I was not aware of all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the Toastmasters International Convention that took place last week in Palm Desert, California. Some of you may be wondering what happened to my blog postings. Quite frankly, I literally had no time to compose a quality post. On some days, I had meetings from 7:00am to 10:00pm and had very little time to sit down to take a break. At one point I only had 45 minutes to rest just before dinner. Inspite of all that stress, the convention was well worth the time.
This was the first year that Toastmasters International flew in the top three officers of every District around the world for training. In the past, this training was done regionally, and the last regional training was right in our backyard in Greensboro, NC. Now, with the new alignment, as the new Lieutenant Governor Marketing for District 37 (State of North Carolina) I had a chance to meet Toastmasters from around the world, from Australia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and from around the United States.
What amazes me about this organization is the dedication and passion that people have. I was especially surprised by the fervent drive many of the candidates showed as they ran for the elected offices. There are now 14 Regions throughout the world and the candidates spent much of their personal wealth in their respective marketing campaigns. I was notably impressed by some of the creative ideas that some of them showed in the items they distributed. Some of them had planned and executed fantastic campaigns that resulted in a decisive win. With others, it was a close call. It took three votes to finalize the 2nd Vice President position with four candidates vying for the same position! Two of them weren't on the ballot!
The highlight of the convention was the International Speech Competition where nine candidates from around the world spoke before the sellout crowd. There was not an empty seat in the house and the overflow group of people had to observe the contestants in the foyer on plasma screen TVs. Just like watching good theatre, there is nothing like watching a live speech competition. David Henderson, Robert MacKenzie and Linus Chang, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, were all wonderful to watch. Seeing how well the contestants had planned their speeches and executed them was inspiring. Clearly, their hard work paid off!
I've been on the stage at the District level in the Humor Competition, and I can only imagine what it must feel like to take the stage someday to inspire others. Here I am posing onstage late one night after everyone had left. I think I look pretty good! Perhaps after my officer roles have been completed, I'll have that opportunity again to compete. At this point, I'll work to the best of my ability to be the best Lt. Governor Marketing (LGM) that I can, and we'll see how the future will unfold! I am grateful for the opportunities Toastmasters International has given me!
What have you planned that came out better than you expected?
Have you taken the stage to deliver a message to others and how did you feel about it?
Who are you ready to inspire?