Viewpoint: What Every Toastmaster Must Do

Viewpoint: What Every Toastmaster Must Do

A letter from our International President

Susan. Nancy. Dorothy. Gavin. Those are the names of four Toastmasters who were invaluable to my personal development. What did they do? They simply encouraged me to take leadership roles in Toastmasters. They planted seeds of encouragement. What subsequently blossomed has made all the difference in my life.

This is the time of year when we elect officers to serve in every level of leadership in our organization. Are you stepping up to the plate to serve as an officer in your club or district? You should. I believe that your Toastmasters career is incomplete until you have served as both club president and area governor. Those are two of the most life-changing roles in Toastmasters.

As a club president, you will learn to motivate volunteers, operate within a budget, organize people and projects, and help improve your club members’ lives. As an area governor, you will do all that and more by educating and inspiring members of multiple clubs to succeed and overcome challenges. The best part of both these roles is that you will see the immediate impact of your contributions. It’s a phenomenal experience to watch a new member deliver an Ice Breaker, encourage a member to hang on just a bit longer to earn a Competent Communicator award, or celebrate the achievements of your team when you earn Distinguished Club or Distinguished Area status.

You also become a better communicator. As a club president or area governor, you have more opportunities to speak on diverse occasions, such as leading a business meeting, chairing an area council meeting or training other officers. I love to tell those prospective area governors who initially decline the role because they want to compete in speech contests, that they will have more opportunities to speak as an area governor. That practice will help them when they compete in speech contests the following year.

Every leadership role I undertook in Toastmasters has made me a better communicator, a stronger leader and a more well-rounded person. I owe my career and increased responsibilities at work to the leadership lessons I learned in Toastmasters. Isn’t it time for you to start your leadership journey, or to progress to the next level of your leadership development?

As for those four Toastmasters: Thank you, Susan Lannis, Nancy McCarthy, Dorothy Cottingham and Gavin Blakey. Your belief in me has transformed me into the person I am today.

Your journey of leadership begins now!

Gary Schmidt, DTM
International President