Toastmasters International Convention 2014

Toastmasters International Convention 2014


Kuala Lumpur

So here I am in Kuala Lumpur and so as the Toastmasters International Convention 2014! This is the very first time the convention was shipped out of the states and it is my first Toastmasters Convention, ever!

What You Can Do?

Douglas Kruger

First thing first, if you never heard of Toastmasters, it is an international organization for public speaking and leadership training. With its footprint in all over the globe, enthuse speakers and leaders gather once a year in the Toastmasters International Convention for mainly three purposes – 1) Compete for the World Champion in Public Speaking, 2) Executive meetings for leaders to develop the communities of Toastmasters clubs and 3) Workshops from leaders about the trends in public speaking and  leaderships.

My Itinerary

The Toastmasters

The four days three nights convention is full of seminars, contests and meetings that it is not easy to sit through and follow everyone of it, not to mention that some talks were held simultaneously. So these are the events that I attended:

Day 1: Wednesday, August 20

Skipped, arrived Kuala Lumpur at 0300!

Day 2: Thursday, August 21

1. How to Position Yourself as an Expert by Douglas Kruger (1 hour)

An inspiring seminar by Douglas that explains everyone can be the face of their industry. I am impressed that he was able to ask questions that gets the same answer from the audience, which we are, people from every corner of continents!

2. Speech contest semifinals (5 hours)


Hopping in between three ballrooms for speeches. These are all winners from their Districts, which means, they already won within their own club > area (inter-club) > division (inter-area) > district (inter-division), they are the best of the best in their region.

For example: if you represent District 89, my current district, it means that the contestant is representing 111 clubs in Hong Kong, Macao and clubs in southern part of China (e.g. Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chongqing)!

For another example: if you represent District 95, my former district, it mean that the contestant is representing 172 clubs in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Romania!

Day 3: Friday, August 22

1. Leaders Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden (1 hour)

Rory is a charmer, he explained how he gets to the finals of the International Speech Contest in his 20s and how he work his way to become a consultant in public speaking. I am impressed by how he use simple metaphor, stars and escalators, to explain the importance of being disciplined for success.

Day 4: Saturday, August 23

and the Winner is....
1. World Championship of Public Speaking (2.5 hours)

This is what I came for! With 9 candidates won from the previous days, they are the last standings to compete for the trophies! Their speech were all fresh that were not used in the previous contests and it’s simply marvelous to see how they deliver their 7-minute speech that has to resonate with the audience in this short period of time. It is indeed the masterclass level of public speaking.

Having watched so many YouTubes from the previous years, it really can’t compare with watching live! Simply, you are in the moment and your responses are in sync with the rest of the audience.  It is quite an instinct to know if one speech is better than the other and which speech has a champion DNA in it.

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi is the first Asian won the championship of this year  Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking!

Titled “I See Something in You” I especially delighted with one of his line:

“When you are lost, it is difficult to feel special”

It is the essence of his speech and a great reminder to myself when things are not working on my way that I shouldn’t be panic. You can find more information of this year Champion here:

Toastmasters Marketplace

Toastmasters Market Place

This is another great thing about going to a Toastmasters International Convention – shopping! See, being a Toastmasters is about giving speeches and taking leadership roles. These are all scripted in manuals that can be brought on online store: The only catch is the shipping cost is huge and no digital version are available, so it is the perfect opportunity to buy manuals! In addition, the speakers will sell their books on spot and perfect time for autographs too! Bad news for my wallet but the books are really a joy to read!

By saying no to…

Regrets, I have a few and here are the “fews” that I missed during my time at the convention:

Day 1: Wednesday, August 20

1. First-timer Gathering
2. Lance Miller’s Club Building Session
3. Opening Ceremonies and Keynote

Day 2: Thursday, August 21

1. Anatomy of a Keynote by Robin Sieger
2. The Speech Structure Building by Florian Mueck

Day 3: Friday, August 22

1. Golden Gavel Presentation

Day 4: Saturday, August 23

1. President’s Inaugural Celebration, dinner gala

As you can see, there are plenty things you can do during a Toastmasters International Convention, I don’t really felt that I missed any of these, rather, I try not to be overstretched from listening to speeches after speeches after s.p.e.e.c.h.e.s…

I say yes to…


Friends! Of course, friends, friends and friends! It was incredible that my trip could not make possible if without Cecilia and Kevin! We spend time outside of the convention for shopping, eating good food and visiting places that just made the whole experience like a holiday!

It was also an opportunity for me to take a break from the convention to visit my relatives and paid respect to my loved ones. I miss all my childhood memories in Malaysia and these shaped the way who I am today.

When is the next convention?

Sorry folks, if you think the coming convention is somewhere outside of the States, I have bad news for you! It will be in Vegas for 2015 and it will be Washington DC in 2016, perhaps it’s time to do some planning for your travel and your winning speech!

Vegas 2015: