Division B Spring Conference Workshop: Communicate Effectively in a Multicultural Environment

Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly

At some point in your professional life, you will inevitably be confronted with cultural differences that may challenge your behaviour. A faux pas is easily made and can be a serious roadblock to the success of your endeavours. If you understand the culture in which you are conducting business, it will help you to be more successful. Knowing how to handle cultural sensibilities is an essential part of being an effective communicator.

In her workshop at our Division’s Spring Conference in Lille, intercultural relations expert Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly will outline the major challenges of business and interpersonal communication in a multicultural environment. She will provide recommendations to make your communication more effective and culture savvy.

SubtleDifferencesBigFauxPasElizabeth Vennekens-Kelly is an intercultural trainer, consultant, and the author of Subtle Differences, Big Faux Pas. In this cultural guide she helps and encourages individuals to realize the extent of cultural differences and the value in gaining an understanding of the cultures in which they interact.

Elizabeth’s goal is to help individuals develop the cultural competencies they need to be successful and to encourage people to make the most of the unique opportunity of living outside their passport country. She combines her business experience, familiarity of expat living and intercultural knowledge to help individuals to deal with the complexities of living and working abroad. She trains individuals working in multicultural settings, people who are relocating overseas and those returning home, to effectively interact and communicate in the varied situations they encounter.

At the Lille Division Conference, Elizabeth will share a plethora of striking examples in verbal as well as non-verbal communication, from the simplest gestures in everyday life to the noble art of toasting — indeed, even if you are an experienced Toastmaster, you should think of the cultural context in which you are required to propose a toast! Elizabeth will show you how to leverage your cultural competence and be successful in today’s multicultural environment.

You don’t want to miss this workshop? Register now!

Division B Spring Conference: Mixing Worlds & Words in Lille

On Saturday 23 April, Lille Toastmasters will be hosting our Division’s  Spring Conference at La Grappe, a venue in the heart of the capital of Le Nord.

After an inspiring keynote by intercultural relations expert Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly, the best speakers of Belgium, Luxembourg and Northern France will compete in the following contests:

  • International Speech Contest (in English)
  • English evaluation contest
  • French speech contest
  • French evaluation contest
  • Italian speech contest

Check out the Conference programme in detail!


The entrance fee for the Division Conference is 35 euro. You will find the payment details on the registration form.

Register now!

If you come by car, there are 30 parking slots available in the venue’s underground garage, at 5 euro each. Please indicate upon registration: first come, first served!

The International Speech Contest 2016 is On!

Every year, 30.000 Toastmasters in 135 countries compete for the title of World Champion of Public Speaking. After winning their club and area contests, the Division contest on Saturday 23 April in Lille will determine who will represent our Division at the District 59 Spring Contest in Luxembourg, on 20-22 May in Luxembourg.

The International Speech Contest culminates in the semi-finals and finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking at the Toastmasters International 2016 Convention, to be held on 17-20 August in Washington, D.C.

Judging criteria include speech content, originality, organisation, gestures, style and timing.

Mohammed Qahtani, Toastmasters’ 2015 World Champion of Public Speaking

“Becoming the World Champion of Public Speaking was the culmination of a dream I didn’t think was possible,” says Mohammed Qahtani from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who is Toastmasters’ 2015 World Champion of Public Speaking. “When the competition began at the club level, it was hard to imagine that, at the end of the journey, I would be crowned the winner. The reality was much more satisfying than a dream.”

Watch Mohammed Qahtani’s winning speech from the 2015 World Championship of Public Speaking.

Toastmasters to Coach CreativeMornings Brussels Speakers

Being asked to give a talk about your professional experience can be daunting, even though you know perfectly well what you will be talking about. Will you get your message across? How will the audience react? Speaking in front of a new audience inevitably drags you out of your comfort zone.

That is why even the most experienced speakers turn to coaches, have a dry-run of their presentation and seek unbiased feedback to improve their performance and raise their impact.

In recent years, Toastmasters have supported speakers at TEDx events in Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp. Starting this month, Toastmasters will also coach and support speakers of CreativeMornings events in Brussels.

CreativeMorningsBrusselsCreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Every month, an inspiring speaker gives a 20 minute talk. Events start at 08:30 with a free breakfast and networking. The event ends around 09:30, so everybody can go to work and have a creative day. Creative Mornings events are held in more than 130 cities worldwide. In Belgium, CreativeMornings has chapters in Brussels, Antwerp and Liège.

The Brussels chapter of Creative Mornings and Division B Toastmasters have agreed to work together. Experienced members from Toastmasters clubs in Brussels will coach speakers and support them in preparing their talks. The aim is to maintain the high quality that CreativeMornings talks are renowned for and make speakers feel more confident on stage. So nobody should be afraid of giving a CreativeMornings talk!

More information on CreativeMornings Brussels

Would you like to help with coaching the speakers? Would you like to let a guest speaker have a dry-run at your club?
Please contact Egwin Gonthier, who coordinates this collaboration.