By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be at this year’s Toastmasters International Convention. I’ve attended several International Conventions in the past, and was amazed at how many people I met, how much I learned from them, and how much I enjoyed the experience.

But then life got in the way, and it’s been a long time since I’ve attended one. As you might expect, I’m really excited to be going this year!

One of the things I remember most from my first International Convention is something that makes me laugh now – because, after all, I already knew what the word “international” meant. I knew that Toastmasters was an international organization. And I knew that this was the annual International Convention. Still, as I rounded the corner at the Convention Center and got my first glimpse into the area where the opening Reception was being held, I was struck speechless. People from – literally – around the world were talking and laughing together, sharing stories about their homelands and their home clubs, and comparing notes about their Toastmasters experiences.

I spent the next few days talking with people from countries as close as Canada and Mexico, and as far away as China and Japan. I was amazed at how much we all had in common – besides being members of Toastmasters – and how willing everyone was to share ideas, information, and solutions to mutual problems. I’m looking forward to more of that this year.

I do have to admit, though, that I have just the slightest bit of apprehension, given everything that’s going on in our country and the world today. I’m guessing this will generate some interesting conversations at the Convention. I’m also guessing that most, if not all, of those conversations will be civil and thoughtful, with an equitable exchange of ideas and opinions. That’s been my experience at pretty much every Toastmasters event I’ve attended through the years. It’s how Toastmasters have been taught to communicate.

I’m sure I’ll have some interesting stories of my own to tell after I get back from this year’s International Convention. I’ll let you know next week.

August 24, 2018
©Betty Liedtke, 2018

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