Tips from “Meeting between the Bar and the Bathroom”

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Presented by Joel Dawson, DTM Region 6 Advisor (North)

District 86 was honoured to a have Joel Dawson, Toastmasters International Region 6 Advisor as guest speaker on September 17, 2022.

His hilarious but though-provoking speech, Meeting from the Bar to the Washroom was a wake-up call for all Toastmasters and guests in attendance.

He began his session by telling stories about his early meetings with the Evangeline Toastmasters Club 5926 in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Club members met in the back corner of a restaurant, with their table strategically placed between the bar and the bathroom doors. Cheers often interrupted speeches – thanks to Thursday night NFL football games on nearby televisions, Joel said.

Then there was when an intoxicated patron crashed a Table Topics session – and walked away with the ribbon. Or the time their club bouncer “Larry” faced off with a boxing champion – and Joel rushed around the table to prevent a knockout.  Or the time one of the club members invited a guest to join the meeting – and that first date blossomed into romance and marriage.

Everybody in the club was having too much fun to worry about exactly how to run a Toastmasters meeting, Joel said. And everyone thrived – whether they stayed or were just passing through, he narrated.

He then offered the district some tips:

  • “All of the fun in Toastmasters is at the club level. I think that’s what keeps us going. And it is an opportunity to learn on our way.”
  • Talk up success stories, not Toastmasters, Joel said. Focus on what people want and how Toastmasters can help them meet their personal goals.
  • “I would rather you complete your why and not complete the program instead of getting your DTM and feeling miserable.”
  • Regularly schedule joint meetings with other clubs, to share the fun. And to regularly share the Toastmasters Member Interest Survey to connect with members’ needs and desires, he said.
  • He said keep asking members to consider key questions: “Why am I here now? What am I investing in?”
  • Don’t take offence if someone quits your Toastmasters club. Instead, redouble your efforts to build a space where everyone has fun and meets their personal goals.
  • “Don’t take it personally if they leave. It’s not your responsibility. You are providing a supportive environment so they can achieve their greatness,” Joel said.

His final advice was “Don’t have that critical conversation at a club meeting or event. Instead, plan it over a coffee some other time,” Joel said. “If you ask a Toastmasters question in a Toastmasters setting, you will get a Toastmasters answer.”

About Joel Dawson

Joel joined Toastmasters in 2013. He is a past district director, program quality director and club growth director. He’s also a second-place semi-finalist in the world championship of public speaking , and recipient of the Excellence in Program Quality and Excellence in Club Growth awards.

Joel is a professional Pitch Coach and Trainer, helping entrepreneurs prepare for “Shark Tank” style presentations. 

He also consults with companies preparing for investor meetings.

The former United States Marine also shared how he grew personally in Toastmasters, from once living without a home to recognizing and facing the anger he was carrying.

“I am on a constant journey to improve. I want to continue to improve myself.”

As a Regional Advisor, Joel says his job is not to tell people what to do. It’s about bringing the leadership team together to create and execute a strategic plan that fulfills the district’s mission.

Article created by Kevin Swayze, District 86 Press Release Coordinator.