Fall Division C conference is over
Last weekend, the representation of 9 cities and 22 clubs in North-West Poland met in the center of the Division – in Piła. There are several purposes of such conferences. The main is: to run the next level of Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests.
Let me choose my main 3 general areas (all Toastmasters and public speakers will laugh at this point, “3 is such a good, appropriate and nice number for the brainr”) of the event and go deeper into each part of it.
Do we need Speech contests?
“Is it needed?” You might ask. Not everyone is a competition enthusiast and not everybody wants to be a perfect speaker. You’re right. However, there are plenty of reasons why it is worth to compete in speech contests.
You want to show your best and therefore, you work harder. And therefore, you are better. You prepare much more, you practice much more, search for help of a mentor. At the Division stage, the level of proficiency increases. Everyone can start in a club contest, no matter how you prepare and if you prepare. But to go to the Division level (3rdstep), for example to Piła, you need to be good! That means something (you already won with club mates and subsequently, with area members). Finally, you can show what you’ve learned not only to people but first of all to yourself, you can just be a public speaker and achieve the goal – to persuade the audience, to inspire, to inform or in this case, maybe a combination of those plus to make them laugh. And if you are able to make people laugh, you are powerful and your message can be conveyed with proper tools. You have the voice!
This can be learned and practiced and the contest is a kind of a test. Did I already mention about the audience? With every step of a contest – you have bigger and more varied audience. So for everyone the motivation will be different – speaking in front of a bigger audience, speaking in front of an audience that is different than usual, challenging yourself, competing, growing, showing your speaking talent and of course, this can be also enjoyable – we shouldn’t forget about this factor.
Time to be a leader
However, if you don’t get crazy about all those things, maybe you are much more into leadership. To make things happen, to gather people, plan the event, delegate tasks – this is about organizational part of the conference. Without it and without the people who take the responsibility, there will be no event. A mentor, a judge, a trainer or a chair. Preparation for a conference start many months before. At least 1 person is needed who coordinates the whole event. This person was found in Piła or to be more precise: That person found us and volunteered to organize the contest. Of course, you cannot organize a conference alone, but this is also a nice evidence of leadership – the person needs to find a team, build a team and plan carefully the sequence of the actions and the process. The Division conference in Piła was a good opportunity to gain the organizational, management skills.
“We learn in moments of enjoyment” Ralph C. Smedley
And the last but not least. Enjoyment! We would not learn so efficiently if there were no enjoyment in it.
The conference started with an energizing dance show involving the whole audience. That created a good atmosphere and set a good tone. Between contests, the conference chair prepared another surprise on the agenda: a music session with Tibetan gongs, it was relaxing, healing and perfect after lunch! Recognition ceremony at the end, presenting contest results, presenting Triple Crown Awards (3 education certificates gained within one Toastmaster year), celebrating together and continuation at the after party. Because one of the purposes is also to integrate – with people from those 9 cities – as normally, you aren’t with them in touch.
Enjoy the trip
Those things (and several more) make the conferences worth going and being there. Find your reasons. If you are unable to do so, ask the nearest Toastmaster. For sure, there is something that can be transferred into your career or personal life. But next time, if you hear there is a Division conference, just plan your trip, take your friends/family and enjoy it!
Marta Geszkiewicz, Division C Director