25 Nov 2020 – A Meeting full of Gallantry

It’s the 2nd meeting since Germany entered the 2nd lock-down caused by the Corona pandemic. Even though the situation was dark outside, all Isar-Speakers were all delighted to meet up online as usual. This time we were a group of 14 people, 9 of which were the club members and 5 were guests not only from Munich, but also from the USA. 

Jasmin, our president, officially opened the club meeting with a question if the participants had already started to listen to Christmas songs or not, because Christmas was only one month ahead of us!!! Some of us said it’s a bit too soon, but some really started to listen to Christmas music, look how diversified our club is! 

The president then handed the stage over to Oscar, our Toastmaster of the evening, who kindly and thoroughly explained the meeting agenda to ensure that our guests could effectively follow our meeting. He then invited Anne-Marie, our timer, to explain the usage and the meaning of her creative timer cards to ensure an effective time management of the meeting. 

Işil, our grammarian, then introduced the word of the day, which fortunately brought the positive atmosphere to our meeting. The word was “gallant (adj.)”, which means “showing no fear of dangerous or difficult things” and “(of a man) polite and kind towards women, especially when in public”. We were further motivated by the grammarian to also use the variations “gallantly (adv.)” and “gallantry (n.)” to level-up the quality of our speeches. 

The next person on the stage was Cosmin with his great smile and funny Joke of the Day. He managed to make us laugh, which was an excellent warm up before the Table Topics.

Golf, our Table Topics Master, provided his questions based on the “Words of the Year” in the past in the USA, France, and Germany. The impromptu speaker would get one word of the year and should explain the thoughts and ideas that come to his/her mind. Following gallant speakers did participate in this session with their opinions to the words in bullet points. 

Cosmin – with the word “Freedom of Movement” (Reisefreiheit) from Germany (1989)

  • It is the gift that we should celebrate every year. 

Mikhail – with the word “Web” from the USA (1995)

  • It is the innovation that completely changed the world and the way we live.

Oscar – with the word “Transparency” (Transparence) from France (2013)

  • Some personal anecdotes about how intransparent France was to him when he first moved there in 2013.

Judith – with the word “Respect” from France (2006)

  • It is something that we should value more in the world today. 

Markus – with the word “Expensive Euro” (Teuro) from Germany (2002)

  • The Euro is the currency that unites the member countries of the European Union.

Tatyana – with the word “App” from the USA (2010)

  • Apps transformed an iPhone which used to be quite useless in the past into an inevitable gadget in our lives. 

Further on, we were inspired by the following prepared speeches. 

  1. “The secret sauce of persuasion”, delivered by Louise, gave us a trite and tasty recipe of how to be successful in persuasion. Her secret sauce comprises 
    1. reciprocity (to give in advance to initiate people’s desire to give it back)
    2. scarcity (examples: the last Concorde flight, the newest iPhone, limited version of Play Station)
    3. authority (gives people the feeling that they’re safe in good hands)
    4. consistency (doing things in a repeatable way helps people recognise it) 
    5. liking (if people like you, they are more likely to become your customers)
    6. consensus (make people want to be a part of the majority of people). 

With her great command of visual aid and clear voice, Louise managed to effectively persuade us all to taste her secret sauce as the take-away.

  1. “Infinity of butterflies”, delivered by Marco, showed us an insight of how hard a weather forecast is. We learned from Marco that even the movements of a butterfly’s wings can have an influence on how the weather would be like, the so called “Butterfly Effect”. A surprising piece of knowledge is that the nowaday’s weather forecast has already reached 95% accuracy – we’re living in such a wonderful time!!! 

After the break, the stage was handed over to Mikhail, our General Evaluator.  During the subjective evaluation session, we learned from Jasmin and Markus, our speech evaluators, that a speech can be more effective if we start it with “WHY”. Furthermore, another great way to end a speech is to offer a “take-away” message or a “call for action” to the audience. 

The Grammarian report from Işil was a lot of fun, impressive and educative at the same time. She reminded us that the word “like” should be avoided as a filler word in some situations. Also, “to get beated” should be replaced by “to get beaten”. We can both “give respect” and “pay respect” to someone, or even get, catch or take someone by surprise. Last but not least, we also learn that human beings can “mitigate a disaster” to prevent any damages that might occur. 

The filler words were reported by Jasmin, our last minute Ah-counter, who did a great job despite having two roles in the meeting. Our timer report was enthusiastically, briefly and accurately presented by Anne-Marie, who admired our speech evaluators even though their evaluation speeches were a bit out of time.     

All in all, it was an excellent evening with tons of positive energy and growth mindset, thanks to all enthusiastic participants, especially to the gallant members who dedicated themselves by taking all the roles in the meeting. We have proved it together, that “having fun”, “learning” and “growing” can all be combined in our Toastmasters meeting.

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