Carsten Wendt

You have been a member of Toastmasters for many years now, and successfully competed in competitions. What motivates you to still participate in club meetings twice a month?
I keep learning so much. By listening to the others, by giving feedback, by getting feedback and by being nudged to speak impromptu (which I’m slowly getting more comfortable with). Key to all this is the friendly supportive mindset in the club.

You are a member of another Toastmasters Club in Brussels. Why did you decide to also join Blackforest Toastmasters?
I am always amazed how each club develops a culture of its own. Being German, I am attracted to our club because it’s bilingual. But I also love the atmosphere. It’s not what some people would expect from a German club. We have loads of fun and we even start a little late :) .

Imagine you are again at the start of your Toastmasters “career”. What advice would you give to your “junior” Toastmasters self?
I’d join Toastmasters twenty years earlier.

Daria Skripkina

Why did you decide to join Toastmasters?
I have elder sisters who were members of Toastmasters. I could see how much they enjoyed preparing speeches and attending meetings. Since the city where I lived didn’t have a club, the only thing left for me was reading the Toastmasters magazine, kindly shared by my sisters. So no surprise that when I moved to Brussels I immediately joined Toastmasters and it was worth it!

What have you learned until now?
I learnt that a good speech is a real art. As painting, cinema, music… I used to think that it’s your talent that determines the quality of your speeches, but with Toastmasters I see that the key contributors to success are preparation and drive. 

What would you still like to learn?
I would like to keep in mind that all communication we daily have is sort of speeches. Both your family and business partners want the same – you clearly express your ideas, plans, actions. I’m learning to see that every single conversation we have has a purpose. It might be to agree on a resto for a dinner if you’re talking to your friends or sign a business plan if you’re in the work environment. Over the next 12 months, I would like to learn how to engrain the principals of effective communication, learnt at toastmasters, into my daily personal and professional life.