Seven Habits of Highly Effective Toastmasters
Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Habits are a part of life. What begins as a simple choice is repeated day after day, month after month and year after year. Over time, our habits — whether good or bad — shape our destiny. To begin 2012, I offer you seven habits of highly effective Toastmasters!
- Be early. Great things happen when you are early for a Toastmasters meeting. You can greet a guest, finalize the agenda, hand your manual to your evaluator or help with room preparations. Best of all, you will be relaxed and seated when the meeting starts.
- Be prepared. Preparation is vital to a successful Toastmasters meeting. Prior preparation prevents poor performance. When things are done at the last minute, or not done at all, the meeting quality suffers and members stay home.
- Be positive. Attitude is contagious. Members join to learn, grow and have fun! Project a positive attitude of fun and enjoyment. Encourage new members to sign up for speaking and leadership roles early and often.
- Be supportive. When members show interest and support each other, everyone succeeds. Encouragement is like a mental vitamin, and it begins with you. Nurture a supportive, encouraging club culture and watch your club thrive.
- Be courteous. Toastmasters is a people business and all people have feelings. Some members are sensitive, while others are thick-skinned, but all expect courteous treatment. Say “thank you” and “please,” and apologize when appropriate. Treat your clubmates kindly and watch them reciprocate.
- Be a goal-setter. Effective Toastmasters stretch themselves and encourage others to stretch, as well. If you are new, reach for your Competent Communicator award. If you have a CC, reach for CL, AC or DTM awards. If you have a DTM, earn another one (like I did). You will grow, and others will catch the excitement and grow along with you.
- Be ready for anything! Toastmasters is a learning experience and anything can happen at any time — from fire alarms to power outages to speaker no-shows. Be flexible and seize your opportunity to grow. If a prepared speaker cancels at the last minute, try a five- to seven-minute impromptu speech. You might be surprised at how well you do, and you may inspire your clubmates.
MICHAEL NOTARO, DTM
International President 2012