Convention: Candidates and Contests

Convention: Candidates and Contests

by Emily Murray DTM Club Growth Director

This was my first international Toastmasters International (TI) Convention ever. I watched or joined almost everything. (Sorry, Jamie Pickering, not the sing-along.) I wanted to share with you the two things that had the most impact on me: the World Championship of Public Speaking Contest and the Candidate Showcase.

The session that most of us hold dear to our hearts is the World Championship of Public Speaking contest, isn’t it? I watched all the semifinals and the finals. (Yes, I got up at 6am on a Saturday to watch it live.) The speeches were amazing and touching, and incredibly wide-ranging-emotional, inspirational, impactful, and relatable. There was value in every single one of them. They certainly deserved to be in this competition. Here is what struck me the most: I have seen speeches and speakers at least as good in our clubs here. Over and over throughout the contests, I thought more of us in D25 need to compete because we are absolutely awesome enough to be on the world stage!

As Club Growth Director, this was the first year I actively participated in the international elections. As a trio, we were able to meet with all but one of the candidates 1-on-1 before the convention. Each district prepares their own questions for the interviews. It was fascinating to see how the themes in the answers we received came up again and again in the TI-led showcase interviews. For me, that exemplified how well connected D25 is with what is going on in the global TI community. I was also curious to see if the impressions and thoughts we had about each candidate held true. For the vast majority, they did. It became clear, as I watched the results being announced, every single vote does count. I now clearly understand how vitally important it is for clubs to either attend and submit their own votes or make sure they designate proxies.

I am truly saddened that this year’s convention Wasn’t in person as I could see how much fun it would have been to meet and talk to new people, make new connections, and do all the amazing things that happen when you are in person. Here’s hoping, next year, we can go to Nashville in person. And one of you will be representing D25 in the international speech contest!