Dear fellow Toastmasters,
My name is Michael Hurst of Mercury Toastmasters in Berlin. I just returned from the District 95 conference in Warsaw, Poland, where I competed in the English Table Topics Championships and achieved 2nd place.
I cannot adequately express how much fun I had participating in the table topics competition all the way from the club level to the district level. I actually participated in both the German and the English competitions. However, I bombed in the German competition at the area level. It was good to learn, just showing up is not enough to advance in our competitive region.
What does it take? Well, first it takes courage to start competing at the club level. Learning to control my nerves among people I am familiar with is the first step. Once that was accomplished, I moved to the area level, where relaxing my mind enough to be able to listen to and actually hear the question became the challenge. I managed that! Next, with an “empty” and “relaxed” state of mind, I trusted my mind to weave me a story “on the fly”. At division, I just hoped I would “like” the question! I know my mind would do something acceptable with it, if it liked the question. It worked! At district, the biggest platform and audience for this competition, a whole other level of challenge gets added; in Warsaw there were over 300 people in the audience. I set only two goals for myself, and none of these focused on “the competition.” My goals were to first, listen and understand the question! In order to do that, I had to make sure my mind is completely “empty” and “calm” to hear each word in the question, in order to form an image in my mind that I could then interpret and describe. Second, once I had the image, I simply wanted to make sense in what I said, and at the same time entertain the audience as best I could. With that approach, I controlled everything that was within my power to control. I let go of worries about things that were beyond my control. With that combination, I managed to have the time of my life on stage and with the audience!
My encouragement to you, the reader is, start at the club level and allow yourself to participate in the next competition! Regardless of how “the competition” goes, you will learn something about yourself and grow a little because of it. Enjoy, I did!
Here you can find some impressions and the winners of your Division C Conference (15th October 2016) in Berlin.
Congratulations to all contestants -- you a did a great job.
Thanks to all judges, ballot counter, timer, Seregent at Arms and
to our Contest Masters and Chief Judges.
My special thanks goes to Andrei Popescu -- our District 95 Program Quality Director and Kristian Rother (Ex-Member of Spreeredner) for the great fireplace Talk "TMI- Finance System".
Hope to see you in Warsaw (Informations here). We will have great contests with great Division C Contestants. Come and support them.
(Division C Director)