Summer in the City

13 July 2015

Change is a certainty in all areas of life, right? And Center Berlin Toastmasters is no exception. This meeting we took the advice of our guest, Yury, and rearranged our seating. We all enjoyed the result – a much improved atmosphere of connection! This served as a practical example of the Toastmasters’ principle that improvement comes through constructive peer feedback.

As Acting President, I was honored to welcome Toastmasters from four other Berlin Toastmaster clubs – Berlin Aspies, Mercury, Redekünstler, and Spreeredner. I’m very grateful to all of you for your support. The introductory round showed just how much the 25 of us know about Toastmasters. It quickly became apparent that statistics (313,000 members worldwide in 14,650 clubs in 126 countries, serving over 4 million Toastmasters in the last 90 years) were less important than the opportunity to find friends,  challenge ourselves, and learn from each other.

Two very important people were brought on stage and introduced. Johanna and Dagmar, both experienced Toastmasters who have served on the Club, Area, and Division levels, have volunteered to be Center Berlin Club Mentors. They are here to  add their efforts to ours and support us in creating a successful club. Dagmar added her name to the Center Berlin banner as the third of our dual members. Each meeting brings us additional club members!

The three prepared speeches informed and inspired. Armin spoke to us about The Miracle Healer – health education. In this digital age, where information is only a click away, we can easily be led into thinking we know enough. Armin argued that we need to go beyond being well-informed, we need to be well-educated. True health education employs and integrates multiple approaches resulting in personalized action and intervention plans.

Our next speaker, Florian, amused us by asking us to remember our first kiss – both the awkwardness and nervousness of it as well as the relief and pleasure. His father gave him two tips about kissing: “When in doubt, just go for it!” and “Keep it simple, keep it plain.” Florian inspired us by extending the analogy of kissing to giving your first speech. The same awkwardness and nervousness are overcome by just going for it and keeping it simple. Da Vinci said “Simplicity is the greatest form of communication.” Something all of us budding speakers can keep in mind.

Georg, our third speaker,  also referenced his father as a model for life. This was a personal story of change from life in former East Berlin to becoming a successful entrepreneur in unified Germany. But success came at a cost – health. Georg urged us to take decisions that will lead us to happiness and not wait for our bodies to signal dis-ease with our jobs. For health and happiness, act on your intuition rather than following society’s expectations.

What will I remember from this evening? – the connections!
What did I take away from this evening? – Go beyond information to education.

Khushi Pasquale, Acting President Center Berlin Toastmasters