The Proroguing of our new business session‏

I am sorry to say that I missed the meeting of First Oakville Toastmasters held Thursday March 4th/2010.  We shall join our members in a discussion already in progress, started by Toastmaster Peter West in his blog. I would invite any further discussion to take place in the comments following this post. Toastmaster Michelle Gillies

Submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles:

This blog entry is in response to Peter’s recent blog and my short response.

First Oakville Toastmasters is becoming a victim of its own success. We are approaching 50 members again. We had 3 guests last night and if they join up then we will be at 50 members, again. A few Q&A may be in order

1) What is the purpose of Toastmasters? To provide an adult night school process where people can learn public speaking, presentation skills, and leadership skills in a supportive and friendly hands on environment.

2) How involved is the Toastmaster Education process? 4 levels on the communication side; CC, ACB, ACS, ACG and 3 levels on the leadership side; CL, ALB, ALS.

3) Are there any special conditions for these certificates? The ACG requires mentoring someone to the first 3 speeches. All the other requirements are for speeches and presentations. The ALS is different as you must be a sponsor, mentor, or coach for a new club. This may be why we do not have anyone with an ALS designation in the club.

With a membership count of 50 it becomes impossible to service everyone with 5 speeches a year. This means that it will take over 2 years to complete 1 level. With only speaking every couple of months it becomes very difficult to develop proficiency. Having 4 speakers a night is proving to be logistically troublesome given that most people do not want a 2 ½ hour meeting. Next year will have at least 4 new CCs in the club. So that means more people giving longer presentations. An important but unappreciated fact is that the meetings are held in the largest room in the Quality Hotel and it will only hold 35 in a U table configuration. I don’t think that everyone would want round tables of 8 on a steady basis, at least not until we offer coupons for chiropractic work on the neck.

So here are the tough questions. Who is happy about the current level of service? Should 1OV start to consider a split? Who would be willing to venture forth? Who would stick with the current club.

Dialogue would be appreciated. Please speak up and let everyone know what you think.

Donald Knowles

First Oakville Toastmasters

V.P. Education

Submitted by Toastmaster Val Clements:

My fellow toastmasters,

This is the great thing about toastmasters.  The open forum.  I have read Toastmaster West’s blog and I welcome his opinions.
It would be great to satisfy everyone’s desires.  To be honest I was thinking more of letting Michael achieve his project rather than Peter’s propensity for new business.
As I said, I’ve read the toastmaster’s blog.  Would I do anything differently……….no.

Best regards
Val

Submitted by Toastmaster Matt Wagner:

To First Oakville Toastmasters,

This is better than Reality Television.

This is why I go to Toastmasters and not stay home on Thursday nights to watch television.  No cable fees and far more entertaining.

A message to the newer members.

Before you wonder what is going on here, I just want to say that the combined numbers of years, as Toastmasters for Val and Peter, is well near 35 years of experience.

It is best to just watch them circling.

Surprisingly, this is what makes this club what it is – people expressing themselves well and with passion.

Where do you learn to swim better?  In shallow water or deep water?

To Iryna – Happy Woman’s Day.

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2 responses to “The Proroguing of our new business session‏

  1. John Smissen

    Donald Knowles raises some very valid questions.

    Donald asked “Who is happy about the current level of service?” Well, I am. I find it intriguing to see how we manage a cornucopia of riches in active and keen members who want to contribute to our meetings. With the constant speeding up of information flow and the need to get our message across in a timely fashion in all manner of situations in life we provide an ideal training ground I feel. If the Chair finds that the agenda is too crowded they should manage their riches and defer some non-essential items. (I regard new business in the business meeting as essential but that is another discussion point for another time!)

    Donald asked “Should 1OV start to consider a split? Who would be willing to venture forth? Who would stick with the current club?” I don’t think splitting the club is a Toastmaster option. Starting another club is an option. (No I’m not really splitting hairs! Starting a new club is usually a venture by a Toastmaster looking to earn a Distinguished Toastmaster designation.) It has been done before. The Trafalgar Club was started by some members of the First Oakville Club when it was the only club in town and known then as the Oakville Toastmaster Club. The Mansion Club was started by members of the Trafalgar Club and the First Oakville Club. In common with most Toastmaster clubs we expect to lose 25% of our membership by the time we start up again in September 2010 after the summer break. That is a fact of life. I feel we can manage with our present membership numbers through to when we close for the season in early June. It may be tight but I can only recall on one occasion in the last session when we had eight guests and we needed to set up a small extra table at the rear of the room to manage the overflow.

    I love that we are attracting new and keen members. It shows that we are doing something right. It also keeps our more seasoned members on their toes. To stay a vibrant and forward looking club we need to retain seasoned members and to attract new members and to make the best use of and to manage these resources.

    I have been the VP of Education several times in three different clubs. I think it is the toughest job on the executive. Donald does a great job in constantly adjusting the schedules to accommodate new members while managing other changes brought on by scheduled members availability. I think Donald raises valid concerns that I think the executive needs to review again and to manage appropriately. That we will do. Any and all input through our club blog or directly to me about this will be appreciated.

  2. I am thrilled to see this level of wonderful communications for the good of First Oakville Toastmasters. We are facing some amazing challenges and I am confident that we have members who are more than capable of finding the answers.

    The simple answer is for Toastmasters working on their DTM designation to form a new club. It’s been done many times in the past and appears like it’s time to consider this solution again.