Bleeps and Blunders

My club has a rich culture of allowing the club committee to organize our speech contest as a club committee team project. We did this every year, twice a year.

The year that I was president of my club I had a fairly inexperienced committee. Contest season was fast approaching and the committee had their first contest planning meeting. Roles were assigned and committee members volunteered to do functions such as certificate printing, speaker gift buying, catering, setup of the venue e.t.c. Two weeks before the club contest we reconvened to track the progress made thus far. Most of the committee members gave me excuses such as, I was too busy to call for speakers, I was unable to organize the catering because I couldn’t decide on a menu.

After that meeting I vowed, as club president, I will organize this contest on my own. I proceeded to print certificates, order catering, put the agenda together, scout for judges. Two weeks later the contest was a success but it just didn’t feel the same. I then spoke to a few of the committee members and asked them how they experienced the club contest. They said it was enjoyable and interesting but they didn’t learn anything about organizing a club event. That is when I realized Toastmasters is all about active learning. You learn by doing and you can only do this if you are given the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from that.

The second club contest, I allowed the committee to run with it. I provided guidance where needed. This time it felt more rewarding to know that you assisted someone with gaining a new skill.

Fatima Abrahams DTM

Area E2 Director