Idea Corner: What to Do After You Receive Your DTM
Fresh ways to keep working on your speaking and leadership skills.
By Cara Seitchek, DTM
You’ve done it. You’re now a DTM. You’ve checked off every educational and leadership goal in all the Toastmasters checklists. Now what?
Don’t pack up your Toastmasters gear and ride off into the sunset. You can find new goals to achieve, more checklists to cross off, fresh ways to work on your public speaking and leadership skills. As you move into your post-DTM life with Toastmasters, here are just a few ideas of the challenges and opportunities that await you:
• Complete all the Advanced Communication Series manuals. You finished six advanced manuals for your DTM, but the nine additional manuals provide 45 new opportunities to learn a variety of speaking styles. Every speech gives you more practice in public speaking, and you can try out new speech formats. Lead a discussion group, learn how to deliver a humorous speech or build your technical presentation skills. And, when you finish the nine advanced manuals, you are well on your way to fulfilling the requirements of a second DTM.
• Complete the new Competent Leadership manual. For many Toastmasters, this manual didn’t exist when we worked on our first CL. Use the new checklists to focus on becoming a better grammarian, timer or Ah-Counter. This manual will not only improve your leadership skills, but it will also strengthen your club’s meetings as less-experienced members observe and emulate your advanced abilities.
• Train the next generation of Toastmasters leaders. Act as dean of your district’s Toastmasters Leadership Institute or offer to teach one (or more) of the training classes. You acquired valuable skills as you completed your DTM, so pass this knowledge to newer leaders – they’ll appreciate the tips and tricks you share with them. Perhaps, as vice president education, you created a special spreadsheet to track the educational accomplishments of your club. Distribute copies of this tool to your fellow VPEs. When you acted as vice president membership, did you create a recruiting program that brought in the required eight members for distinguished club status? Tell new VPMs how they, too, can accomplish this feat.
• Work on a new CC (formerly called a CTM), and make it a fresh challenge. We all embark on our first CC as someone brand new to the world of public speaking. Approach a second CC with more arduous focus. For example, did you write out and memorize all your early speeches? Challenge yourself to give impromptu speeches or speeches from outlines. Did many of your early speeches use the first-person point of view? Challenge yourself to give third-person point of view speeches the second time around.
• Focus on one aspect of being a Toastmaster and try to master it. Work on your evaluations by giving an evaluation at every meeting. Strive to deliver the perfect evaluation. Or, focus on Table Topics. See if you can improve your Table Topics skills every time you present one. By focusing on these skills, you’ll be even better prepared for the fall and spring contests.
• Apply for the Accredited Speaker Program. This Toastmasters program provides strict requirements to be qualified as an accredited speaker. When you complete the program, this qualification can help you earn extra income as a public speaker. Sign up at your local speakers bureau and you’ll be matched with events that need an accomplished public speaker.
• Present all modules from The Better Speaker Series, The Successful Club Series, Success/Leadership and Success/Communication modules to your club. Don’t limit yourself to the modules required for your DTM. Your club will benefit from listening to every module. Take each module and make it your own, adding your personal examples to those in the script.
• Join or form an advanced club. Stretch your speaking skills by meeting with other DTMs in a DTM-only club. As a group, you can set new challenges and stricter goals for your collective advanced speaking skills. Tap into the accumulated knowledge of other DTMs by organizing mock conference panels or workshops in which everyone can participate.
• Teach a class on public speaking or speech writing. With your DTM, you can share with others the skills and abilities you have gained through your Toastmasters experience. Call your community college, recreation department or high school. Offer to teach an introductory class or conduct a Speechcraft seminar, and make sure to bring information on Toastmasters.
• Volunteer to help your district, division and area. Every leader needs a team to help achieve district and personal goals. Volunteer to mentor club or district officers, or assist with planning the district conference. Use the time you had devoted to thinking of new speech topics, writing and practicing speeches, and preparing for meetings. By acting as a resource for others, you are following in the footsteps of Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, using your skills to help others grow and develop. What a great way to enjoy the results of all the work it took to earn your DTM!
Cara Seitchek, DTM, is a freelance writer and member of the Smithsonian Institution Club in Washington, D.C. She is an instructor with the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland and UCLA Extension.