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