A bewitching prospect

Dear Zuribergers!

For the story tellers among us, the theme of our next meeting – bewitching – is the perfect start into a world of tales – be they fairy tales or tall tales. 

In every day life, if can help to be bewitching once in a while – for example, if you want to convince your boss to give you a pay raise. In this case, it’s essential to make your case with allure (word of the day).

A reminder to our speakers: Please confirm your role and fill in the title of your speech!

Also, we need one evaluator and a sergeant at arms to help us with preparing the room: Bewitch your Toastmaster of the Evening Vanessa by signing up NOW Big eyes

All the best and have a wonderful Sunday


Upcoming Meetings

Dear Zuriberg Toastmasters

The adjective ‘poignant’, the theme of the our meeting coming Tuesday November 15th 2022, has several distinct meanings according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary: It can be used to describe something painfully affecting feelings, i.e. piercing (e.g. ‘my boss made a poignant statement about the quality of my work’) or something touching (e.g. she gave a poignant eulogy) or to make an impression, i.e. cutting (e.g. this standup comedian delivers poignant satire). It is also used to describe something as pleasurably stimulating (e.g. ‘the meetings of my local Toastmaster Club are poignant entertainment’) or to describe something as apt (‘the minister’s speech about the current state of the economy was informative and poignant’).

In short when we use the adjective ‘poignant’ we normally refer to some actual action, event or occurrence influencing our emotions in various ways. This brings me directly to two upcoming events at Zuriberg Toastmasters: The Award Dinner on November 29th (Tuesday in a fortnight) and the Club Contest held on January 24th 2023. With respect to the Award Dinner I specifically call out to past members who still receive this news letter to come and join the Zuriberg Community for that evening. We’ll witness two presenting speeches, evaluations of this speeches and table topics. Matching the occasion dinner is a tad more festive and there is an opportunity to socialize with current and hopefully many past members as dinner time is prolonged  The now yearly held ‘Zuriberg Award Dinner’ is a simple enough affaire without glamour and a red carpet. Also we do not use the occasion to roast certain people – but to recognize a small number of commit tee selected members for their extraordinary past and current contribution to make this club a better place to experiment, to gain experience and to learn – helping to make every single member a small grain wiser with each meeting.

Regarding the Club Contest held on January 24th 2023 there will be more information coming forth coming Tuesday November 15th. But I use this occasion to encourage all members to participate and to inform either the VP of Education Vanessa Stournari or the Contest Chair Harry Loots before December 31st 2022 of your intention to compete!  Please note: The only speech contest with an education requirement is the International Speech Contest. To participate in any level of the International Speech Contest, a member must have completed Levels 1 and 2 of any path in the Toastmasters Pathways learning experience. Only members who joined Toastmasters prior to the rollout of Pathways in their region can apply speeches from the Competent Communication manual to speech contest eligibility. For members who qualify, at least six speeches in the Competent Communication manual must have been completed.

Best wishes and see you in great numbers coming Tuesday and at other poignant Zuriberg Toastmaster Club events in the near future
Please click here for details of our next club meeting

Roland Straub

Gut feeling versus fortune tellers – Meeting November 1st

Dear Zuribergers!

Last tuesday, the oracles (theme of the day) were challenged with difficult yet relevant questions like: “Should I rather marry the sexy beggar or the rich bore?” or “Which hair colour should I wear on my next job-interview – green or purple?”

Not all advice-seekers were satisfied with the answer they received. One even went haywire (word of the day) when he was told to rather look for a shrink then for a new job.

As it turned out, most speakers and evaluators didn’t trust the fortune-tellers. When having to make a decision, they rather relied on their sisters and mothers, their gut-feeling, a suitable coach or simply good luck.

Our next meeting will take place in TWO weeks that is November 15th.  So far, all roles are taken with the exception of the joker (hot seat).

Have a wonderful week and see you soon

All the best

Please click here for details of our next club meeting

Nicola von Lutterotti

How to write an effective speech – workshop October 18th

Dear All

“Our perception is always limited at best and skewed at worst – thus we should always part with our truths with a caveat”! Sounds like a message concerning some life ‘insight’ …? Well, it is (or at least it is meant to be) and was one of the 5 messages I wrote down as Alberto had asked all participants of yesterday’s workshop to do – the literal ‘starter’ for the ‘writing part’ of his workshop: ‘How to write an effective speech’.

Alberto presenting the workshop
Alberto presenting

Alberto Halfeld from Toastmasters St. Gallen came to our Guild Hall well prepared and with excellent credentials: He is – beside pursuing advanced studies in corporate finance at HSG – a film buff (currently pursuing a side kick as a screenwriter for a U.S. based production company), a Toastmaster Mentor, Past President of Toastmasters St. Gallen and Winner of the Evaluation Contest District 109 E4! 

In summary – an evening to remember and serving to everybody present as a reminder why we have joined Toastmasters; communication is the most important channel to practice social competence and speech writing is the indispensable scaffolding for the delivery of a valuable message!

The workshop group
The workshop group

Dear fellow Toastmasters – when you read this summary and were not present yesterday I’m sure you’ll have second thoughts about your absence… but a lost opportunity is not the end of the road!

Next meeting

Come and join us next week (usual place, usual time) for four regular speeches with evaluations with our host of the evening Santhiago Alves Vieira and our one and only Table Topic Master Tatyana Mishchenko!

With best wishes for a productive and successful week
Please click here for details of our next club meeting

Roland Straub

All workshop material can be found in Workshops & Material

Rumors and truths – meeting October 4th

Dear fellow Toastmasters 

In the days leading up to last night’s meeting of Toastmasters Club Zuriberg rumor had it that the evening was going to provide another rich, colorful and riveting experience in the welcoming and accommodating Guild Hall of the ‘Blue Monkey’, aka ‘Zunfthaus zur Schneideren’ in the old town of Zürich. Well, as it turned out rumors – for once – were spot on! As Toastmaster of the evening Monica Vlad presided over a well run and indeed enjoyable evening. The four prepared speeches provided knowledge and insight about a wide range of themes spanning from coming of age impressions by Kevin von Niederhäusern, to advice how to not give advice by Richard Bruckner, to an enlightening research presentation on the formation of individual believe systems by Karina Castella to an introspective on procrastination by Anna Franzen. 

After the dinner break speech evaluations assisted the audience to recognize and value the finer technical and rhetorical tools and methods applied by the speakers. In no way less inspiring were the table topic presentations, skillfully hosted by Marc Cannell and won by Costas Bakopoulos, who introduced the audience to the newest climate change phenomena: Ice-bears in the Amazon gorging on huge python snakes!

The well formulated and sympathetically presented reflections on the evening by the GE Vanessa Stournari and her team; Roxy Yilmaz – timer, Sara Cordairo Duarte – ah counter and Gabriel Espadas – Grammarian helped the numerous guests and the present members to gauge the evening as a whole and the individual support functions form different perspectives. In all a great evening living up to its rumored promises – a fact also confirmed by the positive and amicable feedback from our guests.

Coming Tuesday, October 11th the Executive Committee will meet – thus there will be no Club meeting. The following Tuesday, October 18th, 19:00h club members and guests will be treated to a Workshop by Roberto Halfeld (Toastmasters Club St. Gallen) on how to write an effective speech.

So long, be well and see you all in two weeks 
Please click here for details of our next club meeting

Roland Straub

A scientific rainy evening – meeting 27th September

Dear Zuriberg Toastmasters and dear friends of Zuriberg

Last night, outside fall made its mark with heavy rain and fresh temperatures, a seizable crowd gathered for an intimate and familial meeting of Zuriberg Toastmasters in the wonderful, well lit and warm Guild Hall at the Blue Monkey in Zürich’s Niederdorf. Once more it is my pleasure and honor to note that the quality of the speeches was outstanding – regardless of the level of proficiency of the respective orator! Santhiago humorously referred to his speech as an attempt to explain the attentive listening audience the science of a good speech – what he delivered was a stunning performance of a speech with the purpose to inform! Joanna presented deep thoughts in a light and truly enjoyable way – spicing her statements and reflections up with an occasional cheeky remark about general human behavior. And last but indeed not least – as Thomas Mühlegger the well prepared and increasingly eloquent Toastmaster of the evening duly noted – Samira Studer presented an amazing ‘Icebreaker ’ sharing some highlights of her amazing life-journey up to date with a very personal focus on storytelling. Finally, Monica Vlad surprised us all with quirky and hilarious prompts during the Table Topics session – provoking some ‘interesting’ and insightful impromptu speeches!

Habiba as a competent GE steered her team successfully through the evening and the fact that two supportive roles (Timer and Ah Counter) were taken by members who have just joined the club during the past few weeks is encouraging and deserves special mentioning. Finally – as at numerous meetings in the past few month – I had the pleasure and honor to induct yet another new member to the club. 

Please come and join us next week on the evening of Tuesday October 4th, 18:45h as usual in the Guild Hall at the Blue Monkey. The theme of the evening is probably as conspicuous as it is intriguing: RUMORS! It will be the first evening of several to follow – the committee has decided to fit in four speeches and the line-up we have in store is nothing shy of ‘stellar’! Sign up for roles (there are still several to be taken), come, participate and get this very special Zuriberg TM buzzzzzz…

Cheers and best wishes for a productive rest of the week
Please click here for details of our next club meeting

Roland Straub

Mentoring Workshop – meeting 20th September

Harry Loots, Spiritus Rector, served a whole dinner-plate of informative and heuristic dishes in form of an excellent, educational and – so my strong conviction – enticing workshop about mentorship and mentoring last night! Well structured with a strong interactive part (heuristics) and a feedback session that was probably a tad ‘too open’ the evening not only served the purpose the learn more about mentorship as a concept, the roles of mentor and mentee and – probably even more important – about the supportive ‘traits’ (characteristics) of mentees and mentors but it also inspired!

As one written feedback for the interactive part of the workshop mentioned: “Very helpful exchange on long/short goals , helps rethink why I joined the club years ago, helpful to revisit the goals”!

The workshop was a reminder and a clarification of what mentorship means in the context of Toastmasters Club Zuriberg; its generally applicable duration throughout the performance of the first 4 roles (Icebreaker, Time-taker, Ah-counter and Evaluator) and that other aspects like decisions on communication channels // meeting frequency // timing // setting achievable goals for the mentee // benefits // are all based on a mutual exchange between mentor and mentee.

A great thank-you goes to Michelle for rounding up the evening by giving excellent feedback on the workshop and to everybody present to have participated in a spirited way with enthusiasm and a positive, nurturing attitude.

The next meeting of Toastmasters Zuriberg will be held at the usual venue (Guildhall at the Blue Monkey) coming Tuesday September 27th. The Theme of the evening is: Scientific! All speaking slots are taken and all roles are filled! Come and join us for yet another evening filled with insights and learning!

Roland Straub

Time to say good-bye

Dear committee, dear members

Today is the last day of the old committee. At the same time it is my last day as a committee member in 10 years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your precious support.

My special thanks go to those of you who have been accompanying me in the Zuriberg committee for so many years.

Michelle: without you, it would have been impossible to rebuild this club when it was on the verge of failure in 2012! Thank you so much for your invaluable help with everything, your enormous commitment, your personal engagement in our meetings and your contributions to special events like the Christmas parties. You are the heart of this club and I very much hope that you will keep beating as such in the future!

Margherita: I will never forget how much you supported us when things didn’t go so well and how hard you worked to change our club into a Swiss association. In addition, your vast network in the world of Toastmasters was the basis of out contestants’ success during the last contest season. When judges don’t know the contestants personally, the risk of bias is much smaller. Thank you, Margherita, for all that you have done for our club.

Tim: Thanks you for being such a reliable and well organised treasurer and past president of this club. Even though we haven’t seen you as often as we would have liked to, I dearly remember our common projects like the evaluation workshop a few years ago, your contribution as an area director and your availability to give evaluations outside of this club. Thank you Tim for your enormous contributions!

Thanks also to you, Vanessa, for organizing two contests and for accepting to take over the role as VPE. Your reliability and hard work are the pillars on which our club rests. I am really grateful that we have found such a wonderful and mature person as a key officer for our club. You will do a great job and you can always count on my support.

And thanks to you, Riccardo, for always preparing the agenda even when you didn’t have time to join our meeting and for being such a good sport. I very much hope that you will stay faithful to our club – we all very much enjoy your great sense of humour. 

Thank you Svetlana and Farhad for being part of the team even though you didn’t have time to commit as much as you might have liked.

Many thanks to you, Roland, for agreeing to be this years’ president, for regularly contributing with much valued evaluations and presentations, for helping to organize our birthday party – that by the way was enormously successful – and for supporting Vanessa and the other members of the new committee.

I wish you all, Vanessa, Roland, Alice, Harry, Thomas, Richard and Joanna all the very best and hope to see you often in the months to come.

And finally, many thank to all members past and present. It is your enthusiasm and commitment that makes Zuriberg Toastmasters Club strive.

A big hug to all of you,


The new 2022-2023 Board has been elected !

On 10 May 2022 Zuriberg Toastmasters Club elected a new Executive Committee.

A warm welcome to the new officials:
Roland Straub (President), Vanessa Stournari (VP Education), Alice Nuslova (VP Membership), Richard Bruckner (VP Public Relations) and Thomas Mühlegger (Treasurer), and Harry Loots (VP Mentoring). A huge thank you to Santhiago Alves Vieira for chairing the elections and ensuring smooth proceedings.

We are still looking for a Sergeant at Arms, a Secretary and an Auditor. Interested? Please reach out to our President-elect.

Hybrid Is The New Black!

What an evening! Our first hybrid meeting, at Blue Monkey and on Zoom was a sucess. We had fun, we struggled a bit with the technology, we learned a lot and…
We will do it again!

Every last meeting of the month will be hybrid. What does that mean? You show up at the Blue Monkeys as usual, except if for whatever reason you do not feel like being there, you simply sign into a Zoom meeting and will have all the advantages of being in our wonderful room as well as being in your safe place.