Viewpoint: Distinguished!

Viewpoint: Distinguished!

A message from our International President

This month, all our current-year recognition programs come to an end. How fares your club? Have you attained your personal goals? Remember that to be Simply Amazing is to be so remarkable as to elicit disbelief. This means we need to do such a remarkable job in working through our educational programs that change is evident and provokes astonishment. That’s the mark of success. That’s the key to being distinguished! That’s being Simply Amazing!

I once visited a club where a member asked me, “Why do we have to chase after points and goals by getting members to finish their manuals? Why can’t we just have fun at meetings, do what we want to do and not worry about giving speeches?”

I guess that person had a point – that is, if he belonged to a club whose sole purpose was to socialize with others. Toastmasters, while offering fun and fellowship during meetings, is an educational organization. We use fun and fellowship as a means to an end – as a way to learn communication and leadership skills as well as enhance members’ confidence and self-esteem.

The bottom line in a Toastmasters club meeting is still the member delivering manual speeches or performing leadership projects and getting evaluated for them. Counting the number of Competent or Advanced Communicator awards and Competent or Advanced Leader awards – as well as counting the number of members – is the only way we can determine if clubs are meeting their mission of providing a positive learning environment for members.

If members are given every opportunity to deliver their speeches or perform leadership projects and are receiving positive evaluations for them, then they’ll do more projects, and other members will be inspired to do the same. Club meetings will become interesting, educational and yes, fun. Members will feel good about themselves and about their clubs. When that happens, they will be more than happy to invite guests to their meetings. Guests who join the club continue the cycle by working through the program and bringing in other guests. The result? A Distinguished club!

That same person also said, “We have very high standards for speeches in our club, so it takes us months, even years, of preparation in order to meet those standards.”

We are in Toastmasters to improve ourselves, not to be as good as – or better than – others. Most of us will never be World Champions of Public Speaking, and most of us will never attain the eloquence of a professional speaker. But guess what? Most of us don’t want to. We are in Toastmasters to learn and to develop our own skills. It’s not a question of me being better than anyone else. It is a matter of me being better than what I was yesterday!

Deliver your speech and leadership projects in your club, measure your progress and discover your talents and potential. If you do that, then you can consider yourself Distinguished! Even more, you’ll be Simply Amazing!

Johnny Uy, DTM
International President