These “almost Distinguished clubs” from 2016-2017 were missing the membership requirement of 20 members or five members more than their base from the previous July 1. No clubs were left out because they had the membership but missed another goal. Members clearly matter!
- CI (Communications International)
- Confidently Speaking
- Flin Flon
- Franc Parleurs
- Keystone Speakers
- Manitoba Morning
- Portage & Main
- Star of the North
- Start Communicating
In Toastmasters jargon, almost distinguished means something nice: a club, Area, Division or District missed out on the coveted title of Distinguished by the barest of margins. It means the group worked hard, coming close to but not reaching one last goal or the qualifying member requirement. Does this motivate members to work harder to meet five goals and the qualifying requirement in the following year?
If a club is taking care of the administrative tasks efficiently, turning guests into members, mentoring new and experienced members, helping members to complete leadership and communication projects and having fun while learning, Distinguished status will naturally follow. They will be rewarded for doing what they are supposed to do. It’s clear to me that clubs in District 64 need to continue to work hard to retain their members and to bring new people to the clubs. What can you do to help with retention and finding new members for your club?
Congratulations to the District 64 clubs who worked the program, increased or maintained their membership numbers and earned the title of Distinguished or better! How did they do it? Why not visit, observe, ask questions, listen and add their ideas to your own? Let’s see your club Distinguished for 2017-2018!
Great West Life
Brandon Local (BLT)
Red River Communicators
Wawanesa Speak Easy
Wednesdays on Waverley (WOW)
We Believe in Winnipeg
By Guest Blogger, Gill Robertson*
I joined toastmasters because I wanted to converse confidently and intelligently with others. To some degree I could do this already; after all I speak and I’m intelligent. However, the pressure to perform and be rewarded with ribbons and stickers is disheartening. It is appropriate to reward an animal with an enticement of food or a stick. It is not, should not and never will feel right to do the same to humans. The days of stickers and ribbons should long since been abandoned along with tassels on banners.
The best motivation is self-motivation, a sense of deep-rooted satisfaction and accomplishment in one’s own achievements. Real self-motivation and a sense of accomplishment are measured not by strips of fabric or bright stickers. This motivation happens when a room full of people or even a single listener who within fifteen seconds of the start of speech are listening, really listening and not only listening, but hearing the words uttered.
Similarly, only saying “good job” is patronizing for all ages. Ribbons and rewards can be just another patronizing pat on the head. “Good job” in any dialect can open up the gateways for competitiveness. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with competition but when it spills over into an assumption one club is greater than another because they have won more prizes, it’s unfair. Perhaps the playing field is uneven. Maybe members have had more years to accumulate prizes or live in the city. We are forgetting the real reasons for being a toastmaster. Individual achievement, personal growth and being part of a community where individuals together build each other up without a physical reward are among the reasons.
Constructive feedback is rewarding, it lasts longer and fuels growth as a speaker. Unlike a ribbon, it is impossible to shove to the back of a drawer. It resides in us as a personal reward. Unlike a physical reward which fades, the colours of true achievement deepen over time.
*Gill has been a member of District 64 Toastmasters almost a year.
I am a proud Canadian. I sit on my deck with my red and white flowers, my red and white clothing and a red and white mug. Our shed is also red and white. I have a white car and my husband’s is red. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday, and while I am always honoured to be Canadian, it’s not what’s making me a little nervous today!
The cause of my nervousness is that today, July 1, 2017 I am officially in the role of District Director, Toastmasters International, District 64, 2017-2018. I am honoured to be elected to serve our members and assist our leadership teams. I am nervous because I also represent and simultaneously serve the entire organization.
I am proud to be part of this diverse and inclusive organization. Toastmasters International is in most countries. There are thousands of clubs. There are millions of people who have benefitted from the program and millions more to come. It’s an organization struggling to modernize in a world of rapidly changing types of communication. Increasingly available access to information comes with more languages, cultures and political climates sitting as close as our mobile phones. Yet Toastmasters continues to grow and adapt. It continues to offer members a voice in the form of voting at the club, District and International levels. I am honoured to be part of it all.
As I reflect on my Toastmasters journey however, my best moments have been personal and local: the catch in my throat when my club presented me with my first membership pin, the joy when I completed my first icebreaker, the applause and approval of my club members when I succeeded at my first Table Topics speech, the appreciation shown by my club when I was awarded a Competent Toastmaster certificate (CTM, now a CC) and best of all, the satisfaction I continue to feel when other members succeed at any step in the journey to being better communicators and better leaders.
I have branched out from my home club in the succeeding years but Carillon Toastmasters is still there, supporting me and keeping me grounded. There, I am still just Sheryl. I am still honoured to be a member and still a little nervous when I do a speech. I will try to remember that while I am representing the world of Toastmasters International, and within it the amazing country of Canada, I also represent my club. I hope I represent them with integrity, respect, service and excellence. I am honoured, but still a little nervous.
Beginning May 1, 2017 and continuing for the whole month, you may hear a toastmasters radio ad in the rural areas of District 64 and Winnipeg. Check out these stations between 6 and 9 am, drive time! You can thank the Carillon Club’s PR team under the leadership of Mike Poirier for this initiative!
Mix 96 (96.7) Steinbach and most of Winnipeg
CJRB 1220 Brandon
Mix 96.5 Portage
The Eagle 93.5 (Pembina Valley)
Let us know if you hear an ad. We hope they help you to build membership. Ask your guests where they heard about Toastmasters. If you are one of our rural clubs, you have received an email with directions about how to participate.
May and June are Toastmasters Beat the Clock membership contest months. Add five new paid members in May and June and win a prize from Toastmasters International. The prize is a rare banner ribbon and a 10% discount at the TI online shop.
I dont think I need to tell you why building membership is important, do I?