“COT Best Practices – 5 Tips for Club Officers in August 2020”

It was Shirley Daley, International Director Candidate from Region 8 who reminded me in a Zoom call recently, “Just because we’ve done something or heard something before, doesn’t mean we don’t need to hear it again!” I wrote her quote down word-for-word because I have often thought, early in my Toastmasters ‘career’ about training twice a year and why are we doing this again.

Are you a Club Officer this year? Done this role before and thinking this training is a waste of your time?

This year as an Officer is like no other that Toastmasters world-wide have had to deal with. Not only are we fully into our Pathways education this year, we have Zoom to master and still bring out fun, engaging meetings but we have decisions and issues to deal with like:

  • ‘How will it look coming back to face-to-face meetings?’
  • ‘Is there a way to promote our Club this year to attract new members even if we’re still on Zoom for a while?’
  • We might be losing some members. Is there a way to retain them instead?’

Training this year needs to partially be an introduction (or reminder to those who’ve done it before) as well as a brainstorm of ideas to solve the issues mentioned above as well as some accountability for the actions Clubs will need to take this year to support their Toastmasters ‘family’.

Here are some best practices for your training this year:

  1. Be resilient – circumstances in our lives don’t make or break us; how we respond to those circumstances certainly can though so what kind of character would best show who you really are on the inside? Bring that out with your Club and share a winning attitude, even if you’re not sure how things will turn out.
  2. Read everything you can about your role even if you’ve done it before. Did you know there’s an award most Clubs have never heard of called the Outstanding Toastmaster? When was the last time you used the Member Interest Survey in your Club and found out what your members need and don’t need from the education program, Officers and evaluations? Have you completed a Club Success Plan and reviewed it during the year to stay on track? These are vital!
  3. Speaking of Club Success Plans – did your Club do one last year? If so, dust it off and have a read through it. Update it for this year and submit it to your Area Director – the sooner the better. Planning takes place between now and the end of September; then it’s all about EXECUTION of those plans. (If you cannot find last year’s CSP but you know your Club did one, reach out to your Area Director or PQD and we’ll find it for you.)
  4. Plan some fun meetings. Even if they’re online. You’re creative, right? We can still see our fellow Toastmasters and their Silly Hats or Ugly Ties, Pirate garb or Formal Wear. Yes, we’re professionals but no one wants to sit in more boring Zoom calls when you could have 60’s Hairdo night! Groovy, right?!
  5. Check in to events and workshops going on in our District at d96toastmasters.ca and while we’re still on Zoom, check out other Districts around the world. I even attended a Canadian themed meeting in the San Francisco Bay area a couple weeks ago! Now that’s cool, eh?

BONUS TIP: Keep up with your own speeches. Be an example. Lead yourself well or continue to learn to do so and you’ll be one of those folks that ends up in a speech that someone gives one day thanking you for being their inspiration.

If you have any questions about how to have an amazing year, stay in close contact and connect with your Area Director. They’re there to support YOU! Oh, and have fun, eh!