18. A New Series: My Personal Journey in Public Speaking: 5. My journey continues - Competent Leader


Last week I shared about the speeches portion of the Toastmaster journey using the Competent Communication (CC) manual. While that is the first manual every new member tries out, it is by no means the only manual to study and complete. Along with the CC manual, every new member also receives a Competent Leader (CL) manual. This manual covers the other half of what being a Toastmaster is all about. Toastmasters not only teaches and prepares you for public speaking, it also helps hone your skills and gives you opportunities to get experience in being a leader, and the CL manual starts you off from a basic, foundational level.

From the website:

The Competent Leadership manual features 10 projects to carry out while serving in meeting roles and participating in other club activities, such as helping with a newsletter and getting involved with a membership-building campaign. An evaluator offers feedback on each of your projects, helping you to improve. You can earn a Competent Leader award by completing all of the 10 projects in the Competent Leadership manual.

Let me share the structure of the details of obtaining a CL.

Personal experience

I found that being diligent and purposeful in every meeting is key in completing the CL manual effectively and efficiently.

  1. Without rushing, planning in advance the roles that you want to play and develop in upcoming meetings is crucial in completing quite a number of the projects.

  2. The ones that can be completed while you are a new member could be: Ah Counter, Table Topics Speaker, Grammarian, Speech Evaluator, Table Topics Master, and Toastmaster of the Evening (TME).

  3. If planned properly you can complete most of the above within six months.

  4. Then, once you are more familiar and confident and have gone through quite a number of meetings (your own club as well as visiting other clubs), you may want to volunteer to take on the role of a General Evaluator (GE).

  5. Personally, I was keen to participate in my own club's speech contests that are usually held twice a year (more on contests in another post).

  6. After being a participant in a few such contests, I was then able to avail myself to my club when the next club contests come about. I helped another committee member organise a club contest which helped me in Project 6.

  7. 6 months later, I was confident enough to volunteer to chair another contest, hence obtaining the first requirement of Project 8.

  8. The following year, due to scarcity of resources, I managed to Chair another speech contest, earning me Project 10.

Tips: Focus and diligence PLUS taking time for experience to help, is the way to go when completing your CL Manual.

Point to ponder:

If you are a Toastmaster, what are the areas in the CL Manual which were hardest to achieve?

If you plan to be a Toastmaster, what are your initial thoughts when you see the CL Manual summary?

Share with me for a conversation on this.

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