The Timing of Meetings

Dear Fellow Toastmasters:
As VP Education, I was especially interested to hear the both the discussion last week and subsequent suggestions last night with regards to the timing of our meetings. Thanks to Peter West for choosing a subject for his assignment that also serves as critical information to the members of First Oakville.
After listening to our members offer their opinions, my understanding is that even though timing is not an issue for two-thirds of our members, it is important to be more aware of the timing of each role during the course of the evening.  Some of us are not sure what the timing should be.  This will be rectified by education ~ both by distribution of a listing of recommended times for each role, and also by conducting a session to explain pertinent aspects of each role (including the timing).  This awareness should improve the timing of the meeting automatically as long as we enforce the recommendations.
Furthermore, the timing is affected by how many speeches the VP Education schedules.  This is a challenge for me because I have promised to support the educational goals of each and every member from the new member to the most seasoned member.  Why is it difficult?  If we stick to only three speeches per night, it could take up to two years to achieve a basic Competent Communicator designation because of the large membership of First Oakville.  Not to mention that as our senior members approach the advanced manuals, many of the presentations are more than seven minutes.   The truth is that if a member does not see progress and work towards their goals in a timely manner, they lose enthusiasm and momentum for the programme itself.
My first response is to schedule the majority of meetings with only three speeches for the next couple of months.  Let’s work on timing in all parts of the meeting, and become more focused and aware in each and every role we perform.  After the first of the year I have booked a few meetings with four speeches because we are gearing up for the International Contest and I want to offer more speaking opportunities leading up to contest season.
Aside from our own speaking schedule, we have two clubs in Oakville looking for speakers!  Most especially, Glen Abbey Toastmasters who meet on Wednesday evenings at the Sheridan Residence Centre is in dire need of speakers.  Also, Trafalgar Club is more than happy to accept guest speakers. Trafalgar meets on Monday evenings (7:15) at the Oakville Public Library on Navy Street.  Their membership base has decreased significantly this past year.  This is an excellent opportunity to not only move forward more quickly in the quest for your educational goals, but also a unique opportunity to receive evaluations from Toastmasters outside our own beloved First Oakville Toastmasters.  Your participation is also assisting a fellow Club at the same time. Please contact me so that I may arrange with the VP Education of each Club for a speaking opportunity.
Secondly, I am convinced that offering extra workshops (as our budget allows) in parliamentary procedure, evaluation and learning the roles of the meeting will help us become more efficient during the course of our regular meetings.  Based on interest polled last night, this is something that our members would support wholeheartedly.
Finally, the Executive will be discussing those top three points determined by the membership last evening at our next Executive meeting.  We have been given the privilege and responsibility to maintain the high standards and integrity of First Oakville Toastmasters that so many before us have worked so diligently to achieve.
It is a privilege to be a member of a Club that can work towards a solution together for the good of all Toastmasters!
I welcome any and all feedback.
Best regards,
Linda Rossi
VP Education
First Oakville Toastmasters
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