Luxembourger Damien Welsch, pictured, founded Toastmasters op Lëtzebuergesch
Photo: Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne
Communications and leadership development organisation Toastmasters could attract a new kind of member in the grand duchy with the creation of its first club in Luxembourgish.
Toastmasters op Lëtzebuergesch was founded by Luxembourger Damien Welsch after he joined an English-speaking club to help improve his presentation skills for work.
“I’ve been a member for one year and I found out Luxembourg people or Luxembourg society as a whole doesn’t know Toastmasters at all,” Welsch told Delano, adding: “I want to change that and make it more visible within Luxembourg and more relevant for the whole community.”
The group, which has met twice already this year, is recruiting new members, both native Luxembourgish speakers and non-native speakers.
How it works
People can attend meetings to see what it is all about, free of charge. If they join as members, they can then follow the online Toastmasters programme, Pathways, in French, English or German. The meetings encourage people to give prepared and spontaneous speeches, which should be delivered in Luxembourgish, and Welsch says the goal is to hold meetings 100% in Luxembourgish, though that will not be as easy as it sounds.
“I think it could be a mix of languages, especially among non-native speakers. It’s not easy for native speakers either because the language can be more technical, that’s the beauty of it,” Welsch explained.
To ensure a good level of Luxembourgish language is used, he hopes to attract some language teachers among new members. At the same time, members should not expect to receive a language lesson by attending meetings and will need a minimum level of B1 in Luxembourgish oral expression. He says the meetings should be seen as a way for people to practise their language skills.
“I was told by many people attending language courses for months or years they’ve very little opportunity to speak in Luxembourgish or go further, and this would be another opportunity for them,” Welsch said.
Members will also have opportunities to do speeches in other languages, for example when competing at inter-club and district competitions where Luxembourgish is not spoken.
The Toastmasters concept was conceived by Ralph in Illinois, US, in 1924. Today there are more than 16,400 clubs worldwide, members of which can work through the leadership and communication programme at their own pace to improve their skills.
In Luxembourg there are ten chartered clubs, of which six are social clubs. To become chartered, clubs must have at least 20 members who are not members of other clubs. In addition to Toastmasters op Lëtzebuergesch, PitchCraft for Entrepreneurs is recruiting new members in order to gain a charter.
Toastmasters op Lëtzebuergesch is currently recruiting new members. The next meeting takes place on 19 June at 7:30pm at the offices of Clae, 1, rue Tony Bourg, L-1278 Luxembourg. Click here for further information.