Enhance your abilities

Sherry Briscoe receives ACBSherry Briscoe (on the left) is here presented with her Advanced Communicator Bronze award by VP of Education Pamela Bostic. Congratulations!

Sherry is a great storyteller and published author. Toastmasters has helped her enhance her abilities. She can present her stories more effectively and conduct training for other writers with skill — so that everyone in her audience comes away with the Point of the Story.

What skills would  you like to take to the next level?

Learning and Growing!

Melanie receives ACB and ALB awardsRiver Speakers member and past president, Melanie Palmer, is here presented with her Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Leadership Bronze awards by VP of Education Pamela Bostic.

Toastmasters believes that by doing — by stretching your boundaries — you can achieve what you may not have thought possible.

If you visit us, say “hi” and “congratulations” to Melanie when you see her!

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Celebrating growth and effort

Robin (left) and Sherry

One of the most exciting benchmarks a club can experience is recognizing a member’s achievement. At our June 22, 2017 meeting, we were proudly of one mind in congratulating Robin O’Neill as she received her Advanced Communicator Silver certificate.

As Sherry Briscoe, our VP of Education noted, this means that Robin has presented a minimum of 30 speeches. Thank you, Robin, for all you’ve contributed in sharing and growing with us.

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2017 International Convention … is in Vancouver!

The 86th annual International Convention will be in August — practically next door — in Vancouver, British Columbia!

This may be your only opportunity to attend and participate at this level! Previous conventions have been in Washington DC and Malaysia.

Read more about it on the Toastmasters page for the 2017 international convention.

Why attend…?

What is TLI?

Twice a year you’ll hear your Presiding Officer talk about how “TLI is coming up!” What is TLI and why should you be interested?

“TLI” stands for Toastmasters Leadership Institute and it’s a half-day workshop with your peers in the area. Or “division” — to be more precise. With us, that’s the greater Treasure Valley and all the way over to Ontario — about 25 clubs in all.

Sessions include training for officers — but always also include an invigorating keynote speech as well as break-out sessions on relevant topics that will help grow your understanding and experience as a Toastmaster — a communicator and leader.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity to get “out of the rut” and meet Toastmasters from other clubs and learn how they approach the goals we’re all working towards.

Consider signing up. It’s free, and it’s just 4 hours on a Saturday. This time it’ll be held just down the road at Albertsons Corporate offices, 250 E. Park Blvd. here in Boise.

See you there!

…and leadership, too

During Toastmasters club meetings we’re typically focused on the speeches. That’s appropriate! “Communication skills” is one of the twin goals — as stated in the Toastmasters Club Mission Statement:

We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

But we’re also an environment in which you can discover and hone your leadership skills. You can apply some of these skills by serving your fellow members in meeting roles like Ah-Grammarian, Timer, Evaluator, and Toastmaster.

Your Competent Leadership manual can help you here. Any of your fellow members would be happy to evaluate your meeting role — providing helpful feedback devised to explore an aspect of leadership as it applies to that role. (This also moves  you closer to your CL award.)

Be sure  you get full benefit from your meeting service. Bring your Competent Leadership manual to every meeting!

Free leadership videos from Steve Piet DTM

Steve Piet DTM is our District 15 Director and our via-Skype guest speaker from our Chartering Meeting, Oct. 29, 2015. You’ll recall that he spoke that day on leadership. Here are some other great resources he’s just shared on YouTube:

Part 1: Situational Leadership

This 12:06 clip describes the concept of leading according to the situation – the experience of the performers, urgency, and consequence of poor performance – and the need to lead your people to increasing independence.  Grow more leaders.

Part 2: Persuasive Leadership

This 20:19 clip describes three basic methods of persuasion.  A) We Shall Overcome (by facts and figures), B) Don’t Worry, be Happy, C) He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother.

Part 3: Tribal Leadership

This 16:23 clip summarizes the book, Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan et al.  The five stages of tribes are 1. Life Sucks, 2. My Life Sucks, 3. I’m OK, 4. We’re OK, 5. Life is Good.  Learn to identify the five stages and why you want to lead your group further along the scale.

Part 4: Servant Leadership

This 14:16 clip differentiates a servant leader from dictator and slave.  Punctuated by quotes, this talk also weaves together servant leadership with situational, persuasive, and tribal leadership.

Run On Both Legs

At least one of our board members is a runner and she’s run in several marathons. This takes determination, patience, perseverance, an eye on the goal, and an enjoyment of the journey.

Your Toastmasters experience has many similarities. To get the most out of your membership, you need those same qualities. One of the strengths of Toastmasters is that it’s not like a two-day workshop that quickly crams your head full of theory then sends you out on your own. It’s a journey, and in the company of your fellow members, all of whom want to support and encourage you, as you encourage and help them.

The title of this post refers to the two tracks you travel in the Toastmasters landscape: communication and leadership. When you joined Toastmasters you received two manuals: Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership.

You might consider bringing both manuals to meetings from now on. You already do this when you’re a featured speaker. That way your Evaluator can speak to your goals and enter your evaluation comments. But did you know that you can also be receiving acknowledgement (and credit) for all the meeting roles you take? Look through your Competent Leadership manual. In fact, turn to the last page and see just inside the back cover to see the full list.

By doing this you receive two benefits:

  • Your initiative, taking on meeting roles, is acknowledged. A record is kept and you can check off tasks as you move toward your Competent Leadership award.
  • You have an opportunity to gain insight from your meeting role evaluator as he or she comments on how you handled your meeting role task.

Each track, Communication and Leadership, complements the other. Be in a win-win!

What’s your plan?

Is it hard to get a big project done without a plan? Most members who attended our last meeting thought that was the case.

What is your next major goal within Toastmasters? It might be to complete your Competent Communicator manual. This 10-speech path creates a firm basis for presenting effectively and guides you in learning or refining those skills that will help you communicate in a more clear and compelling way.

So how do we get from A to Z? One method is to begin with the end in mind (completing our CC manual, let’s say) and determine when we want to complete it. Here’s a sheet that has our 07-01-2015 through 06-30-2016 meetings marked in.

  1. What would you like to have completed by next June 30? Speech 6? Speech 8? Speech 10? Mark that at the end of the page.
  2. Now — consider this four-week plan. (Of course, you can adjust it when you have vacations etc.) Look at the text at the bottom of the page.
  3. Take your first week to study your next speech’s goals and decide upon a topic. Read and re-read that CC chapter.
  4. The following week, write the first draft of your speech. Organize it well, with a clear opening, body, and close or conclusion.
  5. The week after that, start practicing your speech. You’ll further refine your speech through your practicing process. Time yourself. Does your speech generally fall within your time parameters? Generally speaking, 100 words equals a minute — but there are lots of variables that can change that.
  6. Now you’re ready to present your speech to your club. Be sure you book your speech date far enough in advance.
  7. The day or two before your speech, contact that meeting’s Toastmaster and provide them with your speech title and your introduction.

Following these seven steps you’ll achieve your goals and grow in your skills.