Archive for the leadership Category

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 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!

The Toastmaster of the Day Wears Two Hats

Posted in leadership, toastmasters on September 25, 2012 by pastajon

VP of PR Workshop

Posted in leadership, toastmasters on April 13, 2012 by pastajon

There is one essential element for promoting any Toastmaster club – well planned, exciting, and meaningful meetings. Everything rests on excellent meetings. If our meetings are enjoyable, word will spread.

If our meetings are fantabulous and we can get a SALESMAN to join our club – membership will explode. This happened serendipitously for my club. Scott, who enjoyed horses, invited Mark, who also enjoyed horses to speak at our club. Mark is a former NBA All-star basketball player. Mark has an executive coach at the time named Julio. Mark invited Julio to come along to the club when he spoke. Because our club was conducting meaningful and exciting and well planned meetings both Mark and Julio joined immediately. Mark is a professional speaker. Julio is a SALESMAN.

According to Malcom Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point, a SALESMAN is someone whose unusual charisma allows them to be extremely persuasive in inducing others’ buying decisions and behaviors.

After two years of over 40 members we had to approach Julio to stop persuading others to join our club.

Meaningful, exciting, well-planned meetings are so important that everything else related to Public Relations pales. If we don’t have great meetings we will only be turning people off to Toastmasters by inviting them to bore themselves.

In addition to word-of-mouth sales, we can help people discover what Toastmasters is about and where and when we meet by:

  • submitting meeting information to be printed weekly in the local paper for free under the community meetings section,
  • submitting news and pictures to the local newspaper to be printed and bring attention to what the club is doing,
  • submitting PSAs (public service announcements) to the local radio station that tells people when and where you meet,
  • asking to be interviewed by the local radio station regarding recent breaking news related to your club or to inform the community about what Toastmasters is, and
  • creating a blog/website that provides information that is easily found by visitors looking for meeting times and locations and explanations about Toastmasters. By posting current news and information onto our blog we can drive traffic to our sites and increase awareness in the community.


Posted in leadership, public speaking, toastmasters with tags , , , , , on October 21, 2010 by pastajon

George Barna a researcher suggests that one million people a year are leaving traditional churches.  They are looking for more interaction.  They are tired of doing all the listening and being given no opportunity for input.

Public speakers (and especially preachers) pay attention.

Are we allowing for some input from our audiences?  It is interesting what a little feedback from the audience can do.  I recently returned to church work and preaching.  In my sermons I have intentionally asked questions to the audience to get some feedback, to include them in the subject and the people love it.  They are moving from spectators to participants and as a result they engage the subject far more.

David Brooks, 1990 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking, says, “Great speakers go from concern about themselves to concern about the message to concern about the audience”.  Getting input from your listeners is a vital way to show them concern.

Are you about to give a presentation?  Make sure you include the audience with some interaction.

If you want something done… (ask someone)

Posted in leadership, toastmasters on March 10, 2010 by pastajon

Recently my Toastmaster club was discussing the re-occurring need to fill roles for our weekly meetings.  Most of the time a mass email is sent out asking for people to volunteer.  This approach reminds me of my experiences as a pastor.

In churches you often need people to fill unappealing roles.  For instance, we need nursery workers so we put an announcement in the bulletin and we give an appeal to the congregation from the pulpit.  Rarely, and I mean rarely, does this ever produce results.  It doesn’t work because if you want someone to help you out you must ask someone, not everybody.

I led youth groups for years.  I would often ask parents of teenagers to be involved – I’d ask them as a group.  I eventually discovered this concept of asking specific people to help with something and had great success.  It was ideal because I could ask who I wanted (who had the characteristics and skills I was after), I could avoid those I didn’t want (the quirky, high-maintainence types), and I would get faster results.  I asked a really fun grandparent-aged couple to cook for a youth group camp out.  They were great cooks, hard workers, and very fun to be around.  I was bridging generations, getting quality help, deepening an existing friendship, and having a blast doing it.

When I am the Toastmaster of the Day for my weekly Toastmaster meeting I ask specific people to fill vacant roles.  As a mentor I leverage this opportunity to make sure my Toastmaster mentees get the opportunities they joined Toastmasters for.  I ask them to fill roles they haven’t had a chance to yet and give them some guidance on how to fulfill the role.  I can also ask people who I’m not mentoring to fill roles and often times I can pull people in who are starting to drift in their club involvement.

Leadership often times is knowing how to work with a team and as a team.  Whether in the work place, volunteer organization, Toastmasters, or at home, we can accomplish more, be more efficient, and build affinity while deepening friendships by taking the time to ask someone to help out.

If you want someone to help you out you must ask someone, not everybody.