Planning a Division TLI / Officer Training

Posted in leadership, toastmasters with tags , , , , , on May 10, 2016 by pastajon

Overview: this timeline reflects a non-Division Director’s approach to putting on an officer training that included breakfast, one keynote, and two workshop sessions that had Toastmasters and non-Toastmaster related topics. This approach was meant to also include the general public, promote Toastmasters, and raise the bar regarding officer training.

Date Task
7 months out Meet with those interested team members (doers, not committee people)
6 months out Secured a venue
  First team meeting to discuss name, audience, sponsorship, keynote, program, registration, call for presenters, etc.
  Email a “call for presenters” out to division clubs, area director, and division director
  Email hosting club members interested in volunteering to mark their calendars
  Email hosting club officers a request to facilitate an officer training workshop
5 months out Ask planning team to bring five title and tag line ideas to planning meeting along with sponsor ideas
  Decide on event title and tag line (e.g. Big Bad Ballyhoo, elevate your speaking and leadership skills)
  Brainstorm sponsorship ideas and levels of participation. E.g. $50 or less: mentioned in emails and program, $50-99: poster, program, email, social media; $100-499: poster, email, program, email, social media, recognized at event.
  Begin social media campaign: personal tweets, club and district tweets, club and district FB, personal LinkedIn and TM group LinkIn posts, hosting club / event website post
  Ask Division Director to invite other divisions to attend
  Follow up with keynote leads / ideas. Attempt to nail down a keynote speaker.
  Ask Division Director to email another request for workshop proposals
4 months out Deadline for workshop applications and descriptions
  Create and send out first round of division emails with attached flyer promotion via Division Director
  Extend workshop and keynote commitment finalization to three months out (if struggling to obtain commitments). Begin thinking about 3rd keynote alternate if first two have not committed.
  Post promotion graphic on District Facebook page
  Meet with team to decide on keynote
  Send out sponsoring invite to hosting club members
3 months out Meet with team to discuss catering, advertising, program, etc.
  Contact caterers for prices and menu ideas for 50-75 people
  Set facilitator training dates
  Contact alternate workshop facilitators if necessary.
  Contact local radio station about set up a radio interview
  Recruit someone to be the MC
  Create draft online registration
  Resend sponsorship invitation to hosting club members
  Follow up with hosting club officers about leading workshops and being trained
  Ask someone to put together a logo slideshow and setting up projectors for the event
2 months out Submit announcement to local publications (to invite public)
  Send another promotional email out through the Division Director
  Create poster and email to division club presidents
  Get prices on poster printing
  Ask hosting club members to sponsor (reminder email) and send money to finalize budget
  Submit event to local online event calendars
  Email presidents and area directors about some of the workshops being offered to generate interest
  Update event /club website post with more details regarding keynote and workshops
  Follow up with hosting club officers about facilitating workshops
  Create draft program
1 month out Contact alternate facilitator to secure commitment if necessary
  Secure local radio interviews to promote the event and write an article for the local paper
  Create a volunteer sign up form
  Go live with online preregistration form
  Ask local coffee shop to sponsor and get a commitment
  Create draft poster with sponsor logos and send out to sponsors for review
3 weeks out Meet with team to firm up details regarding program, posters, catering, budget, etc.
  Contacted caterer options
  Update poster and program with any changes
  Receive any last minute sponsor money
  Send pre-registration link to Division Director and District Director
  Recruit any replacement facilitators to lead an officer training
  Send final for 25 posters to be printed with
  Finalize programs and send to printer
  Email pre-registration link to Division Club Presidents and Area Directors
2 weeks out Assign volunteers to be greeters and set up / tear down
  Remind and invite workshop facilitators to training a training the week before
  Email to Division Director to forward to division (and send it to club presidents and area directors too) regarding the workshop line up, free breakfast, and link to pre-register
2 weeks out Hang posters around town
  Email .pdf of event poster to local hosting club members to invite people
  Remind event team, volunteers, and facilitators to be at event at 8:00am for a pre-event briefing
  Meet with team to firm up catering and send check.
  Contact local coffee shop to remind them of their beverage sponorship
  Create facilitator template / training and email out and go over at training to insure every workshop has the same interactive experience
1 week out Facilitator training, walk through venue with team and venue contact, and talk through final details
  Purchase card and gift card for keynote, hang more posters
  Send another email to District Director, Area Directors, and Club Presidents
Day before Email team reminder and tally of pre-registration
  Email Area Directors and Club Presidents to invite membership
  Post event invitation on LinkedIn one last time (for public invitation)
Day of event Arrive early and brief team on what needs to be done to set up (signage, sound, food tables, breakout locations and set up of rooms, etc.).
After event Meet with team to debrief, go over event comment sheets,



The Ayes (eyes) Have It

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2015 by pastajon

Let’s be honest with each other…

Posted in evaluations, public speaking, toastmasters on May 14, 2014 by pastajon

Is This The Summer of Skate?

Posted in public speaking on January 29, 2014 by pastajon

Four Common Public Speaking Mistakes

Posted in public speaking on January 29, 2014 by pastajon

The Mad Mega Mentoring Machine

Posted in leadership, toastmasters with tags , on November 14, 2013 by pastajon

For several years now I’ve been helping my Toastmaster’s club to implement, organize, and build a mentoring program. For several years now I’ve been frustrated with the results. For several years now I’ve tried numerous different strategies to obtain different results. But alas, all my efforts have disappointed.

My Failed Strategies

  1. Recruiting seasoned members to mentor new members.
  2. Assigning new members to a mentor with in the first week they join.
  3. Meeting with interested mentors to share the vision of mentoring and expectations.
  4. Giving education speeches about the value of mentoring and explaining a clear initiative for our club.
  5. Seeking out people with strong follow through to be mentors.
  6. Encouraging every member to have a mentor as someone to give them encouragement and push them forward on their Toastmaster journey.
  7. Encouraging new members to seek out an un-assigned mentor who they might connect with more and desire specific input from.
  8. Simplifying the mentoring process to a once-a-month, five minute phone call or face to face conversation initiated by the mentors.

The Irony of Initiative

What strikes me as odd is that we, who show initiative to join Toastmasters, give speeches, show up week to week, pay dues, attend parties, stay after for coffee, take on meeting roles, sign up for roles months in advance, and choose to serve in club leadership, will often not take the initiative to make a phone call. Maybe I’m wanting it to be too formal. You know, a conversation that can be checked off on a to do list. When what more likely happens is members having conversations outside the ‘mentoring’ program, asking for help, bouncing a speech idea off others over coffee after a meeting.

We are overwhelmed.

And we are distracted.

Work demands, family activities, and household chores are enough to sap us. Add on top of that the ever pesky handheld computing device that receives phone calls, text messages, emails, tweets, facebook updates, calendar alarms, etc. Then there is the laptop or desktop computer, television with either the latest movie from Netflix or hundreds of tantalizing cable or satellite channels to watch. Recreation. Exercise. Reading. Ad nauseam.

What I’ve Decided to do about it – The Mad Mega Mentoring Machine

  1. Encourage each new member to strike up conversations with anyone that want to get input from. Call it micro-mentoring.
  2. Add each new member that joins this year to my mentoring memo email list.
  3. Send a mentoring memo once-a-month and cover the basics – explanation of the minor roles, how to be the table topic master or respond to table topics, how our online and paper scheduling works, etc. I will keep these saved in my gmail ‘canned responses’ to either keep using in years to come or to pass on.
  4. Hold once-a-month new member orientation, as needed, to give a quick 20mn overview of Toastmasters and our club to new members.
  5. Offer to be a sounding board for ideas to any new member. And, no, I haven’t been overrun despite our club’s healthy rate of attaining new members. It’s a form a approachability.
  6. Look for those opportunities to have a conversation with a new member after a meeting to encourage them.

I know, it’s not what we are supposed to do. We are supposed to assign mentors. And we are all supposed to be super-human too. Well, instead of waiting for the planets to align, I’m taking the bull by the horns and incorporating a strategy that works and that can be passed on the next guy or gal willing to oversee mentoring.

Jon Henry
VP of Membership
Club Co-Founder

Four Common Mistakes Made by Public Speakers

Posted in leadership, public speaking, toastmasters with tags , , , , , , on March 19, 2013 by pastajon

Unfortunately, not every successful leader is a strong communicator. It is a mystery to me how someone can lead well, but speak in public poorly, but it happens all the time.

Recently I listened to two speakers, both successful leaders, who made these four common mistakes:

  1. Sharing too much information. We are all tempted to believe that we can wow an audience with our shear wealth of knowledge. But we can only absorb so much information before we tune out due to overload. Remember to keep your ideas succinct and few.
  2. Not telling a good story. A great presentation is a blend of information and story – one without the other compromises the effectiveness of a speech. A good story is more than just telling us your history or the history of your organization. A good story involves characters, a little background, setting, dialogue, conflict, a twist, a happy ending, etc. Never underestimate the power of a good story.
  3. Failing to speak with passion.I used to make this mistake as a preacher when I first started preaching – I’d give a bunch of background info with any excitement and then I’d finally warm up to the good nuggets of content towards the end. Why waste everyone’s time on the boring stuff? Why not get right to the good stuff as quickly as possible and speak from our hearts and with passion? Both these speakers started getting a little more excited towards the very end of their speeches – oh, if they had only started there and talked from their heart!
  4. Not interacting with the audience. We had two hours with these accomplished leaders and part of it was for Q & A. There was 7 minutes left when it was handed over for Q & A. SEVEN MINUTES out of 120! Ouch! I know the audience would have loved to have been reached out to and included in the presentation. Why not interact with the audience and ask them questions? This endears a speaker to the audience every time it is done right. And the audience may want to hear about something you didn’t think they wanted to hear about – a chance for another story!

I’m guessing that if we master these four areas as speakers, doors will open for us in leadership as well.

Go get ’em!