A Marathon of Speeches: Highlights from our Toastmasters Speakathon – Meeting Feb 13th

Dear Zuriberg Toastmasters and friends, 

Marathon speaks for endurance, inspiration, and praises the human mind! Our recent Speakathon was last Tuesday was a vibrant showcase of that, a testament to the art of communication!Seven back-to-back speeches, spread over all pathways levels, unfolded a night of eloquence and diverse insights.

Our Toastmaster of the evening, Thomas, guided us through the night with carnival colors, aligning with the Fasnacht or Swiss Carnival atmosphere. A huge thank you to each participant for making it such an enriching experience!

Celebrating our Speakers

Julian visited us from the “Walk the Talk TMC”,  and offered us a compelling narrative on “how to fail like a leader” teaching us the valuable lessons embedded in failure.

Fereshteh took us on a “Poetry” journey through time and Iran, engaging the audience with metaphors and well-constructed content — a testament to the essential elements of an informative speech, both reflecting and insightful. What made us to embark on the travel with her? Inviting the audience to close their eyes and delve in the world of poetry, is an exceptional move for an immersive experience of the audience! Everyone followed!

Aaron unveiled the meaning of a happy life or “Ikigai” structuring his speech on its four key elements! Aaron’s educational speech featured an excellent structure, relatable examples, and a harmonious conversational tone. Closing the eyes and immersing in the topic, is an excellent trick to beat the urge for using filler words and engage to more vocal variety!

Christina shared her personal story and, emphasized the importance of language pronunciation for effective communication, in a speeech delivered with humor, while educating the audience on how not to get “lost in translation”. Adding to those speech winning elements, the masterful use of the English language, it was no surprise she captured the first speaker award.

Sabina demonstrated the use of our different platforms (Basecamp, TMI and Easyspeak) in our Toastmasters journey and she skillfully handled a challenging audience, showcasing communication skills beyond the ordinary. Talkers, interrupters and chatters, cannot steal your stage shine, managing the audience is a learnable skill!

Kevin masterfully persuaded the audience with a well-researched argument on how our brain works. The “Unseen strings” of his speech was marked by an engaging opening and impeccable delivery. Content and delivery are both equally required for pursuading any audience!

Alessandro introduced himself with an icebreaker! Sharing his objectives and his passion, for Italy and parmesan. An engaging icebreaker, showing us what to come from our new member!

The Art of Evaluation

A masterful evening with evaluations helped us understand the difference between advice and feedback. Evaluation speeches not only support the speakers to their public speaking journey, but are also educating the audience! Alice and Richard shared the first-place award, emphasizing constructive observations and storytelling.

Final thoughts and Thanks 

This Speakathon was a testament to the diverse talents within our club and the supportive environment that fosters growth and learning. Each speech was a step forward in our journey of personal and professional development. Our event΄s success was also due to the seamless coordination and support from everyone, our Grammarian, Ah and Vote Counter, Evaluators and the committee Anna, Samira, Harry for organizing the welcome process! A big thank you to all for your energy and participation!

What’s in the Horizon?

Let us carry forward this momentum and continue to support each other in our speaking endeavours!

Many regular meetings are coming up, at different venues! Explore various themes & stages:

February 20th – Regular meeting with Theme: “Strategic” and Svetlana as our TME: (Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten).

February 27th – Regular meeting with Theme: “New Beginnings” and Michelle as ourTME (Gross Saal in Karl der Grosse).

March 12th – Regular Meeting with “Shocking” Theme and Joanna as our TME (L200).

Special Events

Area E4 Contest: Friday, February 23rd, 17:30 to 22:00 in Europaallee (or join online).

Come to support our club winners, Thomas, Christina, Elias and myself, Vanessa at the international, evaluation and table topics speech contests.

Engaging speeches and mingle with the other Toastmasters clubs of our area  is what to expect (Walk the Talk, Top Notch, Credit Suisse Corporate Club and St. Gallen). Register here.

Area E4 German Speech Contest: Saturday, February 24th, online.

How are speeches of our area doing in German? Join to explore and maybe support. Register here.

Kind Regards

Vanessa Stournari

President Zuriberg Toastmasters Club

Burns’ Night – Big Thank You! – Meeting January 30th

Dear All,

A special thank you to the speakers who took on a somewhat daunting task: studying a piece of work by a poet unknown to most of them. Then to provide a reading, using their best vocal variety and further helping us understand what the poet was trying to tell us!

Starting of the evening in proper attire.

Many thanks also to Thomas, who brought both light-heartedness and seriousness into his Toast to the Lassies. Your example of Jane Goodall, whose monumental work with primates shames our efforts into nothingness, was a superb choice. To Vanessa for her Toast to the Laddies, and finally to Yesi: who captured the spirit of Burns’ Address to the Haggis, and made it personal as well as clear to the audience what this was all about!

Huge thank yous to our team of bard interpreters: Denisse – you captured the essence of what Robert Burns tried to tell us. Samira, your eloquent embracing of Burns’ Mountain Daisy was outstanding. And, Roland, old faithful: who was already familiar with Burns, chose one of his most illustrative poems to share with us!  

Thank you, also, to the Evaluators, Timer, and Vote-counter who rounded off the evening.  

I’ve had many messages of thanks and congratulations from fellow members since yesterday evening! So, I think we can safely say the event was a success!

Kindest regards


Burn’s Night – Deepdive for Meeting January 30th

Dear all

Worldwide, the 25th of January each year is dedicated to the memory of Robert Burns, the son of Scottish farmer parents. Born in 1759, Burns died in 1796 at the relatively young age of 37. In that short period of time he wrote more than 550 poems and songs. Translated into at least 43 languages, including Hindu, Urdu, and Russian. Leaving behind a legacy considered unparalleled in the literary world by some. 

Some of his poems denounced “the immorality of the rich, fighting oppression with ‘Christian’ values”, and attacked the corruption and incompetence of the governing elite, as depicted by the card-playing landowners in “The Twa Dogs”. Especially after his death, he became a source of inspiration for liberalism and socialism. So it should come as no surprise that in Russia he became known as the “people’s poet during the revolutionary period. Later, his work was endorsed by the Soviet Communist Regime, who described Burns as a “progressive”. 

But it was perhaps as a pioneer of the ‘Romantic movement’ – characterised by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of nature – that his poetry became best known!

On Tuesday, after the initial club business has been dealt with, we will follow a traditional Burns’ Night programme. We’ll pipe in our dinner, say our toasts (with Whisky) to the food. Haggis for the non-vegetarians, and a ragù-type dish for the rest. Accompanied by neeps, and tatties. After dinner, we’ll follow with more toasts, first to the immortal memory of Robert Burns, and then by a toast to the lassies, to which a lassie will reply with a toast to the laddies. 

During the final part of the programme, three of our members will contribute poetry readings, before we close our Burns’ Night celebration. 

So, come and learn more about this inspirational Scot, and watch our members take on challenges beyond the ordinary speaking projects we normally encounter, while entertaining us with the unforgettable poetry of Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns.  

See you Tuesday

Speaking Excellence – Club Speech Contest Zuriberg January 22nd

Dear fellow Zuriberg Toastmasters,

I am thrilled to recap the remarkable events of our last evening’s Club Speech Contest, an evening filled with the spirit of competition, camaraderie, and exceptional speeches. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the incredible individuals who organized and facilitated the contest, elevating the experience for everyone involved.

AliceKevin, and Richard, our dedicated contest chairs, and Chief Judge, demonstrated outstanding leadership by taking on these challenging roles. They ensured that all rules were followed meticulously, fostering an environment of fairness, and allowing our contestants to shine. Their inclusion of humor and engaging interviews seamlessly integrated fun into the formal framework of Toastmasters contests.

A special mention goes to the magnificent Zunftsaal at Zimmerleuten, providing a historical backdrop that added a unique charm to our public speaking competition. Competing in such an inspiring medieval setting, in the heart of Zurich where significant decisions once shaped the future of the city, enhanced the overall experience.

Speakers΄ Highlight

Elias shared a poignant personal story of his childhood in the south of Argentina, illustrating how those experiences continue to influence his professional and personal life. His well-structured, authentic, and conversational style earned him the well-deserved second place in the International Speech Contest.

Myself, Vanessa embarked on a journey to enhance my public speaking skills and triumphed with the first-place award. The speech was crafted with a clear structure, empowering language, and a conscious focus on vocal variety, aimed to inspire.

Table Topics Speech Contest

The Speech Contest Type is, Zuriberg’s absolute favorite! It showcased the impromptu speaking skills of eight participants. Thomas, a history enthusiast, transported us back to Napoleon’s coronation in Paris, December 2nd, 1804, claiming the first-place prize. Christina, exploring the concept of time travel, delivered a powerful message about living in the present, earning her the second spot in the area contest.

Closing thoughts

As we reflect on the success of the Club Speech Contest, let’s not forget the unsung heroes behind the scenes. A heartfelt thank you to our judges and visible contest officials, EmilioSvetlanaHugoAnna, and our Area Director Santhiago for their invaluable support. Managing formalities may not be easy, but it enriches our educational journey by providing insights into what makes a speech excel at the competition level.

 To all members, I encourage you to consider stepping up and taking on a role in the upcoming season contests. Whether it’s as a judge, timer, ballot counter, or any other vital position, you will undoubtedly grow and contribute to the success of our Toastmasters community.

In closing, let’s celebrate the success of our recent contest and look forward to the growth and inspiration that future contests will undoubtedly bring. Who knows, perhaps a Zuriberger will represent us at the District Level Competition in Istanbul on May 11th!

Thank you all for making the Club Speech Contest Zuriberg 2024, a truly memorable event!

Best regards,

Vanessa Stournari

President Zuriberg Toastmasters Club

🌟 Toastmasters Club Contest Announcement: Showcase Your Skills! 🏆

Get ready for an exhilarating challenge at our upcoming Toastmasters Club Contest! It’s time to showcase your speaking prowess and compete with the best.

Date: Tuesday, 23. January 2024
Time: 18.45
Event: Toastmasters Club Contest

🔥 Contest Categories: Prepared Speeches & Table Topics.

Featured Quote: “A good speech is like a pencil; it has to have a point.” – Anonymous

Join us for a thrilling evening of competition, where eloquence meets excitement. Witness our club’s finest speakers, engage with captivating speeches, and be part of the vibrant Toastmasters community.

🎉 In the spirit of friendly competition, let’s come together to celebrate talent, hard work, and the art of public speaking. Ready, set, speak!

An evening of delicacy – meeting September 26th

Fellow Toastmasters Zuriberg and friends, 

Last Tuesday, we gathered for yet another exquisite evening at our beloved Zuriberg Toastmasters club. While the space was limited, our spirits were soaring high, and the word of the day was “exquisite.”

The Evening’s Flow

Our Toastmaster of the evening, Elias, guided us through an intriguing exploration of what delicacy means to each of us. Delicacy, as we discovered, transcends mere food; it encompasses the subtle beauty in nature, cherished memories, and, in our Toastmaster community, the art of delivering a near-perfect speech. Elias’s eloquent introductions set the tone for an evening filled with charm and grace.

Elias closed the evening with a personal inspirational quote: “Delicacy is a fine speech. That speech keeping you on your toes. That speech that is composed not by words but by exquisite music. That speech that we will remember forever”.

Speaker Highlights

“Conquering Procrastination”: Ruxandra‘s speech emphasized that the pursuit of perfection can hinder our growth. She shared techniques to overcome procrastination and encouraged fearless public speaking. Her message was clear: achievement triumphs over perfection. Christina’s engagement to the speech resulted to an inspiring passionate evaluation resonated with the audience.

“My Bed, Your Bed, or Our Bed?”: Ana-Maria artfully coupled conflict management strategies with storytelling in her speech, depicting the comical situation of sharing a guest room with two unwilling cats. Her creative approach earned her the Best Speaker award. Ettienne, provided a well-constructed evaluation to help Anna to bring her speech to the next level of story-telling. The holistic analysis approach  with the engaging delivery, granted him the best evaluation award.

“The Language of the Body”: Svetlana explored the impact of body language, highlighting its role in conveying attitude, mood, and vulnerability. Anna’sevaluation provided practical insights into controlling nervousness through breathing techniques.

Kevin brought a delightful array of table topics, from memorable childhood moments to mastering new skills. Pietro’s tale of the perfect gelato recipe earned him the Table Topics award.

The evening concluded with a thoughtful evaluation by General Evaluator Thomas and his team. Fereshte, Vadim, and Gabriele provided their insightful reports on time, filler words and use of language, while Thomas emphasized the power of a passionate engaging evaluation in both educating the speaker and captivating the audience.


Toastmasters Zuriberg proved that delicacy extends beyond the culinary world. It resides in the finesse of speeches, the art of storytelling, and the skillful evaluation of our fellow members. As we continue our Toastmasters journey, we are reminded that it is not just about perfection but about growth, engagement, and the joy of sharing our voices.

What is on the horizon? 

The next regular meeting is on October 10th under the theme, “appraisal”. On October 17th we host the panel discussion, with two panels proving insights on two topics: “Impact of Technology on Daily Lives” & “Ethical Leadership”.

 Kind Regards 

Vanessa Stournari

President TMC Zuriberg

Fata Morgana: Illusion or Unfulfilled Expectation? – meeting September 19th

Last night, in the cozy ambiance of Thai Heaven restaurant, we hold another invigorating Zuriberg Toastmasters meeting.

Our Toastmaster for the evening, Monica, set the stage with a well-researched introduction on the theme of the day: the illusory phenomenon of Fata Morgana. This question got us thinking, what is our own Fata Morgana?

Learning Through Speeches

Our evening was filled with three captivating prepared speeches, engaging table topics, and insightful evaluations, all contributing to our ongoing journey in mastering the art of public speaking.

Joran kicked things off with his icebreaker titled “Time for Some Action.” He shared his journey in overcoming his fear of public speaking, emphasizing the value of preparation, reading on public speaking, and inspiration from fellow Toastmasters. Svetlana, his evaluator, praised his colorful language, making his icebreaker truly engaging.

Anna earned the Best Speaker award with her speech “In the Mind of a Tour Guide.” She skillfully wove her experiences as a Zurich tour guide into a compelling storytelling technique. Roland, her evaluator, praised her excellent technique,  giving the characterization of the perfect packaging. Roland not only praised Anna, but he also coupled masterfully the storytelling technique of her speech into his own evaluation speech. And that succesfully granted him the best evaluator award. 

Toastmasters isn’t just about public speaking; it’s a community where we grow, connect, and find inspiration for life projects. Eric, a long-standing Zuriberg member celebrating a significant milestone of 10 years with Zuriberg, delivered an engaging speech titled “Reaching Out for Research.” He shared how his Toastmasters experience had helped him master the art of interviewing, emphasizing the values of intent, trust, agreement, and comfort.

Michelle provided a tailor-made evaluation for Eric, highlighting the need for more information about the project while acknowledging his passionate delivery. Speeches can be informative, humorous, or personal, but it was Eric’s personal, participative style which resonated with the audience.

Meeting Reflection

Our General Evaluator, Tatyana, and her team diligently monitored the evening, commending the meeting organization by our Sergeant at Arms, Samira. They also highlighted the effective evaluation techniques used by our evaluators. Our grammarian Seline and ah counter Fereshte contributed with excellent language usage and real-case filler word avoidance.

The word of the day, “spectre” (wisely chosen by Seline), was aptly matched to the theme, adding a touch of mystique to our evening. Table Topics, curated by Pietro, further embraced the Fata Morgana theme. Elias won the Table Topics session with a captivating tale of overcoming drinking problems by making a deal with the devil, delivered with vivid facial expressions. Tall-tale at its best, let the imagination go wild!

What’s on the Horizon?

While delivering a speech may seem like a Fata Morgana for many of us, there’s no better way to turn fear into achievement than by taking the stage. Our next regular meeting is scheduled for September 26th. Please step up and assign roles and speeches through Easyspeak. Additionally, note that our next meeting will be held in the first-floor restaurant, so kindly confirm your attendance or absence in Easyspeak ahead of time.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Panel Discussion on October 17th! With two moderating panel discussions, each featuring four panelists and an open floor for Q&A, it promises to be an exciting event.

Best Regards

Vanessa Stournari

President Zuriberg TMC

Celebrating Autumn – meeting September 12th

Fellow Toastmasters and Friends,

At the recent Toastmaster’s meeting held on September 12th, we came together to celebrate the arrival of autumn. The evening was filled with three captivating prepared speeches, engaging table topics, and energetic evaluations, all contributing to our ongoing journey in honing our public speaking skills at our favorite guilt hall of Blue Monkey. 

One notable moment during the meeting was the selection of the word of the day, “Laurels,” well chosen by our Grammarian, Zsolt. Best speaker laurel was awarded to Christina for her vibrant speech titled “Care for Tea.” In her speech, Christina shared a personal and engaging story, accompanied by expressive body language, recounting how human connection over a cup of tea helped her overcome a burglar’s intrusion during her days in England.

Fereshte also made an impact with her icebreaker speech titled “Resilience.” Through her compelling storytelling, she transported us to Iran and her childhood, where she learned to develop resilience skills that continue to serve her well today. Fereshte’s speech beautifully illustrated that once we know how to confront life’s challenges, they cannot hold us back.

Michelle, with her charm and creativity, offered insights into the world of coaching in her speech. She explored the intriguing topic of coaching oneself, addressing the question of what happens when you attempt to coach the most challenging person in the room—you. Her speech emphasized the importance of self-love as a key factor in positive coaching for both the body and the mind.

The Art of Evaluation

Alice excelled in her role was laureled by the audience. Not only ahe provided constructive feedback but also educated the audience on how to build the intensity of a speech. Alice dissected Fereshte’s speech to highlight its build-up, emphasizing that evaluation speeches are not just about feedback, but also about educating the audience on the effective use of speech elements. Ana-Maria and Ruxandra, our other evaluators, also contributed significantly, demonstrating how well we can learn from one another.

Table Topics Creativity

Our Table Topic master Habiba selected a fitting autumn-related theme, allowing us to delve into what autumn means to each of us, from cherished memories to seasonal clothing and rituals. Table Topic laurel was awarded to Samira for her adept use of creativity, speech structure, and body language in her response.

What’s on the Horizon?

As we embrace autumn, we continue to grow and thrive in our public speaking journey, learning from one another and setting new milestones. We look forward to the two upcoming  regular meetings scheduled for September 19th and 26th. Be sure to step up and take roles in Easyspeak. Additionally, please note that we will be at the first floor, the Thai Heaven, so kindly confirm your attendance or absence in Easyspeak ahead of time.

In an exciting development, I am happy to announce that we will be hosting a panel discussion on October 17th! Save the date, and more information will follow shortly.

Best Regards, 

Vanessa Stournari

President Zuriberg TMC

Reflection on the Mentoring Workshop – August 29th

Dear Fellow Zuriberg Toastmasters,

What a delight to see so many of you last Tuesday evening at Blue Monkey!  Autumn made its dynamic appearance and an audience of 20 was present to learn about mentoring and to enjoy the amazing atmosphere of our Zuriberg community.

We had a full agenda of two icebreakers and our long longed-for mentoring workshop.

Breaking the ice

Our new members, Gabriele and Zsolt, shared with us their well-prepared ice breaker speeches. Gabriele described his career transition from architect to software engineer with vivid metaphors and humorous elements. His title ‘Navigating new Adventures 2.0’ could not have been better suited to his life story.  From a very young age, Zsolt was driven to discover mankind΄s secrets, encrypted in our DNA: it is the code of life and holds the secrets of our past. He took us on a journey through time and geography, even unraveling the secrets that DNA reveals about the past of Native Americans.

Diving in to the depth of proper mentoring

The epitomic event of the evening (word of the day) was none other than the mentoring workshop. Mentoring is one of the backbones of our club. It connects us, fosters relationships between members, helps us learn from each other and progress with our public speaking goals. Harry and Roland guided us through the fundamentals of how to best build and foster a relationship between mentor and mentee. Are there specific traits for each role and what are these traits? During the second phase of the workshop, the interactive part, we had the opportunity to sit in pairs and try out both the roles of mentor and mentee. The do΄s and don’ts were then discussed in the open round with Harry and Roland moderating the discussion to extract the essence: Discuss goals with openness, effective listening and taking care to avoid mirroring.

A big applause and thank you to Harry and Roland for creating the content and organized the workshop with such passion and energy.

Autumn is here and we get back into our regular meetings to progress with our goals and speeches. In September, we have 3 regular meetings coming. The next one is on September 12th with the theme “Autumn”. There are still some roles open, step up and take them!

Please confirm attendance or absence in Easyspeak, it helps all of us with planning and smooth run of the evening.

Looking forward seeing you on September 12th

Best Regards

Vanessa Stournari

President Zuriberg TMC

New Toastmaster Year, reflections, and new beginnings – July 11th

 Fellow Toastmasters,

Last week the new committee was incepted in an evening dedicated to Leadership. As the committee members completed their High Leadership Projects (Level 5), they presented their last year’s work, shared their learnings, shed light into the purpose behind their officer roles and, most importantly, explained their motivation to serve the club in the upcoming term.

We thanked our immediate Past President Roland Straub for his immense contribution to the club. In his speech, Roland shared with us insights into Leadership what the gained during his presidential tenure, in particular his experimenting with different leadership styles and balancing between previous experience in the corporate world and a volunteer organization.

The meeting closed with an energetic table topic session on new beginnings moderated by Aaron Huànico-Ramos.

We achieved so much in the last year, as individuals and together as a club. As we progressed on our paths we saw new members coming in and evolving into competent speakers, earned numerous external nominations for our members’ accomplishments; 

  • Elias Miano and immediate Past President Roland got nominated for the triple crown
    award in the District Conference, and saw our members
  • Alice Nuslova
    and Monica Vlad compete and win the second place at the Speech
    contests at Division Level.

 At the club level, 

  • we attained the President’s Distinguished Status and, 
  • our VP Mentoring Harry Loots and Karina Castella got acknowledged at the District Conference for their contribution to the Toastmasters Organization.  Harry and Karina organized multiple contests and got us established in the Toastmasters world.

 I could not be prouder of being a member of this club and its exceptional committee, which works tirelessly to create room for all of us to thrive.

Toastmasters ethos is to develop its members into confident public speakers and leaders. Same to a sailing boat, leadership committee roles, where everyone has an equally important role to play has been the essence of my personal learning xperience, having served as VP Membership, VP Education, and transitioning to President.

The pleasures of sailing, such as basking in the joy of the sea, are similar to the great speeches we relish every Tuesday at our club. However, for the ship to sail, substantial administration work must be done and there are many rules we adhere to, by the 
captain and the crew. Similarly, every club officer needs to deliver on their tasks, and each one of them is an equally important member of the Toastmasters boat, Additionally, every one gets the chance to shape the future of our club.

Shaping a supportive environment, giving back to the community, getting a glimpse into the Toastmasters organization, and understanding the significance of their role for the club, as well as the impact they have on their fellow members are key motivators for our committee members. These elements inspire them to continue serving the club, whether in their current role or in a new one, in the upcoming year.

Next year the Zuriberg Toastmasters’ resolutions are to continue working together towards achieving our goals, learn collectively in this great environment but also to live up to the heritage of being the biggest and one of the best clubs in our District, but without losing focus on our main goal: having lots of fun while learning!

To accomplish that, we prepared a highly diversified agenda full of interesting workshops, engaging debates, and an Award Dinner that will open up the opportunity to practice diverse speech styles. Come up and declare interest to be part of these events!

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, the meeting theme is Culture! 

Best Wishes,

Vanessa Stournari, IP5