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Full of energy after the summer break!

Thanks to all Toastmasters and to the many guests – especially also to Helene Kriström, the Area Governor – for making this meeting a special, joyful and entertaining evening! Kevin, the Toastmaster of the Evening, guided us smoothly and professionally through the meeting so that we finished with Swiss precision at exactly 21:27 – as the agenda calculator had predicted.

Once again, the speeches were very varied reflecting the different cultural, professional and personal backgrounds of their presenters. While Michelle warned to us with Latin temperament about the many pitfalls of “big data”, Noah – who in “real life” is a professional voice trainer – vividly illustrated the different ways we can use our voice. Furthermore, he explained to us that the sounds we produce on a daily level (called language) are not unique to the human race. Instead, they have been there long before Homo sapiens appeared on stage. And Mai, the third speaker, convinced us that age is not per se an energy-draining problem but rather the fact that while moving into adulthood, we loose our ability to play and to get a good night’s sleep. So good luck with trying to convince your boss to install a playground and a relaxing zone in your office!    😀

The evaluators – Hui Mei, Vaclav and Ben – were well prepared and gave valuable feedback. They not only commended the speakers on their achievements but also included suggestions of how to do even better next time. As Gabor, the General Evaluator of the Evening, pointed out, it is always a challenge to address the critical aspects of a presentation. The art lies in phrasing the feedback in a way that the speaker doesn’t feel discouraged but rather motivated.

A warm welcome to our new members, Zhe and Tim, who were inducted last night! They now can start to participate in all communicator and leadership roles.

We’ll meet again in two weeks time, on September 3rd. Up to now, 4 speakers have signed up – so we’ll have a full program. However, you can still sign up for other roles.

Don’t forget: On September 17th Noah will give a workshop on vocal variety. The workshop is open to all our members. Please sign up ASAP since we cannot accommodate more than 20-25 participants.

Also: On October 1st we’ll have our humorous speech and Table Topic Contest. All members who have completed 6 speeches in their CC Manual can participate in the Speech Contest. No such requirements exit in the Table Topic Contest. Here, all of you are welcome to participate. So don’t hesitate – embrace the challenge, it’s definitely worth it.

Take care and see you all soon – Nicola

All marathoneers reached the finishing line

Thank you all for a most enjoyable, informative and fun marathon-speech-evening. Markus did an excellent job as Toastmaster of the evening – all slots were filled, every one knew what to do, and the meeting was running according to schedule. Also, all 12 marathoners – the 6 speakers and the 6 evaluators – reached the finishing line and thus met the objective of accomplishing yet another communication challenge.

Vaclav convincingly explained to us that the only way to grow and to be successful (i.e. with girls and other difficult to manage challenges) is to step out of your comfort zone. Seun started by asking “who owns a robot” (only one had went up) and then described the many useful ways robots can be used for on a daily, and not-so-daily basis. Thanks to Ben we learned a lot about the strategies of retailer brands, and thanks to Hui Mei we now are aware that you neither need a Ferrari in your garage nor (a lot of) money on your account to be wealthy. Elena introduced herself to our club with her “geography”: The running title and content of her Icebreaker speech were so convincing that she won the speech marathon. Congratulations! And Michelle managed to make the word “self-discipline” sound like something very soft and agreeable – of course, only if you apply it the right way. Due to Michelle’s commitment as SAA – self-discipline wouldn’t be the right word here according to Michelle  😉 – we always had a perfectly prepared meeting room and never run short of any equipment. Thanks Michelle for everything you did for this club.

The evaluations also were helpful and supportive. It is always great to see the personal touch each evaluator gives to his or her feedback: The evaluations encompassed suggestions like singing your speech when trying to improve on vocal variety (evaluation was given by an opera singer who definitely must know), to “TTT” (Turn Touch Talk) when using power point slides in a powerful way. By far the most challenging evaluation of the evening was the “evaluation of the evaluators” – a task Martin definitely excelled in. Martin reminded all of us that the only way to be remembered as an evaluator is by giving a memorable evaluation (definitely makes sense) – that is  a feedback that “sticks”.

Markus installed the new committee with grace! I am very much looking forward to a great, fruitful and fun year with the members of the new committee and all the members of our great and extremely varied Zuriberg Club.

Kind regards and see you all soon Nicola

Let’s go chicken

11th June 2014

Dear Fellow “Farmers”,

Thanks for your enthusiastic participation in yesterday’s meeting. It’s always wonderful to have such variety of speeches. Thanks to Noah we are now aware of the the different speech parameters – even though many of us still struggle to apply them. And thanks to Adrian we can relax knowing that the likelihood to be killed has gone down steadily, and is still dropping. In addition, Markus shared with us his very valuable experience about high performance leadership and Vaclav persuaded us to work (harder still) on our self-discipline. Also, Thomas was a great table topics master – he transplanted us all to a farm where we had to work our way through chicken houses, fruit trees, vegetable gardens and other less rural environments.

In two weeks, we’ll have the speech marathon – a perfect possibility to move forward with your CCM or advanced workbook. Many of you have (been) signed up already. Please check easy speak and either confirm or tell us if you cannot make it.

I am looking forward to seeing you all on the 25th of June,

kind regards, Nicola

Debate – what a challenge!

What a meeting! First, we had two high-level speeches: Hui Mei explained to us what to expect when we look in a – literal or metaphorical – mirror and Marc Suter took us on a trip to ancient Carthage when moonlight encounters of local women with Roman soldiers were deadly (for the Latin lovers, not the girls for a change). Thanks also to Adrian and Piotr for two excellent evaluations: Given the quality of the speeches it wasn’t easy to point out room for improvement.

After dinner, Giorgio Ripamonti chaired the debate session with great stage presence and passion! The two teams were fabulous: Kevin and Thomas P. commended a banning of human cloning and a 5 year moratorium on therapeutic cloning and Nick and David K. opposed the motion. Both, proponents and opponents, defended their view points very articulately. The arguments of the proposition were more convincing, however – their motion passed in the TM parliament. Anyway, the prospect of having two identical versions of the same person – be it one’s husband, wife or parent – didn’t seem to be very attractive to the audience.

Thanks also to Michelle and Noah for the preparation of the room and all the material. It was much more challenging than on a regular meeting. And thanks to all of you who came, participated actively in the discussions and helped wherever help was needed. We’ll do this again soon.

Kind regards and see you on the 11th of June, Nicola

Meeting 16. April 2013, Report by Kevin Boomsma

Nicola von Lutterotti, Vice President Membership, opened the evening and after welcoming our guests for the evening, reminded all of us to register for the Toastmasters Division E Spring Conference that takes place on April 27th in nearby Zollikerberg. More information is available at

Former Area Governor Celine Horan announced that our club officer committee elections are coming up on the 14th of May and reminded us that serving the club as an officer is a great way to not only learn leadership through experience but also a chance to give back to the club.

Hui Mei Liew Kaiser (evaluated by Kevin Boomsma) opened the speaking session of the evening with her 4th speech in the Competent Communicator track entitled “Malaysians flying home to vote” in which she shared a personal story of how she and other Malaysians abroad go out of their way to make it back home for elections. Just as impressive were the efforts made by Malaysians in their homeland to help those abroad return home for the elections. Hui Mei’s speech was a source of inspiration to go that extra mile for the benefit of of the collective, whether they are our countrymen or fellow club members.

Ben Nordemann (evaluated by Martin Hahn) introduced us to an alternative approach in medicine in his 9th speech in the Competent Communicator track entitled “Biophotons – a better way?”. Ben introduced us to the realm of biophotons by first explaining what biophotons are and from where they emanate. He then described the current methodology of utilizing biophotons in the emerging field of biontology for diagnosing and treating disease through administering light therapy as part of a holistic approach. The topic captivated the audience and initiated an impromptu Q&A session immediately following the speech!

Nicola von Lutterotti delivered a Table Topics session that will go down in the books as one of the most encouraging sessions ever. Contestants had the opportunity to elaborate on something that is or was their favorite. I believe that I even saw a show of hands for the opportunity to be called on next! Even two of our guests tried their hand at the 1-2 minute speech. Guest Toastmaster from the TM Club of Budapest Csaba Kötcsei told us how his favorite occupation would be bus chauffeur. When asked about his favorite activity in retirement, guest Barry Wynter told us not only his favorite activities but also shared some Jamaican wisdom on living well by stating, “We get up early in the morning so we have more time to relax.”

The winners of the evening were Martin Hahn for his speech evaluation and our guest Barry Wynter for his Table Topics speech (and tip on how to relax).