I was looking forward to leaving the kids with my husband and spending my Saturday morning shopping with a friend. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment – “Ugh, I have Toastmasters’ Officers Training.”
Since joining First Command Club #8487 in October, I have eagerly accepted any role. In that moment, however, I felt that I was pressured into running for Vice President of Education. I was unabashedly flattered when the acting VPE, Sabrina Walker, mentioned my organizational skills. Suddenly I was humming “All Hail the Chief,” and writing my acceptance speech for VPE. Now I was complaining it was consuming my free time.
In truth, I really did need to attend Toastmasters Leadership Institute’s summer training if I was ever going to be an effective VPE. I learned that it wasn’t that the responsibilities were too much; I was just looking at them wrong.
Saturday, I arrived for the network session anxiously looking for familiar faces. I timidly introduced myself to a member. With a smile she invited me to join her. Without warning, I was transformed to an active learner.
Training opened my eyes to:
- Delegate. The role of VPE has many responsibilities, but there are plenty of club members eager to assist.
- Visit Other Clubs. Sitting in front of me were members of the hosting club. I sheepishly asked if I could attend an upcoming meeting. Enthusiastically they said, “Yes!”
- My Club ROCKS!!! During breakout group discussions, I heard how clubs struggle with low turnout and have no support from corporate sponsors. I am in a growing club and we have a generously supportive corporate culture.
- Open yourself to learning. Several months ago, a member in my club gave a speech on electricity consumption and its impact on cattle. While I believe the cattle industry negatively impacts our environment, listening opened my mind and allowed me provide him with encouraging feedback. His evaluator’s critique empowered me to craft my own speech on the global water epidemic.
- Participation is key. All roles have impact, even just being in the audience. If a member is giving a humorous speech, and you are there, laughing, it could positively impact the audience reaction score a judge is assigning.
I have more to give my club now that I have attended training and learned those simple ideas listed above. What will you learn at training?
Submitted by: Kristina Prohaski