As I move into the realm of online training for Toastmasters, I will change the focus of the next few posts to the needs of Club Officers! Wherever you may be.
I want to focus on the importance of Online Training and how this can overcome many of the perceived barriers to successful Club Officer Training.
As Officers in Clubs, across the world, you have been attending specialised training sessions for being effective members of your club’s executive team. You have faced ‘Moments of Truth‘; you have collaborated on ‘Club Success Plans‘; you have unpacked the ‘Club Officer Handbook‘ and you have networked with other club officers in your area.
If you were strategically located, you will have been able to travel to a venue near to your club for this one-day training. Groups of club officers from your area were able to exchange their views, experiences and goals for carrying out the tasks associated with their roles, in a face-to-face setting. In the space of 2-3 hours you may have interacted with a number of new Toastmaster friends and learned some new ways of being a club officer. All good! But what do you do with that? Where do you go next for further training?
If you were regionally isolated, you would have faced the challenge of a long journey there and back again. If you were not available on that day you would not have been able to capture the learning that took place, even after the event. Regional Toastmasters are disadvantaged.
The face-to-face one-day club officer training does not meet the needs of ALL executive teams!
Now consider the content and impact of the club officer training events and ask yourselves these questions:
- What were your learning expectations of the events?
- What if the training sessions did not meet your needs?
- Did the training experiences justify your attendance?
- What were the takeaways you gathered from your training event?
- Are you satisfied that you can now fulfil your club officer role with confidence?
- How will you continue to communicate with the trainers and other clubs in your area?
How can the Club Officers’ ongoing learning experiences be improved?
In my world as a connected educator I know that one-day training does not ’empower’ or ‘train’ – it simply sets the scene for your own enquiry based learning. Were your questions answered?
As adult learners we do expect to bring our prior experiences to the training table and have our opinions and ideas valued. Did your one-day training do that for you?
As Toastmasters and Club Officers we need to be able to work together as a team to manage our clubs. Do you now have the team collaboration skills that you need?
My suggestions for improving our current Club Officer Training are based on my experiences as a learner, as a teacher/trainer and as an experienced Club Officer.
Change the Focus: from trainer led training one off sessions, to a series of learner focused workshops!
Districts are mandated to schedule Club Leadership Training (CLT) sessions in August and February and we know that in order to earn an extra point in the Distinguished Club Program, at least four officers must attend. Most clubs manage to do that faithfully every year, even though they may have experienced that same learning each time. Some clubs do not manage to send their officers for CLT and often those that do, may miss out on DCP points simply because their membership base has been reduced. This is a huge discouragement for those clubs, especially in regional areas, where numbers are small.
There must be a better way of motivating club officers to attend training!
What if you could access some of your Club Officer Leadership Training from Home? Let me explore the possibilities here with you!
- We have the technology – a plethora of web conferencing tools to choose from
- We have the motivation – most Toastmasters are used to ongoing training
- We need the skills – Toastmasters are often required to participate or present in webinars
- We need the convenience – many regionally isolated Toastmasters need access online
- We can train the trainers – our Toastmasters skill base includes skilled online trainers
- We can support the officers – District officers can provide a value added CLT experience
Toastmaster teams in some Districts are currently working on improvements for their CLT programs; District 21 and 73 to name two. We can learn much from those who have already explored the value of Online Training. A small team of enthusiasts are exploring a solution to the need for ongoing training opportunities for club officers online.
District 73 Initiative: Regional Toastmasters: Club Officer Series