Monday, September 17, 2012

Do as I do .........and as I say!! 11 September

The role of mentors and mentoring in a club

I was asked to do an Educational Speech about mentoring and it got me thinking about our Mentorship programme in Toastmasters. I looked at the TI website, where I found some of the following ideas (which I have adapted a bit):

New members benefit by:

• Understanding the club programme format and its customs

• Developing confidence as they participate in club activities and work on their CL manuals

• Learning speaking skills to advance through their CC manuals

Older members can also benefit by:

• Refining their skills

• Mentoring in specialized areas

Mentors benefit by:

• Keeping their skills honed

• Earning the respect of their mentees

• Learning skills from those they mentor

The club benefits by:

• Having happy members

• Retaining members – and growing the club

I like the term, symbiotic relationship, which refers to a mutually beneficial relationship between parties – a win-win situation. That is, as long as all parties involved buy in to the idea; and to do what is expected of them. Otherwise, we may have a strong chain; weak link situation.

Each new member who is assigned a mentor should make use of that person, whether it is to find out how things work, or to ask for help with the presentation of a speech or with a role that has to be performed at the next club meeting. Mentors, on the other hand, should not leave it up to their mentees to make a move. You are in the stronger position, so extend a hand of friendship or guidance to the person assigned to you to care for. Remember too that mentoring is not just for new members. So often, as one proceeds into the advanced manuals one can gain such benefit from the more senior members, especially those who have exhibited a particular skill in a specialized area. Do not be afraid to ask for help. I am sure they would be thrilled to render assistance.

* * * * *

Tuesday’s meeting saw a wonderful display of a range of project speeches. Visitors to the club, and there were many, including old friend Chenielle Barnard, were treated to an edifying evening of learning by doing. Belita von Steiger, as table Topics Master, wrapped up a whole lot of goodies from her kitchen and challenged members to relate incidents from a day in the life of those appliances. Butter knives, cheese graters and chopsticks have never been put to such unique use before!

The prepared speeches began with Mike Brosnahan’s Ice-Breaker speech, The Pommy. Mike, we too are happy that you love South Africa and want to stay.

Deon Basson, in his CC3 speech (Get to the point) gave us some very interesting tips on Remembering Names

The Deborah Stevenson (CC4 – How to say it) related her very painful experiences with scabies in her speech entitles An Itch In Time Saves Nine and left us with the warning that one really should seek professional help for persistent medical conditions.

Finally, Louise Erasmus, speaking from the Advanced manual, Public Relations Speeches, entertained us with a radio programme on the history of Collegiate High School, entitled Organizations in and around the PE Community.

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Flower Power! No, this is not a re-run of The Beatles’ music, but rather our Mini-Con, on 12 -13 October at Kirstenbosch Gardens. It is very well-subscribed already, but should any members wish to attend, they should look at the website and register. It is sure to be great!

On that note, Saturday past saw the Division Humorous and Impromptu Speaking Contests, which took place at VP Grey. It was very well-supported, especially by the 17 members who came all the way from East London. There were four contenders in each competition and the standard was very high, but once again Algoa can be deservedly proud of Nicholas Mitchell, who will be going to Cape Town to represent Division E in both events. Runners up were Charlie Mzimane and Michael Travis in the Impromptu and Humorous Contests respectively. Well done, Nicholas!

Charlie Mzimane and Nicholas Mitchell

Michael Travis and Nicholas Mitchell

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