From the President’s desk – Jan’12 – by Euan Bayliss

Dear all,

First of all, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and that you’re all raring to go now we are into a new year. I hope that 2012 brings you all much joy and prosperity, as well as the right kind of challenges!

Setting Your Goals for 2012!

A new year is a good opportunity to think about what you want to achieve in all areas of your life, and Toastmasters is no exception. During the next year, the club will reach its 10th anniversary, there will be two speech contests, as well as a contest for evalation and table topics, and at the mid-point of the year, the club will welcome a new committee to continue keeping the club growing and healthy.

What are your goals?

One of the beauties of the Toastmasters programme is that every big goal can be broken down into bite-sized pieces. Achieving your Competent Communicator award begins with one simple Icebreaker speech! Achieving your Competent Leader award can start with being Timekeeper, or even doing a Table Topics speech.

Another beauty of the Toastmasters programme is that how long you take to complete each award is up to you! I say that, somewhat advisedly, because I would encourage every member attending a meeting to take on a role of some kind, preferably one that takes you just a little bit outside your comfort zone. It also means you get real value for that monthly subscription fee you are all paying…

Which brings me on to…

Recognising Leaders

We’re spoken in meetings often about the CL (Competent Leadership) manual, and how you can achieve your first leadership award with Toastmasters.

Sometimes it seems that our meetings are built with the CC (Competent Communication) manual project as an integral part. For example, when you sign up to do a speech, it’s clear how your speech will be evaluated and your achievement recognised. You are allocated an evaluator, who then completes your manual and evaluates your speech during the meeting.

With the CL manual things aren’t quite so clear. If you take on a role, you need to choose a project from the CL manual to be evaluated on. Next, you need to bring the manual to the meeting and ask another member to complete the evaluation for you. It’s not clear in quite the same way and puts the onus very much on each member to think ahead and to pick a member and ask (very nicely) that they evaluate your project. As a result, roles aren’t being evaluated, and so achievements aren’t being recognised.

That’s something I’d like to change.  During 2012, I want to see the numbers of members getting their roles evaluated and counted towards the Competent Leader award increase dramatically.


Do you know where your CL manual is?

Go and find it now! And put it with your CC manual to bring to the next meeting!

In future when you sign up for a role, the Toastmaster or General Evaluator will ask you to decide on a CL manual project to assign your role to. When you arrive at the meeting, you will give your manual to the General Evaluator who will either complete it for you, or assign the evaluation to another member.

BUT… if you don’t have a role, you still need to bring the CL manual with you. You might take a role on the evening, and even if you don’t do a role, you can still count a table topic speech, or a CC manual speech towards your CL manual!!

So, go and find your manual now and plan to achieve your leadership award in 2012!!!!

Changes in 2012

As a club, we have a duty to continue to look for ways to make our meetings run smoother, work better, and give extra value to everyone who attends.

When we’ve spoken to people in the past, there has been a sense that meetings have tended to drag out a little towards the end, and have finished quite late.

As a result we’ll be trying ways to keep our meetings shorter and more relevant to our members’ needs – ideally I’d like our meetings to finish at 9pm. I’m aware that some of our members travel a distance to be with us, and since Friday is another working day, it’s important that we value the time that every member and visitor has chosen to spend at our club.

Yet, if we are to cut half an hour from each meeting, we need to do so without reducing the value that everyone gets from the club – a challenge for everyone at the club!

So, there will be some changes to how each meeting runs, and I’ll be asking everyone present to give their opinions on changes that work and those that don’t. This will start from our next meeting on the 5th.

Some of the changes you’ll see at our next meeting will be fairly small (how speakers and evaluators are introduced) and some fairly large (a revised General Evaluator role), and I would like to think that in our quest to make meetings better, every aspect of the meeting should be considered.

(Have you found your CL manual yet?)

Other Clubs

As well as Leeds City Toastmasters, there are other clubs nearby where you can get involved and work through your CC and CL manual projects. In particular you might like to consider the following two:

Cummins Toastmasters (Huddersfield) – this is a workplace-based club which is open to the general community. Their first meeting will take place at 5.30pm on the 10th January and then every Tuesday at the same time. Get in touch for more information.

White Rose Speakers (Leeds) – our sister club meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in each month. They meet at 7pm, but at the Jury’s Inn Hotel, on Brewery Wharf, which is in the city centre, but just to the south of the river.

It’s possible that we’ll be seeing more clubs in the area start in the next year or so: if you’d like to see a club start in your own locality, get in touch. In particular, we may see clubs start in Bradford and Wakefield.

(Now you have your CL manual, which project are you going to do next?)

Other Bits ‘n’ Bobs

Breaking The Ice!

At our next meeting, we’ll be having an Icebreaker speech, but I’m aware that there are a few members who have paid their joining fee and are paying each month, but aren’t attending meetings and haven’t done their Icebreaker speech yet. This can be for all sorts of reasons – life just gets in the way sometimes, with work commitments, family commitments and so on.

If you fit into this category and aren’t sure how to get started, please get in touch. The days are getting longer, we’re heading towards Spring, and it’s time to break the ice – because once you’ve started, you won’t want to stop.

Make it a resolution in 2012 to get that first speech scheduled and DONE!

District Reformation

This might seem like rather a dry subject, but it’s one that will affect us all. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the structure of Toastmasters, the global organisation is split into Districts and ours is District 71 which covers the United Kingdom and Ireland.

As membership has grown so we have reached a critical point where we need to consider a split, and it is the nature of this split that is causing debate and discussion. The favoured solution would create two districts: one would be the South and the Midlands of England and most of Wales, and the other would pair the island of Ireland with the north of England, North Wales and Scotland.

The reasoning behind this split rather than a geographical split along the Irish Sea is too complex to describe here, but it’s something we will be mentioning in meetings, as it looks like a final decision will be made at the District Conference in Wexford this May.

We will talk about it at meetings up until then, as we need to have everyone’s opinions and thoughts about this.

Our next meeting – Thursday 5th January

Our next meeting promises to be a good one – we have three speakers lined up, and we also are able to welcome Celia Berrell who has kindly opted to be our General Evaluator for the evening. However, there are plenty of roles to be filled, so if you fancy any of the following, sign up or let me know and I’ll book you in:

  • Sergeant at Arms
  • Timekeeper
  • Ah Counter
  • Grammarian
  • Table Topics Master
  • Speech Evaluators x 2
  • Table Topics Evaluator

Don’t hesitate, sign up today for a role, and then choose the manual project from the CL manual that you want to be evaluated on! Do it now!!!

All the best to everyone for 2012.

Euan Bayliss

PS Have you done it yet?! (found your CL manual and chosen your next project, that is!)

PPS If you are receiving these e-mails and don’t wish to do so, please get in touch and I’ll remove you from our mailing list. If you’re receiving these e-mails and haven’t been to our meetings for a while, put the 5th or 19th January in your diary now and resolve to come along – you will not be sorry!

Kind Regards

Euan Bayliss

President – Leeds City Toastmasters