Toastmasters Builds Leaders! Or, as you can find on www.Toastmasters.org: it is the organization “Where Leaders are Made!
As a long-time Toastmaster member, I was attending a Toastmaster event and a friend asked me a question. He started off by mentioning that he had heard I was a former Club President, Area Governor and a Division Director. I said yes, that is true; they were three of the most memorable and educational years of my career.
He then mentioned he was a member of a Toastmaster Club that he didn’t think was doing very well and asked me about another Club that I had worked with in my Area. His question made me think of a story my dad told me when I was in high school.
I turned to my friend and asked the question my dad asked: “Can you tell me what the people are like that you work with personally and professionally?” He quickly told me the majority of his coworkers were rude, bossy, didn’t listen, talked over other people and wouldn’t acknowledge or help him.
After pausing for a moment, I looked him directly in the eye and told him I was sorry but was afraid that he might find the same results in a new Club also. The members in the new Club could possibly be exactly like the people he worked with personally or professionally and possibly like the members of his current Club.
A short time later, we were taking a break between speeches, another friend came over and asked me about the Toastmaster Clubs I had joined. She was a former Toastmasters member but was not a current member. She was looking to find a new Club close to her office. She had viewed the Toastmasters International website at www.Toastmaster.org and selected the Find a Club option at the top of the page to locate Clubs by zip code.
She was interested in a couple of the Clubs but wanted to know if I knew about either of them. I mentioned each Club is different and can be very independent in nature or culture based on the current members and Officers. Then, I thought, let me ask her the same question I asked my friend earlier. It was paralleling the exact story my father had told me years ago.
First, I mentioned that I thought they were both great Clubs, I knew some of the Officers of each of the Clubs and then, I paused and asked her if she could tell me what the people were like at her office and the people she works with the most, personally and professionally.
She quickly stated that almost everyone she worked with was a team worker, they were great about asking her questions and answering questions when she needed help. She said that the people she worked with were always friendly, supportive and stood beside her when she took lead positions.
Well, you have probably already recognized the moral of this story! I quickly replied that both of the Clubs she was asking about would be perfect for her. I suggested she attend each one at least twice before making a decision but I assured her that no matter which Club she chose, the end result would be successful.
She smiled and said she would check their meeting schedule right away as she headed back to her seat for the next speech. As I went back to my seat, I thought about my friend that had asked me earlier about a Club that could be right for him. During my quick mental research of Clubs that could fit his need, one of Toastmasters International’s greatest advantages came to mind.
Toastmasters Clubs have mentors. His need wasn’t finding a new Club but connecting with a good Club Mentor. A Toastmasters mentor is one of the organizations most-challenging and sometimes overlooked roles. I know I have learned through Toastmasters (and Dad!) that If we bring yesterday’s negative attitude into our tomorrow, there is no way for us to build or create positive improvement.
I quickly found the friend that had asked about the first Club and his first reaction was a big smile! He said he caught the concept of my question. He had already realized that his attitude toward life may be contributing to the negativity toward taking on roles in his current Club and his career.
We laughed together for a minute and then I asked him if he had talked with his current Club’s Officers about a Club mentor. He admitted he did not know Clubs had mentors and had not thought to ask. The current Toastmaster’s event was ending and he did not have time that day but told me he would check with his current Club’s Officers and let me know of his next step.
I contacted him a couple of weeks later and he told me his existing Club did have a Club Mentor and he must have misunderstood the role. He also told me he had met with the Club Mentor twice and was already scheduling himself leadership roles and speaking roles to achieve his Competent Communicator certification before the end of the Toastmaster year.
And, back to the friend earlier, she did join one of the Clubs she had reviewed, quickly became good friends with the Club members and was elected to a V.P. position for the Club when another Officer was relocated by their employer.
The Toastmasters Organization is truly one of the absolute best at helping each of us grow eternally, building a leader within ourselves. As a leader, each of us are able to communicate beyond basic management by creating solutions for today and tomorrow. A leader does not just manage situations but takes the situation to a higher level of long-term achievement.
Toastmasters also helps us with opportunities to share stories about the solutions we create and the stories our dads told us that we wished we would have listened to much sooner.
If you, your staff, company or corporation wants to know more about building leaders, please go to www.Toastmasters.org. The site can share a positive awareness to the principles of leadership and speaking as it also helps build a path to a better you.
If you have other questions, or if I can help in any way, please feel free to email me at Mark@RealityFocused.com or leave a message at 303-368-7354.