Toastmasters is a fabulous organization full of many opportunities to further ones expertise at communication and leadership. We all joined for our own personal reasons, but they probably stem from a desire to better our skills and network with other business leaders. I personally wanted to get over anxieties associated with speaking in front of a group of people. Fortunately I was able to get involved with the board in the first six months of being a club member. It has made a big difference in the level of participation with the club allowing growth of talents that had yet to be properly understood. By being pushed to get up at every meeting as the Sergeant at Arms the anxieties of speaking to the group have become much more controllable. It’s also resulted in a change in perspective for how an organization is run and helped in the pursuit of competent leadership.
What can you gain from seeking a leadership position on the board? Ultimately you won’t know the answer to this question until you take the leap of faith to get involved. The time requirements are minimal and it’s an excellent chance to get to know some of your fellow club members better. The board meetings allow everyone to take part in the decisions of the club which helps each of us individually get the most out of the Toastmasters experience. By asking not what your Toastmasters club can do for you, but what you can do for your club your perspective changes from your own self perceived limitations to focusing instead on the strengths of the group.
Sergeant at Arms
It’s become a “rite of passage” in Toastmasters that the first speech is about the speaker. It makes sense since this will serve as an introduction. The opportunity doesn’t have to be intimidating. You know your subject. With little preparation you can pull out a few life highlights, experiences or goals. It can feel good to let others know just who you are.
The style used to prepare and deliver the speech is entirely up to you. Whether you’re an outliner, like to elaborate on principles or need to read notes out loud – you will be supported. You may have no idea which style of presentation works, so try preparing in different ways and present them to someone who knows you well and to your Toastmaster mentor.
An active Toastmaster that seeks to complete the exercises should look to subsequent speeches to hone their skills. The first one has the ultimate goal of getting you up there and talking. By practicing and listening to one’s self prior to presenting, experience is gained. Confidence comes from making an action routine. The more attempts to “talk it out” prior to the meeting the more confident the performance will be.
We have many new members and thus there are Icebreakers to follow. Isn’t this why you became a member? Have fun with it because it’s all about you and your club is here to support you.
Whether you’re a guest visiting our club for the first time or a seasoned Toastmaster, allow me to help enrich your experience. Any materials or support structures required to accomplish your objectives are available and as the Sergeant at Arms, I will help you locate them. We are all here to aid in accomplishing each others communication and leadership goals. In my role as Sergeant at Arms, please allow me to help you.
Have you seen the television commercials from a cell phone company boasting that “they have an app for that?” Well it should be no surprise that Toastmasters can boast “they have a form for that.” Did you know there are forms available at each meeting to aid in speaker evaluation, Ah counting and various other roles? There are also a range of word cards to choose from for the Grammarian. Please take a look at what support materials are available and take advantage of them.
Also keep the upcoming Humorous Speaking and Evaluation contests on September 14 in mind. Don’t be intimidated – it is not necessary that you be stand-up comedian – a funny story or situation (with the skills you are developing as a Toastmaster) is all you need. Speech contests are an excellent way to get another speaking opportunity.
Your Chamber Voices will have a table at the Chamber of Commerce event know as “The Hub” formerly known as the Member to Member Marketing Expo. It will be held at the Chamber on Thursday August 25, 2011 from 4 to 6PM. See either Brian Rice or Rob Laughlin for details.
Sergeant at Arms