredibly smoothly: a venue was rapidly found, and our stuff deposited. Relieved, our committee could join the Christmas-Holiday-Crowd.
When all seems too easy to be true, be aware! On our first meeting in 2017, things started to go in an unexpected direction… the room was way too small, and with the 8 guests checking out our club we felt like chicken in a battery farm.
Then the real improvisation started. No, I am not talking about Table Topics. We were short on tables, didn’t have a flipchart for the grammarian and no projector for one of the speakers. This was a true Toastmasters leadership-challenge: Keep up the spirit and don’t start to nag.
Did we manage to do so? Yes, we did. With a helping hand from members and guests, we brought in more tables and chairs and succeeded in setting set up the room in a way that vaguely resembled a meeting room.
Finally, we had a great evening with 4 speeches, many evaluations and of course Table Topics. Some of the guests even came back. This shows: A positive attitude, collaboration and adaptation are the qualities of a winning team – qualities that we cultivate at our club.
The more, the merrier, so what better way to celebrate Christmas than with another Toastmasters Club? Zuriberg TM decided to join forces with Bombardier CH TM. We were also honoured to have Bigi Vitolic Koblet as a guest. So it was that on 13 December, 27 Toastmasters gathered in a room whose tables had been decorated for the occasion. At Michelle’s request, most of the guests wore suitably festive clothing. Guests had interpreted Michelle’s Christmas dress code (“be creative”) in different ways: There were eye-catching shades of red (Hong, Nicola, Stefano, Alma, Karina, Franziska, Petra, Piotr), amazing jewellery (Michelle, Daniela), Santa Claus hats (Etienne, Stefano, Karolina, Franziska), blinking lights (Margherita, Piotr, Thomas), seasonal neckwear (Ben) and a suit (Paul) which showed that “Toastmasters” is an anagram of “ate most stars”.
Before the evening officially started, old friendships were renewed and new ones made over drinks which had generously been provided. Sergey was unfortunately unable to attend, so his deputy, Nicola, then formally opened the evening. She introduced our Toastmaster of the Evening, Stefano, who led us through the unusual format. The evening began with a keynote speech from Jack Vincent of Zug TM. Jack is an author, sales advisor, speaker and trainer and the lively delivery of his speech entertained the audience and warmed us up for what was to follow.
In the best Toastmasters tradition, the remainder of the evening required participation from us all. First, Karina invited small groups of guests to take the stage for a series of mini debates, each of which was based on a theme related to Christmas. After a break for dinner, Paul invited everyone to play Taboo. The Guessers of the Reindeer and Elves teams (Margherita and Piotr, respectively) did a magnificent job of trying to read the describers’ minds. For the describers, it was like Table Topics, only with 5 Unwords of the Day: they had to try to explain something without using these words and without using body language (unlike Toastmasters speeches). Despite this, almost everyone managed to explain the words which they were given. The contest was very closely fought, but in the end the Reindeers beat the Elves by a very narrow margin.
As those of you who were there or who have seen Massimo’s photographs will know, it was an enjoyable evening with a lot of laughter. Thanks to all who attended and special thanks to all who were involved in the planning and preparations.