By Stephanie Prausnitz, PI4
When my club president approached me last spring to suggest I be club president for 2019-2020, I didn’t realize serving as a club officer and attending officer training sessions would earn me points towards the Outstanding Achievement Toastmaster Award (OATM). I just did it because I wanted to.
When colleagues at work said the ten-minute walk to the noontime Toastmasters meeting I attend was too far and organized themselves to start a new Toastmasters club here in our own building, I was impressed by their initiative. I didn’t realize serving as a new club mentor, and joining a second club as a dual member, would earn me points towards the Outstanding Achievement Toastmaster Award. I just did it because I wanted to.
When my Vice President Education tapped me after one of my speeches and proposed it was International Speech Contest material, I didn’t realize entering a speech contest would earn me points towards the Outstanding Achievement Toastmaster Award. You know: I just did it because I wanted to.
Earlier this year, my VPE reminded me about the Outstanding Achievement Toastmaster Award. When I plugged the points I had already earned into the OATM spreadsheet and saw how close I was to qualifying, I wanted to push myself to attain the award. It required I do just a few more things: contribute two articles about Toastmasters to newsletters, mentor two new members to serve as Toastmaster or General Evaluator, and present a Pathways training for my club. Meet these challenges by April 15 to be recognized at the District Conference? You bet.
Achieving these additional goals in a 3-month time frame has forced me to go outside my comfort zone. I am not an experienced writer – the thrill of seeing my name in the by-line of my first article was exhilarating. I don’t naturally offer my help to people if they haven’t indicated an interest – now I have two new friends in Toastmasters, both of whom have made me proud with their wonderful, confident deliveries in their first Toastmaster or General Evaluator roles. On the Persuasive Influence pathway, my next presentation was to be a level 4 elective: managing a difficult audience. Rather than procrastinate about choosing the perfect time slot and the ideal topic, I grabbed the next possible opening and skillfully managed hecklers as I gave my Pathways presentation.
It may be too late for you to plan your OATM award this year (by June 2020), but it’s not too late for you to step up your involvement in the Toastmasters organization. Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone has its own rewards. And it couldn’t hurt to see whether you’ll have earned enough points for the OATM award (click here for details). Perhaps you will be surprised!
Stephanie Prausnitz is the President of the Oakland Uptown Toastmasters club #4293. She is also a Research Manager at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland.
On weekends you can find Stephanie hiking in Redwood Regional park with her husband and their fluffy dog Ruffian.