Guest Division H
Steve Campion DTM (East Herts Speakers), Division H Director
Having the privilege of being the featured Division for this edition of the District newsletter means that we get to share some of the adventures of our members. In this edition, we learn what happened when a very new member went to our Division conference, hear about how two of our clubs celebrated educational awards, learn about the benefits of advanced clubs, and enjoy tales of spooks, stories, and supper. This edition is focused on what happens when Toastmasters get out into the community, so look out for the articles by Elizabeth Jordan, Vicky Lester and Daniel Sandars about youth leadership and helping people in their careers [See links at bottom].
What can I tell you about Division H? Well, we’re:
Home to the District Cruciverbalist. Why not take the challenge of entering the monthly crossword competition? These wonderfully well researched questions are set by a member of Hertfordshire Speakers and they aren’t fiendish at all. Honest.
Hospitable and social. Many of our members are members of multiple clubs, which helps to spread experience and excellence. It also makes life horrendously complicated when it comes to finding eligible judges at speech contests!
Homologous with The Bahamas: OK, so the beautiful countryside of Area 20 doesn’t obviously compare with the beaches around Nassau, but it does something in common with District 61 area 92. In the past Toastmasters year, they were the only two areas in the world to have all six clubs reach Presidents’ Distinguished status
Hungry for growth: We recently welcomed Luton Communicators as our latest club to charter, and look forward to Stevenage Speakers and Milton Keynes Confident Speakers chartering soon
Honoured to be home to the first person in the District to complete and collect an entire Pathways Path. Congratulations to Elizabeth Jordan on her success with the Leadership Development Path. Elizabeth is also the first person to complete the Pathways mentoring programme.
Hilarious. We’ve just held our Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests. I’m still giggling when I remember it
Hitting new highs with Pathways: Did you know that out of the 111 Pathways awards in the District, 30 of them have been earned by members of Division H?
Hot! But that’s obvious….
Adventures of a newbie
Andrea Lee, Stevenage Speakers prospective club
When Stevenage Speakers Club launched in the summer of this year, I signed up hoping it would allow me to practise new skills and help me to feel more connected with the outside world. I certainly struck gold when my mentor, Steve Campion (Divisional Director), agreed to be my Pathways Mentor. He encouraged me to broaden my horizons by attending events outside of my own club and recommended that I attended the Divisional Conference.
As a ‘newbie’ this could have been a lonely experience but, in practice, was far from it. At Stevenage Speakers we often have visiting Toastmasters supporting the club and I recently visited North Herts Speakers too. This meant that although there were already familiar and friendly faces, and one even jumped in my car to help me find where to park!
With “The Future of Communication” as the theme of the day, the Divisional Conference was certainly the place to be to help me feel connected and happening. Not only was it inspiring and entertaining to meet and listen to so many competent speakers, I was able to make new friends and pick up tips over lunch about how to commit my speeches to memory – my current biggest struggle.
The highlight for me was a Table Topics session, live on the big screen, with participants from as far away as the Caribbean and South Sudan. Presentations about how to ensure websites make the first page of Google were current and useful for all attending. With so much modern technology, and the world changing at the pace of knots it was also interesting to hear from individual Toastmasters about what they felt technology added or took away from the whole mix of communication methods.
Overall, it was a fantastic day, which left me buzzing for some time after. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the many Toastmasters who worked so hard to make this event such an enormous success.
Advantages of Advanced clubs
Nigel Oseland (Cornerstone Communicators)
After a few years in Toastmasters International, you may look at further ways of advancing your speaking skills. Challenging yourself to contests and attending conferences all help, but have you considered joining an advanced club?
Having been a member of Cornerstone Communicators Advanced Toastmasters Club in Division H for over a year, I have concluded there are three good reasons to join such clubs.
Firstly – I was first attracted to visiting Cornerstone Communicators due to their program of useful workshops. Some workshops are facilitated by club members and fellow Toastmasters, but external experts are brought in occasionally (and workshops are often free to members). For example, I have attended valuable workshops on quite specific but relevant topics such as: rhetorical devices, “winning evaluations”, humorous speeches, stand-up comedy, presenting on the radio, being interviewed by journalists and so on. The workshops not only provide knowledge but stimulate and motivate further thoughts.
Secondly – Cornerstone Communicators (and other advanced clubs) just do things differently. For example, rather than a standard evaluation the club usually offers an open evaluation – where each member of the audience is invited to provide a commendation and recommendation. Table Topics are very different, and more akin to the impromptu speaking seen on TV. Quite often two or more members will perform together – perhaps one narrating and the other miming, or there may be an absurd dialogue or interview situation in which the two members verbally spar. These Table Topics are indeed challenging but also so much fun than the norm.
Thirdly – As might be expected the members of advanced clubs are experienced speakers, many are professional presenters and workshop facilitators. As with most Toastmasters, they are willing to provide expert advice, valuable within and outside of Toastmasters. They are also well connected and know of conference organisers looking for speakers etc. Unlike one-off courses, advanced clubs give you on-going access to these experts.
There are several advanced clubs throughout the District and beyond. You’re welcome to visit Cornerstone (in Markyate) or at one of our monthly online meetings. Go on, treat yourself and join one of the advanced clubs!
Eldergate Toastmasters has a record breaking year
Esha Sokhi, CC ALB (Eldergate Toastmasters Club)
Eldergate Toastmasters, Milton Keynes celebrated a Goals Awards evening to recognise a record breaking of 24 awards being achieved by their members between July 1st, 2017 and June 30th, 2018. Collectively members earned 7 CC’s, 8 CL’s, 7 ALB’s, 1 ACB and 1 ACS. Eldergate Toastmasters club would like to share some of the lessons learnt along the way to help other clubs in District 71.
Firstly, engage with all your members, understand what brings them to Toastmasters and help them achieve their goals. Secondly, make sure members stay on track by continuously reviewing their progress with the Vice President of Education (VPE). This is easier said than done. Each member was motivated by being asked to set an annual goal. By sharing their intended goals with the VPE, it provides the Toastmaster with self confidence that the goal is obtainable. Individually members were asked a simple but important question, “What are your goals for this year and more importantly how can we help you achieve them?” By reviewing goals regularly with your VPE and seeing progress, soon that self-confidence turns into inspiration of oneself, an unstoppable force.
The third and final lesson is one of having fun and building camaraderie within the club, so members felt supported and develop and realise their potential both in and outside of club meetings.
24 goals are an enormous number so with fizz in hand, certificates, and medals presentations, we completed our jubilant celebrations this summer.
Who needs an Oscar when you can have an EARNIE?
Rose Marie Calder, DTM (Luton Speakers Club)
You have heard about the BAFTAS and the OSCARS, but have you heard about the ERNIES?
If the term the ‘ERNIES’ does not sound familiar to you, then a visit to Luton Speakers Club is in order. In what has become an annual fixture, Luton Speakers Club holds an awards-evening each year to celebrate the success of its members.
The name itself is a tribute to the club’s first three Presidents: Elaine Hide, Rose Marie Calder and Nike Ogundana. The final three letters describe the attributes of our club’s members: Incredible Eloquent Speakers.
Since the concept of the ERNIES awards was introduced we have had a surge in members taking on roles to qualify for the next year’s ERNIES awards. Receiving an ERNIES is an achievement to celebrate in our club
Halloween Spooks & Soup
Davina Malcolm, Hertfordshire Speakers
Six years ago, when I joined Hertfordshire Speakers Toastmasters Club, I never thought I’d be inviting spooks to supper! I did, and it was a tremendous success. In the words of Toastmaster, Elizabeth Jordan, DTM, from Hertfordshire Speakers: “Davina is a consummate storyteller. Her stories together with Bob’s songs made the Halloween event an evening to remember. I hope it will become an annual event.”
Although a college lecturer, I was afraid of public speaking outside my own classroom. Since retiring, I have become a story-teller at local and national events. I am particularly keen on events that promote environmental awareness.
The easiest way to get an audience is to invite them. I planned a Halloween story, song, and supper in our village hall for 24 paying guests. Although finding and presenting the right mix of ghost stories was crucial to the success of the evening, there was so much more involved.
All the range of skills I’d practised at Toastmasters paid off as, for the event, I had to be President, Toastmaster, Sargent-at-arms, and speaker.
Agreeing the date and venue was the easy bit. Delegating the songs to my husband Bob was a given. Luckily a cook was also available, and happy to fit food courses into our playlist schedule. (“Playlist”: there’s a novel word in my repertoire.) Next, I advertised using posters and, for the first time, the village Facebook page. Design, put up, check, then actively sell tickets to ensure we had a full house.
I had delegated decorating the room to a friend with an eye for design and detail but, in helping her, I learnt that it took longer than I thought. It meant I had no time left on the day for rehearsing or panicking. Instead, dressed up and ready to go, I was there to meet and greet. In my introduction, I remembered to include Health & Safety, phones off instructions plus a review of the format of the evening. Telling spooky stories that had been running around in my head for 3 weeks was a relief. I could let the demons go.
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