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Getting More Out of District 51Toastmaster Conferences
by John Lau , DTM

Toastmasters Conferences offer unique opportunities for professional and personal growth.

Perhaps the most important consideration for you is "What will you get out of the experience." If you just passively attend you deny yourself much of the real value. However, if you think about what you can do to get more out of the programs, speakers and attendees (as well as your own thought process); and then actively participate, you will multiply your personal benefits. You are responsible for most of what you get out of any conference. If you actively participate, you will become more informed and more enthusiastic. Here are some helpful hints for getting more out of our District conference communication and leadership forum.

  •  Set goals. Develop a list of personal goals; it will help you focus. These goals can be oriented toward quality, professional growth, and interpersonal relationship skills and experiences.

  •  Participate! Ask questions. Comment. Make contributions. Be visible. You'll benefit at least two ways. First, your mind will start working on information, ideas, problems and solutions. Second, the speakers and attendees will contribute to finding answers for you. (Don't overdo it. Be relevant and don't monopolize any individual's time.)
  • Develop an action plan. Make a list of anything you want to consider doing differently when you get back to your business, your family and your club(s). This should help you visualize tangible benefits.
  • Become involved with running the conference. It's a great way to learn another process and to meet other people. For many people it is easier to introduce themselves and start a conversation with others when speaking on behalf of Toastmasters.
  • Develop a list of questions. Think about specific issues you want addressed by the seminar speakers.
  • Enjoy yourself. You can learn more when you are having a good time! Take care of yourself physically. Eat properly. Get adequate rest.
  • Take clear notes. Notes help you organize your thoughts, keep you more involved and will be helpful for future reference. Take notes right the first time. Few people actually take time to rewrite notes later.
  • Write a brief report or briefing based on your notes. Circulate it to anyone who might be interested, particularly your club and district members. Attach copies of useful materials from the convention. Submit an article about the convention to your club and district bulletin.
  • Expand your network. Meet everyone you can during and between programs. Each candidate, speaker and attendee has a specific area of expertise. Make a list of contacts. Exchange business cards. Plan meals with others and share information.
  • Present a post-convention speech to your club. (Make sure it's a manual speech.) It will help others appreciate why you're enthusiastic about our TI conventions and our Toastmasters programs. Share your action plan and put your new information to work for you and others immediately.

See you all at the Pansea 2002 in Kula Lumpur
August 24th to 26th, 2002.