Adventures in Toastmasters: The Saga Continues
In my last post about my Adventures in Toastmasters: Exploring, I wrote about the first few months of my adventure. I wrote about my exciting beginning, the extra external hurdles, and my experience with my first few speeches. That was a little over 4 months ago now. In the Saga that is my Toastmasters Adventure, that article seems both “forever” ago while simultaneously just a week or two ago. So much has happened since then. What follows is a relatively short recap.
Where Am I Now?
Yesterday, I completed my 7th of 10 speech projects. I am well on my way to earning my Competent Communicator Award and my Competent Leader Award. When I wrote my last article about Toastmasters, I had only completed a couple of the tasks from the Competent Leadership Manual because it was not central in my awareness. Even though I was doing the tasks during club meetings, I was not getting credit for them because I was not tracking them or having them evaluated.
Soon after I wrote the first article about my Adventures in Toastmasters, I sat down and plotted my course for both the Competent Communicator Award and the Competent Leader Award. I set a goal to have both completed by the end of 2015, even with all the other activities, work presentations, and other responsibilities on my plate.
In order to reach that goal, I need to make sure each of the tasks will be completed in a timely manner. I set approximate completion dates for each of the remaining speeches and leader tasks, with built-in flexibility to work around club needs (other members practicing their speaking and leadership skills) and hurdles in my own schedule.
I even set myself up with optimistic, realistic, and absolute deadline for the projects. The optimistic deadline assumed I would make every meeting, would be able to perfectly match up my remaining leadership and speaking roles with the club’s needs each week, and that I would have time to write and practice speeches once every 3-4 weeks. Yikes!
The realistic deadline took into account the reality that my uncompleted tasks may not always align with club needs, I would need to miss a couple of meetings, and I would need to skip a couple of months for speeches. The absolute deadline for projects allowed for more mishaps, mismatches, and downtime between speeches.
As of this writing, I am right on track with the realistic deadline for both the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader Awards. I only missed one month for giving a speech, and I expect to miss one more in the next couple of months. You can see my current timeline for the Competent Communicator Award below. Blue dots signify completed speeches and red signify expected completion times.
For the Leader projects, I have only missed a couple of meetings in which I might have been able to match one of my Leader projects to the needs of the club for the day. I have seven more tasks to complete, which I should be able to do in the next few months. I do not have a visual timeline for this one because there are more tasks and variables involved. I would not be able to make it readable at a reasonable size.
However, for comparison’s sake, I will say I have completed 13 of the 20 Leadership tasks I set out to do between February and December. Two of them require circumstances to align in a way that I might be able to influence, but I cannot control. Those are going to be trickier to complete before the end of the year.
I expect my next update for the Toastmasters Adventure will be an announcement of my two awards!
Special Projects and Roles
It is not fair to use the title “Saga” in the article if I do not share at least some of the specific adventures beyond my adventurous planning.
Last month I was voted in as my club’s Vice President Public Relations. I have my first Toastmasters Learning Institute Officer Training in a couple of days. How exciting! I am anxious to learn more about my role, what it entails, and how I can improve upon what I have already been doing.
I became VP Public Relations after many hours spent from February through the first week of May working on Marketing and Public Relations tasks related to a Special Event we held on May 5th. This special event was our 70th Anniversary celebration! I made a flyer, sent out press releases, created and sent out electronic invitations (they were rather nice, if I do say so myself), posted announcements on Facebook, and did my best to spread the word in other ways.
In the end, the event went off without a hitch. One of our members, Mary Jane, gave a speech from the perspective of a woman writing in her diary at the end of 1945; the event organizer, Madonna, managed to acquire special anniversary tea from Bigelow Tea (a company also celebrating its 70th this year); and we were joined by several special guests, former members, and other visitors.
Afterward, I wrote up a short piece for our District newsletter to let them know we partied like it was 1945. Yes, it was a little cheesy, as it should be.
Other Exciting Events
Although I am not directly involved, one of my club’s members has won several local, increasingly difficult, Toastmasters International Speech Contests. In August, she will be heading to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Toastmasters International Convention where she will give her speech in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest Semifinals. I am excited for her and will be cheering her on from Washington as she shares her touching story with the Toastmasters at the Convention.
As for me, one of the remaining projects for the Competent Leader Award is to Chair an event or Campaign. I am planning to put together a Membership Campaign because I would really like for my club to have more active members. A membership campaign will definitely be a pretty big to-do. I am sure I will be writing about that in my next update.
Want More Now?
If you are interested in exploring Toastmasters for yourself, you can check here to find a club near you.
And if you want help navigating Toastmasters or help creating a strategy for earning those Competent Communicator, Competent Leader, or even Advanced level awards, feel free to contact me. I am happy to help!