As an introvert, the one thing that takes the most emotional energy from me is a big gathering. But there is one kind of gathering that I just simply can’t miss, no matter the cost. And that is a Toastmasters conference. These conferences are not only an opportunity to see great contests or attend valuable workshops, but they are also a great place to meet people from your tribe, people who like you are crazy about their self-development. After every conference, I always get a new wave of inspiration and creativity.
But the KrakMove conference was different. It was not a conference as much as it was a dysfunctional family getting together after some time. It felt more like a Christmas dinner with the whole extended family who you hadn’t seen for months. It was Division D (south of Poland, from Wroclaw to Rzeszow and anywhere in between) in all its glory.
The first day started with Aleksandra Lewandowska inspiring us to crack a move with her always impeccable performance as Keynote speaker. This enthusiastic and inspiration keynote was followed by the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest in Polish and English. And for those that couldn’t understand those languages, or simply didn’t care about contests, there were workshops in parallel in other language. Something unique, not very often seen at Toastmasters conferences, where contests are always the center stage. This gave everyone an option to either attend the contest or attend a workshop.
The contests were full of laughter and joy as you may expect from a humorous speech contest. With laughter clearly heard in the lobby outside. Many of the attendees will fondly remember the stories told and memorable quotes. I know I will.
After the contests were done, it was all about workshops. There were 2 parallel streams of workshops with one in English and one in Polish to cater for everyone that was attending regardless of which language they speak. This calls for a big applause for the organizers who considered everyone. Paulina Bilinska, the main organizers, the photographer, the contest participant, the master of ceremony, the queen of all things KrakMove did an amazing job of doing both the opening and closing ceremonies in two languages as well, like a pro.
Personally, the highlight for me was the award ceremony on Sunday morning, where not only the top positions of each contests were announced, but 20 Triple Crowns awards, 3 Club Ambassador awards, many awards of appreciation and most importantly “Outstanding Member” award were given by our District Director Piotr Chimko and Division Director Olga Turek-Wozniak. Ryszard Kosowicz, got a well-deserved standing ovation for his “Outstanding Member” award, and the hint of a tear in his eyes, were clearly a sign of gratitude from him and another sign how we all are a family that shares our love and joy.
After 2 days of contest and workshops, when I finally reached Wroclaw and back to my bed, I was tired as I have never been before, but at the same time full of happiness for meeting my extended Toastmasters family and was energized to continue working on my Toastmasters project. If you haven’t yet attended a Toastmaster’s conference, you don’t know what you are missing on. Next time, give it a try, you won’t regret it.
Let me conclude this with a quote from Mark Twain “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” End of Quote
Author: M Zain Ul Abidin, Area Director 2018-2019, www.zainspeaks.com