🌟 Toastmasters Meeting Invitation: “Luxury” 🥂

Indulge in the finer things at our next Toastmasters meeting, where we delve into the theme of “Luxury.” Explore the many facets of luxury, from opulent lifestyles to the luxury of free time, through thought-provoking speeches and discussions.

Date: 11. June 2024
Time: 18.45
Location: zum Königsstuhl
Theme: “Luxury”

Highlights of the Meeting:
•⁠ ⁠Lavish Speeches: Listen as our speakers explore the concept of luxury, sharing insights on what luxury means in different contexts and how it influences our lives.
•⁠ ⁠Table Topics: Engage in impromptu speeches that challenge you to think about luxury in unconventional ways.
•⁠ ⁠Insightful Evaluations: Gain feedback that helps you refine your ability to convey complex and often abstract ideas like luxury effectively.

Featured Quote: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” – Coco Chanel

This meeting is not just about the extravagance of material things but also the richness of experiences and ideas. Whether you’re drawn to the traditional notions of luxury or interested in redefining what luxury means in modern society, this meeting promises an evening of enriching discussions and captivating speeches.

🥂 Dress to impress and join us for a night where we explore the luxurious aspects of life and speech. Let’s discover together the lavishness that words can convey!

Toastmasters District 109 Conference

Istanbul, May 2024

Conference Summary

On May 11th, the annual District 109 welcomed its Toastmasters members spanning over 16 countries at Bosphorus in Istanbul, where the West meets the East. What a better place to celebrate diversity and delve into leadership workshops, motivational keynotes and the Speech contests!

The conference opened with a motivational keynote by Verity Price, the first speaker from Africa and 6th woman in history to win the World Championship of Public Speaking in 2021. In her speech, Verity made us aware of our choice in life: to react to what happens or shape our own reality. “The future is owned by women and men crossing their imaginary bridges to grow out of their comfort zone”. She further observed that the nature of our question determines how we think about something; the way we speak about our dreams will determine if we make them happen. In other words, your word creates your world. Ask inspiring questions and mind your internal world. 

Narrow Combat for the District Trophy 

The key highlight of the conference was the speech contest. Some speakers admitted to having trained for months and waited for years for a District-level victory! The atmosphere of friendly competition was phenomenal, and the performances on stage were nearly indistinguishable from those of World Champions.

This year, the Zurich Toastmasters Club made it into the hall of fame, bringing back not just one but two awards. Mila Myrsep earned a well-deserved 1st place in the International Speech Contest. 

Marika Dubiel made her club, Toastmasters Innsbruck, proud by earning 1st place in the Evaluation Contest.

Our VP Mentoring and future President, Harry, as contest chair, granted the awards to the International Speech Contest District 109 Winners during the Gala 

Giada Sartori placed first in the Table Topics Contest by answering the question: “Do you like your neighbours?” Her experience as an Italian living in Switzerland made her speech flow naturally, from the heart, and shook the audience with laughter. In this specific competition, the learnings on how to perform best during table topics were numerous:

  • Do not rush into your story. You have up to 30 seconds to think through your speech before starting to talk. Use them to generate a broad idea of what you will say
  • Use pauses. Pauses are always important, but they are a magic gun for Table Topics, since they not only add intensity to your sentences, but also give you time to think through the next one!
  • Do not start describing what you see. Table Topics speakers, even experienced ones, might find themselves out of ideas. When this happens, avoid rambling about your environment. Pause, think about the next step in your story, and go on.
  • Use storytelling. An inexperienced Table Topics speaker might explain that its neighbours are loud because they play music all the time. An experienced one would bring us into the action using characters, scenes and the impact they had on them. The best way to engage an audience is to tell them a story.

With all these tips in mind, who wouldn’t want to give it a try? Zuriberg Toastmasters is eagerly awaiting its next District Contest winner, taking a break this year after numerous past successes. Could you be the next one? 

Yet, to be fair, Zuriberg did not stand on the sidelines. In fact, our club supported contestants by volunteering for various roles and literally setting the stage for their success. Our member Harry Loots served as the Contest Chair, letting his poise and natural speaking talent shine every moment he was on stage. Karina Castella served as the Chief Judge in a complex hybrid setup. Additionally, Christina Yap held a workshop where she illuminated the impact of generative AI on society and revealed strategies to become bot-proof.

Having fun and celebrating nice moments was also part of the conference, in a beautifully organised Gala

Workshops: The Diversity of a Caleidoscope 

Workshops covered a broad ground of topics related to communication and leadership. In his Cosmopolitan Communication talk, Ramin Kaweh pointed out that public speaking cannot be mono-dimensional as we live in a globalised world and encounter many cultures during our lifetime. The three key elements to navigating cosmopolitan communication are Recognition: of the self, Respect: appreciation of cultural differences, and Reconciliation: when there are differences. 

Jessica Breitenfeld, from Barcelona Toastmasters, taught the art of saying no assertively. Stronger barriers do not mean being stricter; instead, one can elegantly say no or seek a win-win situation.

District 109 Director Margherita Brodbeck Roth together with artist Hilarie Burke from St Gallen Toastmasters unveiled the world of method acting, a technique where an actor seeks to emotionally identify with a part. Participants ended up eating an imaginary banana or enacting an interaction between a dog and a monkey. The important question was “How did it feel?”, in other words, ‘Did you truly taste the banana?’ The goal of method acting is to deeply connect with the character and its emotions. Only by fully embodying the character can acting appear truly authentic. This applies to a certain extent for public speaking, too. 

There were many more fascinating topics that could make for an entire book, but we prefer if you join us next year and experience the conference with us!

Ramin Kaweh presenting various aspects of the Cosmopolitan Communication Talk 

The Grand Gift Finale 

On Sunday, Verity woke up the weary participants with another fascinating, thought-provoking keynote. How could she not, when she follows the GIFT approach! For Verity, speech is a gift she gives to the audience. She Gets clear on the message, Intentionally crafts her story (this is the purpose), Fills in the gaps so any type of audience understands it (irrespective of culture, profession, etc.), and Ties it all together (no new ideas at the end!). As with any other gift, the speech must be beautifully packaged: with an interesting title as luxurious wrapping paper, and well thought out, with the recipient in mind. Once you have your message, don’t wait until the end to reveal it. Make your message permeate throughout the story in different ways. By the time you say your closing words, it gets accepted by the audience. Voila!

This conference was full of learnings, pleasant encounters, and nourishing talks, wrapped in the oriental ambiance of the mystical city of Istanbul. Next year’s District conference will take us to a different scenery, to the middle of the Mediterranean.

 Hope to see you all in Malta!

Our Club showed a strong presence at the District Conference – with our banner decorated with the most ribbons, speaking of our accomplishments 
Our District 109 in full power, celebrating the closing of a successful conference and rejoicing at the prospect of meeting next year in Malta!
The iconic Blue Mosque in Istanbul, cultural landmark making Istanbul a great place for engaging into personal growth 

Many kudos of our committee and members contributing to this Blog and especially to our President Vanessa and VPE Alice for beautifully bringing it all together! 

🌀 Toastmasters Meeting Invitation: “Paradox” 🎭

Join us this Tuesday for a thought-provoking Toastmasters meeting where we delve into the theme of “Paradox.” Explore speeches that twist, turn, and challenge conventional wisdom in the most unexpected ways.

Date: Tuesday, 28th May
Time: 6.45 p.m.
Location: Zum Königsstuhl
Theme: “Paradox”

Discover the Unexpected

  • Complex Speeches: Listen as our speakers unravel paradoxical topics, presenting ideas that encourage us to think critically and view issues from multiple perspectives.
  • Table Topics: Engage in impromptu speeches that push the limits of contradictory thoughts and paradoxical scenarios.
  • Insightful Evaluations: Gain feedback that helps you navigate through the complexities of delivering speeches that make the audience ponder deeply.

Featured Quote: “Only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life.” — Carl Jung

Prepare to be both baffled and enlightened as we tackle the intriguing theme of paradoxes. Whether you’re drawn to the intellectually stimulating or simply curious about the perplexing, this meeting promises a night of engaging discussions and captivating speeches.

🌀 Embrace the contradictions and explore the depths of paradoxical thinking with us. Your insights into the enigmatic are awaited!

Carpe Diem – regular meeting May 21st 2024

Dear Zuriberg Toastmasters,

Little did Horace know, when he coined “Carpe Diem,” that his words would inspire millions, including our vibrant meeting last Tuesday evening.

The theme “Carpe Diem,” or seize the day, set the stage for an empowering evening. Guided by our charming Toastmaster of the Evening (TME), Harry, we dove into a world of inspirational speeches, with “mindfulness” as the word of the day introduced by our Grammarian, Samira. Kevin’sthought-provoking table topics further challenged us to envision how we would seize opportunities in various scenarios.

Speakers’ Highlights

Gabriel ignited our spirits with his leadership journey. He shared how he adapted various leadership styles in his first managerial role. His speech was organized and impactful, crowned by a motivational quote from J. Maxwell, “Leadership is about a life influencing another,” earning him the Best Speaker award.

Ana-Maria masterfully explained how AI works through storytelling, comparing AI training to how pigeons are trained to identify images of brain cancer. She demystified AI, presenting it as a fascinating narrative with a clear take-away message: AI is a powerful tool, not a threat.

Alessandro delivered a powerful speech titled “Beyond Resilience: The Lessons of Stoicism.” He educated us with philosophical insights, providing practical lessons on leadership and resilience. His structured approach and compelling content fulfilled his project’s aim to write a speech with purpose.

Yesenia shared her leadership style, emphasizing self-discovery and embracing one’s true self. She introduced us to “Biodanza,” balancing her experience with motivational insights. Understanding your leadership style, she explained, is about mastering your emotions.

Vadim shared a heartfelt toast for his project on Evaluation and Feedback. He recounted his transformative journey within our club, from a guest observer to an actively engaged member. His story of overcoming anxiety with the help of a warm welcome and bold advice was truly inspiring. A small gesture might have such an influence on one’s personal journey. 

The Art of Evaluations

Evaluations are the cornerstone of our growth. Our dedicated evaluators—Fereshte, Richard, Thomas, Anna, and Roland—listened actively and provided insightful, constructive feedback. They celebrated our strengths and highlighted areas for improvement with empathy and motivation. Roland’s exceptional feedback earned him the Best Evaluator award. Key takeaways included the power of pauses in complex topics and using simpler language for clarity, and easier pronunciation.

Table Topics

Kevin’s table topics perfectly embodied the spirit of “Carpe Diem.” Questions like “What if you had all the money in the world?” and “Do you have a bucket list?” inspired members to share their dreams and stories. Many stepped up courageously, with yours truly, Vanessa winning the Best Table Topic award for a humorous tale of a bucket list wish gone wrong.


The evening concluded with our General Evaluator Joanna and her team—Samira, Zsolt, and Anton—offering valuable feedback. Their insights and our excellent time management, well-organized room and evaluations highlighting the speakers’ goals ensured a productive and inspiring session.

What’s Next?

As we move forward, let us harness the energy of “Carpe Diem” to elevate our Toastmasters journey. Step up, take on new roles, and deliver inspiring speeches. Each moment is an opportunity to grow, learn, and empower one another.

  • May 28th: Regular Meeting – “Paradox” led by TME Seline.
  • June 11th: Regular Meeting – “Luxury” led by TME Elias.
  • June 18th: Regular Meeting – “Resolute” (TME needed).
  • June 25th: Summer Party hosted by Michelle—RSVP essential for planning.

Embrace the spirit of “Carpe Diem” in every meeting.Take on roles, request speeches, and never let a moment pass without practicing and improving. 

Warmest regards,

Vanessa Stournari

🌟 Toastmasters Meeting Invitation: “Carpe Diem” 🕒

Seize the day at our next Toastmasters Zuriberg meeting, where we embrace the spirit of “Carpe Diem”! This theme encourages us to live in the moment and speak with passion and immediacy.

Date: Next Tuesday, 21st May 2024
Time: 6.45pm
Location: Zum Königsstuhl, Zürich
Theme: “Carpe Diem”

Highlights of the Meeting:

  • Five Speeches: Experience a series of powerful talks where our speakers will seize the moment to share their stories and insights.
  • Evaluations: Each speech will be followed by thoughtful evaluations, providing speakers with immediate feedback to help capture and convey their messages more effectively.
  • Table Topics: Engage in impromptu speeches that challenge you to think and speak on your feet, truly embodying the essence of “Carpe Diem.”

Featured Quote: “Seize the day, putting as little trust as possible in the future.” – Horace

Join us for an evening of inspiring speeches and lively discussions. Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or a newcomer, this meeting is a perfect opportunity to practice public speaking, improve your leadership skills, and embrace the philosophy of living in the moment.

🌟 Let’s make the most of our time together, inspiring each other to speak boldly and act promptly. Your moment to shine is now!

Dreams Unleashed: A Toastmasters Tale of Inspiration and Achievement

Dear Zuriberg Toastmasters!

Another Tuesday, another whirlwind of wit, wisdom, and wonder at our beloved Zuriberg Toastmasters’ gathering!

Kevin welcoming Guests in our alternate venue, the L200

Our TME extraordinaire, Richard, set the stage on fire with a theme that spoke to the soul: dreams. As Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” and boy, did we believe! Each member shared their unique take on the power of dreams, setting the tone for an evening of boundless potential and unwavering determination.

Speakers’ Highlights

Selin mesmerized us with her exploration of artificial intelligence and the ever-pressing question of whether humanity stands on the precipice of being overtaken by the “march of the machines.” With eloquence that soared to dizzying heights and a title that piqued our curiosity, Selin’s speech was a testament to the power of conviction and innovation.

We had Kevin regaling us with tales from the trenches of entrepreneurship in his keynote speech. Navigating the twists and turns of his maiden business voyage, Kevin showed us that chasing our dreams often leads us down unexpected paths and broadens our horizon. His engaging and well-crafted speech, earned him the well-deserved title of Best Speaker.

Of course, no Toastmasters gathering is complete without some Icebreakers to break the ice!

Harry kicked things off with the persuasive prowess of a seasoned orator. Drawing parallels between his life and the legendary Forrest Gump, Harry took us on a journey through his trials, triumphs, and public speaking aspirations. The audience was spellbound, and Harry walked away with a well-deserved tie for the Best Speaker award.

Anton stepped up to introduce himself to the club in his own authentic style. With a conversational tone that felt like catching up with an old friend and a clear structure that left us hanging on his every word, Anton left us eager for more of his storytelling prowess.

The art of evaluation

Suavek, Joanna, yours truly, and Aaron lent their keen insights to the mix, offering guidance and encouragement to our speakers on their journey of growth. From personal development tips to project-specific tweaks, their feedback was like a guiding light in the darkness, illuminating the path to excellence. Yours truly, was honored with the best Evaluator Award

A big round of applause to our General Evaluator Samira and her dedicated team Zsolt, Roberta & Pietro for their unwavering support. They kept us on track, nudging us ever closer to our goals with their wisdom and encouragement.

What is to come?

Let us keep dreaming, keep speaking, and keep believing. The world is ours for the taking, one speech at a time!

May 14th  – General Assembly & Elections – attendance required to reach quorum

May 21st – Regular Meeting with theme Carpe Diem – TME wanted

May 28th  Regular Meeting with theme Paradox with Selin as TME

Yours truly,

Vanessa Stournari 

President Zuriberg Toastmasters Club
Please click here for details of our next club meeting

Vanessa Stournari

Crafting Comedy: Techniques and Laughter – Workshop April 23rd

Dear Zuriberg Toastmasters,

Last Tuesday evening, we delved into the cosmos of humor and comedy – exploring what makes us laugh, how our brains react to various humorous elements, and how to infuse these traits into our speeches. Humor can also be engineered!

Members and guests embarked on an engaging journey led by a Switzerland’s beloved stand-up comedian, Mike Casa. The evening began with an insightful presentation by Mike, who shared valuable techniques and strategies for constructing punch lines that resonate with an audience. From clever wordplay to unexpected twists, participants learned the essential elements of humor that keep listeners engaged and entertained.

Theory and …

Following the theory presentation, the session transitioned into an interactive Q&A segment, where attendees had the opportunity to delve deeper into the nuances of comedic timing, delivery, and storytelling. The comedian’s expertise and wit sparked lively discussions, allowing everyone to gain valuable insights into the art of comedy.

… lots of practice

The highlight of the evening undoubtedly was the hands-on workshop, where participants put their newfound knowledge to the test by crafting jokes inspired by the Zurich Street Parade. With creativity flowing and laughter abound, everyone eagerly shared their comedic creations, showcasing their unique humor and wit.

Throughout the workshop, the supportive and encouraging atmosphere of Toastmasters provided the perfect platform for members and guests to hone their comedic skills, step out of their comfort zones, and embrace the joy of laughter. Whether seasoned speakers or aspiring comedians, everyone left the event inspired and empowered to infuse humor into their speeches and presentations.

The winners

Our member Zsolt and our guest Dominik, won the prizes and best enthusiasts award for their exceptional mastery of humor, showcasing their talent by applying the learned techniques with finesse. Their ability to construct scenes, utilize triage schemes, and seamlessly blend unmatched themes left the audience in stitches and earned them the well-deserved recognition.

Zsolt (in the middle) proudly presenting his well-earned ribbon.

A huge thank you to Mike for giving us the workshop and sponsoring the prizes and to Hugo for the recording!

Mike (left) and Hugo (right) gets a well deserved recognition for their contributions this evening by the Club’s President, Vanessa.

As the evening drew to a close, amidst smiles and laughter, participants departed with a newfound appreciation for the power of humor to connect, engage, and uplift audiences—a testament to the transformative and enriching experiences offered by Toastmasters.

What is in the horizon?

Join us to our next meetings

April 30th Regular Meeting with the theme “Dream” and Richard as our TME (in L200)

May 14th – General Assembly & Elections – attendance required to reach quorum 

Warmest Regards, 

Vanessa Stourari 

President Zuriberg Toastmasters

🌟 Toastmasters Meeting Invitation: “Dream” 🌌

Step into a world of possibilities at our next Toastmasters meeting themed “Dream.” Unleash your imagination and share your visions in an evening dedicated to the dreams that inspire and drive us.

Date: April 30th 2024
Time: 06.45pm
Location: L200, Zurich
Theme: “Dream”

Highlights of the Meeting

  • Inspirational Speeches: Discover the dreams that fuel our members’ passions and ambitions. Hear stories of goals set and horizons expanded.
  • Table Topics: Engage in impromptu speeches that challenge you to dream big and articulate your wildest aspirations.
  • Constructive Feedback: Receive thoughtful evaluations that help refine your delivery and enhance your ability to inspire.

Featured Quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This meeting is a canvas for your creativity and aspirations. Whether your dreams are in their infancy or you’re already chasing them down, come share and be inspired by the power of dreaming.

🌈 Let your imagination soar and explore what’s possible when we dream together. Join us for a night of visionary speeches and uplifting connections.

Exploring the Artificial: A Toastmasters Journey

Dear Zuriberg Toastmasters,

Last Tuesday night, we delved into the theme of “artificial,” exploring its multifaceted meaning in the context of 2024. After the President’s opening remarks, the gavel smoothly transitioned to our Toastmaster of the evening, Roland, who guided us through insightful speeches that challenged our perceptions.

Speaker Highlights & Evaluations

Fereshte shared a deeply personal journey in “The Day I Was Born,” inspiring us with her resilience in navigating life’s challenges. Kevin’s evaluation highlighted her eloquent language and encouraged her to infuse her delivery with local variety, igniting a spark of motivation in us all.

Marco motivated us to navigate the era of knowledge accessibility, offering strategies to sift through information plethora to be a knowledge advocate. His persuasive speech left a lasting impact. Selin’s evaluation praised Marco’s structured argumentation, guiding us through a journey of intellectual exploration.

Slavek’s icebreaker “Reality” seamlessly wove together personal anecdotes and a love for media, warmly embraced by our club. Alessandro’s evaluation highlighted the powerful impact of Slavek’s parallel storytelling approach, drawing us into his world with authenticity.

Thomas S, visiting us from the Rhetorik Club Zurich, engaged story-telling prowess in his speech “Courage,” inspiring us to embrace growth beyond our comfort zones. Gabriel emphasized the role of anecdotes in effective storytelling, enriching our understanding of Thomas’s message.

Gabriele demonstrated in his speech, “A Toastmaster’s Journey to Tranquility”, illuminated how yoga can enhance public speaking, sprinkled with delightful humor. Tatyana’s award-winning evaluation celebrated Gabriele’s masterful use of humor and engagement techniques, reminding us that with dedication, we can hone our craft.

Table Topics

Under Aaron’s adept guidance, our table topics session danced with creativity, seamlessly weaving the theme into spontaneous discourse. Thomas M.’s quick wit and charm earned him well-deserved recognition as the Best Table Topic Speaker.

Concluding Thoughts

This session showcased our community’s ability to embrace complex themes, encouraging exploration and personal reflection on the artificial aspects of our lives. Let us continue to explore, learn and grow together!

What is in the Horizon?

Join us for these exciting upcoming events!

April 23rd: Humorous Workshop with Mike Casa

April 30th: Regular Meeting – Dream with Richard as Toastmaster of the Evening in L200

May 15th: General Assembly – Elections (quorum required) 

Stay tuned for more updates from the Toastmasters world, including the May 3rd Joint Meeting Area E4 – details to follow & District 109 Conference in Istanbul May 10th – 12th 

Warmest Regards,

Vanessa Stournari

President Toastmasters Zuriberg Club Vanessa Stournari

😄 Toastmasters Workshop Invitation: “Humor Unleashed” 😂

Unlock the power of laughter at our upcoming Toastmasters workshop, “Humor Unleashed.” with special host Mike Casa. Discover how humor can enhance your speeches, engage your audience, and lighten even the most serious topics.

Date: 23. April 2024
Time: 06.45 pm
Location: Zum Königsstuhl
Workshop Theme: “Humorous”

Workshop Features:

  • The Art of Crafting Humor: Learn techniques for integrating humor into your speeches, from puns and anecdotes to comedic timing and delivery.
  • Interactive Exercises: Participate in fun activities designed to bring out your natural comedic talent and apply humorous elements in speaking.
  • Feedback and Coaching: Get personalized feedback on your humorous speech attempts and insights on refining your humorous delivery.

Special Guest: Mike Casa

Featured Quote: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

Whether you’re looking to add a dash of humor to your speeches or aiming to master the art of comedy, this workshop is for anyone interested in making their audience laugh. Join us for a session filled with laughter, learning, and lots of fun.

🎭 Embrace the lighter side of public speaking and discover how humor can transform your communication skills. Let’s unleash the humor together!