Blog & Resources

What constitutes international business experience?

Q: What constitutes international business experience? Does supporting a program such as the JSF qualify?

A: I think some would say "yes."

... While serving as the director of an innovation center, I can point to many opportunities to apply my Toastmaster’s skills working with representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

The F35 or JSF is a multi-national program with international reach.

The F35 or JSF is a multi-national program with international reach.

Bully! ... Beware the hyphenated-Toastmaster.

Teddy Roosevelt was considered by many to have popularized the phrase "bully pulpit," this President spoke out on many issues and was considered one of the more progressive leaders in his day.

It's Presidents' Day in the United States. And regardless your place or origin or your citizenship, communication and leadership go hand-in-hand.

Who is your favorite political figure? What sort of communicator is/was he or she? Would the core values of our organization — integrity, respect, service, and excellence — describe or fit this public figure’s character?

Consider dropping in on a local #Toastmasters meeting in honor or this holiday for that's #WhereLeadersAreMade, honing their leadership and public speaking skills.


Beware the hyphenated-Toastmaster. What do I mean by a hyphenated-Toastmaster? Have you heard of members sorting themselves into groups such as …

  • I’m a community-Toastmaster versus a corporate-Toastmaster?

  • I’m an advanced-Toastmaster … Perhaps hinting that timing lights and other rules need not apply.

  • I’m from an on-line club. I’m from a traditional or legacy-club. Etc.

Our global organization reaches out to all members and offers an equal opportunity for all to learn and grow. With this equal opportunity comes challenges which the International Board of Directors may face in the near- to mid-term. For example:

  • How should the dues be set so as to attract and retain the optimum number of members?

  • What accommodations should be made for members who attend their meetings on-line, or in so-called hybrid clubs with some members meeting face-to-face while others teleconference into these meetings?

  • Should there be a policy in place to help club-level officers get their needed training without extensive travel or expense?

It is this candidate’s view that we are all Toastmasters and that policies and protocols must best reflect this principle of fairness and equality. Beware the hyphenated-Toastmaster.

I say, “Bully!” Beware the hyphenated-Toastmaster.

I say, “Bully!” Beware the hyphenated-Toastmaster.

Best job I ever had!

With all due respect and empathy for the victims of war and not wishing to comment here on the politics of any war, past or current …

There’s a certain level of commitment to one’s fellow soldiers which was captured in the movie, FURY. This commitment to one’s comrades was articulated by nearly every member of the tank crew that became this movie’s central figures. What was this line? “Best job I ever had!”

So what has been the best job you’ve ever had while serving as a member of Toastmasters International? What has been your favorite club officer position? What has been your favorite job while serving your district?

And after thinking about this job, what made it your favorite? What did you learn while performing your duty in this job? In other words, why was it the best job you ever had?

Best job I ever had!

When was the last time you recited aloud the Toastmaster's Promise?

If you attended school in the United States, do you remember starting your day reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? I do.

And if you grew up and were schooled elsewhere, did you have to recite a similar pledge?

[Yes, I’m sensitive to the fact that not all nations observe such rituals. And I’m equally sensitive to the fact that in some schools there is public prayer.]

The point of this blog post is simply to ask: What pledges have you made of late?

For example, when was the last time you and other members of your club revisited or recited aloud the #ToastmastersPromise?

And is this promise a part of your new member induction or club welcoming?

What are the PROs and CONs in reciting such a pledge or making such a promise?

What similarities do you see between pledging allegiance to a flag, reciting a prayer, or reciting the Toastmaster’s Promise?

What similarities do you see between pledging allegiance to a flag, reciting a prayer, or reciting the Toastmaster’s Promise?

On “2019: The Year of the Wow!”

In a recent letter addressed to every club president about creating a uniform brand for our organization, Toastmasters International President Lark Doley asks that we “Wow [our] current and prospective members with the best club experience possible.” She then explains that, “The goal of [The Wow! Factor Project] is to increase the quality and performance of each club around the world." She goes on to write, “When you visit a McDonald’s anywhere in the world, do you expect a consistent experience? Toastmasters members and guests have a right to expect a consistent, quality club experience anywhere around the world, too.”

To this challenge, I say, “Yes! We do owe it to each and every member — current and prospective — that they have a rock-solid educational and welcoming experience. Then I ask, why should we focus exclusively on the club experience? Shouldn’t we represent a consistent, quality brand as Toastmasters everywhere we go, everywhere we speak? We represent the Toastmasters brand, after all, between our gatherings and not just at club meetings and district conferences.

Let me explain. Let’s say you're speaking to a friend, colleague, or stranger while waiting for the elevator or while standing at a bus stop or while visiting your local McDonald's. Somehow you mention that, later today, you’re attending a Toastmasters meeting. They ask, "What's Toastmasters?" How do you answer this uninformed individual? Are you ready with your 15-to-30 second elevator speech or member recruitment pitch? Are you ready to tell this individual your story about how Toastmasters has helped you in your life?

Brand management is critically important. How do you represent our brand? When someone sees or hears you, do they immediately think, "There goes a Toastmaster"?

What might you do today to enhance our brand? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.


Tracking Your Progress in Pathways Is Easy

I was happy to learn that my home district is hosting a “Mid-Year Gala” to recognize both individual and club-level achievement completed during the first half of the Toastmaster year. Hmmm …

  • I wonder how many districts are hosting such special events? (I.e., besides their conference)

  • How might districts recognize their members throughout the year?

  • Do you find the “My Badges” feature in Pathways helpful?

  • Should the progress of all members along their path in Pathways be made public information to other club members?

  • Does your club regularly inform all its members of their progress in the educational program? And if so, how?

Tracking Progress in Pathways is Easy (Mid-Year Gala)

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

MLK Jr Day 2019.jpg

There's a reason that one of our core values in Toastmasters is 'service.' Let us resolve to serve our members today and beyond. #WhereLeadersAreMade

Yes, I know that Toastmasters International is a global organization and that here in the USA we celebrate MLK Jr’s birthday with a national holiday. Few can argue that this great orator hasn’t also inspired others from around the globe. So if you share the core values of Toastmasters, then we all can resolve to serve another human being today. For “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Are you on the path to Toastmastery?

What does it mean to truly master a skill? Many believe that the Pathways program represents a leap-ahead innovation within the Toastmasters experience. Most of the projects are targeted for members working within their respective clubs. Some of the more advanced projects found at levels 4 or 5 allow for members to apply their learning to service within their district or beyond.

How have the lessons you’ve learned in Toastmasters served you along the way? I hope that you’ve integrated what you’ve mastered into your family life, into the hours you spend at the office, into the volunteer work you do within your church, community, or favorite charity.

Remember that any path will get you to the summit so long as you keep climbing.

Are you on the path to Toastmastery?

Are you on the path to Toastmastery?


If the TOASTMASTER is “the magazine for communicators and leaders,” then what other magazines and journals might aspiring leaders subscribe to and read cover-to-cover? #WhereLeadersAreMade