Once the cheque clears the bank the applicant can now call themselves a Toastmaster. But the formalities don’t end there. Very soon the vice president of membership holds an induction ceremony where the new member and their fellow club members exchange a series of pledges.
While the wording may change from club to club essentially the member pledges to attend meetings regularly and prepare fully for each assignment. They also are required to apply themselves to the Toastmaster program, participate in club activities, evaluate others in a positive, constructive manner, to create open, friendly relationships with fellow members and to bring new members into Toastmasters.
This is a big pledge.
Among other things it means that even if you’re not on the agenda you have pledged to attend meetings regularly. When we attend meetings regularly we get to know our fellow members. We have the opportunity to speak during Table Topics and the business session. We can offer helpful positive evaluations to the speakers and in this we learn how to become better evaluators. Not showing up when we’re not on the agenda means that not only are we missing out on a learning opportunity but we’re not keeping out word.
The same thing goes when we decide we’re not going to complete the role assigned to us on the agenda.
Not only does this inconvenience your fellow members but you are missed and it is noticed. If you can’t attend for whatever reason, it’s your responsibility to find a replacement. Firing off an email to the club list is allowed but it remains your responsibility to ensure the role is filled. Members who regularly miss filling their roles can expect a call from the vp of ed or their mentor.
Agendas are sent out in advance so that we can make plans to fulfill our roles. Whether it’s something as simple as greeting or helping the sergeant-at-arms or being the chair or the Toastmaster each role is important in its own way. New members who are greeters have an opportunity to meet their fellow members and, perhaps more importantly, are the first person guests meet when they come in the door. A warm and welcoming greeting can do much to encourage newcomers to join Toastmasters.
The chair for the evening sets the tone for the entire night. A well-prepared chair (and Toastmaster) can deliver a memorable and enjoyable meeting that starts and ends on time (a rare feat lately).
But is all this emphasis on pledges and keeping our word just so much pedantic babbling.
No not at all.
Toastmasters International has just launched a new branding campaign for the world-wide organizations and leadership skills are now on a equal level to to speaking skills. There’s a new slogan” Toastmasters International – Where Leaders Are Made.”
The world needs leaders who inspire and motivate others to help solve the global issues that befall us whether it’s to do with the economy or war or hunger.
This is the role of Toastmasters and it starts by keeping to our word around showing up and completing the task to the best of our abilities.
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