Twenty-five years ago when my wife, Lesley, and I first attended a demonstration meeting of the proposed Whitsunday Toastmasters club, little did I realize the commitment I was making or how it would change my life. When signing the application, I hardly looked at it to see what I was undertaking—the promise I was making to my fellow members, my club and the organization as a whole: the Toastmaster’s Promise. It was some time later, when our area governor visited our new club and drew our attention to what she referred to as the guidelines to success as a Toastmaster, that I first realized how joining a club came with responsibilities.
A commitment requires a voluntary, wholehearted response and binds those who make one to a higher degree of personal accountability.
It is regrettable that today so few members recall the vital promise we all made when we first joined—the simple set of guidelines that, if we made the commitment to observe, would ensure that individually and collectively we would all reap the benefits of the Toastmasters program. Imagine how your club would look if we all made the commitment to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the simple 10-point promise. With our current drive to achieve quality clubs, meetings and service to our members, what better way to achieve these goals than commit to the promise?
I challenge you, my fellow members, to revive your awareness of this often neglected but vital component of Toastmasters. I recommend that you consider making the Toastmaster’s Promise an integral part of your meetings by interspersing it with the reading of the Toastmasters mission. Make more of it during the induction of new members and, most importantly, individually commit to fulfilling that promise. We all have expectations of the Toastmasters organization but might I suggest, by paraphrasing President John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural words, Ask not what your organization can do for you, ask what you can do for the organization and your fellow members.
… Remember the Member.
MIKE STORKEY, DTM