By Michele LaBasi, ACB, ALB
Southern Division Director
Have you ever visited another Toastmasters club outside of the one you hold membership? It could have been in your same area or division. As an Area Director, I attended other clubs to complete the biannual reports. I recently took advantage of exploring a couple of clubs outside of District 10. It was exciting and educational. Before leaving, I looked for clubs online at Find a Club on Toastmasters International’s website.
The first club I attended outside of District 10 was when I was in the Washington, DC area September 2017. Unsure of my schedule, I simply dropped in at the Chesapeake Toastmasters Club. They awarded clever trophies: Ah (too many filler words), Clammed Up (went under time), Mr. Windbag (talked too much), and White Washed (for a weak evaluation).
The following month, October 2017, I went on a trip to Bali, Indonesia. I planned ahead by emailing a club in Bali to confirm the meeting time/location and packing my Toastmasters magazine for a photo opportunity. Coincidentally, Manu Adhen, District 10, Eastern Division Director was on his way to Singapore, Southeast Asia.
It was especially fun that Manu and I were on the same planes from CLE to Boston and then from Boston to Dubai. Note the Toastmasters magazines!
Manu’s Experience in Singapore
Manu reported, “It was my first time visiting a club outside of District 10, so I was a bit nervous. I visited the SMU Toastmasters Club (Club # 630983), District 80. It was a great experience visiting this club as most of the Toastmasters were business students and it was such a lively meeting. They meet every Tuesday 7-9pm and usually have 4 prepared speeches with evaluations and table topics as well. It was nice to sit and admire how passionate this group was! They greeted me really well and also brought treats (not sure if it’s their weekly thing or especially for my visit). I had fun participating in the Table Topics round as well as volunteered to do an evaluation. It felt good winning both the Table Topics and Evaluation as the competition was very stiff.”
Michele’s Experience in Bali
The last night of my sojourn in Bali, Indonesia was spent at the Magical Bali Toastmasters Club meeting in Denpasar, merely hours before I was to return to the USA. Before the meeting, we socialized during a casual meal with authentic Indonesian food. I particularly enjoyed meeting face to face with members I was in contact with before arriving. I also took gifts – a Toastmasters coin and a book, Heart of a Business Woman, by Sheryl Roush, DTM. (Sheryl was the keynote speaker for District 10’s Spring 2016 Conference.)
I enjoyed seeing the slight variations to how meetings were conducted and what ideas I can bring back to clubs in my area. What was particularly noteworthy was due to the framework of a Toastmasters International agenda, the structure of the meetings remained consistent even while being in another part of the United States or on the other side of the world.
Regardless of how far you travel from home, I encourage you to be an ambassador for District 10 and seek out a club in the area you’re visiting. Take photos at the sites you visit holding your Toastmasters magazine and submit to Traveling Toastmasters. It may get published in hard copy or online! I guarantee you’ll find it to be a rewarding experience from what you take and bring back. Everyone benefits. Toast!