Why We Avoid the Dues Blues
Imagine that you’re competing in the International Speech Contest. You’ve emailed your speech to friends and mentors for comments. You’ve practiced for weeks in front of your club, spouse and goldfish. Everyone’s rooting for you to win.
But it’s not easy. First, one competitor’s speech about his mother leaves no dry eye in the house, and you’re sure he’s going to win. Then another club member makes everyone laugh, and you’re sure she’s going to win.
Finally, after many anxious moments...the winner is announced.
It’s you! Your club is thrilled to send you to the next level.
A few weeks later – after much more practice and polishing – you step onto a larger stage and approach the lectern. The contest chairman starts to announce your speech – but a booming voice from the audience interrupts her. Marching down the aisle with arms waving, a competitor bellows, “THIS SPEAKER IS INELIGIBLE!” In the coming moments, you learn that your club has not kept up all its dues payments to World Headquarters. As a result, you’re disqualified from competing. You go home in shame, ruin and defeat.
Don’t let this happen to you!
The truth is, members who pay their dues on time and who belong to clubs in good standing enjoy a variety of benefits. Contest participation is only part of the package.
The Many Benefits of Paid Membership
- Educational Development. All new members receive the Competent Communication and Leadership manuals. The backbone of the Toastmasters program, these practical manuals have brought many nervous speakers into their own as confident, competent speakers and leaders. Plus, members receive three guidebooks: Your Speaking Voice, Gestures: Your Body Speaks and Effective Evaluation. These booklets guide speakers in developing the skills they need to communicate gracefully and feel at home in their Toastmasters meetings.
- Leadership Experience. For those who wish to pursue leadership training, opportunities abound at the club level and beyond. Leadership positions offer members great training at the area, division and district levels...and even higher. In Toastmasters, options are often limited to your dreams and your willingness to work hard in pursuit of them.
- Support the Club. It’s always a good feeling to know that you’re supporting your club. After all, these are the people who supported you when you first stood at the lectern with your knees knocking. By keeping up your dues, you’re helping your club to maintain its status (or work toward the goal) of being a Distinguished Club. It’s important to note that Distinguished Clubs offer the best possible learning environments for their members. Trisha Bridenstine, president of Rancho Speech Masters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, agrees. “Working toward being a Distinguished Club not only stimulates personal growth and pride but bonds the club by providing a common goal,” she says. “This distinction is also a magnet for new membership, inspiring the club with new ideas, experiences and creative opportunity.”
- The Toastmaster Magazine. Toastmasters around the world look forward, each month, to the arrival of the Toastmaster magazine. Speaking tips, techniques, stories and a sense of community...they all come together in its pages. Included in your membership is a subscription to this helpful and informative magazine.
- Member Pricing on Toastmasters Products. Diana Ewing, president of UniMasters club in Lake Forest, California, enjoys the discounts at Toastmasters.org/shop. “The TI store is an added benefit for both individuals and clubs because it offers members access to – and preferred pricing for – a host of wonderful educational and training materials,” notes Ewing. “Also available are ribbons, pins, certificates and many other items that we use to recognize member achievements and encourage people to strive for even greater success.”
Don’t forget the contests. The rewards of competition, and in particular, the International Speech Contest, can be fabulous: learning opportunities, recognition, adventure, fun and a trip to the International Convention to be crowned the World Champion of Public Speaking.
But if it’s worth doing – it’s worth doing right. The Toastmasters Speech Contest Rulebook states that each contestant must “Be a member in good standing of the club in which he or she is competing. The club also must be in good standing. A new, dual, or reinstated member must have dues and membership application current with World Headquarters.” Colin William, top-ten finalist for the 2008 World Championship of Public Speaking, says, “It's always been reassuring to me when I compete to know that my clubs have had responsible treasurers whom I can trust to submit the dues on time.” Remember: To be eligible to compete in any contest, the speaker must be a member in good standing in a club in good standing. Have you spoken to your club treasurer about paying the club’s dues on time?
When you add them up, you may be surprised at all the benefits coming your way. So take a moment and imagine a new scene:
You’re competing in the International Speech Contest...and you win!
After confirming your paid dues, there’s only one thing left to do: Start practicing – that contest is just around the corner.