1st Distinguished Toastmaster Award for EMC Ireland Toastmasters Forum

DTM Award

What exactly is the DTM?

The Distinguished Toastmaster award is the highest award the Toastmasters International organisation bestows. The DTM recognises a superior level of achievement in both communication and leadership. Toastmasters international recognise that by receiving this award I have…” developed and sharpened effective communication and leadership skills, and applied these skills in professional and community activities to the benefit of others.”

How did I get started in Toastmasters?

My journey began in April 2012 with an invitation to a demonstration meeting of something called Toastmasters. I had never heard of this before and, once I heard was it was, I had to decide did I want to put myself under that pressure of standing up to speak in front of other people! Well I took the plunge, signed up to EMC Ireland Toastmasters and gave my first speech, also known as an “Icebreaker”, on 15 June 2012.

What has been involved in attaining DTM?

As well as completing approximately sixty speeches, and a variety of meeting  roles, I took on a number of Club Officer roles, including VP Education in 2013, President in 2014 and the Area 49 Director role in 2015. I also completed the High Performance Leadership project in 2015 and ran a workshop for fellow toastmasters in 2016.

What are some of the benefits I have found from Toastmasters?

Joining Toastmasters is one of the best things I have ever done. Toastmasters has been of huge benefit to me, not just professionally but also personally. It is a great confidence builder and taught me excellent leadership and communication skills. As well as discovering a passion for speaking, I also learnt the benefits of servant leadership and being able to share my learnings as a mentor for new toastmasters and officers means a lot.

Now that I have achieved DTM, what’s next on my Toastmasters journey?

I have started the Competent Leadership award again, as I believe it is important to refresh skills learnt. It also means another point for the EMC Ireland Toastmasters Club. UCC (University College Cork) have asked me to return in October to speak to their Mature Students Group again about presentation skills and tips on how to overcome nerves. It is great to be able to give back what I have learnt to help others. The future is definitely bright for me and I urge anyone who wants to develop personally and professionally to join Toastmasters and discover the benefits for themselves!

 

Follow me on Twitter @elainebeare

 

 

To Lead Is To Serve

toleadistoserve

In service or servant leadership you need to lead both with a focus on service to those benefiting from the end result and on those who work to achieve the objectives. Service leaders are willing to place empowerment above personal power, contribution above their own ego satisfaction and the needs of the team above their own needs for credit and acclaim.

However this all means nothing unless you first know how to lead! This is where I found the High Performance Leadership (HPL) project in Toastmasters particularly useful as you learn by doing to develop your leadership skills when undertaking this project.  The project covers learning leadership skills, putting the skills in action and then receiving feedback on your performance and progress.

In June 2015 I completed my High Performance Leadership Project (HPL) in EMC Ireland Toastmasters Forum. This for me was one of the best leadership learnings on my journey, not only in Toastmasters but in Leadership.

The project focuses on vital leadership areas including:

  • Developing a mission and vision
  • Goal-setting and planning
  • Identifying values
  • Building a team

It is an evaluated project with feedback given on leadership skills at each of the following steps:

  • Learning About Leadership
  • Choosing Your Objective
  • Winning Commitment to Your Objective
  • Working the Plan
  • Analyzing and Presenting Results

The first step you take is to evaluate and assess your existing leadership skills, and identify your strengths and skills that need improving. These cover six focus areas of Service Leadership, namely Vision and Values, Direction, Persuasion, Support, Development and Appreciation.

Once you have completed this assessment you need to choose a project or objective that will allow you to develop these skills. You also need to organise a guidance committee that will help and guide you through strategic planning and feedback on your journey. Members of the committee should include mentors and people whose experience will help you and whose opinion you respect.

A project will only succeed if everyone knows what they are doing and why. This is where developing a vision and mission statement is crucial. With a clear vision and a clear purpose you will create a project that is organised and successful.

When you and your team have created the vision and mission, and have your committee in agreement for your project, it is time to put the plan into action. During this process you will develop skills of a team leader through delegation, planning and conflict resolution. You will help the team members develop through appreciation and empowerment.

Finally when the project is completed you review what you have learned on the journey, and re-assess your skills again in the six focus areas. You should hopefully have learned more about yourself and how to work with others. And, of course, through learning by doing, you have improved your servant leadership skills.

My key learnings include teamwork = success, delegation = empowerment, and acknowledgement of great work is invaluable!

Due to speak at an event in 2015? Do You Want to Increase Your Confidence?

If your answer to both of these questions is YES then please read on. Toastmasters is a great way to build your confidence and learn new skills at the same time. Not only will you learn how to prepare and deliver great speeches in a safe and friendly environment but you will also have the opportunity to network and make new friends in the process. I myself have benefited greatly both personally and professionally through joining Toastmasters and can heartily recommend it. But don’t take my word for it; why not go along and discover the joys of Toastmasters for yourself.

Powdermills Toastmasters in Ballincollig, Co. Cork, are holding a special OPEN NIGHT on Wednesday, 14th January 2015 in the Oriel House, Ballincollig, at 8.00pm to introduce the club to new members and guests.

All guests over 18 are most welcome to attend this Open Night organised by the Powdermills Toastmasters Club to see how you can develop your skills in Public Speaking and learn Leadership techniques.

Guest may attend for free and are most welcome. Don’t worry, you will not be asked to speak on the night so you can sit back, observe and enjoy the night!

You can also check out more about the Toastmaster Club here