Monday, August 25, 2008

Tip of the Week: The Power of the CL Manual!

(courtesy Gary Jones, President, Grand River Toastmasters)

In July 2006 Toastmasters launched a new Manual to further enhance the Toastmaster Program. The Competent Leadership Manual is now an intricate part of the Toastmaster jourmey and should be an intricate part of each Toastmaster meeting. As you may know I have completed this manual three times and am a huge advocate of the manual!

You might ask why would someone do this manual repeatedly or perhaps why would someone do this manual at all? The answer is simple! This manual provides the glue to each meeting. It facilitates discussion between the person conducting the designated role and the person providing feedback. It engages those who may not have a role at the meeting. It ensures that the roles are being conducted effectively and that any areas of growth may be addressed.

For instance, imagine Fred is the Timer at the weekly meeting. Perhaps Fred has in the past been forgetting some aspects of this role. The person giving the feedback can use this interaction to highlight the aspects of the role that Fred did well and can offer suggestions where Fred may do the role even better In the future Fred will be able to pass on this advice to new members. The overall result is a stronger more effective weekly meeting.

Some of the projects in the manual are conducted outside the Club environment. For instance a member may want to organize a club picnic or special event. You will see in Project ten of the manual a section where this activity can be used towards completion of the CL designation.

The manual also offers a vehicle for Mentors to challenge Mentees to complete a task or role. The guidelines and content of each project in the manual provides valuable information on various aspects of Leadership The feedback questions gives precise areas to help the participant develop.

I would encourage all members new and experienced to use the manual at each meeting!

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Perspectives" - Toastmasters Tip of the Week

(courtesy Gary Jones, President, Grand River Toastmasters)

This week's Tip is.....

Building and Maintaining a Strong Club.

It has been said that it takes 6 to 8 months to get a new club up and running and 6 to 8 meetings to kill a vibrant club. Why is this?

A Toastmaster's meeting must always be a safe space to experience. This means that each participant is experiencing a role or activity that is not overwhelming or too far out of their comfort zone,

We have seen some members distance themselves from meetings and sometimes drop out due to the expectations fellow members place on them.

For instance we once had a member who joined as they wanted to build up their confidence level. They were comfortable doing timer, invocation and such roles. When performing these roles everyone who witnesses the results were blown away by how well they conducted themselves.

The group response was to encourage the person to start doing speeches and other roles as soon as possible. What they didn't know was that the person's Mentor was actively working to maintain the person in the club. They were dealing with the Fight or Flight response the person was struggling with.

This new member actually left the club as it was easier to quit than to stand upon to the group pressure to move ahead.

Let's always allow room for appropriate involvement. Let us leave the filling of roles to the VP of Education so that the dynamics of member growth can be a safe and pleasurable experience for one and all.