Toastmasters learning is real!

I remember listening to Past International Director George Thomas, DTM at a District Conference in 2013 as he shared that the Toastmasters programme provides us with an opportunity to learn, unlearn and re-learn. As Program Quality Director, I have been directly responsible for club quality and member satisfaction. 

Having read many Area Director Club Visit Reports, Club Emissary Reports and also received personal feedback on different club meetings, I learnt that the clubs that stand out are the ones that have an identity, know the needs of their members and hold events that are consistent with their identity and the needs of their members. It helps to know why you joined Toastmasters so that you are correctly placed in a club that meets your needs and where you can add value to your fellow members so that they too can meet their personal and professional needs.

I also had the unique privilege this year of leading a team of change management agents for the new and ground-breaking Toastmasters educational program, Pathways. It was interesting to observe a trend were new and returning Toastmasters were very positive about this new programme while a significant number of current Toastmasters were resistant to unlearning how we have always approached our educational programme. Being unable to unlearn effectively can limit your opportunities in life.

In 2013, during my first time as a club officer, I learnt how real the challenges are that we encounter as leaders in Toastmasters. In some instances, we are exposed to more extreme circumstances given that there are no professional requirements to be a leader in Toastmasters. The demands and pressure that this role brought about were REAL and reminded me why I have stayed in Toastmasters and continued to serve on the leadership team. I learnt again that if you can survive the leadership demands and pressures in Toastmasters, you will survive many leadership assignments outside Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is the REAL deal! I am looking forward to learning, unlearning and relearning more effectively in my new role in the new year. 






Frank Tsuro, DTM

She made me do it!

So, just the other day (about 12 years ago) I heard one of my mentors mention Toastmasters and I figured: “Well, if she’s doing it, it must be cool!” So I joined. 

I soon realised: “Aha! It’s public speaking! I’ll stay because it will help me prepare my speeches better.” And yeah, few months later she nudged me to take up an club committee role, and another one after that and another after that. Of course each time I (begrudgingly) agreed with a big smile. Until my most recent role of District Administration Manager, a role I put my hand up and said: “This, I want to do.”

What I thought to be an opportunity to improve my speech preparation turned out to be a pivotal part of my leadership development. As I reflect on my journey I can resonate with Steve Jobs that dots only connecting backwards. I encourage you to put your hand up and take on a leadership role. 

I connect the dots and realise that I owe a great deal of my business leadership to the real skills I’ve learnt through the roles I’ve taken up within Toastmasters. 

My year as Administration Manager in particular has: 

  1. Reminded me: “It’s true, I really really don’t like Administration”.
  2. Made me realise: “It’s 2018, there’s an automated system available for EVERYTHING”.
  3. Taught me: “People are our greatest asset, ask for help”.

I’ve met friends who have become family and crafted relationships I treasure for life. None of this would have been possible had I come to the club meeting to only do my speech, go home and repeat it again next month, without ever stepping up to take on that very first leadership role. So put your hand up. Take on a role. 

It’s been a privilege to serve with the Cabinet team of 2017/2018 and all the leaders across District 74. 

A special tribute to Beth Thomas DTM PID, whom as a young man said to me; “You need to do Toastmasters!”





 Thabo Malefane, ACG, ALS


One of the key aspects I have learnt in this past year (2017/18) is “follow-through”. It is vital that as a leader one should follow through on promises and commitments. 

I can honestly say I have not got any better at it, but I am realising day by day the repercussions of not keeping the commitment. I guess one of the important components of this is to not promise what you can’t reasonably deliver – it is good to set stretch targets but not impossible ones.

However, by far the most useful lesson for me has been to be more assertive and take action or air your feelings early before it becomes an aggressive response. 

We could all be more assertive and less aggressive, and we may find solutions before conflicts arise.







Keith Bowen DTM, member of Transformers Toastmasters Cub