By Andy Hammond
When we say that “we live in challenging times”, it evokes a range of different emotional responses.
Many people will remain stoic and make the best of their situation. There will be those who see the challenges as an exciting opportunity. However, some, particularly those who find even the smallest change to their routines distressing, will be experiencing a complete nightmare which is totally debilitating.
Our fellow Toastmasters members will be experiencing a range of emotions too. While moving to online club meetings does present opportunities to practise new skills that will be valuable in our lives outside Toastmasters, not every member will feel the same. For some it is a daunting prospect. For others they simply don’t have access to the necessary technology to join in. Our excitement and enthusiasm may make them feel excluded.
We have all experienced the wonderful support that our fellow members provide, and now is the time to ensure that we continue that support to all our members. If you have members in your club who are struggling, make the time to give them a call and listen to their concerns. Let them know that while they may be physically isolated they are not forgotten. And if you are feeling uncertain or worried, do reach out to your fellow members for support.
On a practical level, your Club Officers are having to manage new challenges with online meetings and possibly reluctance of members to renew. Please continue to support your club. Area Directors still need to complete their club visit reports, but now on the basis of online meetings. Please help them to fulfil their roles. Your Area and Division Directors are also having to organise online contests for the first time. Understand if there are problems and be patient. Offer to take on roles to help. And join in with the events to ensure a large audience for the contestants.
Our core value of respect must encompass compassion and empathy. Do all you can to support every member in the way that best meets their needs, and seek the support you need from your fellow members.
Andy Hammond DTM
Immediate Past District Director