As a follow-up to my initial Viewpoint column last month, I intend to explore each of the promises in the Toastmaster’s Promise individually: to look at how our commitment affects our self-development, our fellow members and the quality of our clubs. The first promise is “to attend club meetings regularly.” This seemingly simple promise is the keystone to a quality club in that it empowers all members to achieve their individual goals.
Do you remember your first Toastmasters meeting? As a guest you probably felt a little apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. Was there a warm greeting, a sense of energy and excitement in the room, and an air of confidence as a result of being in a positive and safe environment? In other words, did you find yourself among a dynamic and supportive group of individuals? If you answered yes, you are reading this as a member of a Toastmasters club.
It is each member’s commitment to the first promise to attend meetings regularly that sets the cornerstone for success.
It is not by accident that clubs are chartered with 20 members, for our founder knew that to have a quality meeting, it is imperative to have sufficient numbers to “put on a good show.” Having 20 members allows the vice president education to schedule a constantly changing roster of people to fulfill the meeting roles and gives the members regular opportunities to advance their speaking skills. Having enough members also helps when one or two members are unable to attend a meeting due to personal reasons such as family, business or health issues. Therefore it is every member’s responsibility to attend meetings regularly. Continued low attendance limits the effectiveness and growth of both the member and the club. Each member should strive to be as active as possible. It is not the number of members on the books but the number of active members attending each meeting that defines a healthy club. As such, it is each member’s commitment to the first promise to attend meetings regularly that sets the cornerstone for success.
As club members, we each have a part to play to ensure quality meetings in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment. Ask yourself, Am I doing my part to fulfill my commitment or am I failing to remember my fellow member? When a guest walks into your next meeting, will they encounter the same ambiance that encouraged you to join? Make sure you are there to greet your next potential member and honor your promise.
MIKE STORKEY, DTM