A Toastmaster’s Learning Experience from teaching Youth Leadership

Youth leadership Program (YLP)  helps students to learn public speaking and develop leadership skills. Also, it teaches them the ability to analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

We usually draw leadership lessons from other leaders at work or teachers, parents, community, and many others. Observing the young participants during the YLP sessions helped me remind myself of the importance of leadership skills and the need to continually apply them to inspire, educate, and transform others.

#1: Importance of Smiling and Having fun

Children are so care-free and have fun. They keep smiling through the entire session 😊.
Moreover, all of them want to be the “Joke master” as they have tons of jokes to share. The laughter and smiles set the mood as well as creates a very positive and supportive environment.

 #2: Be Curious and Ask questions

Children do not have preconceived notions or judgments. They are full of curiosity and ask questions. They want to understand the “Why” and pose logical questions. Natural curiosity leading to questions is a crucial leadership skill for success.

#3: Resilience makes you strong 

I have seen many currents, and past students overcome so much adversity, be it in a challenging home situation or coping up with studies. However, they still rise. Children with greater resilience are better able to manage stress. They always have a positive attitude and maintain a hopeful outlook.

#4: Be Creative and Think outside the box

Children think so creatively and come up with a solution, which is simply amazing. For example, the table topics suggested by them were so unique, and in one of our YLP sessions, the students came up with a fiction story at the end of the impromptu speaking section of the meeting. I felt so privileged to learn and grow from their ideas.

Teaching children is such a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Besides, providing leadership training prepares youth with positive life skills that they will carry into adulthood.

Nelson Mandela said it very well  “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”

About the Author:

Somesh Chablani is a member of the OMNI-PRO Speakers Bureau, sponsored by District 83 Toastmasters. He loves to mentor students and members on public speaking. Somesh works for one of the leading Fortune 500 Tech company and leads a global team. Outside of work, Somesh likes to spend time with his family, practices laughter yoga and conducts Youth Leadership Programs.

Somesh Chablani, DTM
Email:
toastmaster.somesh@gmail.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/someshchablani

Communication and Leadership in Times of Uncertainty

The current pandemic has created uncertainty and ambiguity across the globe. For leaders, it is time to rethink how we lead and influence others to stay positive and focused.  How can leaders reduce stress and anxiety, while at the same time provide a layer of support, courage, and unity?

Strong leadership, using integrative and collaborative communication is essential.  Integrative and collaborative leadership means that everyone has a place at the table, and that the input of every member of the team is respected.  This method creates synergy, which translates into profits for stakeholders.  It ensures that both teams and stakeholders are engaged, encouraged, and focused.

A leader’s communication throughout and after COVID-19 will impact the ability of the company, its staff and community leaders to perform at their highest levels.

Below are few best practices that can help leaders navigate your teams in these uncertain times:

  1. Be Honest and Consistent:

When a team member or stakeholder asks you a question, give them an honest answer. Don’t defocus or provide a vague response. Honesty creates trust and an environment for the team to feel safe.  In addition, be consistent in all your actions and communication dialogue:  consistency depicts predictability and reputation.

  1. Appreciate and acknowledge the team:

Take the time to recognize the team and acknowledge them for their efforts. Appreciate group, as well as individual efforts; most importantly, personalize your message to make each member feel valued. Periodically recognizing small acts and behaviors creates an environment of appreciation and high-performance culture

  1. Be flexible and emphatic:

In these times of crisis, your team members may lack motivation due to stress.  Leaders must communicate with empathy as well as a supportive mindset to jointly face the current situation. Your actions must exude core values and support.

  1. Create a supportive environment to encourage team health and wellness:

Emotional support involves letting your team know that they are being cared for and that they should feel comfortable discussing work and nonwork-related issues. A good leader communicates and provides a supportive environment to encourage good health and employee wellness and recognizes that some members may have families and friends who may require additional attention and care. Healthy employees will always remain happy and loyal to their leader and to their organization.

 

A leader’s influence can change the dynamic of a team.

Leaders can influence how people interpret and react to situations. If leaders fail to communicate, it creates an environment of mistrust, ambiguity and may lead to spread of rumors that can damage the reputation of the company and the leader.

In times of uncertainty, strong leadership through integrative and collaborative communication helps to minimize distractions, creates bonding with the staff and members, and most importantly, keeps everyone focused in a safe environment.  Your team will know that you genuinely care, and communication helps build a strong connection with them on multiple levels.

 

Times of uncertainty will always reveal your leadership maturity. Keeping your team engaged through constant, clear communication often conveys to them that a consistent and confident Leader is there to help them navigate through rough waters.

 

 About the Author:

Margarita Estrada, DTM, is an author and former panic attack sufferer turned energetic, dynamic speaker who knows how to inspire an audience and never let them go.  Known as The Well-Connected Writer©, she is a skilled storyteller and wordsmith who authored and published the bi-lingual memoir, Vignettes of a Family Journey, to create awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, and its effects on the family.  Margarita is the chair of OMNI-PRO Speakers Bureau, sponsored by District 83 Toastmasters, and is a member of Impact 21 Toastmasters in Rahway, NJ and Dining to Speak Toastmasters, in Fairfield, NJ.

Toastmaster Spotlight: Cyndi Wilson, Region 9’s New Advisor

District 83 PRM, Jenna Barone, had the opportunity to interview a very special Toastmaster in our community, Cyndi Wilson, Region 9’s new advisor. Read on to learn more about Cyndi and her experience in Toastmasters!
1.) When did you join Toastmasters and what club(s) are you a member in?
I joined Toastmasters in December, 2007. Presently, I belong to three clubs: Impact 21 Club, Gold Coast Achievers Toastmasters Club and Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Toastmasters Club.
2.) What has been your favorite leadership role you’ve held so far?
Wow! That’s hard to say. I have held every club officer position, area and division governor (that’s what it was called at the time) and the top 3 district positions. I have enjoyed serving in those positions (sometimes multiple times!). If I really have to settle on one, it was my year as District Governor.
3.) What is your top goal as Region 9 advisor?
To support the districts to achieve/maintain excellence while exemplifying Toastmasters’ core values.
4.) With this pandemic going on forcing clubs to go virtual what is the best advice you can give members during this time?
Your club meeting has come to your home or smartphone; no driving to the location, no walking to a conference room!, Take advantage of it! Attend your club meetings online to enhance your speaking and leadership skills and your use of technology.
5.) (assuming you have been a member for some time now) How has Toastmasters changed over the years that positively impacted you?
Toastmasters’ change from paper to the digital environment really showed that Toastmasters knew that they needed to stay relevant for the generations in the workplace. Yes, we are social people and sometimes afraid to try new things, but moving into the digital space, that 24/7/365 global environment was timely and sorely needed.
6.) What has been the biggest takeaway from being a Toastmaster?
My biggest takeaway is that Toastmasters is an international family of members who support you, encourage you and love you. It matters not how our governments clash; when we are together, we care for each other. I am glad to be a member of this family!

Jenna Barone, District 83 PRM for 2019-2020 Toastmasters Year

Meet District 83’s new PRM for the 2019-2020 Toastmasters year, Jenna Barone! We are excited to have her serving in district leadership this year and are delighted to benefit from her marketing expertise. Outgoing PRM for the 2018-2019 year, Margarita Estrada, DTM, interviewed Jenna so members of District 83 can learn more about her.

Club and how long you have been a TM?
I have been a member of the Clifton Chapter since March 2018

What made you decide to become a Toastmaster?
I was attending a Tony Robbins seminar back in December 2017 and I saw someone wearing a pin that said “Ask me about Toastmasters”
I ended up chickening out and never asked but 2 months later my friend texted me asking if i wanted to attend a Toastmasters meeting. I knew right then that the universe wanted me to check it out.

I attended my first meeting in February 2018 and instantly fell in love with how friendly, and supportive the members were. I knew it was a safe place to learn and develop myself into a better speaker and leader.

What have you skills have you gained?
I definitely feel more confident. I have found myself initiating conversations with strangers and taking on any speaking opportunity at work. I also take more risks. I challenge myself to leave my comfort zone in all different areas of my life.

What surprised you?
What surprised me the most is that I expected this club to only help me develop professionally but it has also become my happy place. No matter how i am feeling before a meeting, I always leave feeling empowered and inspired. The members genuinely want everyone to succeed and it gives me a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Who is your mentor in your club, and why?
When I joined, my mentor was Daniel Carhuayo who is our chapter’s treasurer. He was assigned to me and was very supportive as I journeyed through the program as a new member.

He would give me feedback, encourage me to take on roles, and explain anything and everything to me. It gave me a great understanding for why our club runs the way it does and added value to each meeting for me.

How do you feel about becoming the next PRM?
While I have big shoes to fill, I am excited to use my marketing experience and understanding for the ever-changing social platforms to grow the District’s profiles.

I look forward to continue providing our District’s followers with useful information adding my own creative twist.

High Performance Leadership (HPL) Projects

Ideas and timing (Traditional and Pathways)

Selecting an idea for your High Performance Leadership project can be a daunting task.

You can select any one of many types of projects.

It can be:

  • Your own idea for a Toastmasters or non-Toastmasters group or project
  • An idea from a club or district officer
  • A suggestion from our District HPL Coordinator
  • An idea from a community group
  • A project related to your business or profession as long as a Toastmaster is on your committee

Some people use their term as a district officer as their HPL project.

Traditional and Pathways HPL projects: Similarities and Differences

Traditional HPL

Start as soon as you are ready. All components of your Advanced Leader Silver award, including earning the Leadership Excellence certificate from Toastmasters International must be completed before June 30, 2020, so plan accordingly.

Pathways HPL

You may work on Pathways HPL projects when you reach Level 5. Not all paths have an HPL project as a required project. Some have it as an optional elective.

The Traditional and Pathways HPL projects and requirements cannot be interchanged.

Both type of HPL projects require a speech to your club to share the idea at the outset and another speech at the end to present your results, although the terminology differs for each.

Meetings with Your Guidance Committee

These can be in-person, via phone call or video conference. Plan ahead to make sure you complete the required number of meetings.

Recognition

You will receive the Leadership Excellence certificate from Toastmasters International upon successful completion of your traditional HPL.

You can recognize the people on your guidance and action committees in any way that is meaningful to you.

For more information

Consult your traditional High Performance Leadership manual or Pathways resources for complete details.

Blog contributed by Su Brooks, DTM 2                                                              District 83 Training Coordinator and Social Media Strategist

Su has been a Toastmaster since July 2000 and has earned two DTM awards in the Traditional program. In Pathways, she is working on three paths: Leadership Development, Presentation Mastery, and Engaging Humor. In addition, she recently began the Pathways Mentoring Program.

For 2018-2019, she serves as the Sergeant at Arms for Talk of Monmouth, an advanced club in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and as the District Training Coordinator and a Social Media Strategist.

She is a member of No Limits Toastmasters in Staten Island, New York, where she serves as the audio technician on the production crew for Toastmasters in the Community, a cable TV show.

For 2019-2020, Su will take on the role of Destination DTM Chair for District 83.

Selecting and Timing Your Leadership Roles

The leadership roles described in this post, unlike speeches, CAN carry over from the Traditional DTM track to the Pathways DTM track. However, credit for these roles must not have been applied to a previous award.

District Officer

Start now and tell Lynda Starr that you are interested in serving as a District Officer for 2019-2020 so you can complete your next award.

You might need to be flexible with the officer positions available. There could be an abundance of people in one geographical area seeking a role and a need to fill a position in another area.

Sponsor, Mentor, Coach

Start now and ask William Markert for an appointment. A Sponsor for a new club receives credit after the club successfully charters. Some clubs charter very quickly, while others take months. Up to two people can sponsor a new club.

A Mentor for a newly chartered club fills the role for a minimum of six months. Up to two people can serve. Mentors may receive credit after they complete their service AND the President of the club signs a form attesting to its completion.

A Club Coach is appointed upon the request of a Club that is in need of support to increase their membership, restore club quality and bring their club to the level of Distinguished status or higher. Clubs qualify for a Coach if their membership is below 12. Two Coaches may work with a club. A Coach is successful if the club becomes Distinguished by the end of the Toastmasters year.

A Coach can request that the appointment be extended another year. Keep this timing in mind if you are seeking to complete a traditional DTM by June 2020.

Successful club coaches traditionally receive credit toward the ALS or DTM award for their service as a coach. In addition, the ALS award also requires one year of service as a district officer. But starting in January 2019, successful club coaches will also be credited with service as a district officer. This means successful club coaches will complete two of the ALS/DTM requirements rather than one. Club coaches will still have two years to help clubs become distinguished—all of this year and through the 2019-2020 program year.

Youth Leadership Program, Speechcraft

Start on your own schedule. Materials for these programs may be ordered through the Toastmasters International online shop.

Talk to Toastmasters who have completed these community programs for insight and helpful advice.

Talk to your DTM mentor, your Club Vice President Education, a District Officer or the District Destination DTM Chair to help determine which roles might be best suited for your goals.

Blog contributed by Su Brooks, DTM 2                                                               District 83 Training Coordinator and Social Media Strategist

Su has been a Toastmaster since July 2000 and has earned two DTM awards in the Traditional program. In Pathways, she is working on three paths: Leadership Development, Presentation Mastery, and Engaging Humor. In addition, she recently began the Pathways Mentoring Program.

For 2018-2019, she serves as the Sergeant at Arms for Talk of Monmouth, an advanced club in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and as the District Training Coordinator and a Social Media Strategist.

She is a member of No Limits Toastmasters in Staten Island, New York, where she serves as the audio technician on the production crew for Toastmasters in the Community, a cable TV show.

For 2019-2020, Su will take on the role of Destination DTM Chair for District 83.