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Toastmasters, the Alphabet and U

by Mike Price

We have all heard the saying, “There is no I in team.” This refers to the fact that in any good team, the needs of the individual are secondary to the needs of the team itself. It can clearly be seen that literally, “There is no I in Toastmasters.” Can it also be said that the needs of the individual Toastmaster are secondary to that of the club, the district or the organization?

After much consideration of this question, it is obvious to me that the answer is both “yes” and “no.” Confused? Let me explain.

A new member joins a Toastmasters’ club to begin a process of self-improvement. As we know, the Toastmasters’ program is an excellent vehicle that helps people make huge strides in improving their communication and leadership skills when they participate fully. Taken this way there clearly is an “I” in the Toastmasters’ team - every club member is the “I” in the team! That is because every member is working towards individual goals, doing so to benefit him or herself.

Since there is an “I” in the Toastmasters’ team, does that mean that there is a problem? Certainly not! The Toastmasters’ program is ingeniously designed so that every effort the individual member makes for self-benefit benefits the club, the district and the Toastmasters’ organization. If a member makes a speech, the club benefits because other members evaluate, listen and are motivated to “take the plunge” by delivering a speech of their own; the district benefits by having a healthier club; the Toastmasters’ organization benefits by having healthy growing districts.

There are similar ripple benefits when people are meeting duty holders, serve on the club executive, and receive awards. The more that members participate, the more each and every person benefits. So, looking at it this way there actually is no “I” in the Toastmasters’ team.

Now it is clear that the answer is both “yes” and “no.” In my consideration of this somewhat complicated situation, I noticed another letter - there are literally three “T’s” in Toastmasters. I thought to myself, “How appropriate! This must certainly be by design!”

First there is the capital “T.” This represents the team that is the entire Toastmasters’ organization. This team is comprised of International Headquarters, regions, districts, areas, and clubs. This is a very large team that includes many countries. It helps bring the benefits of the Toastmasters’ program to the entire world. And your club is part of this team.

The next “T” is for the executive team in your club. The members of this team are: the Immediate Past Club President; the Club President; the Vice-Presidents of Education, Membership and Public Relations; the Secretary; the Treasurer; and the Sergeant at Arms. The executive team members have committed to serve the club to keep it organized, healthy and efficient. They deal with issues such as meeting room arrangements, organizing speech contest, advertising, and ordering supplies. The executive members improve their leadership and organizational skills by being part of this team.

The final “T” is for the club team. As a club member you are part of the most important team of all. This is where the “magic” of the Toastmasters’ program actually takes place. Members become better communicators and leaders. The club team provides the caring, nurturing environment that enables this process to take place. This environment lets members achieve what they had previously believed was impossible!

Three “T’s” in Toastmasters! Three teams in Toastmasters! This cannot be an accident or fluke of nature but part of some grand majestic design. One thing is for certain - we are all proud to be part of Toastmasters and are dedicated to promoting the program to others in order that they too may share in its rich rewards.

Remember, do your best to support your Toastmasters’ team. By doing so, you cannot help but win! Now, what do you suppose those two “A’s” stand for?

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