CONFERENCE (Gothenburg, Sweden, May 25-27, 2007 )

The conference in Göteborg lasted for three days. On the first day, people registered at the conference registration desk and enjoyed the boat tour of the city; the second day included opening ceremony, educational sessions, evaluation contest, speech contests, and gala dinner; and the third day included closing ceremony and educational sessions. I tried to visit as much sessions as possible, and I’d like to tell you a few words about some of them. Conference Hall
EVALUATION CONTEST. In my opinion, such contest is very useful, and it can be conducted in the Ukrainian Toastmasters Clubs as well. I don’t know about evaluation of speeches in other Ukrainian clubs, but I think that in our club, we pay too little attention to evaluation reports and do not really appreciate them. In the evaluation contest in Göteborg, there were 8 contestants, i.e., evaluators who competed in evaluating of one and the same speech. The speech was very interesting and funny, it was titled “Dragon Tatoo”, and the speaker, a woman, told a story how she got the tatoo and what her husband thought about it. In the conclusion of her speech, the speaker put off her jacket and shown the real Dragon tatoo on her back. After the speaker finished her speech, 8 evaluators left the room in order not to hear the evaluations of each other, and then, in turn, presented their reports. It is strange, but all reports were different! There were no repetitions, each evaluator expressed his or her own thoughts and provided different recomendations!
SPEECH CONTEST. There were 8 contestants in the speech contest. The first place was gained by Martin Brown from “Munich Toastmasters”, who presented a speech titled “Sir Isaak’s apple”.
Yulia Usova and Olga Pogolyelova at the Gala Dinner, second day of the Conference. The beginning of the speech was very unusual, because the speaker produced a sound similar to Tarzan’s scream 🙂 This scream was followed by a story of a man who hang on a tree branch in jungles, and soon it became clear that the idea of the speech actually related to people’s ability to overcome life obstacles and difficulties.

EDUCATIONAL SESSION “YOUR CLUB – IT’S MORE THAN JUST A MEETING” BY ROBERT BARNHILL. Robert Barnhill, DTM has been a Toastmaster for 21 years, he is from the USA. Professionally, Robert is an Attorney, Certified Public Accountant/Personal Financial Specialist, and Certified Financial Planner.
Rober’s session was dedicated to General Toastmasters Standards. He compared Toastmasters Organization with McDonalds. Thus, Robert said that McDonalds in each country offers the same products and services, mostly at the same price, and the same approach should be used in the Toastmasters Clubs throughout the world. It means that a Toastmasters meeting must include speeches sessions, table topic session and evaluation reports. I’d like to comment Robert’s statements, if you don’t mind 🙂 Of course, nobody denies that a Toastmasters meeting must comply with general Toastmasters standards, otherwise, it would not be a Toastmasters meeting. However, I’m sure each club should be unique, i.e., there should be something that makes the club different from other Toastmasters Clubs. Such differences may constitute in offering special topics for speeches or table topics and/or conducting non-standard meetings from time to time. What would happen if we cancel all non-standard meetings in the Art-Talkers, for example, if we refuse all debates, art-trainings, parties? I guess it would be a little boring, at least for creative people like we are 🙂 Besides, I want you to note that we do not violate the Toastmasters Standards, because we arrange non-standard meetings generally every two or three months, which is not so often 🙂
EDUCATIONAL SESSION “NETWORKING SUCCESSFULLY” CONDUCTED BY ELIZABETH NOSTEDT. Elizabeth is from Sweden. She offers professional coaching and training in presentation skills. Elizabeth is also the Immediate Past District Governor for District 59. Elizabeth lead the district team to build 16 new clubs in her year and the district was placed 3rd in the world. Her session “Networking successfully” was dedicated to the rules of communication in business conferences, meetings and other business events. She told that business networking actually consists of a few steps, which are as follows: 1) presenting a paper business card; 2) establishing a brief talk, e.g., a talk about the weather, etc.; 3) presenting a verbal business card. Elizabeth adviced to use the following tips for creating a verbal business card:
(a) don’t start with “I am”,
(b) use action verbs, e.g., “I help” or “I teach”,
(c) use numbers, e.g., how many steps do you use to help people
(d) indicate your value, e.g., what is your value for a company,
(e) solve a deep need.
As an example, Elizabeth presented her own verbal business card: “ I teach people five secrets to put their message across effective, and I use a strategy that saves my clients hours of time for preparation of their speeches”.
EDUCATIONAL SESSION “RAPID SPEECH DEVELOPMENT” CONDUCTED BY JIM KOKOCKI. Jim Kokocki is a Distinguished Toastmaster, he is employed with the Wireless Division of Aliant Telecom as Marketing Manager – Small and Medium Business. Jim is from Canada. His session “Rapid speech development” was dedicated to impromptu speeches during table topic session. Jim invited a volonteer to propose a topic, e.g. “books”, or “sports”, etc., while people from the audience should tell associations brought up by the topic. For example, the topic “sports” was associated by the audience with such words as “fitness”, “shawer”, “towel”, “training”, “victory”, etc. Then, the volonteer who offered the topic should deliver an impromptu speech using the words provided by the audience. It was really interesting! I advice to try the like session in our club!
EDUCATIONAL SESSION “MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION” LEADED BY LESLEY NARDINI. Lesley is from the USA. Lesley Nardini has been in the image business since 1986 when she worked as an instructor for an international image and beauty company. Her session “Make a great first impression” was actually for business women. Lesley gave some useful pieces of advice on how a business women should be dressed, which are as follows:
IF YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL WOMEN, YOU MUST HAVE:
– 2 suits in your best colors (skirt suits or pant suits are both appropriate in the work place),
– 3 blouses in solids and/or patterns (long and/or short sleeves),
– 2 T-shirt style tops in good quality fabric,
– 1 solid color skirt,
– 1 blazer in a coordinating color,
– 2 pair of nice slacks (solid and/or patterned),
– 2-3 pair of closed toe shoes.
Slacks and nice t-shirts can be worn for business casual, khaki pants should only be worn in the most casual business situations. Never wear jeans to an important business function, no matter how casual anyone says it is.
JUST A FEW MORE TIPS:
– shoes should never be lighter than your hosiery or hemline (outside of work, white tennis shoes with jeans are one of the few exceptions to this rule),
– generally speaking, one earring per ear is the most professional look,
– don’t wear opened toed shoes or sandals to the office,
– Panty Hose look more professional than bare legs,
– make sure all undergarments are truly under garments with nothing peaking out,
– don’t wear big dangly, noisy jewelry to work – simple and chic looks the best,
– carry all of your “stuff” in one neat looking tote or briefcase,
– remember to bring a nice looking pen and portfolio to meetings.

Olga Pogoryelova, Vice President Education of Art-Talkers TM Club

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Published in: on June 13, 2007 at 8:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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