Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gaak! I’m President of my local Toastmasters club. How did this happen?

Nobody wanted the job.  

I threw down the gauntlet.  I’ve given two speeches about why I think the Pledge of Allegiance is unpatriotic, untrue, and a violation of free speech when it is coerced.  

Other Toastmasters members have thanked me for my courage in stating my opinion, but meetings have continued to open with the pledge.  I contacted international headquarters.  Since Toastmasters is an international organization they have no rules requiring meetings to open with pledges to anything. 

 I said, “If I’m President, there will be no pledging the flag during my term.”  Several members said, “I’ll vote for that.”  So now I’m President.

My first act was to replace the pledge by tapping a wine glass with a spoon – that seems much more symbolic of our purpose – Toastmasters.

My second act was to replace the monthly board meeting with emails.  We already give up two lunch hours a month for the meetings where members give speeches. That’s the whole point of Toastmasters! Why should the board give up a 3rd lunch hour just to keep each other up to date on administrative details?  

It looked like I was going to have fun radicalizing everything. Then a previous president told me my real job – fulfilling the Distinguished Club Plan.  This means getting board members to attend trainings, getting members to give speeches and take roles at meetings, basically being the pep-squad.

So, this morning I got 4 other members besides myself to agree to go to a training. I asked the board for ideas.  I agreed to bring in my old Toastmaster magazines to be given to visitors. I put in some ideas for the member update form.  It’s all details from here on in, and it’s my job to make it fun.

I used to provide fun by picking interesting topics for my talks – like why we shouldn’t pledge the flag, or what fun it is to explore a cave, or analyze a poem, or teach a magic trick.  Now it’s my job to get other people do come up with attention-getting talks so people will want to come to the meetings.  

Yes, I know – geezers are supposed to be mentors.  I just never knew there were so many details involved.


  1. I love love love your phrase "have fun radicalizing everything"! Sorry someone brought you down to realpolitik. I think you should give a speech on your mother getting scammed. Or any number of other blog entries.

  2. Alison, last year, I helped the club by doing 10 speeches in 1 year to get my second Competent Communicator Certificate. I already have Advanced Communicator Gold, which is the highest speaking certificate they have. I've given over 50 speeches. I don't intend to give speeches this year. Being President is going to be enough work. My job this year is to encourage other people to give speeches and get their CC and advanced certificates.