Newcomers to Toastmasters quickly discover there is much more to being a Toastmaster than just giving speeches.
All Toastmaster clubs are learning organizations that provide an educational program that allows us to grow as speakers, listeners and leaders.
New members can be overwhelmed or confused about what is expected and thus, many clubs including First Oakville, provide new members with a mentor.
It is generally thought that it is the responsibility of the new member to contact their assigned mentor and create a working relationship that suits the mentee.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of mentoring many mentees and here’s how it worked out:
- Some mentees never call and initiated the process. Most left before the end of their first year.
- Some mentees after initiating the process, called often during their first year. Some continued to call on occasion for years afterwards.
- Some mentees liked meeting in coffee shops during the week to discuss speeches or challenges when it came to unfamiliar roles or duties.
- Some mentees only communicated by email.
- Some called by telephone.
Here’s my pledge to my mentees:
- If you wish my help you have to initiate the process;
- You can’t connect with me too often (and if you do I’ll tell when it’s too much so don’t worry about it);
- I’ll do my best to guide you through the Toastmaster experience;
- If I don’t know, I’ll say so and we’ll find help from another member;
- You may fire me at anytime for any reason.
Not everyone of my mentees has had a successful Toastmaster experience. The key to learning from Toastmasters is to make yourself “teachable”. Not everyone is teachable and those who aren’t tend not to stay with us for long. Some of us (and I’m talking about myself here) had to learn how to become teachable and when we did (even if only a little bit) it made all the difference in the world.
Those new Toastmasters who were teachable have gone on to serve our club at the highest levels of service and have garner high awards and recognition for their efforts.
If you want to have the very best experience in Toastmasters in 2013 then engage or reengage with your mentor. If you’re not happy with your current mentor, fire them. You’ll be doing both of yourselves a big favour. Set an aggressive agenda for your success and implement it with the help of your mentor.
You’ll both become better Toastmasters for the effort. I know I have.