I have been a Toastmaster for 5 years but I have never been to any international convention. The reason is because of $$$, and they were always held at the other side of the world – North America and Canada. However after 82 years, Toastmasters International decided to have it in Kuala Lumpur at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre! I was elated when I heard of the news and I blocked my dates for the convention right away not knowing that I signed up for something unbelievably fantastic.
As a person who is always up for inspiration and new ideas, the four days spent were so meaningful and fulfilling. Though I was really sad when it ended, I was richer because I gained so much that no one ever take away from me – motivation, ideas, joy and friendship. I felt I have grown up so much more than I have in the last 3 years.
There are 126 countries around the world that have Toastmasters club – and there are so many countries’ names that I have no clue about them. The first people I met were from Poland and they have Toastmasters in Poland! I know so little about Poland that I have never in my wildest dream to have anything in common with a Polish, and there we were having meaningful conversation about Toastmasters! How cool!
I met so many amazing people and witnessed so many awesome speakers speak, One of them that I truly like was Robin Sieger, a Scottish professional speaker and author, his message was powerful and yet sincere. The third day of the convention I happened to bump into him while he was walking along the corridor and no one noticed him. I went to him to request for a picture and he was so kind to make sure that the pictures turns out well before he left, although he was in a hurry. Authenticity is what really many are looking for but many are lacking. A speaker can do wonders on the stage with his charisma and eloquence but if he does not walk his talk offstage, he is just irrelevant.
Apart from good speakers, I also met top leaders of Toastmasters.
The finale of the convention was the International Speech Contest. I saw nine tremendous finalists speaking and the birth of the champions. This is the first time an Asian winning as champion, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi from India and Sri Lanka.
It was truly memorable event, I thank God for such wonderful opportunity to be able to attend the convention. I really hope I could attend the event again in the future.