Toastmasters conference– Part 3
Sunday, November 27th was the last day of the fall conference. My fellow Toastmaster and I enjoyed our breakfast at the Woodfield B & B and chatted with our hostess. We learned more about that 130-year-old house and its history. One such story touched me. The owner had built the house next door for his brother and family. His nephew has since stayed at the B & B, having never been in the house as a child.
We gathered our belongings from our rooms, paid our bill and headed back to the convention centre for the last day, unfortunately missing Gregory C. N. Smith’s keynote speech, and arriving to the Table Topics contest, just after the rules had been read for the contest.
“You’re late,” said the Contest chair as we slipped into seats near the front.
It wasn’t the time or place to say, “Hey, I already know the rules, but I’m here for the most important part—the speeches.” Besides, we had enjoyed our time at the B & B and didn’t feel like rushing away.
We were not disappointed by the speeches. Contestants took their time walking up to the stage, thinking, I’m sure, of what they could possibly say to the topic. “Santa, I can explain…” brought out some of the wildest and best stories I’ve ever heard about excuses or explanations of things that happened, from having no cookies left to serve to Santa to the board from the pig pen to keep the children out of the room where the gifts were kept. I was glad to see more women participating in this contest and one represented among the winners.
First place: Gabriel Lerman
Second place: Neil Dunsmore
Third place: Gail Gustin
Sunday Brunch was held in one of the large rooms, Salon CDE. I chose to sit at a different table again and met more Toastmasters I had not known, a college writing teacher, Rick, and his assistant, Jacob, a fellow writer, plus a member of the Cambridge Toastmasters and Laura and Georgina from our area in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Kai Rambow gave the keynote speech, Go for Launch: Accelerate your Toastmasters Experience, following the Sunday Brunch. He compared the Toastmasters journey to a rocket launch, since there are often times we try and falter, try and give up, and try again. His main points included accepting the challenge of a speech, doing our absolute best (echoing Tony Nelson’s presentation point, being prepared), and having fun, while we enjoy the journey.
He’s an easy speaker to hear, with his storytelling style and a story for every point. He quoted the words of the first woman Toastmaster, Helen Blanchard, “If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.”
Thanks for your presentations, Kai. We so enjoyed them this weekend.
After brunch, people went in all directions, heading for home. I had one stop to make yet: The Bookstore. After collecting the copies of my book, with a few more goodbyes on the way out, Doris, my fellow Toastmaster, and I headed for home, out into the rainy day and wet highway. We arrived home safely, with good memories, many thoughts on the conference, ideas to try and new manuals for our club.
Next conference will be in Richmond Hill in May 2012. Maybe you’ll be there .