Officer Roles and Leadership development

SVETC elections

June and July for Toastmasters International are a busy period of transition and preparation. The New Toastmaster year starts on July 1st. New Leadership, at all levels of the organization, take over the club, area, division, district and organization as a whole. And these transitions happen seamlessly. The guiding principle for all this change is the Brand Promise:

Empowering individuals through personal and professional development

In June new club officers are elected. It is so easy to expect someone else to step up and be a candidate for one of the roles. Have you ever considered that instead of “passing the bucket” grab it and run with it? Have you considered being a club officer?

Taking a club officer role is a great way to sharpen your leadership skills; it does not require any previous experience or membership length, and most importantly, you are developing those skills in a safe environment with mentors and a whole club to support you.

To make it a little easier, here a summary of the roles:
PRESIDENT
Sets the tone for the club gives supportive leadership for all of the club’s activities and assume responsibility for the progress and welfare of the club. Motivates, makes peace and facilitates as required. Steps in to make difficult decisions, consulting club members and officers. Is respectful.
The club president is the chief executive officer and is responsible for fulfilling the mission of the club.
VICE PRESIDENT EDUCATION
As an educational program, the VPE is the second most important role in the club. Thre VPE schedules members’ speeches, verifies completion of projects and answers questions about the education program, speech contests, and the club mentor program. The VPE is also in charge of the agenda and the educational awards. Sounds a bit too much? Leaders are great delegators!
VICE PRESIDENT MEMBERSHIP
Promotes the club and manage the process of transforming guests into members.
The VPM welcomes new guest and provides the information they need to join. The VPM monitors membership levels and processes the membership paperwork; and strategizes with the rest of the executive committee about how to overcome membership challenges when they occur.
VICE PRESIDENT PUBLIC RELATIONS
Promotes the club to the local community and notifies the media about the club’s existence and the benefits it provides. Part of the work is to update web content and use social media to promote the club, safeguarding the Toastmasters brand identity throughout.

SECRETARY
Maintains all club records, manages club files, handles club correspondence, and takes minutes at each club and executive committee meeting. Also in charge of updating and distributing a roster of the current paid membership and keeping the club officer list current for Toastmasters International.
TREASURER6
Is the club’s accountant. Manages the club’s bank account, writing checks as approved by the executive committee and depositing membership dues payments and other club revenues. Also submits membership dues payments to World Headquarters (accompanied by the names of renewing members), filing necessary tax documents and keeping timely, accurate, up-to-date financial records for the club.
Treasurer’s duties are usually not the most demanding of all the club leadership positions, the consequences for members can be serious when they’re not completed accurately and on time.
SERGEANT AT ARMS
Keeps track of the club’s physical property: banner, lectern, timing device, and other meeting materials. Arrives early to prepare the meeting space and stays late to stow all of the club’s equipment. Also responsible for the meeting place itself, obtaining a new space when necessary and maintaining contact with the venue sponsor.
The sergeant at arms also plays a role during business meetings, speech contests, and other special club events.

Are you curious? Talk to one of the officers at the next meeting you attend.

This week we will have our elections and if you want to be a candidate for this year, attend the meeting and you can be nominated from the floor!

Toastmasters Evaluation: Does It Really Work?

Toastmasters Evaluation: Does It Really Work?

The answer is a resounding YES! It absolutely works and I want to share with you my own testimony of why it works with some specific, tangible examples of improvements I’ve been able to incorporate into my speeches and presentations based on the feedback by my past speech Evaluators.

Randy @ SVETC
Randy Rowland @ SVETC

The Effective Evaluation manual by Toastmasters International starts with the following paragraph:

Public speaking and leadership are skills that can be developed and improved. In Toastmasters, feedback is called evaluation, and it is the heart of the Toastmasters educational program. You observe the speeches and leadership roles of your fellow club members and offer evaluations of their efforts, and they do the same for you. If you truly want to improve your speaking and leadership skills, you must learn how to give and receive helpful evaluations.

Evaluation is the heart of the educational program and it works 100% because the evaluation we receive comes from the heart of another Toastmaster. That’s why my answer to the question was a resounding YES in the beginning and I am not making the heart-to-heart connection for mere effect but saying it because I’ve experienced the virtues myself since the day I started my Toastmasters journey in Feb-2015.

Animation On!

I got a simple feedback from Randy, our ex-President, during my CC Project 8 (Get Comfortable With Visual Aids) stated as below to one of the objectives.

What could the speaker have done differently to make the speech more effective?

“Animations on slides to keep up in line with you” 

That was Randy’s verbatim comment above and I took it to heart. I believe the reason I got that feedback is that I used to throw all the texts at once in my power-point slides which is obviously distracting and hard to follow. One of my goals was to improve power-point presentations both at work and outside. Fast forward a year or so after CC Project 8, I’ve come a long way in terms of improvement by using animation to present content keeping in pace with my verbal  delivery. There is still a long way to go as always but I am quite comfortable using animations in my slides now a days and it is only going to get better with time. Many of you witnessed it at SVETC as part of my Why and How to Trade Stock Options course I gave as part of the Advanced Communication manual Technical Presentations.

Present The Story!

This happened very recently when Jared evaluated my The Successful Club Series presentation on The Toastmasters Educational Program. His simple observation was that I could’ve used the Mt. Everest story line (an analogy I was using to drive home the point) completely to give shape to the otherwise flat and boring presentation. I couldn’t agree more with Jared and this is one feedback I’ve been receiving constantly from multiple members to use that supposedly trace of strength in me and improve the quality of my speeches and presentations since I did my other Advanced Communication manual Storytelling earlier in the year. After all who can disagree with the power of storytelling in connecting with the audience. I must admit I did thoroughly enjoy two of my own Storytelling projects towards the end (beginning was bumpy!) namely The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Ides of March.

Jared Levenson @ SVETC
Jared Levenson @ SVETC

Conclusion

Those are just two of the myriad examples I’ve personally encountered in the last two years of my Toastmasters journey. I remember sending an email thanking another close friend and member John C. Estrada for his feedback to follow the TED talk format while giving a talk relying on power-point presentation, basically saying look straight at and address the audience and let the presentation play in the background instead of looking at and focusing on the slides. Apparently simple yet powerful feedback to take any speaker’s game to a whole new level if practiced and followed seriously.

Here is my final conclusion why we heed to and so eagerly improve on the feedback we receive from our fellow Toastmasters than similar feedback received in general walks of life. The secret lies in the special relationship and bonding we have with each other and the sacred trust that exists among the members in any Toastmaster club around the world including our very special SVETC, that we are committed and dedicated to improving each others’ speaking and leadership skills. So when a fellow club member offers feedback to another, it is a direct message from one heart to another going straight to the mind. Transformation is guaranteed!!

Welcome to SVETC

Welcome to the brand new Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Toastmaster Club website v 1.0! This site was created as a tool to help us connect with each other as well as give us a platform to deliver educational content and other Toastmasters content to help enrich the learning experience for each of our members. In this first version of the website, you will have the ability to see latest updates about our club. You can also see information about our upcoming meetings. Down the road we will add additional capabilities, such as a special members only area, which will make it an even more valuable tool for you to use. I want to thank everyone who played a part in the creation of this website, especially our Co-VPE Hersha Venkatesh who did the coding. Great job!  We welcome your feedback as we continue to develop the site and hope it adds value to your experience as a member of this great club!