I first attended a Toastmasters International Convention in 2017 in Vancouver, Canada and participated in the host district helping hands program. The experience was a surreal mix of fact and fantasy. This year I decided to experience the International Convention as an attendee.
The convention schedule consisted of Inspiring educational sessions, thrilling opening ceremonies, Hall of Fame and the World Championship of Public Speaking. I enjoyed listening to a myriad of speakers from around the globe in the educational sessions as well as the Accredited Speaker program. Each speaker either inspired me or offered me a tip or tool that I could benefit from. The recipient of the Toastmasters 2019 Golden Gavel, Jia Jiang, made the most impression on me with his message on overcoming the fear of rejection.
On the District front, the Hall of Fame saw District 74 recognized as a Smedley distinguished district and the Annual Business Meeting saw our very own Aletta Rochat, DTM elected international director for the 2019 to 2020 Toastmasters year. I was so humbled to have been a part of these historic achievements.
At my club, I get the opportunity to network with Toastmasters and leaders in Zambia. At the convention, I get the opportunity to network with Toastmasters and Leaders from around the world and with that, an opportunity to learn from internationally renowned speakers. But the best part is experiencing the warmth of Toastmasters at the convention. Everyone is wearing a smile and everyone is giving everyone a hug.
I was thrilled to reconnect with friends I had met at my first convention in Vancouver. The thought of them even remembering my name gave me a sense of belonging and made me feel part of the family. I guess Smedley was right when he said “We Learn best in moments of joy”.
Was it worthwhile? ABSOLUTELY!!
Palais des Congrés de Paris
I can’t wait to pack my bags for the 89th Convention to be held at the Palais des Congrés de Paris in 2020. If you have not yet had this exhilarating lifetime experience, I encourage you to take your first step by registering for the Paris convention at https://www.toastmasters.org/events
See you in Paris.
Kaseke F Chinyemba CC, CL