It was another accident. I'd been searching for a new hobby to fill my 'study work' segment. This thing called Toastmasters was brought to my attention by a few different people in the years preceding; I'd seen one friend get quite excited by it and another person I knew clearly had transformed in the years they had spent attending meetings.
If one is going to commit to a hobby however, even if a couple of times a month or an evening a week, its best to ensure the environment is right and that any factors that can influence should be considered. For example, I picked what is my 'home' club for reasons such as:
True story...I surprised myself with the last point. My decision was very focused on this being a professional development activity and due to the nature of my work being very social, I spent enough time in public houses!
A couple of months in and I was happy going at a steady pace familiarising myself with the club, format and the education programme, and then bam! It was almost time for the annual elections.
Sadly there was notable turnover in the outgoing committee that run the club. I was approached by the chap likely to be the new President about taking on a role. He said something about my energy and had earmarked the Vice President Membership role.
Truth be told, if it had been any other role, I think I would have declined. I'd picked up enough in the short term that I'd been a member to understand that this role would be focused on the 'sales' aspect of the club business, and even more so the year of my tenure as something wasn't quite right about the long standing members calling it a day. Whilst there is more to the role, and the areas for focus vary year on year, in my head, I just needed to talk to people! Easy peasy!
Having a wealth of experience in this area, and understanding the basics of the sales process (follow up), helping the club turnaround that year was extremely fun and rewarding and it became inevitable that before long, I knew who everyone was! I wouldn't say that I grew a huge amount during this time, but I picked up a lot about the running of the club and the wider organisation quite quickly.
Contributing in what for me, was a relatively easy way, helped me serve my club community, make some lifelong friends and was the start of its own separate path. More on that in the next #giftwork post.
Find out more about my friendly and safe club here: https://www.facebook.com/TrojanSpeakers/
More about Toastmasters International: https://www.toastmasters.org/
Rupa Datta was VP Membership - Trojan Speakers in Ealing 2016-2017 and at the time of writing is the Immediate Past President