Welcome to Division E
Andy Nichols, Division E Director
A wise man once told me “knowledge is like an inverse pyramid – the more you learn the more you realise how much you don’t know”.
To me Toastmasters can be a bit like that.
Every time I attend a meeting I learn something new – from the content of a prepared speech or in the way an evaluation is delivered; and from the way someone runs the meeting to how guests control their nerves with their first table topic.
That’s part of the reason I put myself forward to be Division Director this year (OK, that and I’d like to achieve DTM…).
You might be familiar with Division E in its previous guise – stretching the width of England, from Leamington Spa in Warwickshire to Morpeth in Northumberland. That changed at the start of this Toastmasters year as we said farewell to our friends “Up North” and the old Division E split into Division E and Division N.
As a former member of what’s now Division N (my previous club was White Rose Speakers in Leeds), I’ve learnt so much from the Toastmasters I’ve met in the Midlands but have realised that there is so much more I can learn from their experience and areas of expertise.
At the time of writing we have the fewest chartered clubs (10, although Walsall have just submitted their paperwork!) of any of the Divisions in District 71. We’re planning to change all of that though, and Tanya can give you an insight into how we are a growing Division.
Growth isn’t just about creating more clubs; it’s about how we each develop in our time at Toastmasters, so it’s a pleasure to be able to share Ivan’s Journey so far.
That personal growth is helped by the support and Fellowship of members of our clubs, as Jill testifies.
It’s so important that we support our fellow members, and Mish wraps up Division E’s section of this newsletter by asking our members to Be a linchpin!
A growing Division
Tanya Barad, Assistant Division E Director
Club Growth is a fascinating area of Toastmasters. The excitement of starting a new club, seeing a small concept grow into a living thing, new people developing…and then the pride you get when that club charters is something special and rare. However, there is a massive misconception that you can only start a new club if you are an experienced toastmaster. Yes, you need people with experience on your team, but even if you have done just 1 speech you can be a real asset to a new pre-charter club and you will develop extremely quickly!
Another big mistake people make is in only asking a handful of experienced people about where new clubs should be. New clubs help all Toastmasters and the ideas for new clubs often come from the most unexpected places and members.
In Division E I decided to branch out and go to the members. We created a survey and sent it out to ALL members across Division E and we got fantastic results, with requests for 8 new clubs to be started. And most importantly, we found groups of people who said they would be happy to get involved in starting a new club!
For Division E, these potential new clubs are: Redditch/Bromsgrove, Stoke, Warwick, Warwick JLR, Chesterfield, SSP Solihull, Leicester and Nottingham. Now that we know where to focus, we are bringing people together to form small committees, find venues etc. with the aim to start these clubs off, because the members have said they want it. We are proud to be able to showcase the demo meeting for the first of these clubs!
Whilst the club name is still being decided, the rest of the challenging work has been done by Deb and Tony Hawken. After finding an amazing venue at the Red Lion (Red Lion Street, Alvechurch, B48 7LG) the demo meeting for this club will be on the 27th September 7:30pm. Future meetings will be held on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. Come join them for their first meeting or tell everyone you know in the Redditch/Bromsgrove area about their new club!
Journey so far
Ivan Kocan, Leicester Leaders, Area 6
Ten months ago, I joined Leicester Leaders Toastmasters club with one goal: overcome my lifetime fear of public speaking and make an unforgettable speech at my brother’s wedding. After wasting time and money with some overpriced 4-day public speaking courses, I was referred to Toastmasters. It took me 5 minutes to Google my nearest club and send a message to the President. I was warmly welcomed and invited to my first meeting.
It was November 2017 when I visited my first meeting and I realised that Toastmasters had everything I needed for success plus a great community. Since then I’ve delivered many speeches, participated in almost every role within the club and have gained many friends. Recently, I was elected onto the committee as Sergeant at arms.
Now, ten months later, wedding bells rang and my first speech outside of Toastmasters happened. I stood up in front of my family and another 140 people to deliver a speech that had caused me many sleepless nights! But when push came to shove, all the experience I gained with Toastmasters gave me the confidence and skills to deliver a speech that will be difficult to forget. What made it extra special for me was that I delivered the wedding speech in my native language: Slovak.
Even though I achieved my goal I’m not looking to leave Toastmasters any time soon. There is always plenty of room for improvement and I know that Toastmasters is the right place to be to hone my skills to perfection.
Jill Ming, Area 39 Director
Two months into the Area Director role and I’ve already learnt a huge amount. I joined Toastmasters almost six years ago because I thought it would help me communicate more effectively with my clients and feel more confident when speaking to groups. I could say ‘mission accomplished’ but of course it doesn’t stop there. Taking on committee roles, competing in speech and evaluation contests, participating and now leading club officer training, attending conferences and the Vancouver 2017 International Convention have all contributed to what I can only describe as the best value education in building communication skills that money can buy.
The one aspect of Toastmasters that really stands out for me is the fellowship. I remember attending my first club meeting feeling rather apprehensive and being greeted with a warm smile and made to feel very welcome. I’ve never forgotten what that felt like and I am constantly impressed with the kindness, support, and help on show at meetings and events. I have started visiting the clubs in my Area, each with its own distinct identity, and love listening to guests doing their first table topic then signing up to join and seeing the enthusiasm and energy that go into running successful meetings.
Some clubs meet in pubs and clubs where it is easy to socialise and build on that fellowship, for others travelling
distance means a rapid departure when the meeting ends. My home club, Shropshire Speakers in Telford, organises regular social evenings at a local restaurant to give members a chance to chat and get to know each other better. Now the contest season is upon us and the Area and Division events will be another fantastic opportunity to meet Toastmasters from other clubs, listen and learn, and celebrate the winners. Bring it on.
Shropshire Speakers’ 5th anniversary celebrations
Be a linchpin!
Mish Barad, Area 42 Director
“What is a linchpin?” you may ask. It is a pin that goes through the axle of a cart etc. to stop the wheel from falling off. Without it the cart would not be a cart.
In modern times it is used to refer to the person or persons without whom a group wouldn’t function or would fall apart – a small, but integral part that holds everything together.
Toastmasters actively encourages members to become linchpins and they are all around us, sometimes in sight and sometimes not.
Have you ever looked at a club and thought?
“Without that person/people the club would not have…
- Earned DCP points
- Remained so successful”
They have the best interests of Toastmasters, the Club and, most importantly, the Member at heart. Their aim is to do what is necessary to achieve the goal.
They meet problems head to head and do their best to overcome them often delegating to other members.
So, can you be a linchpin? Of course, not everyone has the time, energy or resources and it would be a very busy world if we all did. What you CAN do is try to recognise these people around you both in Toastmasters and the outside world. You may be able to help or support them in some way or it may just be that you recognise them and the job they are doing.
Never underestimate that little pin that keeps everything togetherSocial tagging: #WeAreToastmasters > #WhereLeadersAreMade > Division E > Fellowship > Lynch Pin > Prospect Clubs > Success > West Midlands