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

Opportunities Beyond Your Club

Whether you are pursuing a traditional or a Pathways DTM award, there are several opportunities for learning about speaking and leadership beyond your club environment. The fun and excitement is extended beyond your manuals and Pathways resources.

Visit other clubs

Talk to members of the other club and learn new ways of conducting a meeting. Explore a community club if you are a member of a corporate club. Check out an advanced club if you are interested in taking your skills to the next level and seek comprehensive feedback.

District-sponsored education and training sessions

Attend club officer training to not only learn about your role, but also to meet your counterparts in other clubs. Sometimes, general education sessions are presented in addition to the officer breakout sessions.

Pathways training sessions are another great opportunity to get your questions answered and share best practices as we navigate this exciting educational experience and learn together. These could take place as standalone sessions or after a District gathering.

Area and Division contests

At the Evaluation contests, the Contest Chairs seek out model (also known as test) speakers from other locations so the contestants experience new ideas from someone who might be unfamiliar to them.

As a model speaker, you can present your speech to an audience in another area or division and ask an audience member for a written evaluation as long as the duties as a contest official do not pose a conflict of interest. Bring your manual or Pathways resource with you. Take notes from the speech evaluators and consider implementing their suggestions in your future speeches.

District Annual Conferences

Join fellow Toastmasters at the District Annual Conference, May 3-5, 2019 at the APA Hotel in Woodbridge, NJ. Register for the conference here. Learn new ideas at educational workshops. Network with other Toastmasters. Become inspired and entertained at the International speech and Humorous speech contests. Hone your speech evaluation and Table Topics skills observing the best in the District compete.

Conference logo design by Su Brooks.

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.

Planning and scheduling your speeches and leadership roles

Whether pursuing a traditional or a Pathways DTM, you will need to complete several speeches and perform many leadership roles in order to attain your goal. You have a variety of opportunities available.

I discussed this topic with Bill Atkins, DTM, a member of Red Bank Toastmasters, Talk of Monmouth (an advanced club) and the soon-to-be-chartered Holmdel Toastmasters club. Here are some of the ideas we talked about when I mentored Bill while he was completing his DTM.

Photo credit: Anne Gilson, DTM, PDG, RA

Your club(s)

Sign up on your own on the club’s website (if your club uses this method) but be respectful that other members want speaking spots, too. Let your VPE and mentor know about your goal.

Other clubs

Visit other clubs that may have speaking spots and support roles available if they have fewer members in their club and struggle to fill roles.

Join another club

Consider joining an additional club if your schedule and budget will allow it. For example, if you are a member of a corporate club, consider a community club, an advanced club or a specialty club.

The importance of planning

Bill shared some advice that helped him complete his DTM sooner than he thought possible. He stated, “One of the most important things I learned from Su is to have a Toastmasters calendar to plan the requirements and speaking opportunities. Planning, then writing down what and where I would be completing projects and speeches, helped me advance to the next level more quickly.”

Photo provided by Bill Atkins, DTM

Outside of Toastmasters

With permission of your club VPE, you can present speeches at work or in the community. Receive speech credit when you meet the project requirements and have a Toastmaster present as your speech evaluator. Consult your traditional manuals or Pathways project resources for complete details.

Bill continued, “Because of my Toastmasters experience, I have been able to speak at many other opportunities outside of Toastmasters. These include speaking to an audience of over 400 people for two hours at a conference in Washington, DC, many local business organizations, as well as conducting training at businesses such as car dealerships, real estate firms and corporations.”

“I will be completing my first full path, Presentation Mastery, while also working on the Effective Coaching path. I am using the same calendar planning strategy I learned from Su, my DTM mentor,” Bill concluded.

 

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.

Reciprocity

One of the greatest experiences in Toastmasters is reciprocating by helping fellow Toastmasters achieve their goals while you achieve yours. This creates an ever-expanding circle of sharing compared to a one-time experience between two or more people.

Here are ten Toastmasters tips to help you reach milestones whether you plan to achieve a traditional or a Pathways DTM:

  1. Organize a club officer training session in your division with permission from district leaders
  2. Serve as a trainer at club officer training
  3. Assist at club, area, division and district contests if you are not a contestant
  4. Provide advice in your area of expertise for a club member’s speech; he/she helps in a similar way for you
  5. If practical, carpool with fellow club members to contests, meetings, district special events or training sessions
  6. Serve on a guidance committee for a Toastmaster working on a traditional or Pathways High Performance Leadership (HPL) project
  7. If you are a speaker, offer to evaluate another speaker during a club speakout
  8. Help a fellow club member become confident beginning Pathways when you are both ready
  9. Inspire a fellow Toastmaster to take on a club or district officer role for 2019-2020 and share what you learned during your term
  10. Notify club members seeking speaking slots when you learn about opportunities in other clubs

Often, club members are eager to help; Go ahead and ask.

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.

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.

Mentoring a New Member

For a traditional DTM, Toastmasters need to mentor a new member with their first three speeches as one of the components of the Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG) award.

If you are planning to complete this before June 2020, planning ahead is very important. You can guide and encourage the new member, but please remember, even though you are eager to complete your ACG, It’s not about you, it’s their schedule. Be patient.

While working one of my ACG awards a few years ago, I had everything completed EXCEPT for this requirement. I began working with one of the new members who had to leave to the club.

Her husband landed a graduate teaching assignment that conflicted with the meeting night of the club and the couple had one car. That meant I had to start over with another new member.

I started again with another new member and was seeking to complete the requirement before the end of the Toastmasters year on June 30. However, my plans were delayed again. My friend had job responsibilities that took priority over Toastmasters.

Eventually, my friend presented her third speech and I completed my ACG. However, the entire process took much longer than I anticipated.

This advice also applies if you are completing a traditional program Competent Leadership (CL) manual requirement and/or if you have decided to enroll in the Pathways Mentoring Program, which you will be eligible to begin after completing Level 2 in Pathways.

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.

Bryan Shares His Toastmasters Experience

About a year ago a colleague gave advice while I typed notes on my cellphone as fast as I could, “Join Toastmasters.”

That day I made a digital note and a mental commitment. The next week, at 7:00 pm, I walked into a classroom at the Raritan Valley Community College building in Somerville and sat down in my first Toastmasters meeting. I wanted to improve my communication skills. I wanted to get better at public speaking.

I’ve gone to almost every meeting since and I’m working on my fifth speech now. With every speech, I’ve gained more confidence and become more relaxed. Yet for me, it’s been the incredible people that I’ve met along the way that have made the experience.

There’s been inspiration. It never ceases to amaze me how calm and confident Toastmasters can be. It doesn’t matter how many strangers are in the crowd or what topic they’ve chosen that evening. I can only describe the way they choose their words, vary their tone, and gesture, as craftsmanship. Even when given about the most wrenching topics.

Continue reading “Bryan Shares His Toastmasters Experience”

Meet the Area Directors: Michelle Campbell

Name: Michelle M. Campbell

Position: Area Director, District 83, Area Director 71

Club(s): Gold Coast Advanced Toastmasters

Other positions: Secretary and Sergeant at Arms

How long have you been in Toastmasters? 14 years

What are your plans for the district/area/division?
I want to help my clubs and their members to be the best they can be. During the 2017-2018 year my goals are:
          1. Visit all my assigned clubs at least twice
          2. Have at least one club on the path to Distinguished Club
          3. Get coaching access for my clubs that needs coaching

Continue reading “Meet the Area Directors: Michelle Campbell”

Unexpected Benefits of Toastmasters

A question that I love to ask fellow Toastmasters is, “What are the unexpected benefits you have gotten by being a member?” All of us joined to improve our communication skills with a focus on making speeches. The Toastmasters program does offer great and low cost training on how to present in front of an audience but the program offers so much more! The additional benefits are the reason that I have been a member for 20+ plus years.

Some of the unexpected benefits I have received are:

  1. Self Confidence
  2. The ability to give and to accept and receive constructive criticism
  3. Networking opportunities and new friends from diverse backgrounds

As a child I was shy and awkward. I also do not have an athletic bone in my body and I still remember the awful feeling of always being picked last for a team—the player that no one wanted!

Continue reading “Unexpected Benefits of Toastmasters”

Begonia Wants to See You at the Fall Conference

Area 21 Director Begonia Reyes, CC, talks about why she goes to conferences, including the great speeches as well as a sense of community. Join us on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Somerset, NJ. Reserve your spot at TM83.org.