by The D25 Trio, Chris Raneri, Ninfa Flewitt, and Marcheta Gardner, DTM’s all
It was exciting! It was invigorating! It was tiring! It was a chance to meet fellow Toastmasters from all around the world and put my newly purchased business cards to good use. All these things were felt the last two years when I attended Trio training prior to attending the Toastmasters International Convention. Things were quite different this year, but were they worse?
Here’s the setup for the past two years: Travel day was Saturday. Interviews with International Candidates were conducted all day Sunday (a long, long, but worth it day) as we rushed from table to table. Bright and early Monday morning, we started Trio training with a networking breakfast. The trick was to find a table where the entire Trio could sit together, but leave room to share the table with others. It was a chance to make new friends and learn new ideas. Then it was two solid days of group training to set us up for a successful Toastmasters year. It was long and tiring, but I met people that I will never forget and created memories that will last a lifetime.
How was this year different you ask? First, all interviews were conducted using Zoom which allowed more time to be spent with each candidate. These were also spread across multiple days, so the rush of table to table was exchanged for exiting one Zoom bridge for another. A rewarding process that provided great insight to all the candidates. Next, the Trio training was conducted using nine Zoom sessions spread across 4.5 days. They even allowed extra time to get those networking sessions in.
It was different, yes. I missed having face-to-face interaction with those I have met during the last two years. In exchange, we received training that was more helpful than my previous two years. I was also able to exchange messages to catch up with those I would normally see in person. Some could argue that we gave up too much by doing this on Zoom. Perhaps they are right; however, I argue that we gained a different perspective. It provided a perspective that our members have to endure to conduct their club officer training, club meetings, and their club business. In my opinion, this type of training can only make us more valuable to our members and we can put our newly found virtual skills to great use. Thank you, World Headquarters for being diligent with the Trio training and not just “mailing it in” and giving us a free pass.
The only downside I can see – I have more business cards than I know what to do with!