Thursday, July 11, 2013
What follows is the text of the speech that I wrote and delivered to Word Weavers (My Toastmaster Club) on July 3rd....
My Inaugural Address for Word Weavers for the 2013-14 Toastmasters Year
Good Evening, Madame Toastmaster, fellow members, and dear guests. America has a long standing tradition where the President of the United States gives an Inaugural Address that lets the nation and the world know what he is thinking about and what he would like to tackle in this time in office. This speech gives the people something to aspire to and sets the tone for that administration. There have also been some very famous Inaugural Addresses over the past 200+ years. I would like to bring this tradition to our club. While my scope is not nearly as lofty or Earth shattering, I would like to take a few moments this evening.
Thank you to everyone who has voted for the officers that will be leading Word Weavers in the 2013-14 Toastmaster year. It is quite an honor and show of trust that you have put into electing us. We all plan and hope to serve you to the best of our abilities.
JFK famously challenged Americans to not ask what their country could do for them but redirected them to think about what they could do for their country. For me I would challenge you to think about how Toastmasters can help you grow and reach your goals and how you can help our club to grow. Our relationship with Toastmasters is a two-way street. Personally, I have gotten so much from Word Weavers and Toastmasters that I could not even begin to repay this if I lived a thousand years and a thousand lives. Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? You can give so much to the club and Toastmasters by being a mentor and being mentored? If you're a more experienced member you can share your experiences and your knowledge with newer members and you should also seek out mentors for yourself who can challenge you and help you to develop further.
FDR said in his inaugural address to a world that was in the middle of the Great Depression that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. As Toastmasters, many of us have worked on this fear of public speaking that affects so many people and many of us have taken great strides to become better speakers and some of us even stand on the edge of greatness. I challenge you to take the risks, try different types of speeches, try out different skills, take on new roles. The club will support you! Remember that when asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times in his attempt to create the light bulb, that Edison reportedly said he did not fail, I just found 10,000 ways that didn't work. While I hope that none of us has to do anything 10,000 ways that don't work, just imagine how great it will work when we finally get there!
I challenge each and everyone of you to think about what you want to accomplish in the next 12 months personally, within Toastmasters (as a Word Weaver), and as a club. Set some goals. 12 months will pass regardless of if you do anything or not, but wouldn't it be great to accomplish something in that time. Maybe you can become a Competent Communicator, an Advance Communicator, maybe you can complete one of the advanced manuals, maybe you can work on developing some new communication or leadership skills, maybe you can be a mentor. Think about what you'd like to accomplish and how the officers can help you or what you'd like to see the club do or develop, and let me or the other officers know.
The other officers and I have met and started planning for the year, but at this stage I would like to make you the following pledge to our members, potential and future members:
1. I will listen. I might not always have the answer, but I will try to find it and if my search is completed and I still don't know the answer, I will tell you.
2. I will help you. The other officers and myself want to see you succeed and we'll do what we can to help you do so. If there is nothing that we can do (other than listen) I will tell you.
3. We are open and your feedback is welcome. The other officers and myself want to make Word Weavers the best that it can be, so let us know what we can do to make coming to our meetings and being a member a more meaningful and rewarding experience. We won't be able to implement every idea but we will consider everything. Crazy ideas are welcome.
4. I'll keep the channels of communication open. I plan to keep the club posted on what the officers are doing. This will mean that sometimes I will have announcements and that occasionally members of the officers group will have announcements and reports.
5. I'll make mistakes. I can promise you that me and the other officers will make mistakes, but we will do our best to limit the impact and to take ownership of them. Whenever possible I like to learn from my mistakes and that I'm better for having made the mistake. As a Project Manager I'm very big on Lessons Learnt.
6. It will be fun. We will have fun this next year.
One last thing, as Steve Jobs used to say. When we met on June 5th I said that I wanted to develop a slogan for the coming Toastmaster year. I believe that having a slogan or motto can be a unifying experience and can help us to focus on what we want to accomplish. In my high school every senior class had their own motto, so my suggestion for our motto for the 2013-14 TM year is "A year of growth and creating new memories". Another suggestion out of the Officers Meeting was W5 (Winning With Word Weavers Wiesbaden). Let the other officers and myself know what slogans you like. We're half way through our 10th Anniversary, so while we have had a lot of accomplishments and good memories in the past we're looking towards the future and all of the new and wonderful memories we're going to have. Madame Toastmaster, fellow members, lets make this a wonderful year!
Note: Being a history fan, I had lot of fun writing my Inaugural Address. Why think about doing this in other Toastmaster clubs, roles, and even outside of Toastmasters.