Toastmaster Strategies-Part 1

My Toastmasters Strategy for Success – Part 1 by Muktha Tumkur, P. Eng., MBA

Muktha TumkurI have been a Toastmaster on and off since 2007 and am currently a member of the Port Credit Toastmasters Club in Mississauga. My most recent hiatus from Toastmasters was because I was completing an MBA. In the MBA program the courses that resonated the most for me were the ones related to strategy. I was surprised to learn how many companies struggle with their strategies (if they have them at all) to be successful. Successful companies have a solid vision, related measurable goals, transparency to share what they need with all staff, and they measure their results regularly to track performance.

Toastmasters, like any successful organization, have a clear vision, mission, strategy and goals to achieve their strategy. They are also transparent and share all of this information freely because they know that their success depends on yours, as a member. The benefits that you gain from your Toastmasters experience are measured throughout the entire organization. Therefore, Toastmasters membership certainly has its benefits!

Since you are President and CEO of “Me Inc.”, lay out your vision, mission, and strategy for your communication and leadership goals. Once you have that roadmap and you commit to it, you will succeed. Here are some tips so that you can be more strategic in your goals:

  • If your goal is to improve public speaking, the leadership track helps too. At every meeting, you should try to have a speech, and a leadership role. You can be evaluated for a speech and one leadership role in any one meeting. Take on a leadership role at each meeting and try to complete speeches with a regular frequency
  • It’s about quality (not paralysis by analysis), not quantity. Rehearse your speeches for timing and delivery!
  • For speeches, pick a topic that interests your audience, send an outline to your mentor, and rehearse for timing and delivery, which develops confidence!
  • Read the Evaluation Guide and evaluator’s criteria in your manuals carefully before you take on roles and especially for speeches. The evaluation guide is how you are being evaluated, so if you want a good evaluation, see what you are being evaluated on.
  • Reach out to a fellow member in advance to ask them to be a speech evaluator for you. This gives them time to read the evaluation guide and allows them to come prepared to the meeting along with you.
  • Use the leadership roles Project Matrix and develop a strategy that works for you. You can take on the timer role every week until you don’t need the credit anymore. You can also approach it by project and take on the roles that help you to finish one project at a time.
  • Help Organize a Club Speech Contest, Club Speech Contest Chairman, Help Organize a Club Special Event…. We have lots of events coming up, and we need horsepower to make them happen. Please contact your VP Ed for information on how you can gain more leadership skills.
  • Ensure that the Project Completion Record at the back of your CC and CL manual are up to date and signed off by the VP Ed as soon as you complete a project. Leaving it until you finish all ten projects can be a nightmare.
  • For effective meetings, the meeting agenda and duty roster must be prepared weeks in advance by the VP Ed. Set targets for yourself and help the club by signing up for roles and speeches in advance.

I titled this article with “Part 1” because we can learn so much from each other. I am sure that many of you have similar strategies, which helped you achieve your Toastmasters communication and leadership goals effectively. I challenge you to write the next article for this series!

Member News September - 2016

Brilliant Bob’s 90th Birthday Bash

Bob's 90th Birthday

On August 30th Hershaw Toastmasters hosted a perfectly charming celebration of long time Toastmaster, DTM and inspirational gentleman Bob Dye in honor of his birthday. No detail was left unchecked in preparation of this special event with guests and members donning handmade bowties and 1920’s fashion. Musical performances of Summertime, Moon River and Edelweiss were elegantly sang out by Mikael Gatje, Merle Miller, Alice Siefert and Isabel Hershaw with keyboard accompaniment of Rueben Calalang. Friends from Toastmaster of Cambridge and District 86 Director Vitaliy Fursov brought with them merriment to this special occasion with Bob brilliantly taking center stage. It was a delight for all in attendance to share their heartfelt memories, impressions, admiration and amazement of all things Bob. A Happy 90th Birthday to our dear friend, mentor and fellow Toastmaster Bob Dye!

Lyndsy Johnson

Member News July - 2016

Inside Outside of an Area Director by Anne Dockeray

As part of the Go Outside Your Club Contest I wanted to share with you as an Area Director some of things that I have found to be very positive and extremely helpful when trying to come from within yourself and out of the box. How do you sum up a year of a newly appointed Area Director? Well if you joined toastmasters to gain more knowledge in communication and in leadership, then you will fit in as an Area Director. Taking on this appointment was a challenge within myself. You see I have sights of the Distinguished Toastmaster!!! That alone helped to get out of my box to achieve my goals.

When I first agreed to take on this role I did not realize how much I would grow. There are plenty of highlights that I could share with you but the ones that stand out the most are Club Visits and Contests. Getting not only to meet new people but to feel their passion for the program was very uplifting. Also being able to share my passion for this program – you see that is so a leadership skill. You are doing it and you don’t realize the impact you have on others. This was so noticeable when trying to get other club members to come outside their box to our Area Club Contest. Just watching others excel, each member at different stages of their program. I think that most members join and think that the club level is all I need, but I feel you don’t get outside of your box to inside yourself unless you journey forward and try something new. This contest was a great stepping stone to see what others have done and to apply it to myself. Growing, growing is what stands out the most.

Thank you Toastmasters for an excellent learning year. Still more to come!!

In Praise in Going Beyond Your Club

I have always believed in going outside of my home club. Twenty-one years ago, when I joined Toastmasters, I visited two different clubs a few times before I made my decision on which to join.

I joined Ambitious City Toastmasters, a Hamilton club, on April 11th. On May 1st, I was in Kingston for a four month work contract. I was eager, I was motivated, I was bored in the evenings. I visited every club I could find. I made a discovery: every club is the same, and every club is different. At every club I found friendly, welcoming people. There was table topics, there were speeches, there were evaluations. Yet, there were differences as well. This club had the evaluators go to the lectern, that one had them evaluate from their seats. One club had a display table for guests, another had their names written on the front and back of the name tents. I had fun, and I learned a lot. I also went back to my home club in September with all these new ideas and implemented some of them. My club thought I was a genius.

I have never stopped visiting other clubs. This year I've been to five in my immediate geographical area and to several more anniversary parties as the District Historian. Always friendly people, good times and the chance to see a different way of doing things. There are also the contests, the conferences, and the officer training sessions. All fun, all a chance to see how large Toastmasters really is.

Now that a new Toastmasters year is upon us, it is a good time to set goals. I urge you, go beyond your club and see what is there. If you belong to an evening club, go visit a lunch time club, or vice versa. The experience is radically different, and yet comfortingly familiar. Go to a contest, attend officer training. Learn. Make new friends. Have fun. Happy New Year.

David T. Shaw DTM
Ambitious City #1586 and McMaster #6307
District 86 Historian

 

Member News June - 2016

Go Outside Your Home Clubs

As a member of 3 Toastmaster Clubs this term, I had an opportunity to participate in 16 events outside my clubs. I attended many of these events to support my TM friends and was given many opportunities that I would not normally get in a club environment. This included facilitating club officer training and being a (chief) judge at contests at all levels including at the District Conference. I was enriched with meeting new friends, experiencing different and better ways of performing roles and giving back.

My favourite event was performing a judge’s role at an Air Cadet’s Effective Speaking Competition in Richmond Hill. These youth have embraced Inspirational and Impromptu speaking at a high level with most members of the York Region Squadron competing.

In 2016-2017, Go Outside Your Club and gain amazing benefits.

AirCadet LC OPC

Business Meeting at the Spring Conference – Mississauga (April 23, 2016)

MargaretWaechterIn all the years that I’ve attended District conferences, the Spring Business meeting has been a “bust”. Why is that? I’m thinking there’s MORE business to be dealt with such as District, Division and Area elections at the Spring conference and less free time before the dinner program begins. Mind you, the agenda items were adhered to and time allotments, in most cases, were honored. Janice McDonald did a fine job in keeping the elections flowing and the audience entertained. Deferring to Bill Bienia for rules of order only made me appreciate her concern for doing things right. In a way, the elections, this time were exciting – multiple people running for the same office. Clearly there’s interest by the membership to step forward to help continue to make District 86 strong, vibrant and appealing to our communities. Patience, tolerance and acceptance can be tough to exhibit, especially when the 2 hr meeting time came and passed. When the business meeting was over, one could hear a sigh of relief before dashing out of the room to get ready for dinner. Yes, business meetings can be “painful”; however, the outcome is for the good of Toastmasters. Something to be mindful of for the next time.

Margaret Waechter
Waterloo, ON

 Club Officer Training – Round 1 – Div.W – Guelph (June 18, 2016)

This may sound crazy but I look forward to this type of training. Learning, sharing and fellowship are evident at any Toastmaster function whether it’s workshops, speech contests or officer trainings. The beauty of it is that ANYONE can attend Club Officer training – from the newly elected club officers to those club members who want to know more about the role & responsibilities of a specific position before running for the next club election. Being a Club Officer S T R E T C H E S your competent leadership skills and your comfort zone. This training is invaluable to your club through you.

Open House – Agfa Cheers Club – Waterloo (June 22, 2016)

This Open House event taught me something – the importance of showing support to your fellow Toastmaster clubs. You’re probably saying to yourself: “Yeah, yeah, yeah – well, I’m busy with my own club activities and don’t have the time to go to other clubs or even workshops/conferences!” To me, Toastmasters is about encouraging others to grow in speaking & leadership skills, confidence and vision. If your club is thriving – that’s great. If you know of a club that is taking steps to augment their low membership – that’s when Toastmasters show their support by attending Open Houses. Experienced members are on hand to demonstrate to others the benefits of their Toastmasters training while at the same time doing a bit of public relations with the guests.

Margaret Waechter
Waterloo, ON

Member News April - 2016

Club Succession Plan – Questionnaire to measure a Toastmasters learned skill by Conrad Rodrigues

The Chairman and CEO of a company called one of his employees into the office. "Ryan," he said, "you've been with the company for a year. You started off in the mail room, soon you were promoted to a sales position, and next you were promoted to district manager of the sales department. Within one year, you were promoted to vice-chairman."
"Now it's time for me to retire, and I want you to take over the company. What do you say to that?"
"Thanks," said Ryan and began to leave.
"Thanks?" the CEO replied. "Is that all you can say?"
"I suppose not," Ryan said. "Thanks, Dad."

Is this how you would see a successor to a leadership role?

Have you identified your successor? If you did, then what were the criteria for that appointment? Is that person qualified, competent, have the integrity, the confidence, does the person inspire and have the ability to motivate others.
This Succession Plan is offering to invest in the development of our members to become stronger and confident leaders so that they are ready to transition seamlessly into leadership roles.

Let’s examine the benefits of a succession plan to the club:

Succession planning will motivate you, the members to understand the potential paths available and the development you need to get you there. This leads to improved retention, morale, and commitment of the membership at large.

Since Succession Planning is built with the strategic plan in mind, it gives us the opportunity to identify ourselves and create specific training and developmental opportunities based on those specific needs before the time when those needs become urgent.

Succession planning is an opportunity to build on the diverse intellectual abilities and specialized skills in the club because it will identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities of each employee as well as individual developmental interests.

And finally, Succession Planning allows you to gain confidence in your own abilities based on your own development to become a great leader.

We will do a succession plan in four stages (i) identify the competencies (ii) assess yourself. This will be done using a clear measurement* (iii) you will create development plans (iv)Finally, you will measure, monitor and revise the development plans, if required.

We learn Toastmaster leadership skills during the Leadership stream as we perform roles within the Toastmasters club.
Ray Blunt who is a leadership and business scholar says: It takes leaders to grow other leaders.

For the clear measurement* aspect of the succession plan we have designed a questionnaire where we are trying to solicit responses from leaders as to how they knew that they learn a particular skill.

This survey will focus only on the measurement aspect* of a core competency and its associated skill.

If you are excited and would like to participate then you can by completing a survey/questionnaire. Send an email to conradrodrigues104@gmail.com requesting to participate.

In participating, I guarantee you will see yourself in a brighter and better light while contributing to a future that will shine on a future leader.

Member News April - 2016

Would Anyone Like To Be “Closed”?

A couple of months ago, I wrote a Linked-In article about asking questions. I wrote it in response to another article that claimed "closing skills" were most important to sales success. I feel that very few people want to be "closed" but lots of people want to be able to do what they do . . . . better.

I am writing a book titled "Asking" which includes the idea that if we can find out what people do to succeed, how they do that, why that works for them, who they succeed with and when and where, we can figure out how the product or service we offer will help them to do whatever it is they do . . . better. If we can do that, we won't have to "close" them . . . they will buy.

When I posted my article, I was surprised that the majority of the positive responses I got were from fellow Toastmasters who felt it applied to our program.

The question I love to ask potential Toastmasters is, "What would you like to get out of Toastmasters in the coming year?"

Now I am starting to think much more in depth. I want to ask:

What do you do (day to day)?

How do you do that?

Why does that work for you?

Who do you typically deal with?

When and Where do you work with these people?

People love to talk about themselves and if we truly give them a chance to talk and if we are willing to listen carefully, we will learn that there are numerous reasons for them to join Toastmasters. Then all there is to do is help them to understand how the Toastmaster program helps them achieve the things that are important to them. If we can do that, we won't have to persuade them to join, we will have to beat them off with a stick. Ask questions of your friends and acquaintances. It is the most powerful tool you have in your toolbox to get them to understand what the Toastmasters program has to offer them. No one wants to be "closed" but many people want to know how they can get better results. Get your friends and acquaintances better results today!

Submitted by
Bud Brown DTM

Member News March - 2016

Joining Forces in Niagara to Promote Toastmasters

As I watched the snow blowing around at 6 pm my heart sank. Would anyone show? Thankfully by 7 pm, 37 people (17 guests and 20 Toastmasters) had braved the weather to find out from Neil Dunsmore how to “Unleash the Humour Inside You” at the 1st Annual Niagara Area Toastmasters Clubs Open House on February 29, 2016.

With ten clubs in the Niagara Area this event was encouraged by District 86 to promote the Toastmasters program in our wider community and to connect clubs with some potential new members for all of us.

Testimonials from various members were used to wrap up the evening. Your Toastmasters journey is personal to you, but elements of your story can inspire and connect with others thinking about their own next step. I challenge every Toastmaster to develop a 1-2 minute answer to “why I joined Toastmasters and why I stay” to use the next time a guest visits.

The question on the bottom of the guest sign-in slip said it all. “Seeing the article in the community paper” brought in all but one guest. You should still put effort into other avenues, but do everything you can to get your event into the community paper. I will suggest you give two ways for guests to contact someone for an RSVP. The paper transcribed my email address wrong, but thankfully my cell number was listed correctly.

Did you notice I said 1st Annual? There is already talk about next year. As eight of the ten clubs had at least one member in the room, the excitement generated and success of the event will be brought back to each club which will lead to stronger partnerships and participation for the 2nd Annual Niagara Area Open House in 2017!

Kristin O’Connor, ACB, ALB

VP Public Relations (2015-16)
Grimsby Toastmasters, Club 1415201 and Lakeshore In Depth Toastmasters, Club 9912
Division L

Standing Out at Accra Toastmasters in West Africa

by Dave Wheeler, from Honeymoon City Toastmasters in Niagara Falls

West Africa is a developing region of a developing continent and a part of that development, it seems, is a developing interest in Toastmasters. In Ghana, where I am visiting relatives, I found to my delight that Accra Toastmasters met every second Wednesday just a short ten minute walk from my relatives’ digs. I was welcomed there and enjoyed the meeting. I was the only one at the meeting who was not from West Africa so I thought it ironic that the theme for the meeting was 'Standing Out’.

DaveWheeler

Member News August - 2015

Participant's Adventure by Patricia James

By visiting various clubs and events, I realized that  I was able to help out by taking on roles or filling in when needed. I even had the opportunity to practise my humorous contest speech! My personal and professional skills were strengthened, and I learned new skills that I can use in any new Adventure that I take on. Practising Table Topics at another club gave me the confidence to compete in the Table Topics contest. This lead to the most rewarding experience from this Adventure and that was making it all the way to the Division level in the Table Topics contest. I learned that no matter what, I was still a winner for trying.


Leadership Adventure by Patricia James

Patricia-James smlMy leadership Adventure consisted of me stepping up and stepping out of my comfort zone and by trying new things. I took on speaking roles at 3 different clubs to build my confidence and becoming a workshop presenter for the Spring District 86 Conference 2015. It was a great experience and lots of fun. I grew as a leader and personally as an individual.

Toastmasters International Values:  Respect • Integrity • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:  Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team 

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