Mittwoch, Dezember 20, 2006


The last evening of the year. I was scheduled to do a evaluation for another speaker. But this speaker didn't show up so I agreed to do take the role of the Grammarian.

The Grammarian is supposed to be one of the objective evaluation roles. The tasks are:

The Grammarian selects a "Word for the Day". It should be a word that can be incorporated easily into everyday conversation but is different from the way people usually express themselves.

During the meeting announce the "Word of the Day", state its part of speech, define it, use it in a sentence, and ask that anyone speaking during any part of the meeting use it.

During the meeting the Grammarian listens to everyone's word usage and writes down any awkward use or misuse of the language (incomplete sentences, sentences that change direction in midstream, incorrect grammar, malapropisms, etc.) with a note of who erred. Write down who used the "Word of the Day" (or derivative of it) and note those who used it correctly or incorrectly.

The Grammarians report trys (sic!) to offer the correct usage in every instance where there was misuse instead of only explaining what was wrong. The Grammarian also reports on creative language usage and announce who used the "Word of the Day".

(Taken from ... /roles.html)

At the Munich Toastmasters we don't use the "Word of the Day" so my role was just to watch the "good use of grammar and language". Being a non-native speaker and having a subjective view on what is "good use" made it a very subjective type of objective evaluation in the end.

For the most part I mentioned phrases that caught my ear. Like
  • cradle to grave
  • the spirit lifts itself upon words
  • embrace a word
  • a positive negative
  • need for greed
  • the very pinacle of human achievment
  • a present and a privilege
  • all good things come in three

Since this is Toastmasters everone can do the Grammarian and grow in this role from time to time. Even a non-native speaker. In every evaluating role you improve your listening skills. This is a role I will have to do for the Leadership handbook. But then I will be better prepared, e.g. bring Murphy's English Grammar in Use with me and try to better structure my report.
Once again I had problems with my breathing: In order to have a steady pacing I tried to speak without breathing in too deeply. This only led to a hot head and finally made me breathless.

Objective Feedback
  • Time: 3:32 (too long)
Things to share
  • Start standing than move around (this creates more dynamism than the other way around)
  • leaning forward is stronger than leaning back
  • instead of only providing information, make them think themselves (e.g. by asking questions and using rhetorical devices)
  • in a Q&A session the speaker always repeats the question before answering it

Mittwoch, Dezember 06, 2006

#5: Second Life

Again we had a very entertaining and informative evening. We had great Table Topics (thanks to Sudhir Yoshi), two prepared speeches (I held my 5th speech, Pilar Gonzales an endearingly #6) and an interesting presentation of the no longer new Competent Leadership manual (thanks to Claus Drechsel).

Prepared Speech

C&L Project #5 (Your Body Speaks): Second Life

This time I was better prepared. I had written the speech over the weekend and had Monday to rehearse. So this was the first speech I did without notes. It should have been a little bit shorter and I could have rehearsed the final part more careful but overall it was pretty successful.

Madam Toastmaster of the evening,
fellow toastmasters and honoured guests.


My name is Lislo Mensing. I am an avatar.

I am going to tell you a little bit about the place that I live in. And why I am going to change your life sooner or later.

The place I live is a special place where everything seems to be possible. Where all your dreams can become true. For example
- live in a big house with a swimming pool
- buy the most beautiful dresses and they will fit perfectly
- spend the hole day watching the sunset at the beach

[Change voice]
Of course there is a downside:
- I could eat as much as I want without getting fat. But I cannot taste it.
- I could copy hundreds of roses for my girlfriend but she is unable to smell them

The point is: the place that I live exists only in the computer. I [point at me] live in a virtual world called Second Live that people like [point at them] you can only see when you go to the website Because real people like you cannot come over here in my world you use electronic people like me to live your second life.


I remember the day that I was created. I was in the middle of a plaza. I looked around. Above me there were birds in the blue sky. I saw trees moving gently in the wind and buildings like ancient temples. There were many other avatars already engaged in conversations. [make a face] Actually most of them were looking like Barbie and Ken. And so did I.

So I changed my appearance a little bit. Being an avatar it is easy to look like Schwarzenegger [chest, tall] or Denny DeVito [belly, short]. You just enter the menu [point into the air] and change everything from the colour of the hair to the size of the feet. Today I, Lislo, do look pretty much like Stefan - but with a much lower body mass index. [blush]

Then I made my first moves, trying to walk around without bumping into other people or objects. [walk like Charlie Chaplin]

I also experimented with my body functions: Clapping, crying, being bored, laughing. I can even select from 18 ways of dancing. From slow [rumba] to sexy [shake it baby] to crazy [act like a complete idiot].

The best thing here is that we all can fly. [raise arms] That is a very convenient way of travelling. Alas, I prefer teleporting [disappear with a sound and reappear at the other end of the room].

Enhancing your Second Life

You can spend a considerable time here before your Second Life gets boring. Many things can be visited and enjoyed for free. But the more interesting things do cost money. Linden dollars, a special in-game currency.

Most of these things have to do with your body. That can be [point] clothes, hair, skin, moves, sex.

Having said that, male avatars do miss a certain body part in the beginning. [blush] If you want to use it you have to buy one first.

Of course you can spend your money also on cars, houses or a spacecraft.

So the question arises where does the money come from? [finger on temple] Most people changing real money into game money other simply work.

Working includes being creative and do things others cannot do or simply don’t want to do. For example you can go to the menu select “create object” [point in the air]. Take a box [fetch prepared props], attach a tube and … here we go: a bedside lamp. I can sell that for 10 Linden dollars – that’s about 3 Euro Cent.

Everything within the Second Life world is build and programmed in that way. From my virtual wrist watch to the gurgling waterbed in my personal copy of castle Neuschwanstein.


Who are the people that spend so many hours in front of their computers, creating and living in the virtual world of Second Live? Nerds, who don’t have a first life?

Almost 1.8 million people created an avatar already. The average age is 32, and 4 out of 10 users are women.

With so many people demanding for virtual goods and services not only the virtual world is constantly growing but also the revenues.

What seem to be a game is in deed serious business. Accordingly many global brands have a presence in Second Life, e.g. Toyota, Adidas, Disney, Dell.

It’s a kind of gold rush at the moment. Some people [hands up closed] already made a fortune, most others [hands open wide] are still trying.


I just gave you a small view [fingers] on what is possible. In addition what can be seen today is just the very early beginning of something new. Not so many years from now we might got used to live a part of our live in a virtual reality. It might be for fun, education or business.

That’s it for now from the edge of technology. My name in Lislo Mensing and I log off now.

Madam Toastmaster of the Evening


Time was a problem but I didn't really know where to cut back. After three minutes I was out of breath (wrong breathing technique?). I mixed lines during the last third. That confused some of the listeners.

Subjective Feedback
  • What they liked: Good selection of topic for the project. Good use of body language. Spoke completely free. Paper lamp. Humorous. Involving. The idea of acting as a computer hero.
  • Things to improve: A little bit too long. Don't get nervous at the end from the red light. Mind your breathing (maybe get a good stance and inhale deeply into your belly). What was the key message? Don't leave the stage without giving back control to the Toastmaster of The Evening and being released.

Objective Feedback
  • Time: 7:36 (too long)
  • Ahs: 4 (great!)
Things to share