“The Toastmasters Educational Program”
Toastmasters International Successful Club Series
Tony K. Dahlman
May 21, 2014
USDA Toastmasters Club 3294
USDA South Building
After looking at the Toastmasters meeting schedule for my club, I realized I have not given a speech since the most recent contest season and it is about time that I get back into it.
I have also been making a renewed effort as President of my Toastmasters club to focus on the leadership track of Toastmasters, but recent comments at executive committee meetings indicated that we have many members (especially new members) who are confused about what the leadership track entails. I knew that Toastmasters provided a ready made presentation on the Educational Program that I thought would be a good start. It also had the added bonus of helping me fulfill the requirements of the Advanced Leader Bronze award.
This is my second speech from the Successful Club Series put out by Toastmasters International. I did a speech on Meeting Roles and Responsibilities back in November, but never posted it to the blog because my visual aid was completely cut out of the video.
I have a love/hate relationship with the prepared presentations put out by Toastmasters International. A lot of them are really good with a lot of information, but because they are completely laid out with I tend to not put a lot of work into them. I know there are ways that I can personalize them and make them more “my own”, but I have found that the effort is not always put forth to make that happen.
Overall, despite not practicing much at all, I was able to give a pretty successful version of the presentation. I expanded on the introduction and the conclusion by seeking input on individual goals from the audience and I expanded on the section about the Competent Leadership manual because I believed that is the area that my club needed the most education on.
There were a lot of chunks that were not near as smooth as they should have been. I had to rush through some of the later parts of the leadership sections because I was running out of time (also due to lack of preparation).
My evaluator Laura commented that I needed more movement around the speaking area (which I did not do because I didn’t really figure out how I would advance the slides while not staying in one spot) and that by staying in one spot, I was blocking the PowerPoint presentation to one side of the audience. She also said that I needed more personal anecdotes and possibly even a flow chart so that the audience could better visualize the Toastmasters Education program. I definitely agree with the last point and Toastmasters already provided a pretty good chart that I could have modified without much work to help my club understand what I was talking about.
Looking through the written individual comments there were some additional comments on how I should reduce my filler words like “um” and “ah” (which tends to happen when I don’t practice) and how I could improve my gestures.
I believe I have now fulfilled all of my requirements for the Advanced Leader Bronze award, however I am probably going to wait until after the beginning of the new Toastmasters year on July 1 to submit it because at this point it would not help with our club’s Distinguished Club Program goals (which is really inside baseball Toastmasters stuff that is way too boring to explain). But I am excited to have achieved two awards in the last year, especially since I had not achieved any since I moved to DC in 2010. I don’t know what my next step is for Toastmasters educational awards, but it is something I am going to working on in the next few months.
Video credit: T. Dahlman, 2013