Opportunities blog post by Michael Said

Just about all of us join Toastmasters to gain confidence in public speaking. We soon realise that there are other gems on offer. We learn how to give feedback in a positive manner. We collect a great set of friends. Some of us even find another treasure, a life partner. And for many, they stay in their club, enjoy the camaraderie, partake is club activities, help out at special meetings, and so on. They even take on things that they never would have before and run/be involved in Speechcraft, if that club runs that program.

But they see themselves as not leaders, but put their toe in the water and join the Executive. Moreover, they stay just within their club. And to quote Seinfeld, there is nothing wrong with that, it fosters a great club environment. In my Toastmaster travels, I have visited over 60 clubs, and have seen many great ones. It is clear to me, the clubs that don’t venture beyond the frontier of the walls of their own club. They become insular, never taking on new ideas, never evolving, and finding change difficult to accept.

These are the clubs where there is a core of strong members that keep that club on track maintaining their same standard. And when one or several of these members leave the club for whatever reason, things invariably turn sour. The club is under pressure and can go under. There was a club, older than Parramatta, Karingal, that three years back, went this way. The one person holding things together went overseas, and the club eventually folded.

This weekend, the Semi Annual Conference is taking place at Ettalong. 11 Parramatta members will be there, a low number for Parramatta standards, but a large number compared to other clubs. Those who have never been to a conference will not miss anything. What I really mean is that those who have never been to a Conference, they will not know what they have missed, and it will appear as missing nothing.

When I joined Toastmasters, I heard talk of these Conference things, but thought that they were not for me and that I was not included. When I finally went to my first, I regretted not going immediately. The Annual Conference is in May 2014. Our club should do what it can to have a high representation of our newest members there. This is not en exclusive club. And who knows, we may need your support for our International Speech or Evaluation champion.
Other external events members should consider are:-
• Attending Area and Division Contests.
• Other clubs in Area 13, and beyond.
• Be a test speaker for other clubs/Areas, Divisions when they are running their Evaluation Contests.
• Attend District sponsored training.
• Attend District Conferences.
• Be involved in District Sunday Seminars
• Volunteer to help at District events
• Be an Area and then Division Governor
• Attend the International Convention, which is in Malaysia next year. 15 club members have attended conventions in the past.
• Be a club Coach
• Join a second club.

There are 25 other clubs represented by Parramatta members already
This list is almost limitless as to what a club Toastmaster can do to venture out. The benefits to you are you get a new level of growth and a broader set of friends. And your Club benefits by the influx of ideas and the reinvigoration of the organisation by having people broaden their wings.

Michael Said

Parramatta Toastmasters member, along with 6 other clubs, Wattle Grove, Western Gourmet, Twilight Leaders, Sydney Travel, Stage Time and Travelling Gourmet.

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