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, 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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