toastmasters

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Toastmasters do things in threes.  In that vein, here is a third thing that every Toastmasters club President must do.  They must know what resources are available.

(Note that the Toastmasters web site doesn’t always add the .pdf file extension to its files.  You may have to manually add it to open these files)

The Club Success Plan is a way of applying goals that follow the SMART requirements.  They are a great way to lead your club forward.  Get it here.  This is a great way to set expectations for the year for both your club and your members.  Following the Club Success Plan keeps your club from being stale while also providing a great leadership experience for its club officers.  Do it.  Make your club better.

The Club Leadership Handbook is something that I always have with me.  What, exactly, is the job of the Club Secretary?  That question and most every other question about running a club is covered.  Get the handbook here.  People like leaders who know what they are doing or know where to find the answers.  The handbook will make you look like a genius.  Read it and carry it to every meeting.  Toastmasters International even has training material for every officer role in the club.

Who is your Area Governor?  Do you know what an Area Governor is?  There are people who are specifically assigned to aid clubs and guide them to success.  If you do not know who your Area Governor is, they are supposed to visit your club twice a year.  If they are not visiting, and you didn’t see them at a speech contest, and you didn’t see them at officer training, and you fear they or your club may be or become deceased, check out the web page for your District.  If you want to know more about leadership at the District level, there is a handbook for that too.

Toastmasters has the answers for just about every question a club President comes across during their time of service.  By using these resources, you and your club will be successful.

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 280,000 members in 13,500-plus clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education level and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters International on Twitter.

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If you followed my last post, you are now keeping track of your member’s achievements.  That’s great!  It is a primary task in order to reach the distinguished club goal.  The story doesn’t end there.  There is another thing that I see as being a huge factor in the success of a club.  The club President must be invested in the success of club and its members.

That statement means a lot of things.  For me, this comes across in a few ways:

  • Follow-up is easy

Asking someone to come back to the club after they have missed a couple of meetings is only a chore if you do not want them there.  There is not a single member of the club that I do not want at every single meeting.  Each of them adds something that is missing if they are not in attendance.

  • Appreciation is honest

What is better for the entire club than the success of its members?  By appreciating every award, every first step of an individual member, the entire club benefits.  There is no way to earn distinguished status with only a few people.  Every little bit helps and is appreciated.

  • The President must be the example

If the club President is not present, who are they to offer suggestions?  Attendance is a must for any club President and it nearly goes without saying.

It is also best if the President is someone who is actively working towards a speaking and leadership goal.  It is a double standard to request that others give speeches and then watch the club President sit on the sidelines week after week.

It is just about time for nominations in your Toastmasters club.  If you are invested in the club, run for an officer role.  If you don’t have the experience, don’t worry.  Toastmasters attracts high-achieving people who desire to help others.  You don’t have to do it alone.

 

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 280,000 members in 13,500-plus clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education level and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters International on Twitter.

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You are now a Toastmasters Club President. Now what?  In order to succeed there is one thing that I have done that has put our club in a great position to become President’s Distinguished this year.  What could that one thing be?

It all comes down to tracking your member’s progress and providing follow-up discussions on it.  Yes, really, that is all.  How can a club expect to obtain the two competent communicator awards if no one is working on the manual.  If they are working on a manual, how far are they?  Will they make it by June 30th?

There are chart you can purchase from the Toastmaster International web site that will keep track of your member’s progress.  We have never been able to make these work.  The only way I see them working is if you are very intentional and set time during a meeting to fill out the chart.

Although having a chart is a great solution, if kept up to date, we do things a little differently at club 3637.  We have a shared spreadsheet in the cloud that the President and the Vice President of Education share.  The columns are listed below:

  • Member Name
  • Educational Awards Earned
  • Date of Last Speech
  • Date of Last Attendance
  • Next Speaking Award
  • Progress Towards Speaking Award
  • Next Leadership Award
  • Progress Towards Leadership Award
  • Mentor
  • Last Contact by Pres or VP Ed
  • Reason for Contact
  • Date Joined

If the column for last attendance is over two meetings ago, the member gets an email.  If the last speech is over four meetings ago, the member gets an email.  I have been known to send an email out to a member simply stating that they are missed.

That’s all there is to being a distinguished club.  All the club officers have to do is line up your member’s goals with the goals outlined in the Distinguished Club Program.  People will wonder why your club is doing so well.  It’s not really a secret.  By tracking your member’s progress, and providing follow-up you are well on your way to becoming the President of a distinguished club.

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 280,000 members in 13,500-plus clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education level and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters International on Twitter.

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This is Speech #10.  My tenth speech for Toastmasters.  Although there are some obvious things that still need to be done with regards to my speaking style, the improvements I’ve made and the things that I have changed have made it worth my time.

This speech was delivered nearly 6 months ago.  At this time, the achieved Competent Communicator award is on my desk.

This speech refers to the goal driven lifestyle that I have been pursuing over the past two years.  It is meant as an inspiration to others to let them know that their goals are within reach.

Toastmaster Speech #10 Download if the stream doesn’t work.

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This was actually the 9th speech that I gave at a Toastmasters club.  It isn’t the best, but I’m posting it anyway.  You may have the same issues with speaking that I do.  There is a lot of concern to get every single word right.  That’s just not possible.  The less time that I spend thinking about every word, the more time I can spend relating to the audience.  The tone was a little off in my voice.  It came across as more teacher/student then I would have liked.  If you want to know more about why laptops cost what they cost, the New York Times did a great article on the topic.

Toastmaster Speech #7 Download if the stream doesn’t work.

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Which laptop is best for you?  This speech is intended to answer that question with regards to physical aspects of a laptop.

This is my eighth Toastmaster speech.  Two more before I earn the Competent Communicator award.

If this ends up being a help to others, I’ll do some more speeches on similar topics. Speech reviews welcome.

Toastmaster Speech #8 Download if the stream doesn’t work.

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About a year ago, I saw an interesting sign at the neighborhood coffee shop.  It said “Toastmasters meets here”.  That was all of the information I had to go off of.  Toastmasters sounds cool.  Add the word masters to anything and it sounds cool.  So after arriving home, I checked it out.

The timing of this event was perfect.  I am quite goal-driven and was looking for another goal to pursue.  The goals that were for running were all accomplished.  It is time to take on a task that allows me to grow professionally.  After having checked out what Toastmasters is about, there was no doubt in my mind that it fit exactly into what I had envisioned my next set of goals being.  The Toastmasters mission statement says it best: “The mission of a Toastmasters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

It is difficult to find people who really want to stand up in front of peers and give a speech. It is even harder to find people who are willing to admit that it is a hard thing to do and they need to work on that skill.  The people at my local club are what makes the experience worth while.  The type of people who are drawn to want to work on the difficult and powerful skills of communication and leadership are my kind of people.  They are seldom found outside of the enclosed work environment.  When I attended the Toastmasters meeting for the first time, I found that everyone who was there was exceptional and wanted to make the most of the experience.  This was the greatest part of the whole experience.  Being around great people makes me want to be more than I am.  They inspire me.

The goal that has come of this is to complete the ten speeches found in the Competent Communicator book.  The process is described in detail here (there are also links to other people’s speeches).  To this date, I am three speeches down and seven to go.  In ten day’s time, I will have given my fourth speech.

Why?  Writing and giving speeches is hard to do when it is voluntary.  Pushing myself to work on these skill when I have no idea if they will pay off is madness.  But, honestly, I can already tell a difference in the way I communicate in just a few short months.  In meetings, I am more aware of what I am saying and if people understand or care.  I am careful to open and close thoughts and structure them in a way people will understand.  I look people in the eyes and don’t lose my train of thought when they look back (that is still tough).

If you are searching for a challenge, looking for good people to hang around with, and want to work on the very important skills of communication and leadership, then you should look to see if you have a local Toastmasters club!

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