Rising to the Toastmaster Challenge

Basically as challenging as serving as Toastmaster

We’re a couple of months into Fiscal Year 2020 and already our VPE’s efforts have borne fruit. As most members can tell you, serving as Toastmaster for a given meeting can be challenging. In addition to being the Master of Ceremonies for the first half of the meeting — opening the meeting, helping to introduce various other roles, calling upon each evaluator to introduce his or her speaker — a good Toastmaster often makes an effort to ensure a successful meeting even before it begins, emailing members ahead of time to fill roles, to send reminders, and even to choose a theme around which the meeting can be planned.

It’s no wonder then that many newer members shy away from filling this role, often resulting in the same handful of more experienced individuals having to act as Toastmaster week after week. In an effort to ameliorate this problem, VPE Sally instead created a weekly schedule specifically for this role, ensuring that — while the newest members are spared — the more veteran among us get a little push to try something that we might have otherwise avoided.

Spirited Speech Masters has benefited greatly from this new policy, as we have enjoyed hearing differing and unique perspectives. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that — when a person doesn’t have to serve in this role on a regular basis — they have more energy to fulfill the role when they eventually do. Over the past couple of months, I have witnessed some really unique themes, not to mention some great introductions that, in many cases, could serve as standalone speeches!

Along these lines, I wanted to give a shout out to the Toastmasters from our two most recent meetings, Usamah and Karl:

  • Usamah chose the theme “power” for our meeting two weeks ago and surprised us all by helping us see not only the dangers inherent in the pursuit of power but also the power in acknowledging one’s own weakness.
  • Karl chose the theme “pain,” striking because the concept so often carries such a negative connotation. He helped us re-evaluate our view of pain as providing a barometer of bodily injury and a sense of appreciation for our good health.

Thank you to everyone who has stepped up in recent weeks to serve as Toastmaster. I look forward hopefully to a continued diversity of perspective and experience!

Sonya receiving a Best Table Topics certificate from Joann on October 3rd

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