From the President’s desk – December 2011

President’s Newsletter, December 2011

Dear all, As we look back on another year about to end, and a new one about to begin, it’s a good time to start thinking about our goals for 2012.

For anyone who is part of Toastmasters, there’s extra incentive to think about goals which will help you to become a better communicator and leader.

More about that later.

Club News

10th Anniversary Celebrations

I’m pleased to say that we have a committee in place who will be meeting to work on our celebratory event which will take place in late Spring 2012, probably during June.

We are still looking for people who are interested in getting involved or helping in some way.

Ideally there are two kinds of people who can really help: 1 – if you’re interested in learning how an event is organised, we’d love you to serve on the committee or 2 – if you have experience at organising an event, we’d love to have you help out as an adviser to the committee.

That means that you don’t have to commit to a lot, even just being available to the committee members via e-mail will be a great contribution.

Toastmasters is all about learning by doing, so you don’t have to have experience or expertise to get involved, just a willingness to learn and an open mind are what we need.

Remember also that taking on roles can contribute to achieving your Competent Leadership award: helping with an event like this can specifically contribute to projects 6 (Organising and Delegating) and 10 (Team Building).

Our next meeting – Celebrating our success in 2011!

Our next meeting is taking place on the 15th December, and will take on a special theme of celebrating our success.

The meeting itself will be shortened to allow us to have a longer break, in which we’ll have nibbles and drinks and time to chat.

I’d particularly like to welcome you if you haven’t been to the club for some time, we’ll be taking time to give out our new member pins – there is one for every member – and to recognise everyone’s contribution to making our club evenings special, so do try to get along to the meeting. It would be great to see all our members!

What you can contribute: please bring some nibbles and drinks for the evening – if you want to contribute drinks, you might consider bringing something non-alcoholic as I imagine many will be driving.

Also in order to make the evening extra special, I’m inviting every member and visitor to give me some highlights of the year or anything that a member did that made your evening – it could be a speech that you really enjoyed, a role that gave you a little bit of extra confidence and belief in yourself or something else. Big or small, I’d love to hear all your thoughts. They can be either attributed to you or anonymous if you wish.

While I can recognise each member’s contribution from what I see and hear, it would be better to have recognition being for all our members and from all our members too.

Thinking Ahead to 2012

Although we’re not quite done with 2011 yet, now would be a good time to start thinking of what you’d like to achieve in 2012, irrespective of where you are right now on your Toastmasters journey.

Members Making Progress

Many of our members are working through the Competent Communication and Competent Leadership manuals and it would be good to see members achieving those awards, but there are smaller steps that make up those bigger goals.

As Dinesh rightly says, the one guaranteed way to becoming a better speaker, is ‘stage time, stage time, stage time’, or getting up in front of the group and giving speeches, taking on roles and – let’s be blunt – getting value for that £10 a month you are all paying for your membership.

A few members haven’t been to meetings for a while, and also a few members haven’t yet done their Icebreaker speech. If you fall into either of those two categories, and want to get some support for your journey with Toastmasters, get in touch. You’ll always be guaranteed a warm welcome and an appreciative audience at our club.

I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate Vaishali, who is now confirmed as having achieved her Competent Communication and Competent Leadership awards – and hope to be able to congratulate quite a few more people in 2012.

Mentoring

Closely related to goal setting and achievement, I’d like to mention that after our recent committee meeting,

Trevor Hatib, our VP Education, will be setting up a formal mentoring programme. Our goal is that every new member will now be put in touch with an existing member who can act as a mentor.

Expect to hear more about this in the New Year, but for now, if you are a member and would like to be paired with a mentor then get in touch with me or Trevor. Also get in touch if you would like to become a mentor. I’m aware that there is a tendency to think of being a mentor as a role only available for advanced speakers.

This is definitely not the case!

Mentoring is an advanced leadership skill, and is open to everyone, whether you’ve done one speech or a hundred. The skills you need are that you are open and ready to learn and contribute. You can both be a mentor and have a mentor at the same time!

Anyway, that’s all for 2011.

I’ll be back in touch with my next newsletter in early 2012.

I hope to see many of you at our next meeting on the 15th December. If you’re unable to attend, I’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. I hope to see you in 2012!

Euan  Bayliss – President Leeds City Toastmasters