What was I 🤔? What was I expecting? The typical choreographed Toastmasters’ meeting which begins with the Gavel going up or some other kind of meeting.
As a guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Accra East on August 6th, 2020, I observed the easy flow of the meeting and how role players calmly delivered on their roles. By the end of the meeting, I noted to my friend, who invited me to speak in her club, Rtn Dorothy, how relaxing the meeting was. Then she said, oh, you don’t know us 😱? We like having fun as Rotarians 😃. Rotary is all about new connections, networking, and service. So, join us 👌. Trust me, where there is fun, you will find Suzy 💃🏻 🥂 🎈.
So guess what, I am Rtn Suzy of Rotary Club of Accra SpeakMasters 💥. Collaboration is at the hallmark of Toastmasters’ activities. Toastmasters, I keep sharing is transformational. Another world that champions personal and professional transformation is Rotary. In 2020, Toastmasters International and Rotary International forged an alliance to broaden both worlds’ opportunities to its members. As a Toastmaster joining a Rotary club, I will learn the skills in service above oneself and become more relevant to my community. As a Toastmaster, Rtn Yvonne Kumoji-Darko could improve on her leadership and communication skills.
The Governor of District 9102, Rtn Yvonne, as I have her in my featured image could not explain her excitement more in her featured article titled – Innovative effort sparks two new clubs. A story DG Yvonne shared on how both worlds gained additional members through collaboration. As I write this, we have a Rotary Toastmasters Club within District 94 of Toastmasters International named New Age Toastmasters Club. At the same time, we also have a Toastmasters Rotary club within District 9102 of Rotary International named Rotary Club of Accra SpeakMasters.
My turn-ons and turn-offs in Rotary meetings as a Toastmaster
Acknowledgment of Authority
If there is one thing I admire in Rotary, it is the attention to protocol. ‘All protocols observed’ is not celebrated in Rotary meetings. Every single protocol as it relates to hierarchy and presence in meetings is duly acknowledged and appropriately mentioned in chronological order. As a result, I sometimes feel as a Toastmaster that introductions of speakers in Rotary meetings can rather be lengthened. I guess I will eventually get used to it.
Sense of purpose
The Rotary prayer song and the recital of the Ghana National Anthem always draw home a sense of purpose as a human being and a citizen. By going through this every Monday at 6.30 pm, I cannot help but, be reminded of my responsibilities to my motherland. I did not know I had a singing voice till I was called upon to sing the Anthem in one of our meetings – hehehehe. The Rotary 4-way Test is the icy on this cake for me. If we could all pause for 30seconds to always check if what we want to say passes this test: ‘Is it the TRUTH’?; Is it FAIR to all concerned?; Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?; and ‘Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned, we should have a better 🇬🇭.
Wearing my Timers’ 🎩 as a Toastmaster into my first meeting in RC of Accra Speakmasters, I kept looking around wondering where the ‘Timer’ was to display the red card for a guest speaker who had unduly overrun his allotted time. As the meeting progressed, it became clearer that, alerting speakers on time usage during their delivery is not the usual practice in a Rotary meeting. The Toastmasters in this meeting agreed that we need to introduce the use of timing cards in this Rotary meeting. The essence here is to have the benefits of both worlds. You will not imagine the one item we decided to use as a timing device, a 🔔. How? I tell you Rotary is all fun 😂.
As Toastmasters, our limitations lie with fundraising and community engagement. I guess we fall in love more with the stage and all we want to do is to educate, inspire, motivate and entertain. However, there is more to the stage. Community engagement and impacting lives. In Rotary, I find that fundraising could be made so painless. Such as the introduction of ‘silly fines’ in meetings. The fines are so ‘silly’, just as it is called, that it is embarrassing to challenge them 😝. The effect is you donate to the club’s funds painlessly. This, I see is a creative way of sustaining club coffers. A skill Toastmasters can adopt to help manage challenges with raising funds for its activities.
The Departing Toast
It is humbling to see well-established entrepreneurs and leaders in Rotary deliver speeches in Toastmasters as part of their Toastmasters projects. Such deliveries are subjected to Toastmasters evaluation guidelines which build competencies in speaking and leading. Somehow, the Rotarians receive this feedback in good faith and keep perfecting the art by re-appearing on the Toastmasters stage.
To all who ask, so Suzy, in Toastmasters, what do you toast to? The real toast is the ‘Departing Toast’ at the end of every Rotary meeting.
As I read DG Yvonne’s post on this marriage, I could not help to raise my glass and toast to this reunion 🥂. To all who feel it will be a daunting task to belong to two dynamic clubs; to communicate effectively; lead effectively with a purpose; provide service above one-self, welcome to the cocktail of Rotary Toastmasters Clubs and Toastmasters Rotary clubs.