Friday, 5 June 2015

Toastmasters in Australia Inclusive for All

Toastmasters in Australia are leading the way in all sorts of communities, as experienced by blind speaker Dana LaMon when he toured Sydney.   

Dana LaMon was the special guest for the 2015 Toastmasters District 70 Annual Conference, held at the Bankstown Sports Club.

He presented the keynote speech at the Gala Dinner, and educational workshops on powerful presentations and coping with change.  

Dana also presented two workshops about presentation skills. One was in Burwood, the other in the Sydney CBD. There were different events for different areas and audiences in Sydney. 

Dana LaMon cannot see at all, yet he was still able to experience Australia and lead the next generation of speakers. 

He went sight seeing with a Toastmasters member, visiting the iconic Sydney landmarks. 

"I enjoyed feeding the kangaroos, petting the koala, then going to the Opera House. 

Ross was a wonderful guide to actually take me up the stairs and feel the sides of the building.
That was a wonderful connection that you don’t get from someone describing something."

Toastmasters clubs in Sydney are incredibly diverse. There are clubs for Down Syndrome, multilingual members, women, churches, hospitals, universities, corporate offices, debaters, food enthusiasts, even meeting at high schools. 

Groups of people from all walks of life are helping each other to learn communication and leadership skills at Toastmasters Clubs. 

Dana LaMon is a great expert, who doesn't think twice about his 'disability.' He is a renowned speaker, author, and former judge. He is also sincerely humble. And Dana appreciates the humility of Toastmasters in Australia. 

The conference did not use top tables. Although these configurations work well for other groups, District 70 Toastmasters leaders mingled with the people during dinner at the conference. 

Dana reflected after the conference, "The features that I like about the district are the chances to interact with other Toastmasters." 

He explained prior to arrival, “I’m interested in the people. Show me the people.  I go where the invitations carry me.” 

Why such a focus on conversation? Toastmasters is about members helping each other to learn. That was Dana's purpose. 

"My effort when I started my preparation and journey to Sydney was to help Toastmasters to improve their speaking skills in general, to make it easier for them to do whatever they are doing with their speaking, in context with the rest of their lives." 

Anyone can learn and grow with friends in Toastmasters. The renowned speaker Dana LaMon reminded Australia of the opportunities Toastmaster presents.

Toastmasters is where leaders are made.