Tag Archives: tostmasters

“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! ”



Area 56 Workshop Tuesday February 3rd, 2010

Submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Toastmaster Donald Knowles

The training last night at Skyway was quite interesting. Judy Suke took the 10-15 minute Evaluate to Motivate material and extended it to a 45 minute discussion. The lady is a very comfortable speaker and a past master of humour. She knows what works and knows how to work it. Judy covered all of the material in the evaluation process. Copies of the material will be presented to the club on Thursday February 4th.

Avis (pronounced Ahvis) Brodie then came up and took everyone through the judging process. Again, a very comfortable speaker who has worn her delivery down to a smooth process. Avis covered all the material on the International Speech Contest judging ballot and then went into details of dos and don’ts. There was great audience interaction during both sessions. I believe that there is a movement afoot that in order to judge a contest outside of the club that person must have taken a judging workshop. Which means that the 45 people in attendance last night can expect a phone call. I know that I already have.

It was very interesting to participate in intra club activity, both in seeing how other clubs do things their way, and to meet other people. I think that I will do a lot more of this in the future.