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Behind the Curtain: What? Where? When? by Anuar Zhumabayev

Dear toastmasters,

Here, in “Behind the curtain” part of our blog, I would like to share with you information about how one of the regular social events of our club, recreational “What? Where? When?” game found its way to the community of those, who are looking to master public speaking skills.

On 10th of April, ATC hosted the last game, and I was an organizer. When I look back, it turns out that I participated in organizational teams of “What? Where? When?” games at ATC all 6 times, it was hosted in the club.

The idea was actually proposed by our former member and now a successful social entrepreneur and engineer Gaukhar Arystan. She announced that she wanted to introduce this game at one of our regular Saturday meetings and declared that she was looking for a host, who will be asking questions during the game. I had never played in formal “What? Where? When?” games before, however, during my student time in Arizona State University, we had our little version of the game at Kazakhstani Student Association there. So, I had had a little experience in searching for questions and was familiar with format a little. Therefore, I stepped up to be a host. Little I knew, I would be the host for 5 of 6 such games at ATC.

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We also had Amina Kussainova and Elmira Muldasheva helping us organize the event, providing witty questions, I could ask our guests, and the very first game at ATC went quite well: we had four teams, 30 questions and fun evening. The event became quite popular and for all the next games, teams would be formed very quickly, peaking with 9 teams at the game in Astana Mall (third in ATC), when the host was Art Sergazinov.

The hardest job in organizing the event is to find the place, where we can host all teams and, of course, search for the questions. Every single game at ATC took place at different venues. We had fun time during some of negotiations. I just want to tell you that Azamat Khamza is the best negotiator ever. Seriously, two times he was in recruiting team, we were able to find bargains for our venues.

To find all 30 questions for the game, I usually spent from 3 to 4 hours in the web, so the questions would be at least interesting, hopefully challenging, and yet, rationally easy, since our members are not practicing players, who prepare for the game fiercely. After all, our game is recreational. Also, sometimes, I try to find questions, related to hobbies of our members, like football questions for our football fans, “Harry Potter” questions for our muggles and questions about public speaking. It is challenging, but totally worth it. It was so funny, when no one had the right answer for “a boy with a scar” question, though in each team, we had at least one J.K.Rowling fan.

Overall, I am glad I was a part of organizational teams for these events, but I feel, that with each game I am slowly losing interest in hosting, and, I believe, members felt it during the last game. Therefore, I think it would be in the best interest of the club, if there would be any “What? Where? When?” game in the future at ATC, to find a new host and organizer. To whom, I have only one advice: be sincere in your desires, have fun with questions and don’t be afraid to joke around with teams. It is a fun event. And we should have a blast every time we host it!

Anuar Zhumabayev

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