Toastmasters - Collected Wisdom

These are summaries of the collected wisdom of contributors to a Toastamsters newsgroup which operated between 1995 and 2008 and ToastmastersPrime, a Google group which commenced in 2008. This is not an official Toastmasters site, but is an edited collection of posts from the newsgroup and the Google group. These groups provide an unofficial means of communicating for an enthusiastic group of Toastmasters from throughout the world.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Things to avoid at a contest

Reflecting on the contest season, Mark started a thread with this list of things to avoid if you are running a contest event. I have sorted contributions by Mark, Rich, Joy, Colin, Jim, Phyrne and Robert into sub headings to make it easier to find suggestions for your role, but harder to appreciate the individual contributors frustrations.

Presentation time
Please take the blanking award out of the blanking bag before you present it to the first and second place winner.

In a contest with three or fewer contestants, announce only the first place winner - then give the second place person a call afterwards, and perhaps mail the trophy or present it at a club instead of 'sneaking' it to them in the back of the room.

On announcing only first place: That would be a violation of the rules. I understand what you're trying to do, but let's go by the rules. To be honest, I would rather that the rank of ALL the contestants be announced. If you're in a contest, then you already know that there will be a first place ... and everyone else. Let's put on our big boy/big girl shorts and realize that being ranked last in a contest does not mean you are a bad person. However, that's not what the rules say, and we have to follow the rules.

Don't ever say - "the first place winner is, no surprise, ___________________"

Don't ever say, before awarding the winners, "Well, that's all folks. Oh, am I forgetting something?" or any other similar riff. It was never funny in the first place.

As contest Toastmaster, I do my own little spin on things. When I was interviewing the contestants, my opening question would be a variation of, "If it's Wednesday at 6:30 PM, where can we find you?" The answer, of course, is the contestant's club. It's a slight variation of, "What club do you belong to?"

As contest master, don't turn the "meet the contestants" interview portion into a session of "stump the chump". I've seen too many contest masters launch into Table Topics from Hell, just - it seemed - to demonstrate how clever/witty/smart they were. They seemed to delight in leaving the contestants scrambling for a response.

Tell the contestants during the briefing that you are not going to try to stump them with any interview questions. Tell them the requisite things you plan to ask (name, club, how long a TM, TM educational level), and if you know what follow- up question you're going to ask, give it to them in advance.

Find a creative/fun/CONCISE way to handle briefing the audience. I've seen too many belabor so many parts of the briefing, the thought crossed my mind to stand up and say "ENOUGH ALREADY!!! GET ON WITH THE CONTEST!!!" In some cases, it was the briefer (either the TM or the CJ) wanting to thoroughly explain all the rules. In others, it was about the briefer wanting to enjoy as much time in the spotlight as possible.

You may think this is unnecessary, but one contributor suggested: "Make sure that the person you are announcing in the winner's list actually competed."

It seems that third place in a nine person evaluation contest was awarded to a member who had dropped out at the last moment, but prior to the contest.

Please do not wait until the end of the month to schedule your area contests. We run short of judges when you have six contests on a Friday night.... and three of the contests are in different rooms in the same building.

If you get all of the clubs/areas participating, plan for the contest to run two-and-a-half hours. Don't try to say that it will run two hours. IT WON'T HAPPEN.

If the division A contest is in Lodi, CA and the division C contest is in Orland, CA they are 140 miles apart. If you want the district officers to attend both contests, please allow plenty of time for travel. Scheduling the Division C contest at 9 AM with six contestant per contest AND having a raffle to pay for the room does not provide enough time for officers and judges to make it down to the 1:30 Division A contest.

Please, if there is more than one entrance, post a Sgt at Arms committee member at EACH ONE, and train them properly.

Sound System

If there is a sound system, work out all the details of who will operate what and how the system works BEFORE the contest, not during the contest.

If there is a PA system in the building, see if the contest site can be omitted from announcements unless it is an emergency situation so as not to interrupt contest presentations


The book says that you need two stopwatches. Four work better.... * Two for the timing table * One to act as backup and to time the one minute * One for the five minutes during the evaluation contests

Contest Chairman

The Contest Chairman should NEVER NEVER NEVER try to be the focus of attention. Your job is to facilitate the contest and keep the focus on the contestants. I absolutely detest the "warm up the audience" routines that I'm subjected to prior to humorous speech contests.

Save your best jokes for the spring contests and the bad jokes for the humorous speech contests. You don't want to upstage the humorous speech contestants.

If you're the contest toastmaster, save your jokes for your club when you give your manual speech.

Please discuss with Eval and TTopic contestants where they should stand when you will be asking them the question, or introducing them. I'm tired of guessing.

Please, please don't say "A drum roll please" before announcing each award recipient!

Develop an appropriate timing serum that will alert late night speakers (keynote, awards presenters, etc.) that it is late and perhaps they should curtail their prepared remarks.

Double check all equipment from the clocks and lights to sound system and the stage...t'aint nothing more detrimental to an effective presentation than a portion of the stage buckling.

Read the results correctly.

Table Topics contest
Make sure your table topic is vetted by the Chief Judge and contest chair. They should not hear the topic for the first time when you introduce the first contestant.

Let the district officer responsible for the contest (AG, Div Gov, etc.) vet the Table Topics question. It is their contest.

Evaluation Contests
When running an evaluation contest don't use a brand new never- been-to-a-contest rookie for your SAA.

Do not, repeat, DO NOT publish the judge's names in the contest program.

If you want to intentionally lose a contest, come to the contest in casual clothing, have your checkbook in your shirt pocket, bring up your water bottle, and keep holding up that water bottle while answering the table topics question while never using it as a prop. It says to me as a judge, "I want to lose this contest intentionally." (And, yes, this happened at a division level contest)

Your contest photographer is your friend. Please allow him to take the pictures of the contest.

Don't talk during the minute of silence, Mr./Madame TM - not "good job", "wow", "Does someone have a tissue", NOTHING - its called a minute of silence for a reason.

The contest should focus on the contestants, not the staff, contest master, chief judge, etc

This post appeared on the Google List Toastmasters Prime

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Making it easier for the visually impaired.

Jen, who is deafblind, joined Toastmasters two weeks ago and found the newsgroup while looking for ideas for her first Table topics assignment. She is able to hear extremely well with hearing aids, and uses a guide dog, Nixon.

She uses JAWS for Windows which reads any and all information that is available on the screen via voice. She finds it confusing when people top post in reply to emails and newsgroup postings, because she has to wade through all of the earlier posts.

So if you are posting to newsgroups consider a possible 10 million other readers in the United states - that's 1 in 30 people - who will "see" your message a lot more clearly if you help them by placing your message at the top of the post, rather than underneath.

Jen's contribution to the newsgroup was posted on May 24 2007 under the thread New Member and expanded into a thread of its own O/T Using screen readers suggestions/recommendations

Jen also posted some examples of reading through a screen reader at
This one is still in Mozilla reading a web page, I think.
I am in my Outlook folder, flipping through mail, and I believe at this stage, I show how I access the Start menu to open a program.
Here's JAWS reading one of my e-mail messages, that is very short. This is when you really get a chance to hear how fast he really reads!

My stat of 10 million extra "readers" for your message is from

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Gestures can become cliches, too!

In March 2007, Info started the thread The phone & the hand with:
A speaker holding up his hand as if it were a telephone when he says something like, "I called him on the phone the other day ...."? aggravates me no end. It's unnecessary and diminishes the content of the speech. It's amateurish. We know you're on the phone; it needs no gesturing to make the point.

Nigel asked:
Isn't that like saying you don't need to gesture something is large if you say it is large. You don't need to show a finger for the first point, second point, third point, etc since you've probably already told them. You don't have to gesture steering the car because you've told someone you're driving...

Info replied:
I might hold out my palms to the audience in a prepared speech on the third if I were trying to convey that a person did or said the same thing ridiculous three times. I might do that - and not always - to emphasize how excessive that person's behavior was.

To Betsy:
gestures are like fashion accessories. They look great on some people, and completely unnecessary (thus stupid) on others. I think it all comes down to how natural; the gesture feels with the rest of the speaker's body language. I naturally make phone gestures (and all sorts of gestures) even when I'm just talking with my neighbors, so I can get away with it. If you get a sense that someone is doing it artificially (like kids acting out a jump-rope song) then it looks bad.
Also, speakers should probably limit expressive gestures like this--1 or 2 phone gestures looks OK, but if you're doing something every few seconds it starts to look affected.

Joy thought "It's like a lot of other things. Not everyone agrees. Another area where this applies is the movement of the speaker. I am constitutionally unable to move around when I'm speaking, unless it is for a specific purpose - showing that I walked somewhere, for instance.

When I'm watching a speaker who does move around, it seems natural with some, and forced with others. A speaker who paces back and forth while speaking drives me up the wall. It looks ever worse when you see the speech on videotape.

Since describing a phone conversation often involves quotes from both people speaking, and sometimes narration, I find the gesture helpful. When telling both sides of the conversation, the "phone" is held to one ear for one person, and the other ear for the other person. That way, it is clear who is speaking.

Rich wondered "If you are starting a speech out with picking up the phone - you need a gesture there to indicate what you are doing. If the phone then just disappears mid conversation, it looks out of place, assuming you are continuing dialogue via the phone.

I'd rather have the gesture than a real phone prop.

John added "I suspect that gestures like the hand on the phone not only benefit the hearing impaired, but also those who have a visual learning preference - particularly when the phone conversation is between two people - one in the left ear, the other in the right.

The phone gesture can be an irritant if handled badly, but an enhancement to the presentation if integrated seamlessly.

I suspect that the reason Info noticed it was that it was not seamless.

On the other hand I agree that we should avoid cliches - both verbal and visual, and perhaps that gesture has become a visual cliche.

Colin quipped "As a wise person once said, cliches should be avoided like the plague!"

Gene knows a joke that benefits from having such a gesture. If I tell it at a Toastmasters meeting, I will use the gesture. I would not need to use the gesture, but it would improve the delivery, so I would use the gesture.

Rod saw it as horses for courses. Any gesture needs to be appropriate. That means that it must be suitable for the speaker, the speech, and the audience.

Depending on the occasion, I would be unlikely to use such a gesture to accompany a statement such as 'I called him on the phone', but I would almost certainly use it to illustrate that I was having a telephone conversation.

If it doesn't suit your style - don't use it. If you see it as unnecessary and amateurish - you're entitled to your opinion. It might also be that you don't notice it when it's done smoothly, naturally, and appropriately, only when it is used amateurishly.

Even then, Toastmasters is a learning laboratory - where we learn what works for us rather than to become clones of some mythical 'perfect' speaker. As for it being used by public speakers (however you define that term) - there's at least one who uses it - me!

Generally, and when used appropriately, gestures add a visual dimension to the auditory message, reinforcing it and aiding recall.

On the other hand, we all have our dislikes that reduce our ability to listen to the message. Mine are excessive umms, aahs, hesitancies, and an inability to get to the point. Learning to put these aside and listen effectively is a skill in its own right, and one that we teach in Toastmasters (the How to Listen Effectively module).


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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Confrontation - the adversary relationship

In April 2003 when Ledeema needed help with Speeches by Management assignment 5 Confrontation: The Adversary Relationship, she started the thread Need help on a topic.

John F took a stand against expansion of Edmonton's Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, calling it a half billion dollar boondoggle. I looked at the large cost of the project, the expected ridership levels and a couple of weaknesses in the proposed project like lack of park-and-ride facilities at the proposed Southgate station.
So, if there is a civic issue in your community, particularly one where a city manager or a member of city council may be called on to speak, you might find a topic in that. It doesn't have to be as big as LRT expansion either.
By the way, in reality, I support expansion and believe it is long overdue. However, I took the con position because it would guarantee the majority of the audience would be on the opposite side of the issue.

Rod said there are many controversial issues related to the IT age, such as data mining, spam, privacy etc. that might touch you.

You will already be on familiar territory with issues such as plagiarism. Where should the line be drawn? What are the differences between plagiarism and copyright breach? Your focus might be literature, patents, Toastmasters, music, or any of many others.
Should RVs have unlimited access to wilderness areas? Pollution and erosion. Should conservation issues be subverted to the demands of business?

Rick used club management for my basis for several of the speeches in that manual. I spoke in favor allowing controversial speeches in the club. Speeches that were political or religious.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Workshop: Preparing a manual speech

In March 2007, Betsy was in a club where it is like pulling teeth to convince people to give speeches, but everyone likes to do table topics.

She has thought about holding a pizza party table topics meeting!people can opt to do a traditional table topic or a "long" table topic (must speak at least 4.5 minutes).

I thought I would list 5 fun questions for these longer table topics on the> agenda, so people would have a little bit of time to prepare, even though the speeches would still be impromptu.

At the end of the meeting, I would announce a big surprise--I had quietly evaluated all of the longer table topics, and would now be> giving the evaluations, so that the speeches could count toward manual credit.

I replied:

My concern with this is that it moves away from the intent of the CC manual - prepare the speech by addressing the content of the assignment.

I also believe strongly in discussing personal objectives with the evaluator in advance of giving the speech, although this is a personal preference rather than a program requirement.As an alternative, how about running a workshop on how to give a manual speech.

Nominate the five topics, as you intended, but then split the club into pairs - the evaluator and the speaker come up with ideas together. The evaluator acts as a mentor, in a way. You could have some resource articles associated with the topics to help them with content. Downloaded web pages would be good, because it introduces the concept of researching your content.Maybe program a few of the speakers on the night of the workshop, the rest at successive meetings. That way you have half of the members with prepared speeches, and hopefully have demonstrated that preparing speeches is a lot easier than they thought.

Focus the workshop on one of the more general assignments - Get organized or Apply your skills (I am looking at an old manual - the titles may have changed)Spend about 10 minutes taking the assignment apart - the objectives, the text, the evaluation guide then move into pairs for thirty minutes.You or a couple of workshop leaders could move around and offer assistance to people who seem to be getting stuck.This would take about an hour, including time for the speeches and evaluations.

Good luck. As always, I admire your enthusiasm and creativity.

I have posted a sample workshop outline below;

Workshop: Preparing a Manual Speech

Do your club members have difficulty preparing manual speeches? Do you have a number of members working their way through the Competent Communicator manual? Do you have one or more members who are looking for something more from the program than just manual speeches – perhaps they would like to run a workshop?
In this article, John Sleigh outlines a one hour workshop that could help meet all of these needs.


To provide Toastmasters members with guidance and assistance to gain full value from their manuals.
To encourage more experienced members to take on a mentoring role

The workshop starts with a five to seven minute outline of a typical manual assignment.

Then members pair off – one as speaker, the other as evaluator, mentor, sounding board. The speakers prepare a speech on one of the nominated topics by referring to the manual and the resource materials that are available.

To close the workshop, volunteers (as many as time allows) deliver their speeches and are evaluated by their workshop partner – mentor. Other speakers are programmed for subsequent meetings.

Open the seminar
10 minutes
Give a speech about how you have found the manual valuable as a way to prepare your speeches. Select a manual assignment to speak about and explain that they will be working on this assignment later. Any assignment in the CC manual is suitable, however in this sample workshop I have chosen Organize Your Speech. In preparation for speech contests, Research Your Topic, Persuade with Power or Inspire Your Audience may be more appropriate as they suit the speaker who has already completed 6 speeches.

Don’t read the assignment to the club, rather use statistics, testimony, examples, stories or anecdotes, Visual aids and Facts as Assignment 2, Organize Your Speech suggests. Yes, this is a manual speech that demonstrates that you can apply what you are asking others to do.
Start with an outline of the structure of all speeches in all of the manuals – objectives, executive summary, assignment content, “Your Assignment” summary and the evaluation guide.

Then outline the five topics that you have selected, using the guide in the assignment. For assignment 2, the manual recommends
· Discussions you've had with friends or coworkers
· Magazine or newspapers articles that attracted your interest
· Your expertise on certain topics - real estate, writing, personal computers, etc.
· Everyday experiences - shopping, commuting, family relationships.

For the purposes of the workshop, it will be better if the topics are well known to the members.

You might pick one or two current controversial local or national issues on which they may choose to present a speech in favor, one against or one showing both sides of the argument.

Add one or two generic topics – raising children, living with teenagers, work-life balance, commuting and transport, tourism or education are often subjects that it easy to find resources for and which most members will have something to say. You might suggest a past, present, future approach – either talk about the history of the topic, or what it was like in a particular era, for history. One aspect of the current status for the present and either one suggested strategy or vision for the future. Try not to be too specific with the topic, to allow the members to tailor it to their knowledge.

You may also pick one or two Toastmasters or communicators topics. Perhaps leadership falls in here too. What I hope to gain or what I have gained from Toastmasters could be options. What I like to hear in a speech, what makes me follow a leader or the most impressive speaker or leader I have seen, heard or met could be an interesting topic for many members.

Then point out the features of the assignment, without reading or explaining them. Show how Assignment 2 deals with topic selection, preparing an outline, opening body and conclusion, but don’t explain the content. This would be outside the scope of a five to seven minute speech

Assign workshop pairs
Members will work in a pair – speaker and evaluator-mentor. You may assign these based on experience or seek volunteers. The choice should be based on your knowledge of the club.

Members may work with their normal club mentor, particularly if you want to reinforce this aspect of the Toastmasters program. Alternatively you may assign other members to provide an alternative learning experience. Avoid assigning all of the more experienced members as mentor – evaluators. Mix them around a bit. Some of the newer members may learn more by watching the experienced members prepare, and all members will have valuable insights, irrespective of the lengthy of their membership.

Provide resource material
Normally members will have access to their own resource material to prepare their speeches. In the workshop setting they can still use their own knowledge and opinions, but these can be enhanced by resource material that you provide. Have a selection of relevant web page downloads or news articles that the pairs can use to add the statistics, testimony, examples, stories or anecdotes, visual aids and facts the assignment recommends. You don’t need a copy of each item for each member. Just have a selection available so that they can use them to research their topic.

Prepare the speech
30 – 45 minutes
In pairs, members prepare a speech on one of the topics using the guidelines provided in the assignment.
One member of the pair will be the speaker. The other will be the mentor –evaluator.

Deliver selected speeches
5 – 7 minutes each
A selected number of members deliver their newly prepared speeches, as ina normal club meeting.

Speakers are evaluated, as in a normal club meeting.

Workshop review
Members are asked to review the workshop. The form on the next page can be used for this. It may also be useful to evaluate the seminar using an assignment from an advanced manual.


Feedback form

Preparing a Manual Speech


1. Was the information valuable to you

Useful Usable Useless

2. Was the presenter clear, and effective communicator and easy to understand

Useful Usable Useless

3. Was the content relevant to the topic

Useful Usable Useless

4. Was the time allotted suitable for the subject covered

Useful Usable Useless

5. Was appropriate use made of presentation aids and techniques to promote understanding

Useful Usable Useless

6. What was your overall level of satisfaction with the workshop?

Useful Usable Useless

Which information will you use first? When? How?

How can we make this better?

Please write any additional comments on the back of this page.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Role play topic ideas

Several advanced assignments ask you to play a role. I have combined responses to several assignment requests, because there may be overlap.

There is also a great role playing activity on my web site at where participants negotiate to get a scarce resource - the last cab. It could be a parking spot or the last standby seat on a flight.

In November 2005, Ruth asked for ideas for the Role-playing project in the discussion leader.

JohnF role played a selling situation where one of my fellow club members was getting me involved with financial investments.

PC role played selling George Foreman's sandwich grill to my neighbor and in another project was hotel executive in Atlantic City selling conference accomodations to an H.R. executive.

Rod role-played evaluation techniques in the club. A speech was evaluated critically, whitewashed, and 'properly' evaluated. The differences were then discussed.

The second time I did this project was a training exercise that I ran for a local church. The church was having a fundraising mission and wanted volunteer visitors to call on members to encourage them to attend. I created scripts which covered introductions, invitations, handling likely objections, put-offs, etc. The volunteers role-played the scripts until they were both familiar and comfortable with the material and methodology.

Susan suggested inviting others to a Toastmasters meeting.

In May 2004 the thread was Role Play scenarios for negotiations and JohnF suggested
Buying or selling a car (used or new).
Booking an airline flight with your travel agent.
Arranging for lawn care services with a company that mows lawns
Arranging house painting services (Quite common around here during the summer when it is often done by student run companies.)

Rick suggested
You could be leading a project and you need to borrow someone from another project for a month to finish your project on time.
You could offer to give up a speaking spot so someone could finish their CTM by the end of the year if they would help you with a role play.

In July 2002, the thread was need suggestions for role play

For RP the obvious choice would be an employee or volunteer who reports to you. If you don't want to tie it to your work make yourself a member of the staff parish committee for example it's your job to coach the minister. Maybe his sermons aren't that hot; his visitation work could use some work or how he's motivating the volunteer group who helps with the maintenance or fund raising.

Your a parent and the head of the PTA and the PTA at your child's school has decided that the principal or some teacher needs coaching. That's a tough situation since most of the teachers are unionized and they don't report to you. This would be a very difficult coaching session.

If you want to use toastmasters as the vehicle then set up a mentoring session and show the other club members tips on ways they can work more effectively with new members. If your club doesn't have a mentoring program then you can use this as a vehicle to show the other members the value of starting a mentoring program.

In March 1997, the thread was Interpersonal Communications and JohnF had the pleasure the other day of seeing someone tackle this project (At least I think it was this project).
He used a scenario most people will likely tackle at some point in their career. He role played asking his boss for a raise! He started his negotiation by breaking the ice and then covering the ways his efforts were contributing to the company's bottom line. Then he asked for the increase and the fun began.

The thread was Role-playing in January 2007, and Betsy killed two birds with one stone by giving a speech encouraging people to become club officers, participate in a contest, or do some other club-related activity that needs some encouragement. Use the role playing to show how to handle situations or to show how much fun something can be.

Rich picked a famous person you admire and have them lead a discussion within their chosen realm.
Prosecute a famous case.
Find a fictional character you wish you could be and put them in a discussion situation.
Pretend you are someone else in Toastmasters easily recognizable - A DG, A TM vet, the typical 2 month TM dropout perhaps.
Be an alien on their first, or maybe 101st trip to earth.
Find a cause you believe in and take on the role of the leader of the movement.
Become an animal, fish or insect and lead an appropriate discussion: "How do we increase the success percentage of picnic infestation?"
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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Toastmaster Burn out

In November 1994 a 5 year member and current Area Governor was looking for suggestions on how to give me a new "Zing" about Toastmasters and help put the "Zing" back in the club. The thread was Toastmaster burnout.

David responded
Clubs have ups & downs as do members experiences. As the club goes up in the club life cycle, so will you. To get there focus on New members -- new blood always helps -- they are always full of enthusiasm!!! Build new clubs -- as an AG it is part of your role.

Also challenge yourself -- get that DTM or ATM bronze or silver -- Go for the gold or bronze!!! As Area Gov, you make visits -- make speeches for manual credit!!!!!

Also, for your own sanity, hang around an active healthy club -- be a dual member!!

It sounded to Alan like you've already done MORE than could be expected. Sure, you could continue beating on it, but a dead horse is not going to give you anything more than a twitch.

This may be heresy, but I think your time and effort are worth too much to waste it on people who don't care. I say, let the club die, and work with (or start) another one that includes people who actually WANT the club.

I've seen this work both ways (in clubs other than Toastmasters). In both cases, the leader of the club was doing all the work and everyone else just sat back and watched. In both cases, the leader said, "Look, I can't carry the club myself, and I'm tired. So I quit. If you want a club, you'll have to step up to the task." In one case, the club coughed, gagged, and died. In the other case, several folks said, "Yes, this is important to me -- I'll make it work!"

The point is, if you try to do everything yourself, you will indeed burn out, and others who might help will just sit back. If you get out of the way, you'll find out if there's any life there at all. And if there is, the new club will be stronger than anything you could have achieved on your own.

Carol said You need a club which will help boost your energy (we all do).

Step back before you truly burn out to assess what you want -- Figure out what it would take for you to be re-energized, then go out and get it, or do it.

And don't forget to ask for help if you need it. See what your Div. Gov says, and ask your LGM and LGE for ideas, too.

To Sylvie it sounded like what many go through after being SO INVOLVED - - - When you give give give, and somehow there seems to be brick walls everywhere, you need to turn and aim at something else, or somewhere else.

Have you sat down and thought about where YOU want to be? What YOU want to do? Have you taken your needs into consideration?

Can you sit down and list what keeps you in your club?
Can you list what brings you down and see if there is anything you can do about it, if not, then let it go - the responsibility of an entire club does not rest on one or two individuals, although it often seems that way.

Decide what YOUR goals are, and keep those in mind. Even on fringe of bankruptcy, they best planners will tell you to keep some for yourself, pay YOURSELF first... Well, pay yourself some Toastmaster pay - - - THEN you can spread the rest out to where it is needed.

I found myself in somewhat of a slump when a former club I was involved with kept throwing away most of my ideas. I realized that I was no longer lining myself up with their vision, so I left.

Had I stayed, I probably would have gotten fed up real fast. I started my own club - and its going well! As area Governor (which you are also) I visit the clubs that seems to WANT my support and help. I have one where I attend once or twice a month. THERE, my efforts to help seem to be welcomed, and I feel I am fulfilling my need to help out.

You say your club is in a slump, low attendance.

That cycle thing again..... ALL Clubs go through that... Sounds like the time for new membership drive, but first, the club HAS to WANT to do that otherwise, guests won't want to stay (You know all that already).

Have YOU considered dual membership in an advanced club (if you have that in your area?)

Talk about rekindling the commitment! That sure did it for me! (That and leaving the other club). I think you've been giving of yourself and not paying attention to YOUR needs. Concentrate on you for a while, perhaps find yourself a niche speech you can give outside your club and try to find back the excitement and the yearn you had when you first got into this! It can be done!

Let the other members of the club executive in on all this, let them know you are not happy, and take some time off for YOURSELF!

Rick asked: What do you want to get out of Toastmasters? Where do you want or need to grow? What still scares you about speaking before a group? Both goals and fear can push you out of the boredom. If taking on new manuals isn't what excites you, you could try putting together some programs based on the success/leadership modules with the goal of taking them to local service clubs in the area.

Michael said to get back to what makes Toastmasters fun. Give some interesting speeches maybe even at a new club. Do not take a role which requires work, or even work towards anything. Try some silly stuff. Join a club closer to you, and go on hiatus at the old one.
I think if you stop being "responsible" for a while, it will help.

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