When you become a Member of a Toastmasters International Club you gain access to and benefit of the Toastmasters Educational Program. In doing so, you agree to the following point from The Toastmasters Promise; “To prepare all of my speech and leadership projects to the best of my ability, basing them on projects in the Competent Communication, Advanced Communication, or Competent Leadership manuals.” (From the Club Leadership Handbook)
When you deliver a Manual Speech you promote fairness, exemplify leadership and do your part to promote growth within others which ultimately results in a healthier and stronger club for all. How does it promote fairness? Everyone wants equal opportunity to participate in each meeting. When there is a healthy membership base, speaking slots are at a premium. Most members are working towards the achievement of Educational goals and want more opportunities to speak. When a member delivers a non-manual speech in many regards it is a very selfish gesture. They take away so much from the club. For instance another member could have used that slot to further advance their progress in the program. The person evaluating the speech has no clear, written speech objectives that serve as a guide for providing feedback. Audience members lose their opportunity to gain full value from both the speech and the evaluation because of the lack of clear speech objectives and guidelines. How does it exemplify leadership? The most critical aspect of leadership is the example that you set for others. When you make a conscious decision to deliver a manual speech you show others that it is worth the effort to prepare and deliver a speech that required you to follow a speech project outline. Your actions and efforts support and endorse the Educational program by emphasizing the importance of it. How do you promote growth? You prove that you are still willing and able to learn and that you don’t think that you have outgrown the program. Even if your speaking skills are well beyond the basic or intermediate level your willingness to participate in the program proves to the membership that you think you can continue to improve. You can do so by continuing to work on additional advance manuals, repeating those that were either rewarding or challenging or you can complete your Competent Communicator Manual a second, third, fourth time.
The Club Officers are called upon to promote the Educational Program and support those members who are actively working towards the achievement of their educational goals. Promoting, encouraging or supporting the delivery of non-manual speeches is a contradiction of what is expected of the club and the Officers who have been elected to serve on behalf of the membership.
Toastmasters International has gone to great lengths to identify common denominators and patterns in successful vs. struggling clubs. In the Club Coach Troubleshooting Guide the Club Coach is asked to assess many aspects of a struggling club. One of the questions asks them to rank (on a sliding scale) whether, “All members are expected to speak from manuals” or, “Members frequently present non-manual speeches”. If the scale leans more towards “Members frequently present non-manual speeches” the following Corrective Action is recommended: Convince members that CC, ACB achievement is a worthwhile goal. Encourage use of the advanced manuals. Why would this be? The answer is simple, when members frequently deliver non-manual speeches individual member growth is stifled, new members become confused and perplexed, quality of meetings deteriorate and ultimately club membership goes backwards. The Educational Program, attracts members, encourages advancement, helps with retention and causes the club to flourish.
Marshall Northcott, Division G Governor, Founder’s District
“Members Matter Most!”
Get with the P.R.O.G.R.A.M.
Persistence ● Recognition ● Opportunities ● Growth ● Responsiveness ● Achievement ● Motivation
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