Archives for Leadership

Opening Doors – enabling, empowering and delegating in your team

by Sam Warner DTM, Shropshire Speakers Toastmasters International club

With great power comes great responsibility. If you’ve ever experienced an over-zealous new team leader or manager, you might have this phrase ringing in your ears. It’s common practise for companies to promote members of staff into leadership roles and then develop them once there, instead of giving them the tools to do the job and then promoting them into the role once equipped.

The thing about a Toastmasters International public speaking club is that it provides an excellent opportunity for anyone seeking this toolset and mindset to try it out in a safe place, supported and encouraged instead of looking over their shoulder in fear of making a “career limiting” mistake or worse ruining someone else’s career through poor line management. It’s not just about making toasts or speeches, it’s so much more.

I’m going to share my story with you as I hope to inspire you to consider that there is another way….

Having worked in the corporate world for over 20 years I have experienced and witnessed many shocking and unprofessional incidents borne out of a lack of experience and understanding. The crucial factor to becoming a new leader of any kind is self-awareness; to understand your impact on others and to learn to listen first. Most people are never taught how to be a follower never mind a leader! At school we were told to sit down, shut up and do as we were told! It just felt like all the doors were firmly shut.

My own capability before I discovered Toastmasters was limited – I see that now – but I was unconsciously incompetent then. I would copy other team leaders hoping they were good role models to emulate but that only served to perpetuate bad practise, inconsistency and stressful conversations with disgruntled staff. Nothing seemed to change for the better, and there seemed to be limited formal training, you were supposed to just figure it out. The coping mechanisms and expected behaviours were never explained and I was struggling to be effective and influential.

After joining Toastmasters, I was given the opportunity to start learning the skills of leadership by undertaking the role of Mentor. It’s such a simple role, between two people meeting up monthly and one helping the other to achieve specific goals using the benefit of their knowledge and experience. But it taught me how to be a good listener. It taught me to remove myself from the equation – it’s not about me – it’s all about them. It also honed my problem-solving skills as I helped them navigate the challenges they faced.

Soon after that I wanted more. I became a deputy for one of the Club Committee roles, so I could learn the ropes before taking on the role officially. A few months later I was invited to apply for the full role and was voted in. I was now accountable for 23 people’s happiness! Then I was hooked; receiving excellent and useable feedback and evaluation with examples of what worked well, and what could be improved upon; so, I could assess how I was getting on in the role. This meant I could make small adjustments to become the best I could be. I thrived, and the club thrived.

When was the last time you gave or received great usable feedback with specific examples?

In the Toastmasters training programme, I noticed there were many opportunities there for me to lead on projects outside our club meetings. At the time I was planning on applying for the position of Project Manager at work (a promotion) so it seemed ideal. I was excited to get stuck in and thought that doing something that gave back to my Community would be the most rewarding non-work-related project.

I started my first Youth Leadership Program with a set of 15 students in an Academy near where I lived. I led a small team of Toastmasters to deliver the material and that meant delegating whole sections to them and watching without correcting them or interfering! Over ten weeks we guided the students towards the delivery of a showcase event where they all delivered speeches of more than four minutes each on a variety of subjects chosen by the students themselves. It was very well received by their parents and the school principal and I was asked back to duplicate our results with a new cohort. 5 years later I am about to deliver my seventh program….

Whilst all this was going on I was also delivering full training days using the Better Speaker Series and Leadership Excellence Series manuals to members and non-members alike, and I used my High-Performance Leadership Project to help me build and coordinate the team I used to deliver the training days. It walked me through from Vision, Mission etc right through to lessons learned after delivery, using delegation so that I didn’t do all the work myself.

Simultaneously I did get the promotion at work and I found the skills I picked up in Toastmasters were essential to my new role of communicating clearly at all levels with many different teams, colleagues, suppliers, stakeholders and customers. It taught me how to give effective feedback and how to delegate. I learned how to listen and lead.

Do you know any leaders who are good at listening?

The next opportunities gave me the remaining tools I needed to enable and empower.

I had really thrown myself into this personal development side of life and was enjoying it immensely. It was not long before I was asked to apply for the role of Area Director which gave me oversight of 5 clubs (and approximately 120 members). This brought in the new dynamic of trusting people I barely knew to undertake tasks towards a joint goal. Whilst this was tricky at first I soon found my stride and saw the similarities between this and working with remote teams in my job. I found I was able to help new people grow into leadership roles by using those mentoring skills I had learned all those years ago. I didn’t have to tell them how to do something I could just tell them the outcome I desired. My job was to guide them, check in with them and ensure they felt supported and encouraged. I made myself available and approachable – some needed more help than others, but I soon learned to tap into their working styles quickly.

I also learned the power of persuasion. It’s amazing how influential you can become when you say quietly to someone “I can see you doing X. I think you’d be really great at that, why don’t you give it a try?”

The pinnacle of my leadership training to date with Toastmasters was being asked to serve on the District Leadership Team as Administration Manager. Our small team of seven people led the 5000+ members in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and England (North of London) through their own leadership and public speaking training journeys to help more and more people walk through open doors. The role came with travel, networking, operating at a senior level and ensuring all milestones were reached on time and within budget.

Hmmm doesn’t that sound familiar – that was what I was doing as a Project Manager!

The skills I learned have also enabled me to spread my wings further. I have started my own business as a communications specialist helping Autistic adults at work/ in to work and I deliver keynotes on the Transition from Follower to Leader and on Autism in the workplace.

I put on the very first TEDxTelford in 2018 with 15 live speakers and 100 people in the audience and am organising a second one. I was able to lead the organising team, coach the speakers, MC the event and get everything done in good time and inside budget and we sold out a week prior to the event.

Last year I achieved the highest award for all my work in Toastmasters International and can now call myself a Distinguished Toastmaster. Without doubt Toastmasters has been instrumental in my personal development and has opened many doors for me in terms of work and relationships. I believe that in becoming self-aware I have become a nicer person to be around and I have a very full and happy life.

Oh, and did I forget to mention – I am Autistic…. J

Feb ’19 Special educational section: Pathways one year on

Special educational section: Pathways

March the 20th will see the first anniversary of the District 71 roll out of the revitalized educational program that is known as Pathways. This section starts by reviewing how we have got on and then moves towards looking to see what new things are happening and tips for moving forward:

Reviews

  1. How have we got on?
  2. Pathways level 1 and onward
  3. Pathways Benefits – a user summary

New things

  1. The New Engaging Humor Path
  2. Easyspeak Pathways Progress Chart
  3. Pathways Pin Badges Now in Store
  4. Pathways Schematic Chart

Tips going forward

  1. Revised HACKING PATHWAYS for New Members A guide to Basecamp

How have we got on?

By Daniel Sandars DTM, District 71 Public Relations Manager

In November Toastmasters International published Pathways enrolment statistics for all Districts. Worldwide 55% (39-69%) had enrolled in Pathways within which 69% (46-81%) of officers had and 50% (35-68%) of new members (joined after 1st July 2018) had. Within District 71 the figures were Members 44%, Officers 59% and new members 48%. Just published data (Feb 22) has 49% of members, 63% of Officers, and 57% of new members enrolled in Pathways in the District.

You may think that all new members after the roll-out are enrolled on Pathways, but that is not instantly true as it takes time for new members to understand and operate Basecamp (virtual learning environment), choose their paths, and enrol. In clubs that support their new members with electronic and printed level one materials that enrolment step may only occur at the end of their level 1.

Curiously, around one year before our rollout the three pilot District’s D27, D51, and D57, who were a testbed for Pathways development, fully rolled out and they have only reached 61% of Members, 74% of Officers, and 51% of New members enrolled. Clearly there are diminishing returns to the extent of enrolment over time whilst the legacy program runs until 30th June 2020.

One of the stronger patterns in the rollout data is that the more members a club has enrolled on Pathways the more likely new members were to have enrolled. Peer to peer support within the club seems to help new member orientation to Pathways. A key question clubs could thus pro-actively ask is how are we supporting new members and each other with Pathways?

The educational awards registered by our clubs since the first of July, which is the beginning of the current Toastmaster year, provide additional insight. To date we have 595 awards of which around a third are from the Pathways program. The relative rate at which Pathways Awards are being registered is accelerating from around one in ten awards last July to nearing half of awards registered in February

Excitingly, we now have three people who have been awarded all five levels of their paths, thus completing them and moving onto their second paths. Close behind that we have five who have been awarded four levels, six who have been awarded three levels, 25 who have been awarded two levels, and a whopping 134 who have been awarded the first level and are catching up. Well done all.

What paths are members taking?

District 71 Pathways Awards 1st July ’81-22 Feb ’19

Key PM Presentation mastery, IP Innovative Planning, EC Effective Coaching, DL Dynamic Leadership, VC Visionary Communication, PI persuasive Influence, LD Leadership Development, MS Motivational Strategies, SR Strategic relationships, TC Team Collaboration, and PWMENTORINGPGM Pathways Mentoring Program (which is not a Path, but one of the overarching leadership projects)

Presentation Mastery is clearly a favourite generating over a quarter of the awards. The top three paths alone generated over half of the awards to date. Innovative Planning, Effective Coaching, and Dynamic Leadership are leadership focussed and their popularity is at striking odds to the popular [mis] perception “that nobody joins Toastmasters for leadership, they join for speaking”

Which clubs have registered the most Pathways Awards?

Table 1 Clubs that have registered three or more Pathways Awards

Club Pathways,
Awards, No.
Div H14 Huntingdonshire Speakers

9

Div E42 Heart of England Club

8

Div A23 Republic of Work Toastmasters Club

7

Div N51 A1 Speakers

5

Div S43 Aberdeen Toastmasters Club

5

Div N31 Warrington Toastmasters

4

Div H44 Bedford Speakers

4

Div D8 Clonmel Toastmasters

4

Div A3 Blarney Club

4

Div N15 Leeds City Toastmasters

4

Div G1 Ipswich Electrifiers Speakers’ Club

4

Div S33 Linlithgow Speakers Club

4

Div H32 West Herts Speakers Club

4

Div N48 Manchester Orators Toastmasters Club

3

Div N15 Strictly Speaking Harrogate

3

Div G1 Camulodunum Club

3

Div E6 East Midlands Speakers

3

Div C19 Dundalk Toastmasters Club

3

Div J2 Accentuators

3

Div D28 Maynooth Toastmasters

3

Div M26 Clondalkin Toastmasters

3

Div F12 Loughrea Toastmasters Club

3

Div S43 Inverness Toastmonsters

3

Div H20 Hertfordshire Speakers Club

3

Div G41 Cambridge City Communicators

3

Congratulations to all those involved.

Pathways level 1 and onward

Julie Kenny ACS ALB VPPR Ipswich Electrifiers

I’d been hearing about Pathways (then Revitalised Education Program) since my first district council meeting so by the time it came along I was keen to get my nose into it. I didn’t know what I’d think of it, but my curiosity meant that I just wanted to know as much as I could. Unlike a lot of members, the technical side didn’t worry me, I’ve spent many years with computer systems, using and developing, and I took my usual approach; I would defeat and master it by clicking everything and seeing what happened, if all else failed I would find and read the instructions. Overall that approach has worked with the Pathways Basecamp, but I have resorted to reading instructions and learnt that a there’s a few things I shouldn’t have clicked – beware, you cannot re-do an assessment.

The questions I really wanted answers to were about the projects. What would I be asked to do, were these things I wanted to do or could benefit from, and as a long-standing Toastmaster and committee member could I understand what the intention was behind these projects and the benefit to members and clubs; essentially, I tried to reverse engineer the program.

The first hurdle was choosing a path. The assessment gave me a list of choices which I found near impossible to prioritise, so I turned to the wealth of information others were sharing about the paths, primarily the Pathways catalogue. I went through the paths and projects to understand what was involved in each, picking up on things I really wanted to do and others I wanted to avoid. One colour coded spreadsheet later I had chosen Leadership Development; it has opportunities to organise small and larger events which I enjoy enough to want to be better at. What struck me most however is that although there is a lot of leadership in the paths there isn’t really a path that isn’t about speaking. Yes, you may work on a project to develop leadership skills but very few of those aren’t completed by giving an evaluated speech. I don’t think everyone has grasped that yet

Once chosen I wanted to get moving on my ice-breaker, mostly so that I could get to know the system by completing a project. I’m on my third CC so it’s not my first ice-breaker but it coincided with a fantastic opportunity; the Safe Haven team were asking for speeches at the pre-conference Anglo-Irish meeting and I got accepted. My ice-breaker was then my story so far, told to a group of Toastmasters but outside my comfort zone. Some of these I’d seen speak before and I was in huge awe of. I think it went OK, but I’ll admit I was very nervous.

Regards the project itself, the information and videos were good with tips on preparing, basic structure, timing and handling nerves. New members often put too much into their speech and overrun so I could see how this project helps, particularly when using the speech preparation worksheets. The challenge to me was not to rush ahead through the project screens, it does take you step by step with great hints and it’s easy to miss something. As an experienced member it’s good to know how newer members are being supported too.

The second project in level 1 is evaluation. I think this is the game changer for clubs in a good way. Essentially you give a speech and then repeat it or a version of it, before evaluating another Toastmaster. Possibly every club has seen members who either have no interest in their evaluations, argue with the evaluator during the evaluation itself and either won’t evaluate others or have bad habits when they do. The evaluation project outlines good practice and courtesy and asks for the member to actively listen to and use their evaluation. I was planning to speak about our club at a networking event, so the core of that presentation was my speech for this project. My improvement points made me realise that I tend to speak more ‘to my audience’ than ‘with my audience’. So, on the second version I reworked it with more questions and better opening. It was better the second time around and since then well received at the networking event. The final step where you do an evaluation and get feedback was insightful and more specific than the feedback I’d received for my CL.

Every path’s level one completes with a research project. Digging into the detail on this it’s also about speech structures. The challenge for me was not only to research but to keep track of that research and credit accordingly. The growth of the internet has made it easier and easier to plagiarize speeches and I suspect the question of originality is being raised more and more often so I’m glad to see this tackled head on. My speech was centred on Mary Lee Berners-Lee (an early computer coder and mother of Sir Tim Berners-Lee), I found the research hugely addictive and it will be a theme I return to. Keeping to time and getting the credits referenced I found challenging but I managed to do so. On reflection this project is also likely to help those who struggle for topics, once you explore something you have a passing interest in it’s easy to end up with ideas for more speeches than you planned.

So, level 1 completed, Fiona Watt our VPE is very good at approving and submitting awards so I’m looking at level 2. For leadership development my next project is Managing Time. In the CL this skill seemed to be more closely related to clock watching in a meeting. But I find my challenge is to track all the time it takes me to write and practise my next speech – a daunting prospect because I know I’m rarely honest with myself about that. Frankly it can only be a good thing.

 

Pathways Benefits – a user summary

By John Kendall DTM DL5

The District now has five members who have completed full paths and several others who are at a very advanced stage. I conducted a survey on a self-selected group of experienced Pathways users who are active on Facebook. The question posed was “What do you regard as the most important benefits that Pathways brings us?”

I have added the sub headings, edited whilst keeping the essence of the quotes.

Choice

  • The flexibility to choose specialization right at the start of your journey.
  • Members can choose printed or online materials and use what works best for them.
  • There is a wealth of materials and videos which I love.
  • To expand your mind! Learning how to plan your speeches with greater meaning and connectivity with your audiences.
  • Pathways provides a framework for a successful educational journey.
  • Opportunities to broaden communication styles e.g. blog and podcast. In line with social media.
  • There are choices aplenty, like fish in the Ocean. If you want to catch it, it is yours to do so, refrain and you will not get it.
  • Pathways is a treasure house rich with enormous wisdom. You have a lot of freedom you can enhance your talents.

Support

  • So much support material for every project! For example, the elective project “vocal variety,” provides much help on exactly what vocal variety is, how to implement it, how to practise it, and an example video! I LOVED it! And this has been true for every project I’ve done!
  • You can, like me at 82, be walked through the process, very patiently (from TI phone call), and I have had zero problems with it since.
  • Excellent learning resources e.g. videos, assessments, etc. 

Design

  • Pathways is so practical with lots of examples and materials.
  • Adult modern learning, more practical and deep projects, experiential learning and reflecting our club meetings as were there 100 years already.
  • Pathways it is not restrictive, so you can go farther. Once we understand the ropes, personalise each path and even each project, get used to reflect, improve, we get a real adult blended learning.
  • For me on every project I find something to utilise in my everyday life and this helps me to not only grow as an individual but to see a growth in my business too!
  • As relatively new, the videos help me understand certain concepts and the before and after quizzes are awesome. They push me to check my progress.
  • Good for those that learn best using videos. Others it doesn’t suit can download the projects.
  • I like the levels with increasing challenges as you progress.
  • Each path & mentoring underscore theory with practice through short (1 month), medium (3 months) and long projects (6 months).

Potential for Change

  • You can provide that feedback when you complete the project.
  • I agree with the evaluations that we can enter after the completion of each project. Doing it will help towards the programme being updated & changed in the future
  • Some projects are very well done and provide great examples already. I have faith that others will be improved.
  • It should be easy to expand and enhance the entire programme as we move forward.
  • It will benefit from pruning some new & under used aspects.
  • It should be easy & efficient to update & distribute changes with electronic publishing. For instance, the videos obviate the need for huge quantities of written material
  • Demonstrated with the new 11th path in February on Humour & with its new projects.

Evaluations

  • Give and receive more effective evaluations (express feedback in both words and numbers)
  • In pathways you learn to evaluate early on and self-evaluate all the way through & be evaluated by others.
  • The before and after quizzes have meaning once you get to new material.

Mentoring

  • A thorough introduction to mentoring in increasing sized projects.
  • Really understanding pathways and mentoring will mould real leaders.

Other Comments

  • Paperless should be a big help when we get there.
  • The ability to complete more than two speeches per manual outside of a Toastmasters meeting. Good for those that learn best using videos. Others it doesn’t suit can download the projects. (Important to some)
  • Having the ability to choose additional options.
  • I needed a new experience. Pathways has inspired and challenged me to rejuvenate my journey.
    Pathways gave new incentive and passion to me. Top of Form
  • Pathways integrates Communication and leadership skills like the real world.
  • Saving evaluations online to refer to at a future point of time – if you scan & load paper versions.

Individual Benefit

  • Breaking through those barriers and ‘doing it my way’. I set out with a plan in mind for my second and third Paths, once I had learned the ropes in Path number 1.
  • I could choose my goals, then select the relevant themes for the required projects, then choose my preferred electives to enable me to reach those goals.
  • Now that I have mastered skills in being a communicator, leader and mentor I now have a clear outline of how to help others in their journey.
  • As a self-directed learner and Pathways Guide, I learned quickly the navigational how-to in Base Camp and am now preparing a Learner Guide for those who are new to the system.

Suggestions

  • I believe vocal variety is so useful, it should be much closer to the front of the learning curve.
  • Some of our retired members, myself included are moving right along in Pathways. We oldies are perfectly capable of learning the technology.
  • However, we may need to help the less capable
  • I am dedicated to helping members get used to the navigation in Pathways, so they then focus on improving their speaking and leadership skills.

Value

  • You could choose one path and do all the electives giving you access to lots of extra projects at no cost.

The New Engaging Humor Path

Toastmasters International launched Engaging Humor, the 11th path in the Pathways learning experience, helping members develop their funny bone to entertain an audience.

This path is designed to help you build your skills as a humorous and engaging public speaker. The projects on this path focus on understanding your sense of humor and how that sense of humor translates to engaging audience members. The projects contribute to developing an understanding of how to effectively use humor in a speech, including challenging situations and impromptu speeches. This path culminates in an extended humorous speech that will allow you to apply what you learned.

Engaging Humor is only offered online and is available to all members. Its projects, which include titles such as “Know Your Sense of Humor” and “The Power of Humor in an Impromptu Speech,” offer strategies on writing humorous speeches, using effective timing and pacing, crafting strong openings and even how to cope when your jokes bomb. (Tips: Don’t sulk, don’t be irritated with the audience, and take time later to analyze why some bits worked and some didn’t.)

As with the other 10 paths in the program, you advance through five levels that increase in complexity. The projects include interactive activities and videos, which feature insights from experts such as Darren LaCroix, Toastmasters’ 2002 World Champion of Public Speaking and longtime stand-up comedian Judy Carter, author of The Comedy Bible.

The humor path draws on many of the same concepts highlighted in the Humorously Speaking manual in Toastmasters’ traditional education program. The importance of understanding and developing your own style of humor is a key aspect. So is wringing comedy out of personal stories and anecdotes that will resonate with your audience. Engaging Humor features a Story Collection tool in Base Camp that enables you to gather your own trove of funny stories.

Please share and promote this exciting news to the members of your district as well as your local media. For more information about Pathways, visit www.toastmasters.org/Pathways.

Additional Resources:

Easyspeak Pathways Progress Chart

By Daniel Sandars District 71 Public Relations Manager and Carole McCulloch

Those clubs (roughly half (55%) of the District) that use the meeting management system Easy Speak now have new tools to help manage Pathways

If you are an easy-Speak user, you can access the new Pathways Chart from the Club Charts option in This Club on the main menu.

Above is a screen capture (anonymised) of a Pathways Chart from my club where the VPE can see progress being made by all members through each of the five levels in a path, at a glance.

This new service makes it super easy to verify completions of actual speech deliveries in your club. The green ticks indicate speeches completed at club meetings, dark green for earlier events and lighter green for more recent events. Each green tick is clickable for tracking back to the actual meeting where that speech was completed. Note: you may need to visit the meeting agenda to see which Pathways project it refers to.

Each member’s enrolled Paths are shown as clickable links in the final column. Each one will display a complete list of speeches and projects completed for that Path, showing titles, dates and Evaluators. Here is a glimpse of one of mine! (Note: I can now mark this Workbook Complete.)

Easyspeak Pathways Chart

Pathways Pin badges

Path Pins in Silver and Level 5 Proficient Pins in Gold Now Instore (search shop on path name): https://www.toastmasters.org/shop

Pathways Schematic Chart

Only for the brave as this is a very busy chart, but invaluable for some members for strategic overview and planning.

This is a complete Schematic of Pathways educational programme following the addition of the Engaging Humor path.

With thanks to Masayo Arai D76 Pathways Guide, in collaboration with Aaron Leung from D89 and sometime D70 Pathways Advisor

For best results printing use A3 paper and check out the source below for updates

Source: https://musashiurawa.toastmastersclubs.org/pathways.html

Revised HACKING PATHWAYS for New Members – A guide to Basecamp

By John Kendall DTM

Pathways Learning Experience – has three score projects spread over eleven paths and five levels – accessed via an online system new to most people. Most people are happy with the projects & paths, but some want more options added. First new path added is Engaging Humour [See this issue for more on this path).

Start by logging in to www.toastmasters.org

  1. On your first log in enter your email address and choose the forgotten password option to set your password
  2. Log in & your name should appear at the top. (If you click on it, it shows your profile and settings)
  3. You now have access to extra things, such as the current issue of our magazine.
  4. Navigate (i.e. find your way) to pathways learning experience – the collection of Toastmaster Projects.

You read, LEARN/DO & then speak, be evaluated & compare your skill levels at the start & finish.

Step 1 you are to choose your path in 3 ways

  1. by answering a score of questions & trusting the algorithm
  2. read the names & descriptions
  3. by looking at the projects required at the highest levels & other research.

If you are less keen on using online learning until you know more, your Vice President of Education can send you the Navigator (the guide to all things toastmasters) as a PDF & first three projects as PDFs. You can then choose your path later, but it must be before you wish to go to Level 2. [PDF – Portable Document Format is a widely used electronic file that can either be printed or viewed on a computer or smart device]

Step 2. Do projects in a level?

Minimum – activate & launch project (expand to full size to see section menu at the bottom!)

  1. Self-score your current skill level & press submit
  2. Go to evaluation section & choose “print” to download a PDF. Leave Basecamp.
  3. Use PDF for source of learning (print if prefer), prepare Speech.
  4. Print the evaluation part of PDF, give speech, keep completed evaluation.
  5. Go to basecamp, relaunch project, go the last section self-score skills & press submit.

You will be invited to evaluate the project – this is not required & gets no reaction, but your feedback helps update our program.

Some projects have educational videos, calculators and resources to use online. The printable PDF version of the project will have their equivalent including answers to the questions.

Step 3. Complete a level

  1. Activate last (completion) project – this sends email to basecamp manager. Leave basecamp
  2. It can help to send your own email to the three basecamp managers (BCM) and ask them to complete the level. In it make explicit, if you wish, that you also want the club to register your completed level Award at Toastmasters International for your official records (in the Club Central portal).
  3. Wait. Remind BCMs, if you need to.

That is all. The rest is unnecessary. This is all you need to know.

You do not need to upload evaluations.

You do not have to give feedback (well you won’t get much from others)

Know how to find editable evaluation forms for others, but it is helpful.

Extra Information

Faster Access to pathways

I usually log in to Toastmasters.org

  1. click on “welcome John” name at the top.
  2. Those chose to go to pathways block & click on go to my transcript.
  3. Find the line with the pile of books Icon = levels & projects & has your pathname
  4. Click on the Curriculum on the Right-Hand Side, to access levels & projects

Home for Evaluation Forms

On the top of Left-Hand-Side (LHS) there is a menu button home.

It takes you to some images without function.

It has one useful button below on Right-Hand-Side (RHS) to take you to English evaluation forms in alphabetical order when you page down. In principle you should email a copy of evaluation form to your evaluator & print it for the meeting.

Also, at top of screen Right-Hand Side is a place to enter information about yourself.

Original Entry route

First blue rectangle is how you purchase a path.

Second is how you change club or switch to be BCM (irrelevant for most)

Note well the third blue rectangle – this navigator has interesting information on Toastmasters.

This is NOT the same as the navigator in Basecamp which is about basecamp.

Club Officer’s tips to Help Starters

Newcomers to toastmasters must learn lots of new stuff compared to just being handed a manual to read. They must learn to log on to TI, get to pathways, choose a path & learn about basecamp. It is unsurprising that many members fail to start quickly, especially as many new officers are completing traditional projects and don’t have a good feel for pathways yet. We need to make it easier.

One solution is to have a local expert – a pathways Champion
or Mentor, ideally who has reached level 3 at least… who can spend time with each new starter.

In the meantime, without a champion, another approach is:

  • Step 1. Give beginners a PDF of Navigator, Projects 1-3 in level 1 (all Paths are identical at this point) to peruse.
  • Step 2. Have a store at the club of all the evaluation forms at level 1.
  • Step 3. During their progress through level one gradually take them through the steps of logging on to Toastmasters.org, choosing a path, then finding their way in basecamp.

Then they will be able to stand alone ready to do Level 2 on their own.

Remind them to store their evaluations & feedback somewhere in a format convenient to them.

Explain to them that undertaking all roles – Ah-Counter, Timer, Grammarian, and Evaluators as well as being Toastmaster of the Meeting, gives them opportunities to learn to listen, speak to a live audience and practise leadership skills.

Explain to them that between speeches they are expected to undertake a role.

Tips for Basecamp Managers

If you receive an email from a colleague

  1. Log in & change mode to BCM.
  2. Look for requests to approve a level – & click to approve.

Validation – This can be a challenge as Basecamp doesn’t provide you with evidence so one way is to use your meeting system such as Easyspeak to track progress, but in the limit ask to see the member’s speech evaluations if in any doubt. [The Easyspeak team have used released a Pathways progress chart see subsection in this issue]

[Leadership Tip:

Many Officers may miss the Competent Leader (CL) manual as a means of motivating volunteers to take meeting roles and become contest chairs. It is true that Leadership projects arise differently in Pathways. However, the Competent Leader manual was never the decisive argument given how infrequently they were brought to meetings and worked from! Tanya Barad’s advice “I tell people not to look at the check box exercise but to look at the outside life skills, leading a competition, give them the opportunity to speak in a different capacity. Build experience for the club. Someone must do it or everyone in the club loses out. Why do us experienced people still do evaluations after the 100th time? Not for CL but to improve, to get a speaking opportunity and to support the members in the club“] Daniel Sandars

Feb ’19 OpenNight and Video PR campaigns for growth

#OpenNight Incentive

– stock up your club with Pathways ribbons and badges

By Daniel Sandars, Public Relations Manager

An open night (or Open House or Guest Night) highlights and engages an entire club and helps it grow. Open nights can have refreshments, decorations and a headliner speaker. They are an all-round fun night.

Support: The District 71 Website has a page full of tips and ideas. http://d71toastmasters.org/open-night/.

STOP PRESS: Toastmasters International have released new Open House Flyer Designs https://www.toastmasters.org/resources/open-house-flier

Remember there are additional incentives you can build on around your Open Night, such as an external PR event, a new PR channel or activity, or a Promotional Club Video See http://d71toastmasters.org/incentives/

To claim

Simply send your Open Night guest list, highlight those that joined, and tell me about the PR channels you used. They can be back dated to Open Nights held after the summer break from 1st September 2018 EMAIL ME

For Example: campus-based Cranfield Speakers (Division H) had a stall at two freshers fairs, did poster and leaflet drops around campus, created an Open Night event on Meetup and Facebook and gave additional social media publicity on Twitter and Instagram. They had 133 new inquiries of which 80 attended the open night and ten had joined within two months

Google Claims Spreadsheet

To aid transparency all info that I receive pertaining to PR incentives can be checked out!

What are you missing out on Check it out! http://bit.ly/2BvT877

 

Video project Incentives

#WowFactor!| #MyWhy| Club Promotional Video

 

Feb ’19 Member Spotlights

Member Spotlights

Asma Riaz

  • Date joined Toastmasters International: March 2013
  • Home Club: Walsall Speakers (Division E)

Journey Highlights

  • Served as a Walsall Speakers Club President for 2 years
  • Got to Division E Contest level in Humorous Speech Contest 2018
  • Walsall Speakers chartered in September 2018
  • Presented at Toastmasters events such as Better Speaker Series Days, Leadership Days and Club Officer Trainings
  • Conducted Youth Leadership project at a local Junior School, which was a success

Why I joined Toastmasters?

In 2012 I started my new job and the role entailed a lot of speaking in the forms of training, speaking to customers internal and external. It was early on in my career and I froze while conducting a training session in front of 50+ people. I felt like I had failed myself and felt nervous knowing I would have to conduct more training sessions! One of my colleagues asked if I had a Toastmasters club near me, she really boasted about the fantastic experience she had with toastmasters and mentioned if I could find a club and try it out it might help me at work! I felt like a ray of hope had hit me and maybe this is what I had needed to do to get myself back on track!

I went to visit Heart of England Club in December 2012 and became a member in March 2013. The members were so welcoming and encouraging and just the environment I needed!

How has toastmasters helped me?

Toastmasters was a life saver for me, it has been like a springboard of opportunities. Since joining Toastmasters, I have run many training sessions at work, had plenty of interactions with clients and have been kindly promoted 3 times in the last 6 years, I always asked the reason for promotion and always ask what can I do better? I was told it was the skills I have obtained in being able to lead, being confident taking a task and running with it and having the ability to explain the same thing in different ways. All these skills came from being a committed Toastmaster and practice makes perfect!

Outside work I feel as though I have found my voice, I practise Tae Kwon Do and in the years of being a Toastmaster I finally plucked up the courage to become an instructor and without Toastmasters, I would not have been able to lead classes on my own.

My aim now is to do the Area Director role, gaining my DTM award and helping others achieve their goals. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing others progress and being the best versions of themselves!

What are you most proud of about your Toastmasters club?

I am currently the President of Walsall Speakers. There are so many things I am so proud of with this club I don’t think I can limit it to just one! We recently chartered in September 2018 and it was such an achievement and commitment from the club committee to get the word out there and get us finally on the map! Since then the club has gone from strength to strength and the vibe is so amazing every time we meet! I always leave with a positive energy wanting to achieve so much more!

Mohammed Raza Khan

  • Date joined Toastmasters International: November 2013
  • Home Club: Hertfordshire Speakers (Division H)

Journey Highlights:

  • Helped in dealing with C’ level people (Chief Level e.g. Chief Financial Officer) and gained the confidence to deliver a presentation which brings business to the company.
  • Invited to deliver two keynotes at Cambridge University on Emotional Intelligence and Multitasking

Why I joined Toastmasters?

While working in the IT industry, I got the opportunity to speak in front of 200 people in Belgium on a technology problem. The presentation did not go as planned, but that gave me the motivation to learn more about public speaking and gain confidence. Eventually, I attended a Toastmaster meeting in Bristol. Later I move back to Hatfield, and that is where I joined Hertfordshire Speakers, and since then I have never looked back.

How has Toastmasters helped me?

Since joining Toastmasters, my confidence has improved tremendously, due to the valuable feedback I have received from club members. I see clearly what works and what doesn’t

Learning to track my time, construct a concise message and control my filler words and getting valuable feedback has helped with my efforts to learn public speaking and gain confidence in delivering speeches.

My colleagues, friends, peers, and staff now come to me for advice on how to improve their confidence and increase their presentation skills. I advise them to join Toastmasters to practise speaking in front of an audience and to develop their stories and story-telling abilities. Public speaking is a significant way to establish credibility and attract clients.

What are you most proud of about your Toastmasters club?

My club offers a supportive environment and an atmosphere where I feel safe. Members like Elizabeth Jordon, Bob Ferguson, Jillian Haslam and Davina Malcolm are friendly, committed, organised and willing to help, and they are great story-tellers. Sometimes we meet outside the club for special celebrations. It is great being a member.

“Toastmasters (Hertfordshire) offers a secure & supportive environment and an atmosphere I enjoy—I feel safe there.”

Sue Burt

  • Date Joined Toastmasters International: October 2018
  • Home Club Northampton Speakers (Division H)

Journey Highlights:

  • Elected Vice President of Public Relations January 2019

Why I joined Toastmasters?

Almost two years ago I read an article in a newspaper about Toastmasters. I had previously imagined them to be a stuffy guild for the kind of Toastmaster you see at posh weddings – how wrong I was.

I was looking for ways to improve my confidence, having been in the same job for the previous 17 years and therefore rusty on interview techniques! I had even turned down the offer of presenting a piece of work at a National developer conference – potentially a significant career boost – because I was petrified of the very idea. Meeting more local people was also a priority; having commuted an hour each way for those 17 years, I knew very few people in my home town.

How has toastmasters helped me?

It took almost a year for me to pluck up the courage to go along to a meeting and, when I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was interesting, fun and everyone was very friendly. I noticed how supportive they all were and decided to go along, as a guest, some more. At each meeting I was asked to talk about my experience, and I spoke first time – for a full 15 seconds – from my seat. The next time I was invited to the front to do the same and, slowly with all that support and applause, I gained confidence.

When I joined, and gave my first speech, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it! I may not be good at it… yet… and am still very nervous, but I do enjoy public speaking. Now, if asked to give a speech at a national conference, I would no longer run away screaming.

Feb ’19 Distinguished Clubs and Pathways incentives

February Update on Distinguished Club and Pathways Incentives

John Cox District 71 Program Quality Director


Distinguished Club Incentives

We are doing well.

As at the middle of February 56 of our clubs had achieved 5 DCP goals or better.

The following Clubs – that were not Distinguished last year – have already potentially achieved Distinguished or better status this year, providing they end the year with 20 + members or a net growth of 5 members.  $30 worth of TI shop items are up for grabs.  Many more clubs could join them. The results are changing daily so if you think your club should be on the list please let me know.

  • Div C16     IBM Blue Toastmasters
  • Div E39     Walsall Speakers
  • Div E42     Godiva Speakers
  • Div F12     Loughrea Toastmasters Club
  • Div N31     Chester Corporate Speakers
  • Div N48     Salford Speakers Toastmasters (President’s Distinguished)
  • Div N31     Castle Communicators (Select Distinguished)


Pathways Incentives

Pathways is also progressing well.

Several clubs below are well on their way to achieving four Pathways Level 1s and two Level 2s, or 4 CCs.  The first 30 clubs to achieve these goals will win $20 worth of Pathways ribbons.

Congratulations to Chester Corporate Speakers, Salford Speakers and Capital Communicators (CCs) who have already achieved 4 CC awards – their ribbons have been posted to them.

  • Div A3        Blarney Club                        4 Level 1s
  • Div A11      West Cork                              3 CCs
  • Div A23      Republic of Works TM Club   6 Level 1s
  • Div A49      VMWARE Toastmasters        3 CCs
  • Div D8        Clonmel Toastmasters           4 Level 1s
  • Div E39      Shropshire Speakers              3 CCs
  • Div E42      Godiva Speakers                    3 CCs
  • Div H32      West Herts Speakers             4 Level 1s
  • Div H44      North Bucks Speakers           3 CCs
  • Div J2         Dublin Club                            3 CCs
  • Div J2         Accentuators                          3 CCs
  • Div N31      Chester Corporate Speakers 4 CCs
  • Div N48     Manchester Orators TM Club 3 CCs
  • Div N48     Salford Speakers TM             4 CCs
  • Div N51      A1 Speakers                             4 Level 1s
  • Div S30      Capital Communicators          4 CCs

Please keep pursuing those education awards and getting the recognition you deserve.

Well done to all.  Keep up the great work.

Club Leadership: Pathways Schematic Chart

This is a complete Schematic of Pathways educational programme following the addition of the Engaging Humor path.

Beware it is an overwhelmingly busy chart! Some more experienced members may find it useful to get a strategic oversight of the entire Pathways programme.

With thanks to Masayo Arai D76 Pathways Guide, in collaboration with Aaron Leung from D89 and also D70 Pathways Advisor

For best results printing use A3 paper and check out the source below for updates

Source: https://musashiurawa.toastmastersclubs.org/pathways.html

Guest Division C (North East Ireland)

By Division C Director Barry Lane

As I sit here at my desk on January 1, frantically trying to meet PR Manager, Daniel Sandars’ deadline, I find it incredible to believe we are at the halfway point of the season. Or as one of our VPE’s phrased it, “We’ve reached the summit guys, now we can start going back down!!”

Hard to believe, but we have reached the halfway point of another Toastmasters season.

I have been in a member for 14 years now and I’ve never stopped learning because Toastmasters never stops teaching. Learning does not conclude with the awarding of a pin, a ribbon, or a certificate. Every meeting is a forum to pick up on something new, be that a topics response, an evaluation, or speech.

As Division Director, I have had the pleasure of visiting several clubs, stretching all the way from Dublin to Belfast. In fact, I’m pretty sure my car knows the M1 motorway better than I do now. In each club I have attended, I have received a warm welcome and witnessed Toastmasters amazing hospitality to guests. I have learned (that verb again!!) much by observing the diverse ways meetings are run, while always adhering to the Toastmasters Core Values of Integrity, Respect, Service & Excellence.

The 2018 portion of the 2018/19 season has been a frenetic, furious and at times frazzled experience but never less than enjoyable and highly rewarding. Some memorable points

Club Officer Training

A very enjoyable few hours with excellent hands-on presentations by our Pathways Champion (and Fingal President) Graham Dunne and Past International President Ted Corcoran

Autumn Contests

The Division witnessed 4 Area Contests and 1 Division Contest, all of them highly entertaining. Congratulations to Stephen Morrow (Lagan Valley) and Deirdre Davis (Phoenix-Tara) who go on to represent the Division in the Humorous Speech and Table Topics respectively.

Pre-Chartered Clubs

I was privileged to be invited to speak at the Division’s 2 pre-chartered clubs – Dublin 15 Toastmasters (Area 16) and Banbridge Speakers (Area 19). Both clubs are doing well and benefiting from support from neighbouring established clubs.

The Division Leadership Team

Big thanks to the Division leadership team; Marian, Marie, Chris, Michael, and Laurence for keeping me on course.

Pre-chartered Club, D15 Toastmasters

By Tony McIntyre – Founder

In February 2018 we started a new club Dublin 15 Toastmasters in St Mocha’s Parish Parochial Centre, Porterstown, D15. It was a success from the start. The club is being mentored by members from Phoenix-Tara Toastmasters and Castleknock Toastmasters. We have been growing steadily and we expect to charter in the first quarter of 2019. We also have had great support from many other clubs, the Area and Division Directors and this has been an immense help.

Dan Rex Presentation to EI Toastmasters

By Eileen O’Neill – President EI Toastmasters

“Enterprise Ireland had a warm welcome for the team from Toastmasters International and was delighted to receive the Toastmasters International Corporate Recognition award from CEO, Dan Rex. EI Toastmasters hosts fortnightly lunchtime meetings and membership is open to all staff working in Eastpoint Business Park. The club was established in 2013 and currently has 30 members with great cultural diversity represented by toastmasters from Ireland, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, the US and more

Assistant Director, Division C

By Marian Brennan; President Phoenix -Tara Toastmasters

Seven years ago, while working in a Corporate Company I saw a sign that invited everyone to a Toastmasters open meeting. Suddenly looking at the poster I had an “Aha” moment. This is what I had been looking for, but little did I know that this was going to be one of the best decisions I had ever made. I remember thinking I have arrived! I had loved words all my life and writing short stories had been a secret passion of mine and now here was a place where a group of like-minded individuals were telling me how welcome I was, how I would be supported and encouraged every step of the way along this new journey.

Not too long afterwards I looked up a local club in my area Phoenix-Tara in Dunboyne. I remember so well the welcome I received at the door and the friendly encouraging faces that filled the room that night. Before long I realised I was sitting among some amazing people who were genuinely friendly and welcoming and from that night on I was hooked. I soon learned there was a lot more to Toastmasters than just getting the courage to stand up and speak. You also must learn to know what to say and how to say it. For the first time I learned how to craft my words into a speech that people would be interested in. I learned how to do this within a specific timeframe and through the amazing evaluations that were given each night. I have made friends of the very best kind and been encouraged, educated, and learned what true leadership is all about. From a business perspective it has given me the courage and self-belief to speak to clients and deliver a pitch with confidence. As an individual I have developed, grown, and learned wonderful skills that are invaluable to me. Socially I have made such amazing friends and whatever part of the world I am in I look up a Toastmaster Club that I can attend. This year I am honoured to be President of this great club and I look forward too many more years of remarkable story telling, camaraderie, fun and meeting wonderful people which is what Toastmasters is all about.

Area 10

By Director Michael Madigan

Happy New year from Area 10.

This is a vibrant area with five clubs having a combined membership of 130 Toastmasters.    Each club held their own Christmas party with the usual Toastmaster chats and fun – hard to beat a delicious meal with friends to round out the year.  Now as we move into 2019 all five clubs are planning to achieve nine of their club goals.  2019 meetings are planned to start in early January with open days and a recruitment drive to support the many New Year’s resolutions.  Working with all clubs to keep social media sites up to date to attract new members.  Focusing on one club to help grow membership back over 20 members.

Looking forward to a successful and fun year ahead and continue to learn by doing!

Area 16

By Director Marie McNamee

The clubs in Area 16 are, Castleknock Toastmasters, Phoenix-Tara, Navan, and I.B.M. Blue. As Area Director I am witness to the constant teamwork the clubs in my Area have shown over the year. Always willing, always steadfast, always a team in the bigger picture.

Friends and Toastmasters as we think about leaving behind all the successes, we have achieved in 2018 we focus on the challenges of the year ahead. We had an extremely successful Division C. Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests in the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport on Sunday 18th Nov. Stephen Morrow and Deidre Davis won Division Humorous and Topics respectively. Gerry French and Regina Byrne were the runners up. These contestants will go forward to the District Contest in Norwich 10/12th May 2019. Well done to the Contest Chair, Laurence Kelly and Chief Judge, Teresa Redmond. Also worthy of mention, is our Division Director, Barry Lane for being the anchor of this major event.

Hopefully we will be welcoming a new community club into the Area early next year, Dublin 15 Toastmasters. I attended a meeting recently and the Toastmaster of the evening opened the meeting with a very inspirational quote about teamwork “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together”. How true this is. We are all very fortunate to have had the opportunity of becoming Toastmasters. It has given us all a voice and the skills to work as a team.

Two years ago, I joined a writing club. Before joining Toastmasters, it was just a dream. Words are powerful. Let us use them wisely. Mindful of the Christmas season on the horizon I wrote this poem for all those who do not have a voice.

The Gift of Time.

The Old Man with his half empty shopping bag
Making his way home to an empty silence
The old woman in the window
Who watches, watches, for movement
Somewhere, anywhere – to fill the empty hours

A young boy sitting on the pavement, with his paper cup, begging
He could be your son or mine
A young girl with her new born baby crying, in the corner of a doorway
Waiting, waiting, not for the coins, or discrimination
But for just a simple smile
We all notice but still we pass by

We complicate our lives with wants and needs
When all we need is time to hear, time to see the old man and woman
And not walk by

A friend whose sick and needs to talk
A friend that’s troubled but knows not why
All they need is time – your time to spare

The bustle of the crowd
I am not noticed
Who are these people hurrying by

Tired, troubled, lonely
This could be you or me
Let not this priceless gift of sharing time
Be wasted by indifference or the pace of day.

Area 19

By Director / VPE Newry Speakers – Chris McCabe

It has been a fantastic year for area 19 with it gaining a new prospective club, a member from the area winning the division humorous speech contest and the area itself achieving select distinguished.

When I first thought about taking on the responsibility of being area director I never envisioned how hard of a role it would be especially when I set the goal for the area to achieve presidents distinguished.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to really see a different side of Toastmasters, as when you walk into your first ever Toastmasters meeting, you do not realise the level of organisation that goes on behind the scenes.

Part of the requirements for the area achieving presidents distinguished is to have a growth of one club which has led to some great experiences.

A new club is like a blank slate, you forget a lot of the stuff that brings a club together which your existing club takes for granted like a venue, evaluation forms and even lights.

I visited a few potential venues and finally landed at the Downshire Arms, a hotel in Banbridge. It was one of the few places that fit the budget in the three towns I had shortlisted.

Luckily, other clubs have pitched in and taken on roles which I’m truly in their debt for. Banbridge Speaker’s regularly pulls in 10 people a meeting and with the New Year focusing everyone on their resolutions, I fully expect the club to charter before the end of the Toastmasters year.

The proudest moment for me has been watching one of area 19’s contestants, Stephen Morrow, compete in and win the division’s humorous contest.

Stephen has been a pillar of area 19, not only starting the Lagan valley club, serving as Belfast Toastmasters’ president but also serving as Area director previously. I fully expect Stephen to do well and place when he competes in the district final in Norwich.

Over the festive period, clubs are having their Christmas parties, my own club Newry Speakers are meeting in the local bowling alley for a game of bowls and a Christmas dinner. Some clubs have an end of the year awards ceremony to present achievement awards to anyone who has excelled in their club in the calendar year.

As we return to our clubs in January, I am encouraging the clubs to hold open nights and really drive growth. My own club had a very successful open night in January 2018 and we are hoping to repeat the success this coming January.

Area 22

By Director – Laurence Kelly

Area 22 embraces a portion of north Dublin City. We have both community and corporate clubs and as Area Director this year, I am hugely impressed with what they both bring to their Toastmasters members.

What strikes me about corporate clubs is that by their nature they must make every minute of the TM meeting really count. They can hardly return to work late just because a lunchtime meeting overran. I don’t think their manager would be impressed by hearing an excuse such as “Sorry boss, but Larry or Patricia went over time on their speech……” These meetings tend to be more focused and full of energy and maybe we could all learn a lesson from their approach.

Having visited both EI and Datalex TM clubs and attended several meetings of a promising prospective club, I have been wowed by their energy and participation. Corporate clubs attract members from several cultural, social, and educational backgrounds. The fusion of this diversity led to several interesting and enjoyable meetings recently. At one recent meeting the different nationalities and professions of the members led to a wide discussion of how Christmas or that season is celebrated or marked by various ethnic groups in Ireland. It was both interesting, educational, and inspiring to hear about the range of meals and family celebrations that were being held over the Christmas/holiday season.

The community clubs have a different approach and a broader range of membership. Those in Area 22, Glasnevin and Viking Voices are very welcoming and enjoyable. The social side comes more to the fore and this helps members to develop and feel comfortable as they explore and develop their speaking skills.

The recent Christmas TM night in Glasnevin club had members from other clubs also. A great night was had, and Santa took a break from his busy workload at this time to act as Toastmaster. Many “speakers tried to ingratiate themselves with him, especially a lady member who “claimed” to be 16!! (Even by reversing those digits you would still be kind to her). Seasonal topics, poetry, and stories with contributions from all present made a very enjoyable and festive meeting.

The day Dan Rex, CEO of Toastmasters International, came to District 71

Dan Rex District 71 IrelandDan Rex District 71 Ireland

By Patricia O’Reilly, DTM, District 71 Director, 2018-19

It was on, it was off and then miraculously it was on again and Dan Rex touched down on District 71 soil on Friday 16th November.

After a quick lunch it was off to EI Toastmasters to present the Toastmasters International Corporate Recognition Award to Enterprise Ireland, the company that supports EI Toastmasters. The engraving reads “Toastmasters International recognizes Enterprise Ireland for enhancing employee engagement through continuing support of Toastmasters Communication and Leadership programs”.

At EI, Lucy Clarke took on the role of Toastmaster and we were treated to a moving speech by member Greg Coyle, inspiring words from Dan Rex as he presented the award and an acceptance speech by Stephen Creaner, Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland.

Next it was off to pre-charter club Irish Life where Ronan Kearney and Paul Egan had organised a lively topics session and Dan spoke about the benefits of joining a Toastmasters club.
Dan Rex District 71 Ireland
On Friday evening Dan addressed the audience at the Division M contest and impressed everyone with his easy, relaxed style and his accessibility. Running a contest is pressure enough but that pressure is magnified when the CEO of Toastmasters International is attending. My thanks to the Division M team – Teresa, Bobby, Shalini and John.

Dan Rex District 71 IrelandOne member of Toastmasters was sitting on a train at 6 am on Saturday morning as he travelled from Cork to Dublin to interview Dan for his [District 71 sponsored] Podcast “Talk Show for Talkers”. [see http://www.irishtalkers.com/ on 24th Nov and 7th Dec shows]

That’s commitment for you. Ted Mellamphy is seen here interviewing Dan. I was present at this interview and I was struck by Ted’s interviewing style. It was like looking at two people having a relaxed fireside chat, although there were times when I wondered just who was interviewing whom.

Saturday afternoon Dan delivered an informative and thought-provoking workshop on “Quality Clubs”. He started this workshop by flashing on screen the club mission which is “to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth“. He then dissected the mission statement word by word. It redefined for us what is at the heart of our clubs. Everyone who attended the workshop was struck by Dan’s accessibility, by his knowledge of the club environment and what makes a quality club. Dan was very generous with his time and willingly and patiently posed for photographs. I am indebted to Colin Byford for the photographs which follow. It was an honour to have Dan Rex visit our District. He was likeable, approachable and gave very generously of his time.

Dan Rex District 71 Ireland

Dan Rex District 71 Ireland

Dan Rex District 71 Ireland

Dan Rex District 71 Ireland

Please note: Colin Byford sent me the photographs he took at the workshop. If Colin took any of you then email me patriciaoreillytm@gmail.com and I’ll email it to you.

Stepping into a Leadership Role – Why not you?

By Elizabeth Nostedt, DTM; Region 10 Advisor, Past Region 11 Advisor, and Past District 59 Director

Within a brief time (if it hasn’t already happened by the time this goes to print), your District team will be asking YOU if you would like to step forward and take a leadership role at the District level – as an Area Director, Division Director or higher. You may have many different thoughts about this – like:

  • Am I ready for this?
  • Do I really want to do this?
  • I have so many other things happening now.
  • What do I have to do in this role X?
  • and so on.

Leadership roles are not obvious to all of us, but they can certainly help us grow as people. Let me tell you a few leadership stories from my career in Toastmasters and in a corporate setting.

As Area Director (AD) – this is the true test of serving others.

As Area Director, people may look up to you as the person that should know everything. But that is not necessary – because there are so many resources in Toastmasters to help you – like the District Leader manual. This is exactly what I learned – I did not have to be an expert. I knew how to read – and I learned to ask good questions. I could ask the person who was AD before me, and I could ask other District leaders. I could also say – “I don’t know the answers to that.” I further learned that when I conducted Club Officer Training and when I visited the clubs in Area – I learned so much about people. I learned about their wants and needs and dreams for being a leader. I learned that I was the servant leader to them.

I set the vision for the Area for the year. I believed that our clubs could be Presidents Distinguished and through the training sessions, we reviewed how to do it with the club leaders. They caught the vision and understood it. We achieved it.

As soon as that Leadership Vision was clear, then it was my role to help them implement it. It included further interpretation of what each goal meant and what actions were necessary.

The biggest learnings came from working with others as volunteers. Of course, all the club officers are volunteers! And as AD, we are volunteers. So, it is not like at work where we work with employees, that they are expected to do the work because they are employees and get paid to work. It meant that I reflected on if I needed help with something, how could I best ask for help, and would this appeal to the person I asked, so that they would help.

As CGD, PQD and District Director

These roles further expanded my learnings as a leader, because there were more committees and more work to be done THROUGH others. A vision, an inspirational idea, enthusiasm for the work, willingness to do the work myself – these were all ways to work through others to achieve our goals. I learned to coach others with great open-ended questions so that they often found the answers they were seeking.

Was it all easy? Definitely not! I can certainly say there were challenges – but they also meant large leadership/personal learning lessons. There were people who could not get along with each other, an area director who did not want to build a new club – because he/she knew better, keeping District conferences within budget, and so on – each challenge came with a new lesson to be learned.

Servant leaders are motivated by caring and the agenda they seek is mutual benefit.” -Stephen M.R. Covey

When working in a corporate setting

I have worked for many years in various corporate settings – from being an “ordinary” employee, to being a department manager and leader of a large group and to my current position as a Senior Project Manager on IT and Business projects. Each of these roles of leadership meant something new.

As an “ordinary” employee, I was the leader of my own work. I learned time management of my own time. Some of you may think that it is tough when a manager is telling you what to do, but what if you yourself are the slave driver!! This is comparable to you as an ordinary Toastmasters member who also must take responsibility and needs encouragement to reach the next level of growth and awards.

As a Department manager, then I saw the people who were motivated by what they were doing, and those who were not motivated. As I see it now, all motivation is “self-motivation” and it was my work to ensure that we could find the things that would keep all the employees motivated in some way. This is perhaps like you as an Area Director, where you can see the clubs that are motivated to reach DCP and others that simply do not care.

As a Senior Project Manager now, I am caught between what my Management Team wants me to deliver, and what my team members say they can deliver. That is another dilemma. This is perhaps like the Division Director role – caught between the Area director and the District Leadership Team.

In each role at work, and in each level at Toastmasters, I take the time to reflect what lessons I have learned, and there are so many. They have made me a better person and a better leader – and they were so worth doing because of how much I have grown.

Guest Division N

By Division Director John McFadzean

Traveling Toastmaster September 2018, John McFadzean, CL, of Southport, Merseyside, England, balances on a paddleboard at Southport Marine Lake in Southport, England.

I can’t get to my Club; but I need my TM fix…

By Nik Lakhani CC, ALB, President of Warrington Toastmasters, Area 31, Division N, District 71

I faced a crisis a few weeks ago. The wife’s away visiting her elderly parents abroad, and I’m the dutiful husband who “volunteered” to give up all my evening activities for 3 weeks to ensure our teenage kids can roll their eyes at me when I ask them nicely to do their homework!

This meant no volleyball, golf, or a quiet pint with friends at the local. In addition, I couldn’t go to my club, Warrington Toastmasters, for 3 straight meetings. We are an energetic and lively bunch who meet every Monday night at the Village Hotel in Warrington. I was VPE at the time and desperate not to miss my TM fix.

What do I do?

I can do most of my VPE role offline: schedule speeches, assign roles, etc. What about my fix? You know, the feeling you get from showing up, learning something new and having fun?

Crisis led to doubt and then onto despair. I can’t do cold turkey. It’s just not fair!

A chance conversation with a sympathetic member ignited a spark in me. “Have you tried online attendance?”, asked Anne. I then understood something clearly at last: I can attend a meeting online. Not just that, a meeting whilst sitting, in my boxers, sipping a tall glass of ice cold cider – whilst sporting psychedelic gaming headphones belonging to Teenager Number One.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think of this as an alternative to my local club. I love walking through the door every Monday night and contribute to a unique event of fun and learning with laughter.

This was complementary to my TM fix. A blue pill for my speaking journey, an enhancer, an extension if you will. I was blown away with the world I found through my newly requisitioned headphones and hitherto unused webcam.

I found 3 clubs within 150 miles of me that had online attendance: White Rose Speakers, Leeds; Luton Speakers Club, Luton; and, Cornerstone Communicators Advanced Toastmasters, St. Albans. All 3 are in District 71 – check them out.

Due to my work schedule at the time (and homework duties), I found some other online attendance clubs more suited to my requirements. These are: Competitive Communicators; Online Presenters and Global Trainers Online. Always visit a club twice, see what it’s like. If you feel good about it, just join as a dual member.

So, what was it like?

Well, amazing: I joined 3 more clubs and now I have a bigger family in Toastmasters. I have given them the benefit of my experience e.g. helping one club specifically to set up a robust Mentoring programme. Also, I have learned many things that I have brought back to Warrington Toastmasters, for example, being creative with Table Topics and special events to help attract visitors, member retention, and just have more fun. One such event is going to be like “Snow White Kills Sneezy – The Murder Trial“.

Ultimately, being a member of more clubs helps you accelerate your learning, gives you different challenges and pushes you out of your comfort zone. I have already picked up the knack of looking at the camera directly often.

The biggest point I would say is that the members you see and meet online are more tech savvy, more motivated and more qualified than the ones I’ve met at our traditional “bricks and mortar” clubs. The result of this is means I have hundreds of years’ worth of experience to call up in terms of Toastmasters and, particularly, Pathways. Most of the people online seem to be multiple DTMs with 18 months’ experience of Pathways.

There must be many members who will benefit from this. We have some who have difficulty in attending due to being a carer for a loved one, being ill or incapacitated. Let them speak and lead too.

In summary, online attendance helps you show up, learn something new and have fun.

From Babbling to Brilliant to Public Speaking: The tale of a public speaker

By Clésia Mendes, Warrington Toastmasters Vice President Public Relations

We all have our own reasons to joining Toastmasters, whether is to become more confident when speaking in public, having a safe secure space to practice public speaking and leadership skills, or expand our social circle. Recently I have discovered, that we all have our own reasons to keep coming back.

My reason to join was to have a safe secure space to practice public speaking, my reason to stay engaged was the friends I’ve made in my club, my reason to keep returning was that as time went by, my leadership skills started to emerge and started to get invited to attend other Toastmasters clubs, first to give Evaluations, then Educational sessions, then Workshops from Toastmasters International “The Successful Club Series” such as “Evaluate to Motivate”. And recently have been invited to deliver a 3-hour workshop for the Storyhouse Theatre in Chester, at 2pm of Saturday, 26th January 2019. And by the way, I was given the main stage, which is an 800-person venue.

How is this relevant to you? How is this relevant to your club? While members have their own reasons to join Toastmasters, they will have their own reasons to stay engaged, and their own reasons to keep coming back. And these evolve over time. Gaining clarity may take time but is a worthwhile pursuit. And experience show, we gain clarity by going through the process of being engaged, delivering speeches, taking leadership roles, officer roles, etc.

Why is this important? It is important because when we know this, then we can take the time to create the best conditions for our own skills and abilities to emerge and flourish. We can be more patient with ourselves, our development, our members growth and consequently Toastmasters growth.

Imagine how would it be like, if everyone knew that becoming a Toastmaster is like embarking on a journey of transformation and there’s plenty of time, opportunities, and support, for them to become who they really want to become.

In conclusion, everyone has reasons to join Toastmasters, something they want to achieve, do, or become. As time goes by, everyone develops reasons to keep coming back, which may be different from the original reasons. As they keep returning, they will gain clarity regarding what to do next, and the relevant opportunities will start to reveal themselves at the right time for the right person.

Area Fabulous Fifteen is on Fire as it continues its quest to be the best.

By Jane Craggs

Our Area Director has been pulling out the stops and by the end of 2018 will have visited all the clubs three times: once to get to know them and the clubs to get to know her, once for “the visit” and another time for fun. She always takes on a role and is supportive and helpful. Lynn Gregory is the power3 par excellence (i.e. cubed; ؞ better than X3). Well done to Lynn who has thrown herself wholeheartedly into the role, not being afraid to ask for advice and assistance; takes in her stride that some Toastmasters are not always as responsive and polite as she might expect; when to go the extra mile; when to say “no” and to speak her mind. All the clubs love her and look forward to her visits.

The four Chartered clubs: (in alphabetical order) Leeds City Toastmasters, Strictly Speaking Harrogate, White Rose Speakers and York EbOrators are all going from strength to strength, attracting visitors and signing up new members. Area Fabulous 15 is now small enough in area to make it easy to visit other clubs which is encouraged so members get that extra stimulation of seeing different speakers in a different environment but within the familiar safe confines of the Toastmasters structure. We hope this initiative will encourage members to visit clubs when they are away on business or on holiday. I never tire of telling the story of when I went to a meeting in Jaipur, India which, (sad Toastmaster that I am you may say) was one of the main highlights of our holiday. What a way to spend your 60th birthday …

The other clubs are all special: Asselby Advanced is a wonderful forum open to anyone with CC or above to experience hard-core meetings without the frills. We meet once a month and as an advanced club, we do not use up meeting-time describing the organisation or the roles as we assume these are known values. We can try out innovative ideas and the time is spent on in-depth evaluations. Bradford Speaks continues to grow and is situated in an ideal area for business and education. It is a pity they do not use easySPEAK, which I feel is a great tool that makes life easy for organisers, members, and District Officers to interact. Headingley Speakers, the latest pre-charter club is run, (for now), and supported by The Area Fabulous Fifteen Female Famous Five (also in alphabetical order) Jane Craggs, Clare Crowther (was 15, now 21), Lynn Gregory, Tina Norbury and Jean Stewart (was 15, now 21); no border issues for us! The valiant crew launching this new club put in the hours, the knowledge, the experience, and the love and are trying to create an exemplary Toastmasters club, meeting in a lovely historic venue. We hope to charter soon, very soon.

Happy Christmas to all and Happy toastmastering for 2019.

Area 21’s Newsletter contribution

By Becky Pennington

Many thanks to Murali, Andy and Matt for their respective sections and photos

Andrew Hodge has been running educational sessions with a twist at Hull Speakers. His interactive and energising sessions take place at the beginning of meetings and get members up on their feet and applying new techniques throughout the evening. Andrew’s sessions have focussed on different areas of being an effective speaker including stage anchoring, gesture archetypes, emotional states, and vocal variety. Andrew says, “We’ve all sat through ‘educational sessions’ from ‘experts’ that were a very delivery of content that could have been read off a website – I wanted to offer something that everyone, especially new people, with various learning styles would benefit from.”

Doncaster Speakers organised a special Toastmasters meeting for the graduates at Unipart Rail (President Andy Howell’s workplace). Six members of Doncaster Speakers performed roles, three graduates delivered icebreakers and eight took on Table Topics. The November meeting was a massive success, with Unipart Rail already requesting a follow-up session and is offering to pay for Toastmaster membership for all who attended. Unipart Rail’s Human Resources director Lucy Weaver and first-time ah counter summed up the meeting as “You nailed it! All was fantastic. Thank you.”

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Anne Murphy visited Sheffield Speakers in January, delivering a speech on her life and role as Lord Mayor, which one member had the (daunting) task of evaluating. The Lord Mayor’s Consort Mr Gavin Holliday won in an innovative Table Topics session, where speakers had to sell new and ridiculous inventions revealed to them from behind closed doors!

In November, Sheffield hosted an action-packed Toastmasters event to celebrate the formation of the new Division N. Toastmasters enjoyed participating in a Murder Mystery icebreaker, watching the Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests, attending interactive workshops, and celebrating together with a meal and games. We hope that Area 21 set the bar high and look forward to future Division N events.