I am so glad to be writing about my first experience with Toastmaster’s. Now, as a foreword, I wish to inform that I am a new member. I became a member in March 2018. I started my journey on Pathways directly. So, I am in not the best person to critically assess Pathways with the previous system. However, I was informed that I was the first person at TM La Defense to register on Pathways. I am here to write about my experience.
Before I became a member, I attended the presentation on Pathways. I felt the presentation was complex, especially since I was not aware of the earlier modules. I have been attending TMLD for a good 3 months before I became a member. My objective when I started was simple: Get out of the stage fright and learn how to face a crowd. I volunteered as a table top speaker, whenever I got an opportunity and I realized my confidence grow, the more I attended TM. I also got an opportunity to listen to seasoned speakers, as well as speakers who were just getting started, like me. I was able to identify the differences in body language, the clarity of thought structuring, choice of vocabulary, pauses and engaging the crowd.
This should have been good enough, don’t you all think? But then, I got introduced to Pathways. Initially, I was not fully into it. Obviously, since I was already getting more than I asked for. Honestly, it was Emilie who kept pushing me. I used to get 2 mails every week from her to take up the Pathways assessment.
Despite my reservations, I liked the assessment. It was meant to help identify the path you wish to engage in. But, for me it was a booster to structure my goals and vision, and what I expected from Toastmasters. It helped me channel my thoughts from simply moving out of my short term goals and to think long term. I joined TM to improve my crowd presentation. After I took the assessment, I started thinking “what after”. TM will help me get out of my complexes, I can even get it without becoming a member, just by being a table top guest speaker. But the assessment helped me realize that being a speaker, was more than that. There are different types of speakers. The motivational speaker, the thought leader, the coach, the negotiator. Each comes with a different set of personality traits. These can be built up as you progress.
To put it simply, Pathways is a structured program. I was impressed by the library of resources available on the Pathway website. I chose “Presentation Mastery” based on my evaluation. There are 5 levels in the curriculum with increasing levels of complexity, starting with ice breaker. The mentorship is introduced from the 4th project on. Each project focuses on a specific skill, for example: Presenting based on research, effective body language, being persuasive speaker etc. And each project starts with a video link which simplifies the objectives and the evaluation. Honestly, I feel the planning and structuring in Pathways is better than my B School presentation syllabus.
I am looking forward to work my way through the Pathway and complete it.
(Written by Amit Durgaprasad, sergeant at arms and member for a few months now)
EXCOM officers’ elections and the wedding planning
EXCOM elections are going to be held during the first meeting of June 2018. We are all invited to stand for one of the 7 roles. Imagine it is a wedding. As guests, we are welcomed, we eat, we drink and we dance. On the other hand we are asked to contribute to marrying couple’s happiness with a generous gift. The wedding event would not run smoothly without the nosy mother-in-law-to-be’s choices, the bride tears, the rings forgotten by the groom and the wedding planners’ organization.
It is a matter of giving and taking. It is a promise we made when joining the club. It is a chance to gain experience as a leader. It is an opportunity to learn by doing. It is a commitment to our personal objectives and to the toastmaster community goals. It is a moment to hone our skills. There are so many reasons.
Let’s go through some examples.
As a president, you will lead and motivate a club. You will set goals and delegate. What a great opportunity if you want to be a business unit director or a team manager. That is being operational before the beginning. Ask more to Camille.
As VP Education, you schedule club member speeches in Easyspeak and Pathways , you keep abreast of the latest education programs and developments and know the members progress. The VP Ed role is a valuable experience as project manager. That’s planning, resource allocation, client requirements awareness and coaching. Ask more to Emilie.
As a VP Membership, you enrol new members. That is key role where promotion skills and empathy are developed with a lot of human touch. A warm welcome, a follow up of guests interest in joining and the clarification about the club objectives and activities are key to a successful club growth. Ask more to Milena.
As a VP Public Relations, you will run the social media, give an account of the events, publish newsletters and promote the club among the members and the outside world. That paves the way to become a community manager, a blogger, a vlogger, a web marketer, a web master, a journalist, a writer, a tool geek, an artist, an newspaper humorist. Ask more to Fabrice
As a Secretary, you make the EXCOM team’s clock tick, keep the record of decisions and planned activities and plan the club meetings and calendars. The role can be compared to the human memory and the little voice in our brains that reminds us what we have to do. Rigor, precision, recalling commitment to deadlines, organizing meetings, writing reports are values and skills sought in any professional field. Ask more to Anne.
As a Treasurer, you pay attention to the cash in and the cash out and know all about the legal intricacies about the club registration at the city hall and at the bank counter. Accounting, budget planning and money talks are your obsessions. Well, that is exaggerated. Money brings satisfaction but not happiness and you know it when resources are limited. Ask more to Francoise
As a sergeant-at-arms, you are a logistics manager . The role can also be seen as the management of all the providers. The event happens in a rented room or in a restaurant. The club deploys the banners, sets up the room, estimates the number of persons present, brings in the material and the equipment. That is another skill valued in many professional fields. Ask more to Amit.
In conclusion, there are seven wedding planning roles and all members get married to their communication and leadership goals.
Description of the roles
Check this link to know more about the roles and the club organization:
As the person who sets the tone for the club, you are expected to provide helpful, supportive leadership for all of the club’s activities and be the first to assume responsibility for the progress and welfare of the club. You motivate, make peace and facilitate as required. Though you must occasionally step in and make a difficult decision, rarely do so without consulting club members and other club officers. Strive to show respect for all members, even when you do not agree with them, and provide leadership for all.
2) VICE PRESIDENT EDUCATION
As vice president education, you schedule members’ speeches, verify the completion of projects and serve as a resource for questions about education awards, speech contests and the mentor program. You are an important source of Toastmasters knowledge for club members and it is your job to become familiar with all aspects of the Toastmasters education program.
3) VICE PRESIDENT MEMBERSHIP
You promote the club and manage the process of bringing in guests and transforming them into members. By initiating contact with guests, helping them feel welcome and providing them with the information they need to join, you help maintain a constant influx of new people into your club. You also attentively monitor membership levels and strategize with the rest of the executive committee about how to overcome membership challenges when they occur.
4) VICE PRESIDENT PUBLIC RELATIONS
You promote the club to the local community and notify the media about the club’s existence and the benefits it provides. You promote the club, update web content and safeguard the Toastmasters brand identity. It’s your job to notify the media whenever your club does something newsworthy.
As vice president public relations, you’ll find yourself writing news releases, creating and distributing fliers and maintaining the club’s presence on the web and in the community.
You maintain all club records, manage club files, handle club correspondence and take the minutes at each club and executive committee meeting. You are also in charge of updating and distributing a roster of the current paid membership and keeping the club officer list current for Toastmasters International. Though some clubs combine the secretary role with the treasurer, it’s best to have a dedicated secretary who can help reduce the workload of the treasurer and occasionally assist the vice president education as well. Order supplies for the club as needed.
You are the club’s accountant. You manage the club’s bank account, writing checks as approved by the executive committee and depositing membership dues payments and other club revenues. You are also in charge of submitting membership dues payments to World Headquarters (accompanied by the names of renewing members), filing necessary tax documents and keeping timely, accurate, up-to-date financial records for the club.
Though the treasurer’s duties are usually not the most demanding of all the club leadership positions, the consequences for members can be serious when they’re not completed accurately and on time.
7) SERGEANT AT ARMS
You keep track of the club’s physical property, such as the banner, lectern, timing device and other meeting materials. You arrive early to prepare the meeting place for members and stay late to stow all of the club’s equipment. You are also in charge of the meeting place itself, obtaining a new space when necessary and maintaining contact with the people who allow you to use the space for your club meetings. The sergeant at arms also has a role to play during business meetings, speech contests and other special club events. For example, the sergeant at arms escorts potential new members outside of the club’s meeting place while the members vote on admitting them to the club. The sergeant at arms stands at the door while contestants compete in speech contests to ensure that the speaker is not interrupted by latecomers
What kind of relationship do we have with THE MAGAZINE FOR COMMUNICATORS & LEADERS?
It travels half the world. It crosses oceans and many borders. It reaches monthly our mailbox. No. Not the electronic mailbox. The other one, the one that we open with a key and that contains unwanted ads, invoices, income tax forms and once in a while a postcard. The magazine continues its journey into our home. It is unwrapped from its plastic protection and piled up with the other ones. We might browse through it and read the article that caught out attention. Then it is left around to adorn the magazine basket of the living room. Our guests might spot it, flip through its pages and ask what toastmasters is.
Almost all TM magazines display a happy smiling person. We even have got the impression that the character from the cover is ready to shake our hand. Imagine for a moment, the magazine is a toastmaster that knocks at our door. For sure, we would be more welcoming.
- W: Come on in. Please wait a few secs. I run some errands and I am all yours
- T: OK. I wait. I am used to wait!
- W: I am going to drink a coffee if you don’t mind.
- T: You can. I will take some minutes of your time
- W: Indeed. I am very busy. I need to constantly check my smartphone and barely have the time to pay attention to your stories and articles
- T: I am going to give you a mind map of what I have to tell you and remind the electronic version also exists. I show up on your smartphone as well.
Devote some minutes more for a broader picture. Click on the picture and zoom in with the magnifying lens.
TM Magazine Mind map details
1.1 how a club was started
1.2 Ralph Smedley’s vision (TM founder)
1.3 why your ideas aren’t heard
1.4 skills to boost your career
1.5 art of followership
1.6 a first time leader
1.8 becoming a coach
1.9 a quiet leader
1.10 goals to succeed
1.11 goal setting and success (sportswoman testimnials)
1.12 habits and goals:we are whatt we do
1.13 negociation mistakes
2 recurring articles
2.1 TMI president’s viewpoint
2.2 members forum & opinions
2.3 traveling Toastmaster
2.4 funny you should say that
2.4.1 talking to extraterrestrials
2.4.2 having a million dollars
2.4.3 giving a name to a retirement house
2.4.4 winter olympics
2.4.5 epitaphs and tombstones
2.4.6 april: when new years resolutions are abandoned
3.1 influence in career
3.1.1 overcoming harassment and bullying
3.1.2 corporate club and personnel growth
3.1.3 corporate club and goal setting
3.2 influence in life
3.2.1 overcoming addictions
3.2.2 empowering others
3.2.3 members in a prison
3.2.4 becoming a better father
3.2.5 engagement of old members
3.2.6 how couples met and got married
3.2.7 TM values after the a hurricane disaster
3.2.8 inspiration to publish a book
3.2.9 roaming the world and completing the CC in several clubs
3.2.10 overcoming unemployment
3.2.11 improving education standards and values in schools
3.2.12 friendship created through TM events
3.2.13 TM and elder persons in retirement
3.2.14 helping youth at risk
3.2.15 sailing and leadership
3.2.16 TM once, TM always in the university
3.2.17 struggling students, freedom writers and speakers
3.2.18 importance of communication in startup creation
3.2.19 how a member became a humor writer
3.2.20 a member with down syndrome that became an actress
3.2.21 when your mum ‘s a toastmaster
4.1 create and publish your ebook
4.2 travel to Costa Rica
4.3 become a public speaking coach
4.4 guided tours in Canada & the US
4.5 zen and art of public speaking
5.1.1 elevator pitch
5.1.2 rhetorical devices
5.1.3 ways to begin a speech
5.1.4 writing appreciation letters
5.1.5 improve persuasiveness
5.1.6 expressing your thoughts
5.1.7 smart notes
5.1.8 prop-ups and latest technologies
5.1.9 tips for table topics (impromptu speeches)
5.1.10 grow from evaluations
5.1.11 get to the point and meaningfulness
5.1.12 become a better conversationalist
5.1.13 make memorable speeches
5.1.14 stuttering, music and vocal variety
5.1.15 “my struggle and your lesson” speech are tiring
5.1.16 stopping saying ah, Um …
5.1.17 add humor to your speech
5.1.18 vocal variety
5.1.19 speech within time imits
5.1.20 muzzling a serial interrupter
5.1.21 find the suitable word
5.1.22 reading a prepared text in public
5.2 related topics
5.2.1 professional speaking
5.2.2 professions based on the voice. address announcer
5.2.3 voice in media
5.2.4 preparing a job interview
5.2.5 theatre and comedy
5.2.6 TED talks
5.2.7 cross cultural communication
5.2.8 panel discussion
5.2.10 speech when accepting an award
5.2.11 snackification: influence of social media in social interactions
5.2.12 cultivating mindfulness
5.2.13 theater and being on stage
5.2.14 fake news and quote validity
5.2.15 myths over professional speakers
5.2.19 speaking outside your club
5.3.1 reacting to feedbacks
5.3.2 unravelling your blind spots
5.3.3 what to say onstage, what to say privtely
6.1 meet my mentor
6.2 finding a mentor
7 TM club community
7.1 executive committee roles/organization
7.1.1 ABC of acronyms
7.1.2 becoming an area director
7.1.3 the new TMI president
7.1.4 becoming an accredited speaker
7.1.5 promote through social media
7.2 club life
7.2.1 member retention
7.2.2 dealing with an annoying member
7.2.3 member engagement
7.2.4 biweekly meetings
- ah counting
- being a toastmaster of the meeting for the first time
- volunteer or call for table topics
- welcoming guests
7.2.5 ways to grow your club
7.2.6 importance of having fun
7.2.7 balancing demographics
7.2.8 dying clubs and resurrecting them
7.2.9 how to benefit from the TM organization
hesitating to participate in a contest
7.3.3 connecting clubs
7.3.4 international conventions
- presentation of speakers
7.3.5 open houses an demo meetings
7.3.6 TM youth leadership programs
8.1 reasons for change
8.2 worldwide rollout
Are you a Toastmasters role model member? Complete this seriously humorous test to know yourself. Pure knowledge, know-how, attitude and values are at stake. Count the positive answers and you’ll get a grade at the end.
Knowledge and awareness (savoir, connaissance et conscience)
- You know the name of Toastmasters’ founder and the location of Toastmasters international
- You know the area, the division, the district and the region your club belongs to
- You can list by heart the 10 competent leader and the 10 competent communicator projects
- You know the names and roles of your club’s executive committee
- You can explain how a regular event is organized
- You no longer ask yourself what these acronyms mean: TM, CL, CC, DTM, ALB, ALS, COT, …
- You know what a DTM is and have made a choice for the leadership and communication tracks
- You can explain what Pathways is
- You read regularly the monthly TM magazines instead of piling them up in a corner of your house
- You can give on the spot examples of euphemisms, quotes of your favourite writer and have learnt by heart a speech from a famous speaker
- You consciously apply the CL and CC principles at your workplace, at home , in any everyday activity
- You have won club awards and contests awards (and display them in your kitchen for your kids to imitate you)
- You know how to evaluate a speech … and don’t finish thinking: “ I could have said that instead”
- You make pauses and have banned from your vocabulary: “ah”, “mmh”, “you know”, “well”, “so” and so on.
- You pay attention to how to pronounce words and check your grammar before any prepared speech
- Your prepared speeches are methodically prepared (written speech, voice recording, delivery in front of a mirror or in front of a friend, study of gestures, voice , rhetorical devices and expressiveness)
- You ask others to be filmed and debrief watching the video and reading the evaluators feedback
- You volunteer any time as a participant or as an organizer whenever there is an event, a contest, any extra activity
- You have attended a toastmasters’ event outside your own club, your own city or your own country
- You greet and encourage new members at each event
- During an event you politely make the “toastmaster of the day” notice something has to be said or that something is missing
- If you are an English native speaker, you correct those damned Froggies because they do the same when you speak French.
- You have invited friends and colleagues that have become members
- You help the “meet and greet” and the fee collector
Values, mission and vision (valeurs, mission, vision)
- Each time you come to an event, you confirm what motivated you to join TM
- You remember the oath you made when joining Toastmasters
- You really want to make other members improve their skills and have started implementing coaching programs at your club level
- You are a confirmed leader in your sector (entrepreneur, high executive, director, facilitator, any job) and recognize that TM helped you
- You are a confirmed communicator (speaker, journalist, media representative, any job) and recognize that TM helped you
- You think it is worthwhile fulfilling a role at area, division, district and region levels and forgot the year you joined the toastmasters organization
1 to 7: you are a beginning member
9 to 15: you are a well-informed active member of your club. Leadership and communication skills are part of your guts
16 to 22: you’ve got ambitions beyond a regular active member. Ask yourself why?
23 to 30: you should consider joining the international Toastmasters organization or take a vacation
Bonus: If all French were luminaries and geniuses, explain why they could never reach 30 positive answers. There is a puzzle and a reason.