Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer the Commitment!

Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer the Commitment!

A message from our International President


While shopping the other day, I overheard a young girl in a store attempting to negotiate with her mother. She was listing all the things she would do if her mom would buy the item she desperately wanted. They all ended with the words “I promise!”

As I am writing this, the United States is in the throes of a heated presidential election, which means I can’t turn on my television or radio without hearing the two candidates… making promises.

Often, when we hear the words “I promise,” we have little faith in follow-through. What happens when promises are not kept? It can lead to losing a job, a marriage, a friend. It can lead to mistrust of an employer, a group, a government.

What about in Toastmasters? When we join Toastmasters, we make a promise. It’s on the back of every application and it includes 10 standards we promise to uphold. Some of them are: attending meetings regularly; preparing speeches to the best of our ability based on the speaking manuals; providing helpful, constructive evaluations; maintaining a friendly environment; serving as a club officer. By honoring our commitment to uphold these standards, we add value to our Toastmasters experience and strengthen our club.

Recently, I served as an evaluator for a Toastmaster named Natalie. As I turned through her manual, I saw page after page of underlining, highlighting and notes in the margins. She was obviously preparing every project to the absolute best of her ability. It was easy to see that Natalie was keeping her commitment. By the way, Natalie is a member of a club that has been President’s Distinguished every year except one since the program’s inception.

Not long ago I visited Pantex Lunch Bunch Toastmasters in Amarillo, Texas. This club is celebrating nine straight years of being a President’s Distinguished Club. When asked how they achieved such success, the members listed attributes pointing to one thing: This club was keeping its commitment.

I have never attended a meeting of Pioneer Toastmasters in Cincinnati, but I can tell just by reading the newsletter the club regularly sends me that this club is keeping its commitment! Sure enough, its reports show it has been a President’s Distinguished Club many years running.

Individuals and clubs all around the world excel because they are keeping their commitment. What about you? If you or your club are finding it challenging to keep your promise, I encourage you to present the Successful Club Series Module “Keeping the Commitment.” By keeping our promise in Toastmasters, we develop skills beyond what we expect or imagine. In doing so, we strengthen our careers, our relationships, our world. Let’s all take our promise seriously and have The Courage to Conquer the Commitment!


Jana Barnhill, DTM, Accredited Speaker
International President

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