Stepping up to opportunities

By Florian Bay

Who would have expected a month ago that Toastmasters would move online as entire cities and countries are locked down, I certainly didn’t!

Challenging times like the ones we are in can provide many opportunities but also require creativity and thinking outside of the box. I am genuinely impressed at the speed at which nearly all clubs in District 91 moved their meetings online. To all of you that spearheaded this gargantuan effort, THANK YOU! I am so proud of you for stepping up to meet a challenge that nobody could have predicted even a few weeks ago.

Coincidentally, stepping up to opportunities is my main message to you all in my video message. Back when it was filmed, I never expected that online meetings and dealing with unknown unknowns would be one of the opportunities that we could step up to.

What impressed me the most in the past few weeks is how quickly challenges like timekeeping during a virtual meeting and how-to set-up online contests were sorted out. Every challenge provides new opportunities and every problem has solutions. I know that many of you are curious to find out ways to retain our membership in the current times and here are some ideas for you to consider:

  • Liaise with your venue to see if they’ll refund your room hire costs.
  • Reduce your membership fees slightly if your club won’t be paying room hire costs.
  • Have open conversations with your members and get to know their circumstances.
  • Highlight the new opportunities that online meetings bring.
  • If people are unconvinced by switching online, ask them to attend meetings to see for themselves.

So far being District Director during a pandemic has been an interesting experience for me and one that’s teaching me a lot of things. All of my Toastmasters journey in leadership taught me a lot of things. As the end of the Toastmasters year draw near, start to plan for your next moves and consider stepping up to leadership. Fancy learning how to sell? Then become a VP of Membership! Want to have a crack at leading a team and a group? Become a club President! Want to deliver training and coordinate activities on a larger scale? Consider becoming Area Director!

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