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Toastmasters Meet at a “Top Secret” Facility for a Dangerous Mission

In Cartooning, Communication, facilitation skills, leadership, teamwork, Toastmasters on June 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm
(Above) Four Division Governors and the Leadership Trio from District 29. Missing from this photo are 2 other DivGovs, the Public Relations Officer, Secretary, and Trea$urer. Collectively this team makes up the Steering Committee of the local district in Toastmasters International.

(Above) Four Division Governors and the Leadership Trio from District 29. Missing from this photo are 2 other DivGovs, the Public Relations Officer, Secretary, and Trea$urer. Collectively this august body makes up the Steering Committee of the local district in Toastmasters International.

Recently I had the opportunity to co-facilitate training for division governors in Toastmasters International, District 29.  We met in an educational center within the Prince William Forest National Park.*  For this training, both the trainers and the district leaders are supplied with guidebooks, slides, and related support material; all down-loadable from the website of Toastmasters’ world headquarters.  A minimum of four hours are needed for this training if one zips through the material. The volunteer executives in District 29 opted to spend a full day together building rapport, delving into their manuals, and sharing insights from their own experiences working with volunteers who aspire to become better speakers and leaders.

I’ve written often in this blog of my Toastmaster friends. I’m truly appreciative of the opportunity to practice my graphic recording and graphic facilitation skills with these most generous people.  I do such work as a Past District Governor.  Technically speaking, this work is pro bono. However, time and time again the feedback I receive from Toastmasters has helped me become better at creating icons, symbols, and doodle of concepts and abstract ideas. Giving and receiving constructive criticism — in the form of speech evaluations — is very much a part of the Toastmasters educational program.  Therefore working with Toastmasters is a good way for a facilitator to enhance or enrich their skills. Yes, this definitely a WIN-WIN.

Here are a few select wall charts which were created from this event.

Various levels of administration are depicted by showing club, area, and division officers gathered around 3 tables.

Various levels of administration are depicted by showing club, area, and division officers gathered around 3 tables.

Metaphors are helpful when describing the role volunteers must play.

Metaphors are helpful when describing the role volunteers must play.

A simple bar chart was used to illustrate how each area might lose or build a new club.

A simple bar chart was used to illustrate how each area might lose or build a new club.

Forming a new club is like creating a new life. Emotions vary as we move from "conception" to "birth" to "sending the off-spring off to school."

Forming a new club is like creating a new life. Emotions vary as we move from “conception” to “birth” to “sending the off-spring off to school.”

Contest offer opportunities for more than just the speaker/contestants. Leaders must plan for an event coordinator, a host, an emcee, advertising, etc. -- tasks that develop project management skills and opportunities to develop future leaders.

Contest offer opportunities for more than just the speaker/contestants. Leaders must plan for an event coordinator, a host, an emcee, advertising, etc. — tasks that develop project management skills and opportunities to develop future leaders.

____ FOOTNOTE ____

* While preparing for this event, I learned that the Prince William Forest National Park has a very interesting history. At one time or another this forested land served as the county’s so-called “Poor House.” Years later it became a model camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. And later still, it was used by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) — which was the forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) — as a training camp for World War II-era spies.

Hmmmm… Come to think of it we might say that we met in a “top secret” facility for a most dangerous mission — training an elite team of volunteers to combat ignorance in communication and leadership. I wonder if with the clever use of tags and markers we might find this blog the subject of investigation by the CIA or NSA.

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