by Shelley Goldbeck, DTM
This LinkedIn article, of the title above, by John Eades caused me to cheer for Toastmasters because, based on his criteria, we’re on the leading edge of the trend. Here are his five Leadership Trends with my evaluation of how Toastmasters measures up.
(1) Learn to Lead Several Generations
In my club we’ve had members from teens to 70’s and I personally know of a number of Toastmasters in their 80’s and 90’s. This range of age and therefore experience, is one of the “spices” of Toastmasters meetings. Toastmasters is Where Leaders are Made and our training encompasses management and learning styles for various demographic groups.
(2) Welcome Female Leadership
Toastmasters may have lagged (1973) in opening their doors to women but since then the floodgates are open. Women hold leadership positions at all levels: club, area, division, district. Even at “headquarters” a woman, Lark Doley, DTM, International President, currently leads our organization and she’s not the first female to fill those pumps! I’m delighted to report I’ve not witnessed discrimination based on gender (or anything else) on my Toastmasters journey.
(3) Time to Pick Up the Pace
Certainly time is important to Toastmasters, (except for the “Don’t Time Me” DTMs!) Using time wisely and being efficient are skills we hone in meetings every week. Picking up the pace requires acute sensibilities surrounding time and people and Toastmasters have them (or are working on them.)
(4) Emphasize Accountability
For decades the Toastmasters program has been largely based on self-directed learning and therefore, naturally forges accountability. The evaluation portion of our meetings specifically helps us practice accountability to each other. We further practice when we work together on projects like Open Houses, Club Officer Training (now CLED) and Speech Contests.
(5) Embrace Continuing Education
Once more Toastmasters is in the pack. The new Pathways program was conceived to improve the Toastmasters educational experience, which was already priceless. When I first read a Competent Communicator manual, I was astounded by the tremendous learning opportunity I was presented. Having been a Pathways Ambassador and completed levels on two paths it’s evident to me that through Pathways, continuing education and Toastmasters will continue to be synonymous.
If you weren’t convinced of the value and relevance of your Toastmasters membership, I do hope you’ll look at it through the prism of its practicality in the real world and reconsider.
Though I’ve earned two DTMs and delivered over 200 speeches since joining in 2010, I see the value of my continuing participation in Toastmasters. I’m often bewildered when the first thing a laid-off worker does is cease attending Toastmasters meetings.
Besides the five leadership trends Toastmasters develops, the networking and encouragement are worth the price of admission.
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development, with over 352,000 members in 16,400 clubs in 141 countries. The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program