Saturday, We Crown A Champion

Saturday starts early with the contest starting at 8:00.  If you want good seats, the line started before 7am.  I arrived and found Ryan Avery’s family waiting at the gates with Phyllis to get in and ensure they got great seats.  Knowing how great of a speaker Ryan is and how much work he put into it, I was filled with nervous energy.  So much so, that I only managed to cram in about 3 hours of sleep for fear of missing the entire event.

I chatted with Chelsea briefly to get an update on how Ryan was doing.  He had drawn 8th, the same spot as his semi final.  The first 7 speakers put everything they had into their speech and delivered some great speeches.   Ryan delivered his speech and i was amazed.  It was an incredible speech with a perfect delivery.

One last speaker and the judges finished up their job.  I was sitting with the rest of the D7 staff and Leanna and Jim and we got all our video gear ready to ensure that we captured the big moment.  Waiting was the worst part.  Gary finally returned with the results. Third place and second place were announced.  Finally the announcement was made, Ryan had one the finals.  We all jumped taking as many pictures and videos of it as we could.

The celebration was crazy to be a part of.  Ryan finished his speech and after exiting the room was surrounded with people getting pictures taken, talking with everyone, and handling the TI staff to ensure that word got out to all the media outlets.  What an experience to be a part of.

The afternoon moved onto the business meeting.  After last years 5 hour meeting, I was so happy that the meeting was absolutely uneventful.  The new digital voting worked wonderfully.  There were still several errors on every race, but never enough to change the outcome.   2 hours later, everything was done.   A quick break and then we had our regional gatherings.

Finally it was time for the presidents dinner.  I got pictures with several of the people that I’d met and enjoyed a great dinner.  Afterwards, the dance began.  The music was a fun mix from all different genres to try and ensure that there was something for everyone.    The floor was packed and everyone was having a great time.  It was the first time I’d been out on a dance floor in years.

Anyone who has known me for a while usually knows that I don’t sleep before early morning flights.  My Orlando flight was at 8:50 but I had to catch a ride at 4:45 to avoid a $60 cab.    Saturday night was no exception.

If you understand this picture, than you know where I was.   If you don’t, all I can say is you had to be there.  Video, which I have, doesn’t do this any justice at all.  After dropping a friend off, I had enough time to pack everything up, send a bunch of emails (Apparently I wasn’t the only one there who was up, I got a response one of the messages at 2:30am),  and get ready for my flight.

When I left Medford, my checked bag weighed 42 pounds.  I weighed it at Orlando and found it had now reached 62 pounds.  For the first time, I was thankful that their was a conference bag.  I pulled out all the books that I could and packed them into the TI bag from the conference and stuffed my laptop bag.  I got my bag down to 50 pounds exactly.


Friday at the Convention

Friday is packed and the variety of activities increase.  The big event of the day is the Golden Gavel dinner with this years recipient John C Maxwell.  In addition to the dinner, there were more breakout sessions and the accredited speakers program.

I attended Pete Weissman’s session.  He is a professional speech writer and was leading a session on how to write speeches for other people.  The skills are similar and many of his suggestions can go straight into my own speeches.  His perspective is unique in that writing for someone else requires you to use their voice and their message.

I went to the Accredited Speakers panel and watched the first speaker.  He was the best speaker I’ve ever heard on the topic of disaster preparation.   His stories were exciting and very practical.  My concern was that he was moving all over the stage as if he had just a touch to much energy in the presentation.  It took away from his presentation for me.  He even had researched the plans for the event facility and the golf course.  We may find out how good those plans are with the hurricane heading their way.

After the first accredited speaker program, I left to go get a picture with John C Maxwell.   His line was very short with perhaps 30 people.  I’m not sure if it was intentionally scheduled during breakouts to reduce the line or if it was just bad luck.

My last session was with Lisa Panarello.  She was speaking on how best to network for professional success.  Once someone points out how excessively we swap business cards with no connection, it becomes shocking.  I was in the middle of a conversation with someone later that evening and when I asked for her card to ensure that I could stay in touch, someone else who had walked up pulled out their card and handed it to me.  I have no idea who that person was.

Evening came and I attended the Golden Gavel dinner.  The speech by John C Maxwell was great.  I took many notes on my phone.  There was a great section about why we need to focus on our strengths and not our weaknesses.  On the basis that we can only improve 2 notches on a scale of 1 to 10, if we spend our time working on skills that we are a weak in (say a 3) we can never be incredible at them, only just get to mediocre.  Focus on your strengths where you are already a 7.  People really want to work with 9s and you can get there from a seven with hard work.

One other specific note from the session.  The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.  It’s from Today matters and a great take away from this.



Who Can Provide Club Officer Training?

From a member:
I have DTM’s in the club, who maintain that any of them could train the club’s officers.  Does District 7 recognizes training by DTM’s?

I personally prefer training from the District for its completeness, comradery, and the sense of toastmasters being larger than our club.  We have contact from our Division Governor about makeup training in the works.  How do I respond to my DTM’s?

Continue reading Who Can Provide Club Officer Training?

First Event Done

Toastmasters Leadership Institute is in the books.  I’ve got a ton of follow up on specific details and information to provide the governors now.

The event was a great success.  There was room for improvement and many lessons learned.  Time for a day off and then onto the July 14th networking event.

Key theme, more volunteers and teams reduces the work that I have to do and my time is now all taken at the events being the face of D7 to the members.  Teams and volunteers are going to be required for all aspects and I need to just make sure they have it planned as best as possible

Make it easy for people to help

For the past three years, one goal of mine has always been to figure out a way to get more people interested in speaking.  Toastmaster districts have a large number of events where people can get up and speak to a larger audience than they get at the club level.  It has always been a challenge to get people to step forward though.

Those who are already comfortable are more than willing to step up  and those who aren’t won’t jump at the chance.  For Toastmasters Leadership Institute, I tried something new.  I included an option on the form asking if people were interested in speaking at the event.  I received better response to that question than I have from any other method and it will be on every form.

While people may not search out being a speaker, there are definitely members who are interested and if you can get the question in front of them, they will step up.

Emails Emails Emails

Wow, Talk about a tidal wave, all the sudden, it is emails everywhere.  When I got last night, I opened a reply to each email that I needed to respond to.  It took me all night to get through them all.  I had more to send tonight and am just wrapping those up at 5 after midnight.

One thing about a flat organization is that each step up is an order of magnitude beyond what you’ve previously experienced.  In this case, I’ve been both an area governor and ran several conferences.  Each of those consisted of being in charge of around 50 people.  This position is a huge step over that.  I’ve been in touch with hundreds of people via facebook and even more directly coordinating registration, speakers, materials, etc.

The change is incredible and empowering.  I’m now in the position to make things happen and not feel the need to get approval.  It’s my official job now to make these things happen and I’m loving that.


Prisoners and Realizations

I received my first communication from a Prisoner today.  District 7 has several prison clubs and one of the prison club members was elected to the division governor position.  I received a congratulations from him via a third party today.

I have a response ready to go back once I get confirmation on how to send it.  I’m starting to work on all the projects as the LGET elect.   Receiving a message from the division governor is reassuring.  If he can succeed as a division governor in prison, then there’s no way that being in Southern Oregon will hurt me in being LGET.