Shine Like a Beacon

By Richard Cook

You achieved quite a lot! Whether you joined Toastmasters for self-improvement, advancing your career, overcoming the fear of public speaking, or simply to participate in speech contests, you know the value added to your life.

This achievement is not free; we know there is a cost paid. As a volunteer organization the costs, beyond membership fees, are many hands and hours of work required to make a single meeting happen. The costs are well worth the effort in my opinion!

To keep our clubs distinguished every member contributes what they can, when they can. Quality clubs come from the labour of all members, be it the enthusiasm of new members to the wisdom and guidance of the more experienced. We know that practice keeps our skills honed while mentoring and evaluating one another repays what our fellow Toastmasters have done for us.

Successful for over 95 years, Toastmasters International determines that a healthy club has at least 20 members. With this size, meetings flow well, individuals are not overtaxed meeting after meeting, and ideas and encouragement circulate with more energy.

Membership building should be worked on continuously. Talking about Toastmasters may not bring in guests immediately, but it will plant the seed in their minds about its value. When they are ready to learn more, guests will seek Toastmasters out. It can be difficult to determine the most effective methods of bringing in guests but I believe that planting those seeds is the most promising in the long term.

Keep in mind the Toastmasters Core Values: Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence. The Toastmaster Promise is not just a list on the application form only to be read once and forgotten. It is to be recited often, if only to yourself, to remind us that our meetings take an effort to plan and run, and we are all responsible.

If you have achieved your goals in Toastmasters and decide to put your energy into other endeavours, I challenge you to leave a legacy of a healthy and strong club that you proudly talk about for years to come. Your respect for the organization that helped you achieve your goals will shine like a beacon for future guests and your reputation.

Richard Cook
Stittsville Toastmasters

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