What happens in Vegas shouldn’t stay there, so here’s a first-timer’s report on the 80th Toastmasters International Convention — told in a traditional speech evaluation format:
What I Saw
- Fellowship: The opening and closing ceremonies were spectacular; the pride and pageantry that accompanied the procession of flags was palpable; it emphasized the increasingly international flavor of Toastmasters. The friendly, helpful nature of Toastmasters everywhere was inescapable during the convention. In fact, it was difficult not to make new friends. Whether it’s small talk or shop talk, “table topics” with Toastmasters is fun and effortless.
- Rebranding: The new “look and feel” of Toastmasters was everywhere during this historic convention. Rebranding involves more than bright new colors; it’s about the evolution of our organization from just a place to go to learn to speak to where one goes to become a leader. Indeed, “where leaders are made” has a nice ring; it’s up to all of us to make it more than a slogan.
What I Heard
- Compelling speakers: The International Speech Contest featured top speakers from around the world, including J. Loren Norris, who made District 25 proud with his semifinals effort. All of the speeches were good and entertaining. The winner’s speech suggested living life with awareness of our legacy to those whose opinion we value: our families, colleagues and friends (including those in Toastmasters).
- Servant leaders: Candidates for the Toastmasters board seemed sincerely interested in serving the needs of individual members; they were not critical of their opponents or alternative views. (It’s a great approach not found anywhere else!)
- Connected: It’s a real pleasure to work with Diana Patton, Bonne Stroman and Earl Hill. (Our district “trio” even won a “best presentation” contest among Region 3 districts.) It’s nice and helpful that we agree on so many topics and get along well.
- Inspired: It was an honor to hold a corner of the D25 banner that heralded our achievement as a Distinguished District. The memory of it will be motivating for me as we try to repeat the achievement. Doing so requires lots of work from many, but being Distinguished or better for the third year in a row is the best way to ensure we enjoy our trip to Orlando for next year’s convention.
What an exciting time to be a Toastmaster! Thanks for sending me to Las Vegas!
Lt. Governor Marketing
by Jodie Sanders