I, Publius Jr, have been a member of a Toastmasters club in St Paul since April 2, 2007 and I’ve learned a number of things about myself. Toastmasters allows you to find your voice, and how to voice your beliefs. Once you can voice your beliefs you can form a vision that others can follow, this is the point at which leaders are made. The new re-branding effort which did not have any input by Toastmaster members around the globe wants to make Communication Skills secondary to the Leadership skills. Toastmasters is not, in my opinion, a Dale Carnegie course, but rather a supportive group for communication skills, and it should remain that way.
I’ve tried a number of times to set up a Toastmasters club within the Republican Party here in St Paul, and yet I always get a lot of push back from the party and from some divisive/ disruptive members who see it as a drain on their power. If rank and file Joes and Janes of the party can find their inner voice and become leaders, the dysfunctional leaders will be pushed to the side and forgotten. ~~ Publius Jr.
The following is a Public Service on the part of the St Paul Republican City Committee (SPRCC) to raise awareness of this non-profit organization that helps a person develop their communication skills (prepared speeches, impromptu responses to unknown questions, positive feedback that evaluates a speaker or an associate). Toastmasters can help people to develop meeting leadership skills (planning, coordination, execution of a meeting, being able to adapt to obstacles, and parliamentary procedure).
A note about the organizational levels of Toastmasters.
Members: People who join Toastmasters for a variety of reasons such as to improve their public speaking abilities, to brush up their delivery of specific speeches (sales, informative, technical, humor, etc). People also join Toastmasters to learn how to be a better leader in the organization of which they are a part. Members are assigned a mentor to show them how to do meeting leadership roles and to coach them through the preparation and execution of a speech. Members learn how to evaluate others in a positive encouraging manner.
Clubs: They usually have about 10-20 members, though there are some that have fewer members. Clubs have a President, Vice President of Education, Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Public Relations, a Treasurer, a Secretary, and a Sgt-At-Arms. Clubs can have special events such as open houses, Speechcraft, membership building activities, and they plan for 4 speech contests held twice a year (2 contests each season).
Areas: They are a collection of clubs in a geographic location which are overseen by an Area Governor. People who serve as an Area Governor serve from at the latest September 1st to the following June 30th to get credit for doing a District Officer job. Most Areas have 5 clubs but occasionally there are some that have 4 or 6 clubs to govern. An Area Governor’s job is to make sure the Clubs are doing what is called a Distinguished Club Program, and to facilitate Area Speech Contests, and Club Officer Training twice a year. The Area Governor visits each club at least twice a year.
Divisions: They are a collection of Areas that do much like what an Area does but on a larger geographic scale. There are 5-6 Areas per division.
Districts: There are roughly 93 districts worldwide. There are 10 Divisions in District 6 (Central, Eastern, Frontier, International, Metro, Northern, Prairie, Rivers, Southern, and Western). The local District that covers Minnesota is District 6. District Governors facilitate the District officer training (Area, Division and District Supporting Officers) at a central location in the district every other month. Usually there are door prizes, mixers, and leadership building activities that are lots of fun.
Regions: There are 14 Regions in the World. District 6 is within Region 4 along with District 19 (Iowa), District 24 (most of Nebraska), District 42 (Alberta & Saskatchewan), District 64 (Manitoba, NW Ontario), District 78 (Montana, the Dakotas, and NW MN)
A Listing of Divisions in the City called St Paul.
A note to the reader, we wanted to list St Paul only clubs, but some of these clubs are in the area of St Paul or are on the border of the City. The following link is a listing of Toastmaster clubs in the city, St Paul Toastmasters Directory.