Friday, December 10, 2010

Toastmasters Friday: Getting Back on Track

2010 saw me jump the tracks a bit, when it comes to Toastmasters.

I started off as a Division Governor, and promptly took a job that kept me out of town the remainder of my term. I can admit I was a DivGov in name only, and my Area Governors did everything while I was away. I wouldn't even count the office towards a TM award, at this point.

I did get a chance to visit various clubs in Wisconsin, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota, which was nice, and went to a club in London on the last day of my business trip to Europe. I met a lot of cool people, and was reminded how well the TM model works for the average person just looking to overcome their fear of public speaking.

I visited several clubs here in Colorado, and even managed to attend a contest in which an eventual 2010 World Championship of Public Speaking Finalist appeared.

I'm currently a member of Arvada Speakeasy, but have only been attending 1 of 4 meetings - a terrible record, I know. I did attend this week though, and look forward to at least one more meeting in December.

In January, I wrote about Not Letting Toastmasters Hurt You In 2010 - days before I knew I had the job that would totally change my involvement with the organization. Heading into 2011, I'll get a better chance to put those ideas back into practice.

My most important goals in Toastmasters this year are, first, sharpening my current stories and keynotes, and second, providing support and evaluation to other Toastmasters, regardless of their point of entry in the program.

I also mentioned competition in the post as a great way to improve your skills. I haven't competed since Spring of 2009, after having competed every year since Fall of 2000, my first evaluation contest. The jury is still out on 2011, though I admit I'm leaning towards it. The challenge of a new District, particularly one who has sent 4 contestants to the WCPS in the last 11 years (Bryon Embry, Ian Humphrey, Rory Vaden (who took second the next year, representing a different District), and 2000 Champ Ed Tate), is enticing. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

If you're a TM now - what are you hoping to accomplish in 2011? If you're not a member, consider the benefits of being a member. You'll get out of Toastmasters not just what you put in, but much more, if you keep your eyes, ears, and options open. If nothing else, it's a great way to find a free audience to watch you Speak & Deliver!


  1. Hey Rich,

    Great feedback, your story reminds me of a quote I once heard - "No plan survives first contact". In my own experience as Area Governor, Division Governor and now Public Relations Officer for District 18, I have learned that it is important to be flexible throughout the year. Toastmasters teaches us many leadership lessons both directly and indirectly. For 2011, I am certainly focused on pushing the boundaries of my leadership potential and helping share this Toastmasters program with as many people as possible. As we go into the new year, I think it is important that we focus on helping others and reaching out - encouraging people that they can have the communication, leadership and confidence that they are looking for. Thanks for all that you do and spreading the great message of Toastmasters and the benefits of living your passion.

  2. Rich,
    How are you doing my friend and fellow finalist in the WCPS in 2008? Have checked your blog out now and then and you inspired me to start one. I am calling it 'Round Robin Speech Writing' and it is at I am working on a book on the psychology of public speaking and am asking visitors to the blog to critique the chapters (each one a 5-7) as I write them. I am including your blog on my links page if that is OK with you. Hope to meet you once more on the Big Stage in 2011.
    Charlie Wilson



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