Toastmasters: A New YearIt is July, and it is a brand-new Toastmasters year. It is a chance for all of us to start fresh and set goals for ourselves.  Every year at this time I reflect on what I achieved the previous year.  And I ask myself what I want to achieve this upcoming year. If there is something that I did not achieve the previous year, I include it in my goal setting and use it as motivation for this year. These actions guide me in setting my yearly Toastmasters goals.

In Toastmasters, we have opportunity to do a yearly club success plan with our club members. We should use this same blueprint to develop a Toastmasters success plan for ourselves.  Many members will schedule themselves to speak at an upcoming meeting, and then drop out, at the last minute. I believe this happens because they do not have a clear goal or vision of what they want to achieve. Often times new Toastmasters members will join to become a better speaker, but they don’t identify their speaking goals.  Writing down goals will help new members achieve not only their speaking goals, but also their educational goals.

When I joined Toastmasters in 2011, one of my mentors told me to write down my goals.  At the time I thought this was unnecessary. Still, I did it.  I was shocked by the end of that year when I had achieved 7 educational awards.  Seeing success from goal setting, I decided to do it again and set goals of becoming an Area Director and achieving my Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) award. Shortly after setting those goals, I became an Area Director. As an Area Director, I had good days and bad days. When I would have a bad day, I would review my goals, and it reminded me if I wanted to get my DTM I would have to complete my Area Director duties. The next year I achieved my DTM.

Getting a DTM award is a huge achievement, and I’m amazed that less than 1% of Toastmasters ever get to this level.  I believe the reason is most Toastmasters never set goals. We should sit down with our new members and ask them why they joined Toastmasters.  We should also help our new members to put their goals in writing.  Most people join Toastmasters to overcome the fear of public speaking or to become a more effective speaker.

It is a new Toastmasters year, and we have the opportunity to ask all of members why they joined Toastmasters and what they want to achieve.  Encouraging our members to write down their goals and assigning them mentors to hold them accountable for achievement enables us to be the best we can be.

Randy Casarez

Blog Editor & Media Coordinator

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