Sunday, February 6, 2011

Successful Club Series - Going beyond our Club

Successful Club Series - Going beyond our Club
ACS Final Project (#12)
2nd February 2011


Introduction

As toastmasters, we know from experience that the more we practice our speaking skills, the more likely we are to improve those speaking skills.

A concert pianist doesn’t play the piano for just 15 minutes a week. In order to remain at the top of his profession, he practices at the keyboard for a set amount of time each day. Professional athletes know that daily workouts are a necessity. Even those of us involved in an exercise program realize that jogging or playing tennis just once a week doesn’t achieve our fitness goals. We need to exercise at least 3 or 4 times a week. Similarly, practicing and using Toastmasters skills outside our club are an important part of Toastmasters Fitness.

Ladies  & Gentlemen, how can you achieve “Toastmasters Fitness”? My speech today is going to help you understand how you can achieve excellence in communication & leadership by Going beyond our Club.

Before we get into the speech, let us see how many of us have achieved Toastmasters Fitness…
  • How many of you have participated in a contest (either as a contestant or a judge or other role player)? Raise your hands …  Keep your hands raised
  • How many of you have been Area or a Division or a District level officer?
  • How many of you have organized or participated in conferences, seminars and other educational events conducted by Toastmasters?
Now look around the room to see how many folks have benefited by “Going beyond Our Club”.


Contests

Speech Contests provide you a variety of opportunities to master your Toastmaster skills.
  • Table Topics
  • Evaluations
  • Tall Tales
  • Humorous Speech Contests &
  • International Speech Contests
The various roles that can be planed in a contest are:
  • Contestant – The most obvious participants at any contest, of course are the contestants. Contests are held at area, division, district, regional and International level. Regional winners of the International Speech contest get to compete at the International Competition at the annual Toastmasters convention in August where they compete to be the next “World Champion of Public Speaking”
  • Emcee – An Emcee (i.e., the Master of Ceremony) introduces the speakers and keeps events on track.
  • Judge – Toastmasters contests require fair and impartial judges. You can be the chief judge of a contest where your job is to appoint contest judges, then train them on the procedures and oversee the judging and ballot counting.
  • Counters – Person who counts and tally the ballots.
  • Timers – Person who keeps track of the timing in a contest
  •  Audience members – Hey! We need an appreciative audience. If all the other contest roles have been filled, take the opportunity to participate in this capacity.
Contests are not just competitions. Contests are not aimed at differentiating the Bronze from Silver and Silver from Gold. Contests are meant for transforming a gold ore to be a golden ornament that decorates a women’s neck as necklace.

Beyond serving as a Club Officer

Beyond serving as a club officer or participating on a committee, leadership opportunities occur at

  • Area Level – Once you’ve served as an officer within our club, becoming the Area governor may be the next step. Or simply, you can assist the area governor by volunteering to serve on committees.
  • Division Level – Division officers are the link between areas and districts, providing assistance in club building and support to areas. They are a valuable resource to area governors.
  • District Level – Districts usually contain 50 or more clubs, all of which need attention and guidance. District officers help in building new clubs and help existing clubs increase their membership. District leaders work with people at club, area, division and international levels. They also work with corporate and community leaders outside of Toastmasters. You can serve the district as a district governor, lieutenant governor education and training, lieutenant governor marketing, public relations officer, secretary, treasurer, or as a committee chairman or member. It provides terrific opportunities to develop planning and goal-setting techniques as well as motivational and coaching skills.
  • Board of Directors – You can even be the Board of Director of Toastmasters International. The folks who are part of the Board were once a Toastmaster like you working through their manuals and gradually taking on different leadership tasks.
  • Conferences – District conferences is an excellent way to demonstrate your leadership skills. You can be a committee member involved with registration, hospitality, magazine, or part of the organizing committee.
o   Seminars
o   Speech Contests
o   Toastmasters from different background, experience, and even countries.

Conclusion

I remember watching an interesting advertisement on the TV.  There was an ape and a donkey living under a tree. The donkey was contended with staying under the tree. However, the ape, after swallowing “mentos” goes outside, watches other animals in the forest and learns from them. It starts hunting and learns to wear a dress. It invents fire and starts cooking its own food. In the process, the ape transforms to be a man. The man invents a wheel, designs a cart and puts the donkey to carry his load. Had the ape stayed under the tree, it would’ve remained an ape. The ape transformed to be a human, only because of “Going beyond the Tree”. Similarly, as toastmasters, we can transform to be an excellent communicator and leader, only when we start “Going beyond our Club”.

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