Sunday, April 18, 2010

HPL - putting together the team

The great thing about Toastmasters is ask for help and you shall be helped.

After my sharing the vision speech I had offers of help to be on the team to make it happen.

I won't mention specific names but wonderful members of my club offered to help in the various roles I established.

  • Catering
  • Design promotional material - flyer - web image
  • PR - media contacts - high profile community contacts
  • Web design
  • Contact former presidents
  • Contact former members

I took on the RSVP roll so I could keep a handle on how many guests were attending and who had paid to date.

My toastmaster for the evening was also one of my guidance committee members, this made communication and guidance committee meetings easy. We worked together on themes and agenda details.  I contacted individuals to ensure they would be available for agenda roles (and am still finalising this at present).

The big ace up my sleeve for the night was to invite two of our former members to be guest speakers.  Jock Elliott who has been in the world championship of public speaking 5 times, coming 3rd once.  He had moved interstate.  So I emailed him

I also asked Eamonn Moran our former President, long time member and former District Governor to come too.  He is living overseas.

Having them both live so far away I thought they probably wont be able to make it but the BOTH SAID YES!   I couldn't believe my luck what a great night it would be to have them both back with us.  But this created another problem in scheduling enough time for both of them on the agenda and also having enough time for socialising.  hmmmmmmmmm

HPL the Vision

Kew Toastmasters 30th Anniversary celebration - forming the vision

The 30th Anniversary Celebration of our club was a big task to take on.  Such a special occation for so many people.  I had to make sure it was celebrated in a way that reflected our clubs values and our members wishes. 30 years is a long time for a volunteer organisation to operate, especially one that is involved with peoples greatest fear - public speaking.  Our long gevity is testimony to the success of our club.

My vision for the event was:
  • Celebration of Kew Toastmasters 30 year history
  • Inspire and instil pride in current members
  • promote to wider community to attract guests to the event and/or raise awareness/promotion of Toastmasters for membership growth opportunity for all clubs
  • Fellowship, food, drink, fun.
My core values were:
  • Inclusion of all:
    • current members
    • past members (where able to contact)
    • guests - potential members
  • Fun and entertaining
  • Showcase Kew Toastmasters as "the premier toastmasters club" of Melbourne
The idea was to hold the celebration on a regular club meeting night at the club to reduce costs.  As we cannot use club funds for entertainment a small covercharge was to be charged to pay for the catering, promotion and other administrative costs.

I presented my "sharing your vision" speach to the club on 3rd Feb 2010.

High Performance Leadership - HPL background

Kew Toastmasters 30th Anniversary Celebration meeting  - My HPL project.

For me this toastmasters year was the year to do those leadership tasks towards my "Distinguished Toastmaster" award, and the High Performance Leadership was one of them.  But what to choose as a project.  I initally thought of reserecting the speakers bureau for our district.  So I did a lot of research into this and what was involved.  My conclusion was this was a very worthwhile project but a bad choice for a HPL because the speakers bureau would be an on-going task and probably take up all my available TM time.  It is a much better choice to choose a project that has an exact end time so it is more measureable.

With this in mind I decided to organise Kew Toastmasters 30th Anniversary celebration meeting. I started working on this back in November 09 so I have been a bit slack in bloging it to date. 

Toastmasters International provide a comprehensive High Performance Leadership manual/workbook it also includes work books for your guidance committee.  It gives you some theory on leadership, choosing objectives, setting missions and core values and sharing your vision.  There are intervals through the book where sign off is to be done by the guidance committee. The manual gives you a methodology you could use but it may not suit all projects.  I think the value is to read the manual and follow it as long as it adds value to your process, but work closely with your guidance committee, keep them informed of progress, keep the project running successfully.

So with manual in hand, project chosen and guidance committee of two experienced members I started.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Successful Speechcraft Tips. - "What the manual does not tell you"

The speechcraft manual suggests you hold your speechcraft during regular meetings.  The following recomendations are based on a speechcraft course held as a dedicated event of its own.  Here are some ways to plan for success for this type of speechcraft course:
  • Plan early - set your target of how many sessions your speechcraft will be, how long each session and draft a rough outline of what possibly you can deliver during these sessions, meeting the minumum outlined by TMI but planning to far exceed this.  Find your venue early.  Establish why you are running this course - what is your main outcome you wish to achieve?

  • Realistic timing  - factor generous timing in the initial outline, don't forget breaks and discussions, introductions can take up lots of time too.   Base the timing on the maximum participants your course will hold.

  • Number of participants  -  Ideally speechcraft is suited to 8-10 participants but accept a few more.  It is almost certain for what ever reason you will have participants drop out or not be able to continue.   Create a waiting list, keep contact details of enquiries for future courses or offer to them to be a guest at a regular meeting.

  • Get the word out early to get helpers -   publicise this at your club, area, division and district.  Ask for help.  Publicise the dates the sessions are on, publicise the skills you want and get people to committ to dates.  Promote how these sessions will be credit towards awards.  You can't do it all on your own you will need lots of help.

  • Use resources from other clubs.  Great opportunity for stronger more experienced clubs to help out a struggling club who may not have the experience to run a course.  Everyone wins in the end.

  • Pick your presenters carefully - Pick the right presenter with the best skills for the educationals and roles. Cast a wide net!  Use emerging TM's and guide them to extending their skills (don't just drop them in).  It is as much a learning opportunity for the presenters as the participants, having this in mind brings enthusiasm and the best out of all. Never announce during the course the experince level of the toastmaster, it is irrelevant and counter productive for the confidence of  emerging toastmasters.

  • Venue - ensure it is easy accessed and suitable, parking, seating, tables, heating/cooling, whiteboards/av,  noise levels, kitchen, toilets and price are all things to consider.

  • Promote the course - try press releases contact your district speechcraft co-ordinator to get contact details of recent speechcraft enquiries.  Contact former guests of clubs in the area.  Letter box drops.  Raise awarness of not only your speechcraft, but the local clubs and TM in general.   Those who cannot make it to this course may be interested in visiting your or another local club.

  • Membership - Use it as membership building tool.  Target people who are close to the area, who you think would consider joining.  Factor a free joining free and 6 months membership into the price.  But don't make it automatic, invite them to join at the end of the course.

  • Payment - work out an easy payment proceedure where the participant is only considered securing a place on the course if paid in full before the course.  Consider direct credit options.

  • Plan detailed agenda - Plan the whole course but be prepared to be flexible as this will change from week to week.  Stick with the main objective of the session but be flexible with timings as you will find some participants wont show up on certain nights.  Email your helpers with this plan and re email them at least a week before the session.  Be sure to tell them what they are exactly doing, the timing the deliverables and educational outcomes expected.  Send them all relevent copies of manual extracts.

  • Email your paid up participants prior to the course with a welcome, what is expected to happen at the course, lots of support and reassurance and what you want them to have prepared for the first night.  Then send them a copy of the agenda closer to the session.  After each session send a praising email and confirmation of what is expected for the following meeting, then send the agenda for the following meeting.

  • Rotate your presenters, toastmasters, evaluators and educational presenters.  There is nothing more boring than listening to the same person for 6 weeks.

  • Factor in maximum participation and speaking opportunities for the participants, be creative.  Remember its all about the participants not the presenters.

  • Use the final night as a showcase. Ask participants to bring a friend to support them in their final speech.  This will also spread the word about your club and TM.

  • Don't forget a feedback mechanism like verbal and a form.  Use tangable measurements on the form.

  • Follow up with participants after the course has finished.  They may want to join a club or be interested in future events.

"Enjoy each moment and go with the flow you are doing something special that will ignite something great for many people.  Speechcraft is such a priviledge and a pleasure." ........Elaine Doyle

Feedback from Maningham Toastmasters Speechcraft.

During the final session of speechcraft the participants had the opportunity to give verbal and written feedback by way of a feedback form.

Verbal feedback
Every participant gave a heartfelt thank you regarding the course and its presenters.  They spoke about how their confidence had improved and the many opportunites they received to practice their skills.  (Yes this was yet another speaking opportunity for them).

Written feedback
Of the formal feedback forms the results were:

We recieved 9 feedback forms.

All feedback indicated a self assessed improvement in the participants public speaking skills by the end of the course.  End results ranged from "fair"  to "excellent" skill improvement.

All feedback indicated a self assessed improvement in confidence by the end of the course.
End results ranged from "feel more confident"  to "Very confident"

When asked about the course content the results were:

Did your skills improve? (10 skills listed)
All participants reported a positive result in improvement of skills.  Most indicating a definate "yes" and some indicating "somewhat"

Was the presentation/exercise helpful? (10 skills listed)
Nearly all responses to this question was "yes" with less than 5% indicating "somewhat".

When asked " did you have enough opportunity to practice your skills"?
All participants answered "just right"  with some adding extra comments that a bit more time, or some extra sessions would have been beneficial.

When asked about the quality of the feedback?
All participants responded with the feedback was "motivating" and "supportive" with some also including "analytical" all extra comments given were possitive.

All participants reported the pace and demands of the course were "just right".

Some of the comments recieve about what the participants liked best were:
  • Supportive nature of everyone
  • Loved the practice
  • Educational & evaluations providing learning opportunities
  • Learning to trust myself
  • Fantastic for confidence
  • I liked it all
  • Giving of speeches  (now thats a real measure of success since all participants reported being very fearful of public speaking at the start of the course!)

Some of the overall comments:
  • Enjoyed the program - will be beneficial in future activity
  • Very good, much better than those 1 day courses
  • I thought it was a fantastic course.  I have learnt so much, thank you for your time
  • Course was great and a good chance to practice
  • Enjoyed 100%
  • Very valuable, encouraging to see and listen to the toastmasters educationals and stories re personal experience
  • It was just fantastic
  • Very encouraging support with a variety of exercise.

So in summary, excellent feedback from some very happy and confident participants. 
My aim was to provide the participants with a value for money course that extended and challenged them.  Using quality presenters and educational sessions, co-ordinating a well rounded course that maximised the amount of educational benifit within the time constraints, in a supportive environment.   My measurement at the end of the course was confident participants who enjoy public speaking (and will happily build on and practice their skills), and I witnessed that journey and end result in each participant. 

The course was a huge success and a rewarding experience.  Hope other toastmasters take up the challenge and no doubt enjoy the experience as I have.

Elaine Doyle

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Manningham Speechcraft Week 6 23-11-09

The grand fanalie

The final night of the Manningham Speechcraft was full of enthusiasm,
 energy and smiles. 

Many of the speechcrafters brought a guest to hear their final speeches. We were treated to 8 well presented speeches, delivered with enthusiasm and energy.  The confidence of the speechcrafters was apparent they looked comfortable presenting and Yes looked like they were enjoying it. This sight made me very happy to be a part of someones development, to unlock the power of communication, to help people move beyond the fear of public speaking and deliver skillful presentations.  Being at the begining of the start of somthing great for a person is such a reward, imagine where they will take this skill!

We started the evening with a reflection of memorable moments which was enjoyable to relive those memories.

Then it was into the speeches.  The progress of skill was easily seen.  An experienced  Toastmaster who had come along for the first time commented, "I was amazed at the quality of their skill, being only just their 4th speech".  Again we were entertained by a huge range of topics.  Some very serious health and business issues others on a more personal experience.  I extended the speechcrafters for this speech to be 5 minutes.  The speakers had no problem speaking for the extra minute, some went over time.  I feel most could comfortably speak for 10 min or longer.

After the speeches I spoke about the benefits of joining a toastmasters club and an invitation to join was handed out.  The timing of this session was blown out by handing out these invitations individually and an unexpected interviewing of the participants (which was antincipated for the award ceremony).   Perhaps as toastmaster for the night I could have reminded the presenter of the timing contraints when he got up to speak since we were already over time.  It's a bit hard to jump up and stop what the presenter is doing once they have already invited someone to front to speak.  You can't assume that the presenters are mindful of the time.   Seamless emceeing is truely an art.  Anything can and may go wrong and it is hard to know when to be assertive.  But enough beating myself up about that, it was another opportunity for the speechcrafters to speak and the night did flow well (but finished 15 min late).

We commence the break with a toast and glass of bubbly.  I was presented with a gift and thank you for co-ordinating the course.  It was unexpected and lovely and one of the speechcrafters presented me with the award.  We had lots of yummy things to endulge in for our celebration.

After the break we heard evaluations from the Toastmasters.  I deliberately assigned toastmasters who attended earlier sessions of speechcraft so they could comment on not only the speech but the progress. The evaluations were uplifting and motivating adding to the joyful spirit of the whole evening.

Sadly we ran out of time for table topics, I would have loved the guests to experience the fun of impromptu speaking too.
Then it was onto presentations of the awards.  This was done by calling the group up and handing out the certificates individually. I invited our Division Governor to present the certificates.  Then we had a group photo.

I handed out a feedback form which all participants completed. This has also been given to the participants who did not finish the course.  So when I have all the forms I will do a complete anaylsis.  But in short the feedback showed growth in skills and confidence in public speaking in all participants.  With course content helpful that improved skills.  Overall coments of the course reflected possitive feedback from every participant.

I gave some brief thank yous to over 11 Toastmasters and the 13 participants  and then closed the meeting.

It was a wonderful night, a fitting end to an exceptional speechcraft course.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Manningham Speechcraft week 5 16-11-09

The passion shone through

Now we come to the business end of this speechcraft course.  What a transformation in confidence and speaking skills I have witnessed.  We were privileged to hear 4 passionate speeches this night.  Passionate in not just the belief in the topic that was discussed but passionate in the delivery of the topic. Again I had the speechcrafters who where not presenting speeches introduce and evaluate the speakers.  The introductions were smooth and professional and the evaluations were supportive and insightful.

We have a regular 8 speechcrafters who are very committed to the course and are getting a lot out of it.  These speechcrafters have now completed 3 speeches in 5 sessions.  Thats a big undertaking for people who came into the course scarred of public speaking.  They have been brave and taken this on despite their nerves and broken through this fear barrier to come out the other side much better communicators.   I'm so proud of them!  This now means if they join Toastmasters they will get credit for 3 speeches towards the 10 speeches required for the competitent communicator award.

Unfortunately I had an email from one of the other speechcrafters who said she is unable to continue with the course.  She wrote to me to say she has enjoyed it immensely and would be interested in future speechcraft or perhaps joining Toastmasters. She is a great speaker and speech writter so I sincerely hope she does pursue developing her speaking.   That's not too bad having two out of 13 drop out of the course.  Six weeks is a big committment and sometimes things crop up and you are unable to committ. That is why it is always better to take on extra participants, even though it is difficult when scheduling the agendas. 

So we started off with 13 have 8 regulars, 2 dropped out that leaves the other 3.  One of which I have not seen since the first meeting, another the second meeting and the other who has been held up at work on several occasions.  I have invited them to come to the last meeting which is a celebration, they can present their 2nd or 3rd speech on the night if they wish. And of course can join the Manningham club as a member, this may suit their life schedules better.

Apart from the speeches we had a swift and well run round robin session.  An entertaining table topics session.  The speechcrafters really enjoy this challenge and I believe look forward to it.

I gave an educational on vocal variety which outlined the different qualities of the voice, we had a practice example and I read a passage without and then with vocal variety to demonstrate the difference.  I also spoke about the importance of word selection. To demonstrate this I invited a fellow Kew Toastmaster to present an amazing and entertaining speech with great examples of precise word selection.

I feel I have now done my job I have armed my speechcrafters with basic communication tools to be great speakers.  So far they have learnt and practiced:
  • Speech structure
  • Speaking with passion an in earnest
  • Vocal Variety
  • Word Selection
  • Body language
  • Introducing speakers
  • Giving an award
  • Recieving an award
  • Evaluation that motivate
  • Impromtu speaking
  • Speech writing
But practice is the key word.  PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE at every opportunity given, to not loose the skills and confidence and build on it.  That's why joining toastmasters is a great way to practice and grow.

The speechcrafters have the opportunity to showcase their skills next week in their final speech.  I believe they will use all the skills learnt so far.  It will be a celebration night where they can bring a friend. We will have speeches, improptu speaking and presentation of awards, food and drinks.  I can't wait but am also a little sad it will be all over.  Its been such a journey for my speechcrafters all my fellow toastmasters I have taken along and especially me.  :)