Do I speak from the lectern or my chair?
What’s with all the clapping?
When do you do the secret handshake?
At my first Toastmasters meeting, I was a bit surprised at the amount of structure in a Toastmasters meeting. There was an adherence to a set agenda, protocol, and etiquette. The meeting flowed from one person to another almost seamlessly, like they were reading each other’s minds.
For someone like me who is preoccupied with a fear of doing something wrong, the silent order of business was a bit intimidating. As I found out, it is also a necessary element for the Morningstars journey. Or what I like to call . . .
Through the Hourglass
The journey of Toastmasters through the program for personal growth resembles an hourglass.
When we start our Toastmasters journey, we are at the top wide part of the hourglass. At this point, the possibilities are endless. You are starting with eager abandonment, much like a child learning to finger paint. Anything goes. You are starting to explore, test your skill and boundaries.
After a few meetings and the Icebreaker speech, the Morningstar Toastmaster moves into the middle part of the hourglass. The journey narrows as members start learning new elements. Members incorporate advanced techniques into speeches and push their abilities with advanced manuals. The narrow focus (structure) creates a foundation to allow members to blossom.
Then, the member transitions into the bottom half. Creativity and innovation are unleashed as members tap into their beginner’s mind – but with and understanding of the structure, protocol and etiquette of Toastmasters. Members grow in new ways, new directions.
So, in short, the protocols, procedures and peculiarities help to create the solid foundation that enhances our growth.
Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting peculiar customs of Morningstars to help you understand why our club does what it does on a weekly basis!