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ImpactYou have taken up the challenge to drive the next meeting and now is the day to perform THE role of TOASTMASTERS OF THE DAY. Audience is looking forward to a great time. How can you help them? Here are few tips to enchant them

  1. TIME MANAGEMENT: Help Begin, Carry and Close the meeting on Time.
  2. Meet, Greet and Shake hands with members and Guests. Connect to make them comfortable and confident.
  3. GUEST INTRODUCTION: If the guests are not recognized by the presiding officer, take it upon yourself to recognize the guests and give them a brief on what is expected from the meeting. At the end of the meeting ask them for their FEEDBACK.
  4. TMOD: The best TMOD is the one you don’t remember. He invests energy in making participants look great and feel appreciated.
  5. THEME: Give a theme to your meeting and be consistent with it from the beginning till the end.
  6. APPLAUSE: Lead the applause when a speaker comes or leaves the podium.
  7. LEAD: Lead the charge to making the meeting exciting. Get everyone pumped up and keep them up during the meeting. While the speakers are the stars of the show, you are the lead cheerleader.
  8. STAY IN TOUCH: Get in touch with every role play and brief him what is expected and find if the role player needs any help or special considerations.
  9. BACKUP PLAN: Avoid delay in meeting because a role play has not turned up on Time. If a member with a role is late – even if you’re still expecting them – get a backup for the role in case they don’t make it.
  10. CONTENT: Find interesting facts, quotes, trivia related to the meeting theme to interject throughout the meeting.
  11. Me Me and Me: Avoid loads of personal anecdotes.
  12. STARS: Your speakers, evaluators and Table Topics participants are the stars to make the meeting memorable. Your job is to make sure they feel comfortable, confident and connected when come to the podium.
  13. INTRODUCTION: There are three things you must include in the introduction: Presenter name and TM title, Project manual and name, Title of the speech.
  14. OBSERVE: Finally strictly observe members and guests before and during the meeting. Identify one good thing or initiative taken up by a new member or guest and recognize him during the meeting. For example if a new member extends a helping hand in setting up the room or a guest helps distribute the agenda.
  15. FEEDBACK: Finally request written feedback from your audience on your role play. reward every feedback with a small token of appreciation. ( It could be any stationery items such as a pen, stick on or others)

Good Luck for your next TMOD role play

TM

Last month while conversing with a Toastmaster I inquired about a fellow Toastmaster.  I was told he had lost his job.  In another meeting I was told that another fellow toastmaster had migrated to Canada considering his kids had moved out for higher education.   This got me thinking, how well do I know my fellow Toastmasters, how well do I know them beyond the precincts of Toastmasters meetings?

Toastmasters is a community of members working towards excelling in life.  Which other fraternity has such a powerful minded community of people?  I could think of no other.  And then I was promptly reminded of Sales phrases Upsell; Cross Sell; Low hanging fruits and so on.   

Low hanging Fruits: Coming from a Sales background I realized that I was connecting with fellow Toastmasters at TM level only i.e. what role they were playing and their Toastmasters journey, nothing beyond that.   This networking road map was obvious and did not require extra effort.  Rather I was plucking LOW HANGING FRUITS.   I was not UP SELLING, I was not connecting at a professional level.  I was not Cross selling, I was connecting at a social level.

When I sat down to introspect; we have over 100+ clubs in UAE and considering a membership status of around  20 members per club, the total membership should around 2000 members.  People pay premium to attend networking events simply to exchange business cards; whereas at TM  club meetings we have an opportunity to connect at a much deeper level.

My message is that networking is a powerful tool, provided we network beyond TM activities.  Because networking is not only shaking hands, exchanging cards or chit chat.  Networking is finding gold while helping other people succeed.  So why pluck the low hanging fruits? Why don’t we CROSS SELL i.e network at a professional level.  Why not UPSELL i.e. what stops us networking at the Social level.

The next time you participate in a club meet, arrive 30 minutes early and

  • CROSS SELL ie. Network at a professional level.  Connect with 5 TM’s at a professional level.  Find out what do they do professionally, how did they got into their profession, what skills are required to be in their job and finally how you can help them grow.
  • UPSLL i.e Network at a social level.  Agree to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee and nurture this relationship into a familyet together.  Ask how you can be of help to his family.

Maturing from LOW HANGING FRUITS to CROSS SELL and UPSELL is 360* networking.  And remember, UAE has around 2000 Toastmasters whereas globally there are 292,000 members in more than 14,350 clubs spread in 122 countries.  POWER; Use it or lose it.

 

TM-SMMany a time I receive a request from a prospective member “which club should I join? ”    And the question cycle begins where do you stay, what is your profession and what is your objective?   Many a time Toastmasters come back after a long SABBATICAL and request is for a similar advice.  The recommendations could be wrong or right but presumably coloured by the glasses you are wearing. 

What if we could automate this process?  Automation is not about reflecting where the club exists or the contact details.  What if we use the power of SOCIAL MEDIA and going forward request every member who is joining to concur to share or not to share his LinkedIn or Facebook profile? 

And I am positive 90% of the members would not hesitate to concur.  Based on the trend mobile application can be developed that is interfaced with LinkedIn and Facebook to pick up relevant data. And this Mobile app can be made available to Toastmasters on subscription model wherein if members can search members with relevant skill, qualifications, Title, industry and all those criteria that are available on LinkedIn and Facebook platform. 

I see tremendous benefit in the application. Imagine I am visiting Turkey and want to visit club with members from IT sales professionals, Imagine I am visiting Malaysia and would like to visit members from Finance background?    Imagine club membership is going down or shooting up – the membership profile can intelligently predict why?

Please share your comments.

TM-x-tra Many a time I meet professionals and they say I am also a member of Toastmasters club but I don’t attend the meetings.  It’s like saying I have a tread mill at home but don’t use it.

Toastmasters International is a wonderful platform of progressive professionals that has changed many lives.  People who swore to have no talent for public speaking are delivering keynotes and motivational speeches.  People who thought it was a waste of time have morphed into DTM’s and persuaded hundreds of others to join the forum and people who believed in “I, me and mine”, are mentoring and helping others to succeed.  What can you expect to learn from Toastmasters Program?  Let me share my SEVEN STAR learning. Read the rest of this entry »

 

no showsThe attendance was 200%; participation was 100% and the Toastmasters club meeting was a super success.  Fast forward 6 months, attendance was 30%, participation?  …. 50% role play dropped out in the last 24 hours and the meeting ended on a somber note.

What went wrong?   Excom decided to call on the absentees and the following “7” reasons came up for no shows.

  1. Time: No time
  2. Place: Meeting place too far away from the office & residence
  3. Day: Meeting day is not convenient day
  4. Time: Meeting time is not convenient
  5. Priority: More pressing priority came up
  6. Learning: There is no learning in the club meeting
  7. Ambience: Don’t like the meeting ambience

Club “A” compiled the list of reasons and decided to focus on building NEW members.  The exercise is still continuing and results are disaster.

Club “B” decided to probe further and dig out the real reasons of no shows.  And they questioned the response further.  More number of times the real reason was not the obvious response i.e No time MEANT I have found a better activity to use my time ( I  did not understand the real value of TM Program.)   There is no learning in the club meeting MEANT poor quality of performances in the club due to non-preparation or on occasions it MEANT not getting enough opportunities to speak.   Don’t like the meeting ambience MEANT they did not connect with the members neither Excom made an attempt to connect with them.  And when the Excom critically evaluated the NEW found reasons for no shows; they came out with solution and connect with members.   The club initiated necessary changes.  Sooner the attendance shot up, quality of meeting shot up and so did the quality of participation. 

My message is TM is the most attractive program and every one of us wants to become ATTRACTIVE.  Hence question why are there NO SHOWS?

 

 

 

IceStep back two decades, I would attend 2 Toastmasters meetings in a month and that were my club meetings.  I had no idea on how the other clubs were performing.  Proximity drove my participation and perception.  Fast forward two decades, now I participate in clubs other than my home club.  I am a click away from every other club in my country and across the globe.  I am connected to more Toastmasters than full circle of 1 degree or two degree connections two decades ago.

And this is the magic of Facebook, Google and many other SOCIAL MEDIA platforms.  I can participate and watch Toastmasters meeting sitting in remote corner of the globe using many video platform including www.ustream.tv

Read the rest of this entry »

energyLast week I participated in Oasis Achievers Toastmasters Club meeting.  The meeting started @ 8:00pm and the hall was full.  President delivered the message and TMOD took over the mantle. But there was something different in the ambience, audience were fired up.  What was happening? 

How come a Toastmasters Club is over flowing with participants whereas the next door Toastmasters club is gasping for the participants?  This question always comes up in participants mind.   So what is the secret ?  I would say there is one word that separates the two clubs and that word is ENERGY.   Energy differentiates the participation between the two clubs. The energy defines the quality of meetings and participation during the meetings. Now your next questions would be, how do you create energy in the club meetings?  I would share my OPINION on the subject. 

  1. Read the rest of this entry »

 

ComfortLast Friday  I was TMOD for Friends  of Yoga Toastmasters club meeting.  And my theme for the day was “Get Comfortable with UNCOMFORT”.  The delivery was about getting prepared for the future and I shared “8” rules to Future proof yourself.

I believe these rules are very important and relevant in current economic scenario and scenarios shaping our future.  To succeed you must stand out and the “8” Rules to standout are

  1. Stand out – don’t be copy
  2. Get Comfortable taking risks – everyday take one small risk
  3. 1 common phrase a week – Flavour your communications with common phrases
  4. Make everyday your “PAY DAY”
  5. Learn to use technology – location & time independent ( Future is location and time independent)
  6. Create work that can be duplicated, replicated and automated – Teach and share the process
  7. Learn Speed reading
  8. Increase your per hour results 10 times.

 

 

Practice to future proof yourself

 

Year 1924,  there lived a farmer who owned acres of barren land.  He desired to be the biggest corn farmer in Town.  One day he was talking to his friend and his friend asked did you buy the seeds?  Next day farmer bought corn seeds and stacked up in his barn.  Couples of weeks later he met his friend again and proudly said I have sacks full of seeds in my barn.   Friend asked did you plant them ?  The farmer promptly returned and planted seeds and waited for the corn to grow.  But nothing happened, few seeds sprouted but died sooner.  He was extremely upset with his friend’s advice because he had invested his life saving and his desire to be the biggest corn farmer had died down too.  During the Christmas he made a visit to his friend’s house and chastised his friend for the horrible advice.  The friend asked did you till the land? Did you mix fertilizers before sowing? Did you water the land after planting? Did you protect the shoots when they sprouted?

Fellow toastmasters many a time we join TM club with a deep intent to become a BETTER SPEAKER but don’t participate.  When you don’t participate regularly you are like the seeds in the barn.  When you don’t practice, you are like the farmer who did not till the land.  When you don’t take up mentoring you are no better than the  famer who did not fertilize the land.  And when you don’t learn from the feedback you are like the farmer who did not water the land.  And when you don’t use the feedback judiciously you are like the farmer who did not build barn around his farm.

Hence PARTICIPATE, PRACTICE, TAKE UP MENTORING, LEARN FROM THE FEEDBACK and USE FEEDBACK JUDICIOUSLY.

 

Yesterday I was at Area contest – 57 with the most simplistic role play of Chief Judge.  Simple off course that’s what I believe; until I found a detour.

I believe every role play is simple and straight forward until you find a detour.   Because in times like these is the test of your capacity to extend justice to the role play.  And yesterday was the day I found two detours.  Having said that incidences like these bring in the learning and maturity.

Yesterday I learnet few things:

 

  1. When briefing don’t assume your team knows or would remember everything.  Hence share important instructions even at the extent of sounding trite and boring.
  2. Request for feedback after sharing instructions.
  3. Invite questions on the role play.  And if no question is forthcoming and to encourage initiative, bundle important information in a question format such as “I am sure you are aware that your ballot will be rejected if it does not carry your signature?”
  4. Invite suggestions and caveats from your team members.  Trust the wisdom of  Crowd Sourcing.
  5. Finally write down the list of instructions on a piece of paper you would like to share after all I don’t expect myself to remember it verbatim.

Wishing you a superb day ahead.

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