First ever truly virtual COT for all D71 officers.


A beginning of every Toastmasters year is a very exciting moment. A new leadership team with some experienced officers and first-time committee members is gathering to think about the day-to-day work and future of their club. Some people know what to do straight away, some of them are not sure and are waiting for guidelines and advice from their mentors or more experienced fellow members. However, all of them are ready to depart on the next 12 months journey together. We have a captain; we have his officers and we have our crew to make sure our club arrives at the same place where we are now, but we all want to top the last year achievement by something greater and better.

I personally remember when I joined the committee team of my first Toastmasters club in 2012. Like in most of these cases, it didn’t happen because I was planning for it. It didn’t happen because I was requesting or demanding it. No, like in most of these cases, a more experienced and influential member recommended me for this position and talked to me about it. Please write in your comments if this is also how you started! It was a person who was hard to refuse. Not because she was acting like a pushy salesman not wanting to leave me alone but because she managed to create this aura of admiration in the club or charisma if you will that whatever she said mattered. Whatever she said had meaning.  This is what I would call a true power of leadership. Not forcing people, not begging and not bribing them to do something but to give them a nudge. Not much but just enough so they can believe in the skills they don’t suspect they have in them. I wish I had this kind of power. After 7 years of serving as a committee member for my clubs and as an onetime area director, I can say that it is still not happening for me or is it? I think that if you achieve this status of leadership and if you start to affect people in this positive and constructive way, you may not really care about it anymore and maybe because it becomes your nature it happens just like that and not for you but for the person you are affecting. After all is this not the main goal to spread the goodness and not really take credit for it?

I’m still not sure about it but I enjoy it and thanks Toastmasters I know that leadership and communication skills is something you can learn. It is not something you have to come with to this world. We all may have different goals and dreams and we all sometimes start from different places but we all can get better one speech or one meeting role at a time.

It is important to get better and enjoying the process on the way.

This is why I really enjoyed our last real virtual get-together Club Officers Training organised by District 71. Of course, it is always better to organise these events in our groups to be able to stay together to hang out with each other but this same was happening for our club meetings recently. This harsh reality of the last 4 months forced us to do it in a different way and to adapt. To find our way in this so-called “new norm”. I’m really proud what our clubs have achieved and that they still offer so much although they are limited to the online form for now. It will for sure make us smarter.

The COT was truly interactive and on the last Saturday afternoon was a true place to be. After checking attendance record the meeting was reaching almost 400 participants and not only from the United Kingdom and Ireland but also from other places in the world.

Source: Twitter @WCommunicators

Because training modules and workshop could be delivered to so many people at the same time, they could be delivered by the best experts from District 71. The value and quality of these training sessions were much greater than regular area or division level run sessions. Don’t get me wrong these local meetings every 6 months are also very good and important for us but hearing this from the top officers in our districts raised the value of the training immensely.

I will not be mentioning here what the training sessions were about because you either were experiencing it yourself if you joined this or you may join later during catch-up sessions. Some of them were recorded online and can be used a great value training material later.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this first truly virtual training sessions. I was positively surprised by the quality and the only thing that was lacking was a better personal connection and not being able to have a pint of beer together but other than that very informative, very inspirational.

I am ready for my next 12 months journey with Waverley Communicators and as a club officer but so are you?

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