I have a new motto in 2016: Learn, Commit, and Do. I often become so wrapped up in the learning phase that I never quite commit fully, bringing myself to the Do. Toastmasters has been of a great help to me in the commitment and doing phases of this new motto.
This Thursday is a prefect example. I have a new role to try, the role of Toastmaster. In our club the Toastmaster leads the prepared speech portion of the agenda. It is an exciting role and an interesting one with some unique challenges.
With the new role, in order to overcome my nervousness and prepare so that I may do the best job possible at making the speakers comfortable and helping them get the best start to their speech, I did three things:
- Research. I started with our manuals. The Competent Communicator Manual has a section in the back “About Your Club”. Here all of the meeting roles are outlined with responsibilities before the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting. I also googled it. There are fantastic resources available on-line! I even found You-Tube videos for various roles to guide you through the scripting with examples and advice for first timers like me. Although, I did get distracted watching some of the past winners of the International Speech Contest. It’s a good thing that our research and preparation is not a timed event. I would be in triple overtime!
- Talk to experienced toastmasters. I picked two toastmasters who I have seen fill the role exceptionally (in my opinion) well in the past and ask for their advice. I also spoke to my mentor. Here is what they have shared with me:
- It’s about the speakers. All about the speakers.
- To bring energy to a meeting – have fun. If you have fun, we will too.
- Prepare. I had no idea how much work there was behind the scenes leading up to each and every toastmasters meeting. In this role, I can see how hard the whole team works together to confirm and contingency plan for every possibility. Preparation is actually in two parts:
- As a first timer, there is the preparation to familiarize myself with the script for the evening.
- Every time, there is time spent to confirm and solicit information from the speakers. Soliciting the perfect blend of facts to create their introductions. Information about their speech project (such as title, manual, project #) but also, in the least-stalker-like-way possible, personal information with which to build an introduction.
This week I am committed to doing the best possible job in my role to serve our speakers. To help them to feel welcomed in the warmest way to a safe place for speaking.
As they place themselves firmly outside of their comfort zones, trying something new and challenging, let us all learn from their example and push ourselves to try something new too. Speeches from our manual projects are not the only way to push ourselves. Try something new from your Competent Leadership Manual too.
As you see the joy and thrill of succeeding shine through our eyes, savour it, support the success of a challenge met, and celebrate achievement! In both manuals!
See you all Thursday at 7:30pm.