Tips From Our Past
If You Fail To Plan, You Are Planning To Fail
by Jared Kronenberg, DTM, PDG
This mantra was repeated over and over during club officer trainings and district leadership sessions. I wasn’t sure what it really meant until I became a club president. As I am sure everyone experiences, club officers come from one of two categories: those who are passionate and want to serve vs. those who were “arm-twisted” (or “volun-told”) to fill a position. Although each group has different motivations for taking on their officer responsibilities, both have the same goal: to be successful.
I have taken positions where I had a good idea of what was required (or thought I did…), but I didn’t have a handle on the year until I sat down with my fellow officers and began talking about our goals. Some people would emerge with their “big ideas” of how to completely transform the club into a beaming metropolis of constant visitors and engaged members. Others would use their past experiences—either as a club member, an officer, or both—to “correct” those wide-eyed officers to the error of their ways, identifying assumptions that will “never work” and serving as the devil’s advocate to all changes. Still, there are others who spent most of the time remaining quiet, listening to everyone, and providing opinions and limited comments that are usually profound and insightful.
In my lawyerly way, I submit that there is a place at the table for all of these officers. Knowledge of the past is instructive, openness to new ideas is vital, and a willingness to try something new is brave. No one likes to be the first to suggest that something isn’t working, but we should embrace those comments and recognize that they are not meant to be destructive, but rather an honest recognition that the club is not meeting a specific need of a member (or many members, as the case may be). On the other hand, a new year is not the time to throw out everything done by our predecessors. Just because our names are not attached to something doesn’t mean that it is wrong and cannot be touched.
We are all in Toastmasters to improve ourselves. Let’s treat this new year, with new officers, and hopefully lots of new members, as our chance to make meaningful changes and recognize that different does not mean wrong. Instead of letting the process play itself out, venture into this opportunity with purpose and create a plan that every member can be a part of and contribute to. Let this Toastmasters year be the year to embrace the past… and the new… together.
This… is a true plan for success.
Jared Kronenberg, DTM
Past District Governor (2014-15), District 65
Going Out With A Bang
The Last Fall Conference for District 65
If you have not been to a District Conference before, you are not going to want to miss this one. It is the last Fall Conference and it will be another great event. Aside from the District Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests, educational workshops, great meals and lots of new friends from all over the district and world… You will get to meet and listen to Jim Key.
Jim Key is a humorist, a coach and a consultant. But he is also the the Toastmasters International 2003 World Champion of Public Speaking.
You will laugh… you will learn… and you will find inspiration in his words.
You don’t want to miss this one. Sign up early. We only have room for 300 toastmasters and when the seats are gone… so is your last opportunity.
If you would like to help out with this final Fall conference, you can reach out to our conference co-chairs:
Karen Aubrecht Donovan – KJanineCA@aol.com
Debbie Hunt – firstname.lastname@example.org
The other great toastmasters on this conference committee are, Julie Ricchiazzi, Elizabeth Evanisko, Saundra Loffredo, Mike Reinbolt, Pam Gorman, Joe Loffredo, Kevin Cratsley and maybe YOU… very soon.
Program Quality Takes Commitment
Greetings fellow Toastmasters. Thank you for your service to District 65 and your commitment to improve your communication and Leadership skills. You are appreciated and I thank each of you for the opportunity to serve.
As your District 65 Program Quality Director I am excited about increasing the quality of our Programs. We want to increase the opportunity of engagement and networking with our members and District Leaders. Make up officer training will be done in each division. We have approximately 700 officers in District 65. Our goal is to increase the officers trained in our District to 100 percent.
Trained officers create a better member experience and improve club quality. This supports the District 65 goal for club growth and membership retention. We want our clubs operating at charter strength which is 20 members.
There are many Leadership opportunities outside our club experience. Presenters are needed for officer make up training sessions, workshops and the winter TLI’s.
If you would like to help with our Fall or Spring Conference please reach out to your District Leaders.
Participation in our contests allows us to increase our communication and leadership skills. Growth can be achieved when members step outside their comfort zone. Increased participation in Club, Area, and Division and District contest is an opportunity to accomplish the District 65 goals. Invite your coworkers, family, and friends and community to your contest. Share your story.
Toastmasters create Leaders. Our world is in need of leaders with positive communication skills.
Thank you for your engagement and participation regarding increasing the quality of our Toastmaster Programs. We need your input on how you want our training and programs to be structured and what works best for you… the member. We look forward to helping you expand your communication and leadership skills.
I value fun and teamwork in Toastmasters. It has been my experience that we can accomplish our goals if we all work together as a team.
Our theme is “Make Toastmasters Part of Your Story”. When you share your toastmasters experience with others, they become a part of your Toastmaster Story. I wish you the best.
Finding Speech Topics – Video
For many toastmasters, finding a speech topic is one of their biggest challenges. But there is good news. Toastmasters International has a great video that will help you to make this process easier. It is only 5 minutes and packed with 5 great ways to find speech topics everywhere. Click here to watch the video.
We Need Your Proxy
by Ellen Pieklo, DTM – District 65 Director
Don’t let your club’s vote go to waste. If you are a club president or Club Secretary, your voice needs to be heard. Every club receives 2 votes at the International Convention – Annual Business Meeting. Please follow the steps below.
The Annual Business Meeting will be held on August 26 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Your voice is important, and you have a significant role to play in this process. Start by learning about the candidates and proposed amendments. At your next club meeting, discuss which candidates best meet the future needs of Toastmasters International and which proposals you are in agreement with. Make it official with a vote to determine how the club’s votes will be cast.
If no one in your club is planning to attend the meeting, you may designate a proxyholder to cast the club’s votes. Proxyholders are required to vote in the manner a club designates; if a voting preference is not designated, the proxyholder may vote in their own best interest.
NOTE: The club president and secretary must assign the club votes. If the votes are not assigned, they cannot be cast. Votes must be assigned even if you are assigning the votes to yourself.
To assign the club votes, go to www.toastmasters.org/clubcentral, log in, choose the club(s) you are assigning proxies for and click on Club Proxy. If you have any questions about the voting process, please email email@example.com.
FUN Meeting Ideas
By Keith Maderer, DTM – Club Growth Director
Fun meeting make members and guests welcome and engaged. Here is another fun idea that everyone can participate in.
BOOK REVIEW MEETING: Announce this meeting at least 2 weeks in advance and ask each member to prepare a short 2-4 minute presentation on a book of their choice. The assigned topic would be to review a book the member read, liked, hated, would recommend, would not recommend, should be burned, etc.
The object would be to get everybody up to the lectern to share their short review. The book reviews will enlighten other members as to what type of literature they are interested in and whether or not the book is worth reading.
These type of meetings can help members bond and become more engaged with each other. If guests re in attendance they will get to see some short, interesting presentations that are tailor made by your members.
These short presentations are a cross between a full speech and an evaluation. With 40 to 50 minutes available for a one hour meeting, you can continue to have a Word of the Day, Ahh Counter, Grammarian and a General Evaluator. The Toastmaster can introduce each member with the book’s title and author that they are reviewing.
Have fun with it and you are guaranteed to be exposed to some valuable lessons and great literature.
Meeting Mixing Motivations
Making Large Groups… Less Scary
By Carina Paton
When I first ventured to events above the club level last year, the first thing that I noticed is that people were tending to stick with the people they knew. This is great to continue building relationships with people that you may not see as often as you like, but it’s not so great for the first-timers who have not yet built their “circle.”
I noticed this phenomenon because I was that first-timer. I sat and talked with a couple others in my club who attended the conference. One of the reasons that I came to the conference was to meet new Toastmasters that I could learn from. But despite my best efforts, my fellow club members were pretty much the only ones I talked with. It did not feel like an environment in which I could approach people that I didn’t know.
Those of you that attended Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) trainings (a.k.a. officer training) in Batavia and Syracuse this past month may have noticed that it felt different than the last one you went to. Our new District TRIO, Ellen, Lillian and Keith, encouraged everyone sit next to people that they did not already know, and get to know them.
You may have grumbled about it feeling like a forced speed networking session—but honestly, did you feel that way because it put you a little bit outside your comfort zone? The result was incredible! By the time lunch came around, people chose to sit with “strangers” and it was hard to hear over all the wonderful discussions that people were having over their salads and sandwiches.
This is the first step our District has taken this year to create a welcoming environment for all. And a welcoming environment is one of those “intangibles” that Corey Wilson and Alex Turner, spoke about in their presentations both at the TLI and in their workshop in the Spring conference in Rochester earlier this year. If we create a culture of welcoming environments, we will have more successful clubs, areas, divisions, and districts—and as a result we will have more successful members.
We are always telling new members that Toastmasters is a safe place to try things out. But we forget that this also applies to our social skills, our mingling skills, our networking skills—whatever you call it. Your next club meeting is the perfect opportunity to push the boundary of your comfort zone ever so slightly. Often people will tend to sit in the same seat, next to the same people meeting after meeting. Mix it up!
When you next enter your meeting room, ask yourself: “Who haven’t I chatted with for a while?” Sit next to them. Ask how their week has been or what they did over the weekend. Ask about their family. Ask about their work. Ask about their next goal in Toastmasters and how you can help them.
Take every opportunity to practice those skills—the more you practice, the more confident and friendly you will be, and the more you will help your club, area, division, district and yourself.
by Sam Mehta, DTM, PDG
Corporate clubs are comparatively quicker and at times even easier to build than traditional community clubs.
When an organization or a corporation initiates and communicates their interest in having a corporate Toastmasters club at their place of business; it’s always a slam-dunk!
It is always good to have a good point of contact established early-on to have ongoing communications. As a result of initial communications, the level of interest coupled with the extent of their need to form a Toastmasters club can be quickly determined.
Preplanning before the actual DEMO meeting is crucial, in order to establish what the two parties working in harmony will bring to the table in starting and forming of a Toastmasters Club. The corporation will generally [a] provide the facility for the meeting place; [b] make internal announcements communications, re: the Toastmasters program, including distribution of TI promotional materials, etc., and [c] provide the critical mass of employees [preferably between 20 to 30 members] to attend the DEMO meeting at a given date and time.
Ideally, the DEMO meeting should be between 45 minutes to a maximum of one hour, including at least 5 to 10 minutes at the end for Q&A. Toastmasters will provide [a] the expertise in starting of a new Toastmasters club; [b] support for the club with two experienced mentors for the first six to as much as twelve months, if needed; [c] hands-on training for the individual club officers, and [d] support of the Area and District leaderships to ensure smooth transition and success.
Here is a three-step approach in building and chartering a corporate Toastmasters club.
The DEMO meeting team ideally should have a combination of some experienced as well as newer Toastmasters. The DEMO team can have between 5 to 7 Toastmasters roles as follows: an experienced Toastmaster, a fairly proficient speaker, a dedicated evaluator, a Table Topic Master, a General Evaluator, with a Timer and a WAG Master [Word master, Ah Counter, Grammarian] as optional roles/positions. The purpose of the DEMO meeting needs to be explained upfront and the benefits of Toastmasters need to be described throughout the DEMO meeting event. In special circumstances and with prior consent, an employee or two may be invited to participate in the Table Topic session. [When at least 17 or more employees are ready to join, as a result of the DEMO meeting, the follow-up date for step 2 needs to be put in-place, immediately at the end of the DEMO meeting and/or within a week.]
At the “organizational meeting” the following items are conducted [a] decision regarding the name of the club by vote; [b] decision on time, place and frequency of the club meetings, by vote and consensus, [encouraging weekly meetings vs. twice a month and/or every other week meetings]; [c] decision on the subsidizing of the membership dues, if any, etc.; and [d] election of the club officers, by vote. [When step 2 is completed, step 3 can be done immediately on the same day and/or within a day or two.]
Actual collection of membership dues, signing of the club constitution and club by-laws, membership and club officer listing, and mailing of the final documents to TI, can be accomplished in this meeting.
Please note that in certain circumstances it may become necessary to take the ATO [Application To Organize] route/approach in chartering a corporate club, especially when the respective corporation is not fully ready and/or committed to start a new club and/or does not have the critical-mass of members required to start the club. Patience and perseverance are required when dealing with low-member clubs.
The key to success of the three-step approach requires comprehensive preplanning, a dynamic DEMO meeting, and keeping the enthusiasm alive immediately following the success of DEMO meeting in organization/execution of the new club.
Sam Mehta, DTM, PDG
Sam has been personally involved in building and sponsoring over a dozen corporate and community clubs. Sam has used the above three-step approach in forming corporate clubs successfully and many of these clubs are still thriving today.
Make up Club Officer Training sessions have been scheduled for the following divisions:
Division B & C
Make Up TLI Sessions – Seeking Presenters
Irondequoit Library Reservations
02/18 – Doors Open at 1:00 pm – Registration at 1:30 pm – Training ( 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm)
02/20 – Doors Open at 6:00 pm – Registration at 6:30 pm – Training ( 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm)
02/22 – Doors Open at 6:00 pm – Registration at 6:30 pm – Training ( 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm)
02/24 – Doors Open at 10:00 am – Registration at 10:30 am – Training (11:00 am – 1:00 pm)