As we roll on into 2021, it doesn’t hurt to reflect on why we all do what we do.

Perhaps you have already done so. If not, let’s do a little exercise together.

  1. Why did you join Toastmasters?

  2. Why are you still in Toastmasters?

  3. Why will you continue your Toastmasters journey in 2021?

I’ll go first if you like…

I joined because I am committed to spending a proportion of my time developing my skills. I was at the tail end of my MBA when I started to hear about Toastmasters. Yes, I knew public speaking was a focus, and at the time, I was also being asked to speak places. I thought if I had a place to practice, it would help. Unlike many, I DIDN’T join for the social element, but a focused hobby mindset (I was in the pub a lot anyway!)

Although for many of us and those who are not yet Toastmasters yet, a public speaking event is a trigger. It may be a groom’s speech, a big presentation coming up or promotion – I put to you that the actual reason is actually underneath that event.

What was yours? What is it for that guest that came to your last meeting? Or the one that has signed up to your next meeting?

I quickly found myself in a position where I was giving my skills. I found myself as VP Membership of my club earlier than most in my Toastmasters career. The role itself I found easy, and it meant that I quickly learned about a wider world outside of the club. I wouldn’t say I had more or fewer opportunities to deliver prepared speeches or roles, but the latter part of the year saw me experience an increase in different speaking opportunities.

Since then, I’ve held a club or district office role every year. There’s truth in the fact that you get more when you give more, including more and different types of speaking opportunities.

How about you? Why have you continued your membership? Is it the people? The different types of opportunities that 2020 has given us? Can you communicate this to other members and guests?

I normally sit down 2 or 3 times in a year to carve out how I’m doing, where I’m going and how various bits fit into my life. Almost inevitably, one of those times is around now. For me, Toastmasters is a lifelong learning opportunity. There is always more to learn, and there are other ways to serve – and those opportunities are only clear when you become curious. Whether it be another District Leadership role or continued contribution to club building, I know I’ll be sticking around in 2021.

What will you be doing? How will you be contributing? Is it the next level in Pathways? Experiencing what it is like to be a club officer or something else that you’re not aware of yet?

Ask a friend to comment on what they may have seen a change in you? Have you evolved? When we take a step back from our day to day and our everyday club meetings, we may just see something that we have missed. Incremental growth helps us help the next person that walks through our virtual doors. However, it’s only when we can see and convey a more rounded picture that the magic really happens.

As we head into another uncertain year, know that our community gives all of our members a sense of connection (even borderless ones) and the opportunity to develop and implement skills that are transferable outside of Toastmasters. I wish you all the best for your 2021 Toastmasters journey – whatever you decide to do!

Rupa Datta
District 91 Club Growth Director 2020-2021