District Director – Welcome to Toastmasters

In his book, “Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do”, Ferdinand Fournies very clearly sets out the hidden reasons for non-performance. Applying these same principles to Toastmasters, I find all of the 16 reasons relevant to what we do in Toastmasters.

Last week, I had the privilege of orienting 2 of the new members that joined our club from our open house meeting. My main objective was to ensure that I address the first 3 reasons Mr. Fournies refers to in his book (i.e. why we do what we do in Toastmasters, how we do it and what they are supposed to do). It was again a very refreshing experience and a great opportunity to connecting with the new members of our club.

In our session, we managed to:

  1. Assess their needs verbally and give clarity on what she needs to develop. Rather than just declaring an interest in communication and leadership, they specified their needs/priorities. They during this time completed their Member Interest Survey and Profile for our use;
  2. Discuss Pathways and the 11 paths on offer and what is contained in them;
  3. Got them to login to the Toastmasters International website and helped them take the Pathways assessment and select a path;
  4. Access the Navigator so they could learn about the different aspects of Toastmasters and;
  5. Discussed and went through the Icebreaker project on Base Camp. They will deliver their icebreaker at our next meeting.

We also discussed getting them a mentor to help them start their journey amongst other things. After 90 minutes of conversation, it was evident that our new members were clearer about their expectations from and in Toastmasters. We hope that this and getting them to participate immediately at our next meeting will set a tone of engagement, participation and achievement for them and our club. A conversation with Frank is not complete without setting ground rules. I did assure every one of the members that Toastmasters would surprise them and give them more than they expected subject to them adhering to our Terms & Conditions. Both inquired what these were and I happily took their signed membership applications which I had requested and rehashed the Toastmasters Promise.

As we approach the beginning of a new cycle in Toastmasters, which I hope you have renewed for, you will likely have new members in your club. Take time to volunteer to assist your club officers in ensuring your new members are well oriented and have a mentor to help them start their journey. If you are a new member, welcome to our community please ensure you make time for you to be oriented. Your Vice President of Membership or Education will be able to assist you schedule your on-boarding session.

I have had so many fond memories from the over hundred orientation sessions I have had since I became a member. It is such a fulfilling experience to be able to help someone get started (plant the seeds) and later see them grow and achieve in this wonderful organisation. I invite you to be a part of this essential experience.

Best regards,

Frank Tsuro, DTM