Archives for Members

Mar 19 Member Spotlight

Name: Martina Clancy

Date joined: March 2016

Clonmel Toastmasters, Co Tipperary, Republic of Ireland

Club number: 00005462, meetings 2nd & 4th Thursday each month

Highlights

  • Club Officer roles: Membership Management, VP Education and currently President
  • Completed CL, CC and PL1 pathways
  • Contributed in achieving President’s Distinguished for the last 3 years

My quote:

Give it a go before you make up your mind, you might even enjoy it.

My sister asked me to come to her first Toastmasters meeting with her. After sharing that experience with a friend, three of us joined in March 2016. I saw Toastmasters as an opportunity to help me to prepare for a job interview. I set and achieved my goal to complete my CL within 12 months. I served as VP Education and VP Membership – increasing membership by 33% in a six-month period.

My confidence in presenting in public has grown. I improved my listening skills. I learned many transferable skills in Toastmasters, that I can utilise in my career.

The evaluations and feedback, I receive from club members tell me what works and what doesn’t. I learned the importance and power of a ‘PAUSE’! My club is supportive and positive. It is a safe space with no negativity. I tell others that Toastmasters is a superb platform that provides tools that offer skills for life, both personal and professional.

As Club President, I encourage all our members to take ownership and responsibility for making our club the friendliest and the best. Our members are friendly, committed and organised. They bring a range of experiences, facts and great stories.

Our most recent success was our open night where we had a Clonmel Toastmasters record of 13 guests. This was achieved by all members promoting our club and sharing a combined vision. At every meeting, I remind members that it is our club and encourage them to participate and strive to achieve as much as they can.

I joined Toastmasters to help me with preparing for an interview, but I got so much more: confidence, improved communication and leadership skills, new friends and THE JOB!

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.

My Vision for 2018-19 – The Pursuit of Excellence

John Cox, District 71 – Program Quality Director

photo of John Cox, D71 Club Growth DirectorExcellence is one of our Toastmasters Values, – but what does excellence look like? How do we measure it? In sport, excellence is measured in terms of world-class performance – it is obvious and easier to define. Excellence also comes in many disguises and it changes over time, what was excellent this year can become the norm in subsequent years.

Quality is another one of those ill-defined words and it is said that quality is in the “eye of the beholder.” Is this a quality article??? Is ours a Quality Club? How can we measure and target quality improvements?

The best vehicle we have for measuring Club Quality is Moments of Truth https://www.toastmasters.org/~/media/E017290D7ED0458C8C278A364689F7AF.ashx.

Based upon an original book by Jan Carlzon[1] the President of Scandinavian Airlines “a Moment of Truth is an episode when a member or guest comes in contact with any aspect of the Toastmasters Experience and forms an impression of a club’s quality and service”

Measurement is fraught with danger – measuring the wrong things can deliver the wrong results and there can be a tendency to corrupt the reporting of numbers particularly if rewards are linked to them.

Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted…and not everything that’s counted truly counts.”

When it comes to goal setting there is much confusion surrounding the terminology we use, particularly with goals, targets, objectives, strategies, tactics etc. However, does it matter? Yes, it does. What you measure and aim for is generally, what you get, and it might fall far short of your real desired outcome.

For example, do you want to gain a qualification, or do you really want to increase your income? The two are weakly related. Achieving the first does not naturally guarantee the second. Ask the thousands of graduates who have recently left University.

So, let us discuss:

Goals versus Tactics

I’ve spent nearly 50 years advising organisations on improving performance – whether that be improving their bottom line, increasing revenues or just getting more out of their resources.

One of the key things that I have discovered is that many people confuse goals with tactics. They target an activity, a tactic, or an initiative, forgetting what the real goal is. They get enthusiastic and totally wrapped-up in an initiative losing sight of what they are really trying to achieve.

Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus John P. Kotter revealed that 70 percent of transformational change initiatives fail (Harvard Business Review, 1995)[2]. Later studies have produced comparable results. A 2014 Deloitte study (http://bit.ly/2NILABE) of more than 5,000 initiatives over the past 15 years calculated an aggregate success rate of only 4.5 percent.

Many organisations adopt and apply their attention entirely on the latest flavour of the month, particularly if there is an accolade or award to be achieved at the end of it – for example, a customer, quality, technology or process-based change initiative – and lose sight of the fact that what they really wanted to do was deliver more and better services to their customers, increase revenue and profitability.

Too often, the focus of attention becomes the tactic and not the goal.

What is clear is that individuals and the organisations that focus on the end goal achieve far better results than the ones who focus on the initiative (tactic) or achieving the accolade or award.

We should always ask, – Why? Why are we doing something, what is our goal? In Japan, they have a phrase that roughly translates that if you have not asked Why 5 Times you will not get to the heart of an issue or the root cause of a problem.

Personally, whilst I was glad to have achieved the occasional business and personal award I never lost sight of the fact that employee and client satisfaction and the resulting revenues/fee income/profitability were my ultimate goals. Competitions, Awards and learning were merely tactics that helped me move toward my goal.

So, what does this have to do with Toastmasters? Do we tend to be wrapped up in all the learning, achieving awards and becoming Distinguished? Maybe, just maybe, we forget that personally our goal is to win more clients/customers, gain promotion at work, earn more money and improve our quality of life. In addition, as for our clubs, is it to satisfy our members and guests, to grow and retain our memberships, and to make our club the best it can possibly be – better this year than last?

It is too easy to become quantity focused, because it is easier to measure, and not quality focused. My experience of working in Japan and with Japanese companies taught me that if you focus on quality, quantity would follow. Conversely, if you focus on quantity, quality will suffer.

If we focus on increasing the quality of our leadership, the quality of our club meetings, the quality of how we promote our clubs and how we satisfy our visitors and our members, our clubs will grow, our members will achieve their goals and we will retain more of our members.

Striving for quality and excellence must be our club mantra.

Carrying out Moments of Truth in your club will certainly help.

I look forward to working with you this year.

What is Happening with Contests?

Two significant things have happened this year that will impact on our next round of Speech Contests:

1. The District Council voting at the Spring Conference in Cork that, in the light of the TI Board Decision to have only one District Conference a year, all four speech contests will now be held starting at the May 2019 Spring Conference in Norwich.

2. With the growth of our District, we now have 12 Divisions, meaning that we will need to run 8 speech semi-finals and 4 finals starting with the May 2019 Spring Conference in Norwich.

But how does this affect our clubs? Well the good news is that it’s business as usual.

Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests

Clubs will still hold their Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests around September. Area Contests will follow in October and Division Contests must be completed by 30th November.

Division Winners will need to be available for the Friday semi-finals of the Spring conference in May 2019.

International Speech and Evaluation Contests

Clubs will hold their International Speech and Evaluation Contests around February/March 2019.

Area and Division Contests will be in April in readiness for the District semi-finals and finals in May 2019. Division Winners will again need to be available for the Friday semi-finals of the Spring conference in May.

One other major change is that following the District Finals, the International Speech Contest winner will proceed to a Region Quarterfinal. This will be conducted by a video that will have been recorded at the District Finals.

The latest Speech Contest Rulebook (https://www.toastmasters.org/leadership-central/speech-contests) sets out the requirements for the video recording that the Norwich Conference team will need to follow.

Therefore, exciting times are ahead!

Pathways Resources

The Pathways Paths and Projects Catalogue

– 66 pages that describe every Path and all the associated Projects can now be found at http://d71toastmasters.org/club-leadership-Pathways-paths-and-projects-catalogue/

Pathways Evaluation Forms

The complete set of forms your officers will ever need can now be found via http://d71toastmasters.org/club-leadership-Pathways-forms-for-evaluators/


[1] Carlzon, J. (1987) Moments of Truth, Cambridge MA: Ballinger. 135 pages

[2] Kotter, J. P. (1995) Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review, 73, 59-67.