This crisis has been a positive challenge for all of us, not only to Berliner Meisterredner. Founded in 2002, we take pride in being not only the oldest German speaking club in Germany’s capital, but the oldest club in the northern half of Germany. Many of the German speaking clubs in this area are a direct or an indirect offspring of Berliner Meisterredner.
During the corona crisis we initiated a project and asked experienced past members to make videos for new Toastmaster members.
“When the wind of change blows, Some build walls and others windmills!”
Says an old Chinese proverb.
„Throughout the corona-crisis this proverb kept popping into my mask-protected head,”
says Sebastian Foltan, President 2019-2020.
“We were looking for ways to inspire our club. It had to be something digital.”
We started the project with our club’s past presidents. Some of them are still active in Meisterredner, some (now living in Frankfurt, Munich, or Paris) had to be found. Some are still Toastmasters, some are not. But all of them were delighted to be remembered and to be given the chance to share their experience.
“With this project we serve several goals,” says Sebastian Foltan. “We add value to our website, and we offer present members motivating content in these difficult times when personal meetings are not possible. We also give them the opportunity to be proud of their club’s history. We give dedicated past members a chance to reconnect with their club and to pass on their expertise.“
The project is run by Sebastian Foltan, CC, ALB, PI3, President 2019-2020, and Founding President (2002-2003) Patricia Steinmann, DTM.
Explaining Functionary and Officer Roles
We started with the meeting functionary roles (e.g. Table Topics Master, Ah-Counter, Evaluator, …). At first, we asked our past presidents to create the videos at home. Then we got lucky. Mid-June 2020, small groups were again allowed to meet in person. Twelve past presidents got together, turned the camera on, and spoke about their presidencies and the club offices they held, sharing their personal experience and tips.
„Hopefully, these 4 to 6 minute video clips, with their authentic and energetic message, will entice new members to dig deeply into all roles,“ Patricia Steinmann says. „We are boosting our digital offers and hopefully will draw the interest of potential new members.
Share experience and motivate others
„We want to inspire other clubs to do similar projects“ said the two project initiators. The get-together with past presidents, with its energetic exchange of insight and tips, was incredibly fun. Everybody enjoyed the time together. Filming proved how strong our connection is even after all these years. It also showed how relaxed, authentic and professional experienced Toastmasters are when speaking to the camera. It will clearly show new members that nothing is more worthwhile than investing time and energy in developing communication skills – with Toastmasters International.
Patricia Steinmann, DTM
Sebastian Foltan, CC, ALB, PI3