04 Sep Blue Danube Speakers Meeting through the eyes of a Toastmaster from Moscow by Larisa
I love Austria. I come here as often as I can. And all the time I happen to find new activities to do, new things to see, new people to meet. This time I visited the 15th meeting of a young Toastmasters Club in Linz Blue Danube Speakers. I was invited here by its President Patrick Nini whom I met at the District 59 Toastmasters Conference in Antwerp back in May 2013.
The members are not only very friendly , they also are very punctual – almost everybody was there 30 minutes before the start! I was impressed by the venue – it’s a cozy restaurant just outside the Dome of Linz – the biggest church in Austria. There is a special room for such events with beamer and flipchart.
The Toastmaster of the Evening was Mike (for the first time), he started the meeting and introduced the Grammarian Wolfgang who presented the Word of the Day (Rejoice) and then continued straight ahead with the speeches (whereas in our club in Moscow there is a longer warming-up phase with invocation and joke).
First speech was delivered by Wolfgang and told us about the upcoming elections and difficulties of the choice. It was good to get visual information about the parties and hear about urgent problems of Austrian people. I hope the power distribution in the country will lead for the better. The second speech by Regina was about bees and their importance for us, she also taught us how the natural honey should look and smell like. My speech was the third in the row, here I spoke about tea culture in Turkey and Turkish SMART system of setting goals. The aim was to make the listeners laugh (an advanced speech from Humorously Speaking Manual), I hope the speech was amusing enough. The last speech by Markus was a touching story about the importance to stretch the helping hand to those who need it, and he won the Best Speaker of the Evening award!
Table topic held by Tomas was delivered in the form of a game where two people had to play certain roles in a couple (husband and wife, mom and son etc.) and speak to the given topic, changing the subject after every specific sound from a table topic master. That was sometimes very funny and certainly challenging. The winners were Thorsten and Regina playing a married couple arguing about presents for Regina’s mother.
I found the evaluation part very peculiar – not only there were Evaluators (the best Evaluator of the evening was Paul), General Evaluator (Michaela) and Grammarian/Word Master (Wolfgang), but also Table Topic Evaluators (Tatjana and Thorsten) who commented on the table topic session and Listener (Karin) – the person who checked if the members and guests were attentive enough. She had a couple of questions for every speech: When will the elections in Austria be held? (29.9.2013) For how many % of food are bees responsible? (30%). What kind of tea is drunk in Turkey (black tea)? I consider this role very useful, because good listening always matters!
The Best Evaluator was Paul – an American living in Vienna.
Overall I greatly enjoyed the atmosphere and the warm welcome, I am thankful for the opportunity to deliver the speech and refresh my English. Best of luck to your club and wishing you the soonest Charter! Also welcome to Moscow to our International Toastmasters meeting on 26-27th April 2014 which will be held in English and German (details via President Patrick)!
The next meeting takes place on Thursday 12th of September, in the restaurant Domviertel. Don´t hesitate to come!