Do you wish to develop your leadership skills? Are you looking for a leadership course or training programme in Leeds? Or have you heard about Toastmasters and would be interested in learning how we don’t just help people develop their communication skills but also their leadership ones? If the answer to any of those questions are yes, please let us explain how we could help you…
At the meeting of any Toastmasters club, including our two – White Rose Speakers and Leeds City Toastmasters, people present both prepared and impromptu speeches (see this page for information on a typical meeting). But there is another hugely important side to our meetings – the leadership side. Through taking on various roles at meetings, members develop different leadership skills, which are very transferable to environments outside of Toastmasters, such as the workplace. These include:
One member acts as the Toastmaster of the meeting (we have a different person in this role each time), responsible for running the meeting, introducing speakers and making any necessary decisions to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Evaluating speakers is a big part of our meetings and through taking on an evaluation role a member will learn how to think critically and assess a speech – both the good parts and parts that need improvement.
Evaluators have to present speakers with both a spoken and written evaluation.
Everyone taking on a role meeting gets timed by the timekeeper (again we have a different timekeeper at each meeting). This ensures we learn how to deliver our points succinctly and helps to build discipline in this area.
In addition to growing in our leadership abilities at meetings, Toastmasters also offers us the opportunity to do so outside of meetings as well, by:
Serving on a club committee
Every Toastmasters club is run by its members (and is affiliated to Toastmasters International). Therefore, each club needs members to volunteer to serve in leadership roles. Each year/half-year (it differs between clubs) every club elects a committee of eight members to run the club. This not only allows people to have new experiences, make new friends, gain satisfaction from helping people etc., but is also an opportunity to develop both as an executive and in a specific area, as each committee member is responsible for a different part of the club. These eight roles are:
President – sets the vision for the club, organises the committee, guides the club in its progress towards achieving distinguished club programme goals (the measuring stick for Toastmasters clubs), is responsible for discipline, presents awards at each meeting (a nice job to do!).
Vice President of Education – organises the meeting agendas, ensures all meeting roles are filled, allocates speech slots, guides members through the education programme.
Vice President of Membership – the go-to person for people wanting to join or who have questions about joining, submits new memberships to Toastmasters International, administrates all other membership matters.
Vice President of Public Relations – promotes the club through social media and possibly in other ways as well.
Treasurer – handles the financial matters.
Secretary – takes committee meeting minutes, maintains club records etc.
Sergeant at Arms – responsible for club equipment.
Immediate Past President – the previous year’s president remains on the committee for the year/half-year after their term in that office.
Serving in higher leadership roles
Someone who has served on a club committee (probably as a club president) can then move up to serve in higher leadership roles. Almost all leaders in this organisation are volunteers – even the person at the top – the International President (Toastmasters also has a paid staff of around 150 in its Colorado headquarters who handle administration/IT/membership matters). These leadership roles are:
Area Director – advises/serves areas of 3-6 Toastmaster clubs in the same geographical region.
Division Director – advises/serves 4/5 area directors.
District Director/other district leaders – districts are like countries in the Toastmasters world (geographically they could be as small as part of a U.S. state or as big as a continent depending on how many Toastmasters clubs there are in that part of the world) and each district, generally made up of 150-300 clubs is led by a committee and ultimately, the district director. Our clubs are in District 71 which is made up of most of the UK (excluding the south east of England) and the Republic of Ireland.
Board of Directors – experienced Toastmasters leaders from all over the world who lead the entire organisation.
Toastmasters Officers – the most senior members of the Board of Directors, headed by the International President.
Completing special projects for your club
Back to club leadership opportunities, each club may offer people the opportunity to lead special projects such as a club speaking contest or a PR campaign.
An important thing to say about Toastmasters is that it is very affordable. At each of our clubs there is a £35 joining fee and then monthly dues are £12.50 per month.
If you are interested in developing your leadership skills at one of our clubs, please feel free to attend one of both of them as a guest for free to see if you would be interested in joining.
Leeds City Toastmasters meet on the 1st, 3rd and, if there is one, 5th Thursdays of the month at the Novotel Hotel, 4 Whitehall Quay, Leeds, LS1 4HR near Leeds railway station. Full details on the venue can be found here.
White Rose Speakers meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month at the Jurys Inn Hotel, Brewery Place, Leeds, LS10 1NE. Full details on the venue can be found here.
And if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us via the details on our contact page.