“Reach for the Stars, Fulfill your Dreams”
This was the theme for the spring Toastmasters Conference held at the Clear Lake Hilton on May 29-30, 2009. If you were not there, you missed out on a great time. It was an awesome learning experience and it was alot of fun.
It all began on Friday night, with a dinner, introduction of District Officers, and the Evaluation Speech Contest. Wow, I was totally impressed with the Evaluation Contest. All the contestants did an awesome job. These contestants made it through 3 contests to compete at the District contest. The next step for them is the Area Contest in Denver and finally the International Contest. As I listened to the contestants, I learned many techniques to help me give a more positive and organized evaluation.
The fun and learning continued on Saturday. In the morning, there was the Parade of Banners, Business Meeting and the Governance Plan presented by Charlotte Howard.
The real fun began Saturday afternoon with an excellent Pasta luncheon combined with the District awards. Then we had three awesome breakout sessions, with the Grand Finale of the District Speech Contest.
The first education session I attended waas presented by Vivek Rajan on “Authentic Communication.” In this session, I learned effective breathing techniques to help me communicate more effectively. I loved the “ballon exercise.” It was a unique and fun way to get to know people during this session.
Secondly, I attended John Nguyen’s Presentation on Inner Strength. It was a powerful and thought provoking presentation. John presented us with a series of questions to help us discover our “Inner Strength.”
Most importantly, you need to discover what “Intangible catalyst that uniquely motivates you?” Secondly, “what are your core values?” Thirdly, “What is your mission statement?” Finally, “What does Succcess look like to you?” Then, John challenges you to create a “Vision Collage” of what motivates you. After all, ” If you can see it, you can have it.”
Finally, I attended Vikas Jhingran, “Public Speaking: An Emotional Approach.” It was a real treat to listen and learn from Vikas, after all he is the 2008 World Champion of Public Speaking. Vikas gave us another powerful presentation. He used music as a metaphor to establish an emotional connection with the audience. Vikas emphasized many speakers do not take us out of our comfort zone. He challenged us to “Rise to the top and let it go.” He shared some other great tips such as the element of suprise, creating a title and how to create that “wow” conclusion.
By attending the Saturday afternoon break out sessions; I learned many tools to enhance and finesses my presentations. Speakers are always constantly learning and observing from other speakers. This was especially helpful to me, because I will be speaking at the National Hearing Loss Convention in Nashville in June 2009 on 2 presentations.
Lastly, we had the District speech contest. Once again, I was floored with the quality of the contestants! It was hard for me to pick a winner! I thought they all did an outstanding job. They all aspired me to be an even better Speaker.
As dinner was served, we heard a very humorous speech from Houston’s own Weatherman, Frank Billingsley. He shared his story with us, using lots of humor and the life lessons, he encountered along the way. Finally, Frank shared with us some of the unique reporting of Hurricane Ike.
I wish you were there! It truly was a memorable weekend! I hope to see you at the Fall conference!
As always, Have a sunny day. Susanna