District Leadership 2019-20

Going beyond the club

Six years ago, I attended my first ever Toastmasters event outside the club level. This visit to the Division B Table Topics and Humorous Speech contests changed the course of my Toastmasters journey. I was in queue during the break and marvelled at the art deco splendour of Freemasons Hall in Covent Garden. I struck a conversation with the lady next to me, she wore a fancy name tag and seemed important. I don’t remember the exact details of what we discussed. However, I do remember her parting words “You’re quite enthusiastic, you should get more involved!”. That day, my mind opened up to the leadership possibilities that Toastmasters could offer me and the rest is history.

As Division Contest season is on us, please make the journey to your Division contest. You don’t know who you might meet there. You may very well learn some new knowledge and see things differently during a workshop. You may even be inspired by one of the speaker’s stories.

Going beyond your club can also involve visiting other clubs. This is especially useful if you’re looking to stretch yourself by speaking in front of a different audience. What’s more, you can earn points and prizes by taking part in our Club Ambassador Programme.

Encouraging our members to reap the opportunities available in Toastmasters beyond the club level, also helps with membership retention. As a District, we have a vision of retaining 70% of our members every year. Doing this requires looking after their needs and creating new opportunities for everybody. If you’re looking for your next challenge, ask your club President to organise a special event with a different format. Get involved in organising a joint meeting with another club. Go and deliver your next speech at another club! Your possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

Support your winners

Fellow Toastmasters

Last week end was our first Division contest of the season, held in Bracknell. All Area winners get to compete and you can be assured of a quality event as winners get to win a place in our District final to be held In London on 1-3 May 2020. It is also an opportunity to listen so a number of educational sessions and connect with members from far and wide. Visit our District calendar to find the details of the next Division event. I look forward to seeing you there.

Our Club Ambassador programme is a friendly way to visit Clubs whilst earning point for your and your Club and get a chance to become our District Club Ambassador of the year. Why not schedule a visit when you are next in a different part of the country whether on business or simply a holiday!

Our annual District conference, London 2020,  is approaching (1-3 May 2020)! Would you like to be part of history? If you want to know more and get involved, drop me a line. There are a number of roles available whether it be Finance, Marketing, Education, Sponsorship, Logistics or Registrations. Our conference Director Barry O’Connell will be sharing more information as we get closer to the event, for now save the date!

Step forward and try something new

As we head into the autumn, it’s Toastmasters contest season! For all members this an opportunity to step forward and try something new; this may be as a competitor, chairing the contest or being a judge. This is the perfect chance for experienced members to mentor and share their knowledge with those taking some of these roles for the first time. An important consideration now that renewals have taken place, is checking that members are in good standing, i.e. have renewed their membership.

Thanks to all the hard-working club Treasurers, Vice Presidents Membership and Presidents that have been focussed on their club’s finances over the last month. Membership renewals have been processed thick and fast.  The 20:80 challenge has proved a good one for many clubs across our District. What is it about pizza that our members love? A full list of those clubs that have achieved the reward of £50 for their pizza party will be published after the end of the renewal period.

The new club demonstration box production line has been in full swing, with the first box dispatched to Burnham Speakers (located in Buckinghamshire) ahead of their demonstration meeting on 16 October. Closely followed by Swansea Speakers demonstration meeting on 17 October.  Support for demonstration meetings is welcomed, contact me if you want to get involved.

When members step forward to set up a new club, they do not do so alone. There is plenty of support available from the Club Extension Committee and experienced members.  Recently, Club Extension Chair, Bob Bowes, delivered the first of the new club sponsor and mentor workshops. Thanks to all that attended. More of these events will follow.

Remember that information is being posted on the Toastmasters International UK & Ireland Facebook page, keep an eye on details of up and coming events.

Good day fellow members!

Since our last newsletter, we have completed our first round of Club Officer Training and I am happy to share we have a record high number of Club Officers trained (770 officers to be precise).

What does this mean to me? As a member of a Club whose Club Officers have received training, the Club leadership has gained a greater insight into how to provide the best possible experience for members. Ask your Club leaders for further information, I am sure you will be inspired to become a Club leader at the next opportunity.

Club contests are coming to an end with Area Contests now in full swing. With our Humorous and Table Topics events, there are plenty of opportunities to hear from neighbouring contestants. Book your place at your Area Contest, and witness the best your Clubs have to offer, and get inspired to participate at contests in the Spring.

What else has happened? Many of you would have received educational awards, in fact over 300 educational awards have been submitted so far this year. This is an astonishing number! Thank you for achieving so much in only 3 months, that is 1 educational award every 7 hours! Imagine what more can be achieved by the end of the Toastmasters year. Reach out to your VP Education and find out how best to plan for your next project.

Continued membership is the best way to consistently gain new skills and develop your speaking and leadership abilities. By the time this newsletter reaches you, the renewals period will be over and have no doubt you will have renewed your membership. In doubt? Wondering what the Pathways learning programme can bring you? Ask you VP Education for more information and feel free to reach out to other Club or District Leaders, we are here to help!

Our annual District conference, London 2020,  is approaching (1-3 May 2020)! Would you like to be part of history? If you want to know more and get involved, drop me a line. There are a number of roles available whether it be Finance, Public Relations, Education, Sponsorship, Logistics, Registrations and more.

Growing forward together

September is always an interesting month in the Toastmasters calendar. The buzz, recognition and inspiration of International Convention slowly fade away. The final pieces of the administrative jigsaw fall in place during September with the online District Council Meeting. Finally, contest season begins in earnest in September with Table Topics & Humorous Speeches contests at the club level.

I am really proud that thanks to your efforts, the current Toastmasters year started with a bang! This year, we’ve had 100% of our District Leaders trained and a record number of Club Leaders trained at Club Officer Training. Most importantly, renewal performance is higher than last year and about 20% more members have joined our ranks compared to last year! Last but not least, nearly 350 educational awards have been submitted.

Well done you for choosing extraordinary, bravo for choosing growth!

This is only the beginning of an amazing adventure of growth and excellence. I am learning loads this year as District Director. Chairing an online meeting with nearly 150 people attending was a first for me last Saturday. I’m looking forward to receiving loads of incisive feedback during our 360° feedback exercise in our next team meeting.

You too can learn a lot this year and a great way of doing this is to set yourself a goal. If you’re a club President, resolve to build a legacy for others to build on. If you’re a club VPPR, unleash your creativity and make a name for your club in your community or company. All of you, attend meetings and set yourselves goals. Why don’t you try to finish your first pathway this year or become a triple crown by completing three levels by June 2020?

Let’s grow forward together!