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Speech “Iron Man” and Temporary Admission Freeze

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 by Sonja Bonin

My club keeps amazing me. Officials and members alike kept up the contest season momentum with a special speech marathon or rather: speech “iron man” as Nicola fondly called it, last night. 10 speeches, 10 speed evaluations of only 1 minute and an elaborate moderation by toastmaster of the evening Nicola von Lutterotti.
The line-up couldn’t have been more diverse and exciting, ranging from one very successful icebreaker to several impressive Pathways projects to some competent communication and advanced communication speeches such as a hilarious “roast” of another member by Margherita Brodbeck Roth.

Who would have thought that so much hard work and excitement could deliver so much fun in the end! Seems like our energy level just keeps on rising, even after we’ve just completed an extensive set of competitions this season.
Which reminds me: Chapeau to our club founder, Lesley Stephenson, and our acting president, Michelle Sabatini, travelling to Genoa to represent us at the District level!

Concluding our ultra-long speech night (which, by the way, will be repeated due to high demand, on May 14th!), Lesley addressed the elephant in the room: When she founded this club, she reminded us, it was with half of the original club’s 60 members – because the club had simply grown too large. It was time to split then, she said, and, given that we’ve just accepted our 62ndmember and had to impose a temporary admission freeze until fall, it might be time to split this one soon, too. Which would break our hearts, obviously, because we have all grown so fond of each other over the years.

Perhaps we can postpone that measure by adding repeated speech “ultras” in the future? Rumors have it our lovely and energetic club officials are already at work to implement just that …  so stay tuned!

Even more club visits!

Here are some other pictures of our club members expanding their Toastmasters experience and attending other clubs

Eric At Zug Toastmasters
Daniel at Winterthur Club

Contest Season

Contributed by Sonja Bonin, April 12, 2019

“Only the contest made me a poet, a sophist, an orator”, said Plato, one of the greatest thinkers in European history. If I may add my own humble experience: only the contest(s) made me a full member of the Toastmasters family.

For the second season now, I’ve had the privilege of taking part in some excellently organized TM competitions in and around Zurich. I’ve been a judge, a tie-breaking judge and a contest chair. I’ve served in more prominent (guest speaker) and more mundane roles (such as printing dozens of participation certificates). And I’ve heard some extraordinary people give some extraordinary speeches – in a hand-full of languages, I might add.

What impressed and inspired me most was how the clubs pulled it all off: with lots of preparation, energy and, most importantly, team-work.

One club that kindly invited me as a target speaker (Rhetorik Club Zurich) held their club contest AFTER and in addition to their regular meeting! My own club, Zuriberghosted not only their own club contest but also the area contest in SIX disciplines: German, International, Italian, French, Table Topics and Evaluations! An incredible feat which could only be accomplished because a seasoned bunch of people came together, prepared well (using some outstanding TM resources), and made it happen. It’s almost impossible to screw up if there’s so many kind people around you who have your back and take up the slack if needed.

I can highly recommend this experience. Start as a spectator tomorrow at the district level competition in Oerlikon (link to: and perhaps at the Spring District Conference in Genoain May or even the world championship in Denver, Colorado in August. And then step out of your comfort zone and start contributing: as a competitor or as an organizing team member or both.

I wish all Zurich competitors good luck and a lot of fun and learning along the way to Genoa. And I look forward to speaking in the next competition season in 2020. Who knows, maybe it’s going to turn me into a real poet, sophist, orator …? 

The Toastmasters Community

TM is not only about our club! This is why we are encouraged to visit our fellows Toastmasters from other clubs. Here Sonja pays a visit to the Turicum club, a German Speaking club from our area.

Sonja visiting the Turicum Club