Tag Archives: New Members

“Like watching a basketball game in the dark”

Submitted by Toastmaster Hal Shaw

Toastmaster Hal Shaw

Mentor: A wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

A few years ago, I recall a freshman at 1st Oakville commenting that after a few meetings, it was a bit like watching a basketball game in the dark…he knew there was a lot going on, but he wasn’t sure what much of it was all about!
As new members regularly join 1st Oakville, more of the seasoned members are being called upon to act as mentors to these “fresh, vibrant, green shoots” of toastmastering. Here are a few of my observations that I hope will help 1st Oakville maintain and improve upon the high standards set by our predecessors and mentors.
As “wise and trusted counselors”, mentors need to take an active interest in their mentee’s progress, more than asking “how’s it goin’ ” when we occasionally show up at a meeting. At the outset, try to establish how you think you can help, and more importantly what the new “grasshopper” would like help with. Weekly phone calls discussing upcoming roles, what happened at last week’s meeting or recounting experiences and anecdotes that give the new member a better sense of what we’re all about, all come under the job description.

Corrective action, in almost all cases, will become necessary at some point. We all make mistakes (otherwise, we never learn) and it is the job of the mentor to identify these in a tactful manner and to offer constructive suggestions for improvement. Overlooking deficiencies to “spare one’s feelings” shackles individual personal growth and weakens the fabric of the club. A few obvious examples include lack of preparation for the assigned role, last minute email pleas for substitutes, or spotty attendance. Along with the privilege of calling yourself a Toastmaster, there is a set of responsibilities beyond giving a few speeches.
In most cases, the recipient of your advice will appreciate the guidance. In some cases, we should be prepared for the prospect of the “I’m not sure this is for me” conversation or as I like to call it, “Darwin does Toastmasters too”
As mentors, it is our task to ensure new members understand what they can expect out of 1st Oakville and what their obligations are as well. So, they don’t feel like they’re just watching a basketball game in the dark.

“Remember, free advice is usually worth twice what you pay for it! ”


Oh,What A Night…February 4,2010

submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Well, what a night last night (February 4) . The VP. Membership was away on business and a guest needed some help. Many thanks to Ann McNicholl for looking after Shannon. I was running around helping Iryna pay some bills and Ann graciously took over. Then Mme. Ford signs up, then Kim signs up, and then Tyler signs up. Three new members, but these ones are different. One is a past member and 2 are rookies, but they were at the evaluation and judging workshop the night before. Talk about keeners. I just might loose my spot as the resident “A” type.

I haven’t cracked the books today, but I think the latest round of members has kicked us over 50, again.

Advance Notice. With 3 new members hungry for roles I will be redoing the schedule this weekend (February 6 and 7).

We are starting to wind through the second half of the year. If you are not working on your CL manual the question is why not? A lot of what you do in the club at a meeting can be counted towards your CL designation. It is not just TM “stuff”. The projects help you learn leadership and facilitation skills. In the current environment of leaner and meaner knowing more skills is not a bad thing. I embraced the CL process because I am older and more expensive than others in the work force. Anything that helps me upgrade my skills to stay ahead of the layoff curve can only be a good thing. Some things are not new, but there Is nothing wrong with a refresher from time to time. Something to think about.

Enjoy the weekend and see you all back at the shop next Thursday.

Anyone want to take over the Chair for the Evaluation contest? I have only run 3 but am willing to share my limited understanding. Something to consider.

Yours in Toastmasters.