From the President’s desk – Oct’11 – By Euan Bayliss

This is the first monthly newsletter which I’ll be sending out during the Toastmasters year. It’ll be my opportunity to let you all know what’s going on at Leeds City Toastmasters, as well as to include information which won’t go into the announcements at the end of each meeting.

So, here is the news from our club for October!

Humorous Speaking and Table Topics contest

Thank you to everyone who took part in our contest last month. We had some excellent speeches, particularly in the Table Topics section. We had Celia Berrell with us, and she gave an excellent talk about why she loves Cairns. I’d also like to give a special mention to Jude Baker who spoke about her DIY escapades, as it was her first speech at our club since joining – not a bad way to do an Icebreaker speech!
Yesterday marked the Area contest, which took place in Goole, and our club was represented by Anthony Day in the humorous speaking contest, and Trevor Hatib and Janet Jones in the Table Topics contest.
From the contest Rob Moore of York EbOrators (in the humorous speaking contest) and Sally Barber of Strictly Speaking Harrogate (in the table topics contest) will be representing Area 15 at the Division E speaking contest.
This will take place on the 23rd October in Altrincham, Cheshire. I’ll send more details when I have them – it’ll be a fun day out and a chance to watch some really great speakers in action. The winners from this round will go to the final District contest.

Which brings me onto…

The Flourish Autumn Conference
This will take place from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th November in Glasgow. For more details, go to www.flourish2011.co.uk where you’ll be able to see what packages are available.

Leeds City Toastmasters Website update
After a discussion at our last committee meeting, Dinesh has very kindly taken the time to update our website. Have a look at http://www.leedscitytoastmasters.org.uk/ to see our new look.
To make the site even better, we’re looking for members to submit articles to go on the site. If you have a story to tell about Toastmasters or about your own journey towards being a better speaker and leader, get in touch. We’d love to feature you on our site.
Also we are planning to feature a member each month in a “Toastmaster of the Month” section. This will be a chance for us to show the wonderful diversity we have at our club, and to recognise what it means to be part of Leeds City Toastmasters. If you’d like to be featured, get in touch, or if there’s a member you’d like to nominate, again, please get in touch!

A New Toastmasters Club in Huddersfield!
We are looking to launch a new Toastmasters club in Huddersfield – and we need people to be involved in the launch and set up of the new club. Not only will it be a great way to contribute back to Toastmasters, but it’ll also give you a chance to tick off lots of projects in your Competent Leadership manual!
Dinesh writes:
“The first thing we would like to arrange is an Information session at Cummins – the venue for the new club (It would be a community club based out of a corporate venue).
The information session is like a mini-Toastmaster session but more specifically geared around explaining the benefits of Toastmasters and how the meetings work. So we would need three volunteers for this session. The likely dates are November 23rd or 25th and December 2nd or 3rd. The information session would be a ‘lunch time’ meeting of approximately 45 minutes at Huddersfield.”
If you’d like to get involved, e-mail Dinesh. The club will be run out of Cummins who are based (I believe) near the Galpharm Stadium, and although it is a workplace based club, it will be open to the community.

Monthly Subscriptions
Recently the dues that we pay to Toastmasters International increased for the first time in a few years. As a result, we will need to pass a similar increase to our members. The current subscription rate is £10/month, and has been held at this level for (I believe) four years. We have decided to raise our rates with effect from the 1st March 2012 to £12.50/month. I’ll be making announcements at meetings and we’ve decided to give plenty of time for people to make the required changes to their standing orders.
I hope you’ll agree that this still represents amazing value for money! Any questions and thoughts, please get in touch.

Setting Your Goals
As we’re about to head into the darker evenings, now would be a good time to think about your goals for the rest of this year. I’m aware that we have a few members who are new and who haven’t yet done their Icebreaker speeches. I’m also aware that we have a few members who haven’t been to club meetings for a while.
There is absolutely no pressure on members, and I’m always conscious that busy lives can prevent us from attending meetings or completing projects, however, I’m also conscious that members may be paying subscription fees and not getting the full value for those payments.
With this in mind, we’ll be making contact with all of our members in the near future, the aim being to find out what your needs are, and how you can be best served by the club. I’d particularly like to hear from you if you haven’t yet done your Icebreaker speech, but are not sure where to start or feel that you need guidance on taking that first step.

October Meetings and Special Visitors
Our meetings in October will take place on the 6th and 20th October, and as usual will start at 6.45pm for 7.
We will have Celia Berrell with us from Australia again this week. We’ll also have two visitors on the 20th October: Helen Tait, who is Assistant Area Governor, will be with us to find out how we are doing, and we’ll also have Oscar Merkx DTM who will be down from Glasgow to talk to us about the Flourish Autumn Conference and answer any questions you might have about the event and what you can expect to get from attending.

Leeds City Toastmasters is 10!
The club’s tenth anniversary is coming up in Spring 2012, and to mark the occasion, we are planning a special event, but for this to happen, we need you to get involved! If you don’t particularly want a long term commitment to the club’s running but would like to help shape this special occasion, then get in touch. We’re looking to set up a special committee who have the task of making this event happen, and making it special… and, of course, being involved can count towards your next leadership award!
I’ll be making further announcements at the next few meetings.
That’s all for this month – I hope you’ve enjoyed this first newsletter.
Remember I’m here for all our members, so if there’s anything I can do to help you with your Toastmasters journey, please get in touch.
Otherwise, I hope to see as many of you as possible at our next meeting on Thursday 6th October at 7pm.