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Meeting 30. October 2012, Report by Martin Hahn

“We, the Oviri”, Olivia Coker

Nicola von Lutterotti (evaluated by Adrian Engler) got the evening off to an interesting start by thinking about the nature of communication. Citing research on primates, she suggested that only humans have the capacity to cooperate and, correspondingly, communicate. While I would have liked to debate Nicola with some rivalling research that clearly shows animals exhibiting altruism and cooperative behaviour, I applaud her efforts to make us feel good about communication and to think more deeply about it.

Inspired by a TED talk, David Ermen (evaluated by Celine Horan) continued the scientific agenda by asking if our body language can actually have an effect on ourselves (not just on our audience). Using his own body as an example on stage, David explained how different poses affect people’s confidence and even their hormone levels. His speech was as interesting as it was practical for everyday life, not least for the topic of public speaking without fear.

Olivia Coker (evaluated by Nicholas Allan) delivered a colourful speech on the colourless prints by Paul Gauguin. Setting the scene – and drawing the audience into it – at the Kunsthaus Zurich, Olivia painted a vivid picture of the artist who at the end of his life described himself as a savage. “We, the Oviri” was a tour de force of art, civilization, and psychology – passionately delivered and sparingly supported by visuals, to mark yet another highlight in Olivia’s outstanding collection of speeches she delivered over the past years.

Table Topics Magic Duster, Seun Oyetan

Fiona Wallace-Mason’s table topics were distinctly amusing and reminded me of “Whose Line is it Anyway?”, as she asked a number of people to pick obscure items from a bag and talk about them spontaneously. Objects included a chocolate bar, a broom stick, a pack of (magical?) mushrooms, and cinnamon sticks.

Winners of the evening were Nicholas Allan (Best Evaluator), Robert MacKenzie (Best Table Topic Speaker and guest), and Olivia Coker (Best Speaker).

The session was concluded by Marcel Cattin, who almost brought the house to tears with two rather sassy jokes.

Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contests

Table Topics Winners: 1st, Marc Suter; 3rd, Fiona Wallace-Mason; 2nd, William Horan
Humorous Speech Winners: 2nd, Nicholas Allan; 1st, Marc Suter

We started with Table Topic hosted by Ilka Gehlhar. Each contestant was asked to promote his/her own new book titled “Our Iceberg is Melting”. Henrik Karlsson started off by bringing up the seriousness of environmental issues we had on our planet. Marcel Cattin diverted the topic from “iceberg melting” to “ice breaker” as in an opening for a speech introduction. Fiona Wallace-Mason gave an energetic “I love iceberg!” start and connect icebergs to childhood memory. Adrian Engler gave a “matter of fact” stand and urgency about the topic of climate change. William Horan made a hilarious presentation on showing us a run-down of “don’t believe anything-anyone says” chapters on the book. Cameron Roy took the “two PhD doctors searching for answer” proof on global warming. Nicholas Allan expanded on “luggage-carrying” pinguins on the cover of the book. Finally, Marc Suter opened with some serious questions, continued with some fuel facts, and ended with sense of urgency to promote people to act.On Oct 2, we had our club’s Table Topic and Humorous Speech Contests. Tonight’s format is a bit different from our usual meetings. First, the speech order is drawn by lot on the day. Second, we have no evaluation, only ranking and results for the speeches. Not to mention our first two winners for both categories will be representing our club at the Area Contest on Oct 13! Talk about pressure!

On our second half of the meeting, after an introduction from our club president Olivia, we started with humorous speech contest. Nicholas Allan kept us entertained in “Sleepless in Transit”, with tales of his own traveling experience on long-haul flights and stories of his friend sleeping through stops and managed to keep missing his stop in one drunken evening. Marc Suter showed us some powerful techniques on how to stop losing things with “Count & Bundle”. Unfortunately, Fiona Wallace-Mason was disqualified due to timing.

Congratulations to all the winners! Wish you best of luck and success in the Area Contest!

No Meeting August 21st, CONTESTS October 2nd!

The club will meet on August 7th, and then take a break to enjoy the last weeks of summer. We will meet again on September 4th, according to our regular schedule.

Don’t forget that the Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests are just around the corner on October 2nd. If you didn’t make it to the Olympics, this is your chance to cheer and rave!

Lakeside Meeting Review

All that we had envisioned for our summer gathering was realized on Tuesday.

Through Angela Saxby’s beneficence and the exceptionally good mood of the Zurich weather gods, Mosquito Hill and Zuriberg Toastmasters ascended the stairs of the Zurich Rowing Club to arrive at a spectacular, sweeping view of white sailboats adrift on glittering cerulean waves, rare inspiration for a relaxed, vibrant and buoyant Toastmaster evening!

We had hoped to enjoy a fantastic event on the lake, to give every member the opportunity of becoming part of a larger circle of aspirants on this challenging rhetorical journey, and to expand and deepen our understanding of how we can accomplish our goals as leaders and orators.

With speakers, evaluators, and Table Topics Masters from both clubs, we witnessed a variety of topics, performance styles, and analytical approaches which must have given all of us fresh ideas to bring to our regular meetings. Congratulations again to Christian Langenegger as Best Speaker, Merin Chacko as Best Table Topics Speaker, and Angela Saxby, Florian Hehlen, and Piotr Skoczylas, who tied as Best Evaluators.

Add to the educational program copious contributions of wine, dinner, and laughter, and we accomplished a rewarding synergy of mood and meaning which none of us will ever forget. We trust that this event only marks the beginning of a tradition of successful collaboration between the three English-speaking Zurich Toastmasters clubs.

Thanks again to everyone for a great time!