Saga of a Speechcraft

By Linda Patten

It is finally happening.  Leaders Worldwide is in the home stretch of chartering.  We are working on the chartering documents and applications as I write.  This has truly been a labor of love for Cynthia Stott.  It was she who had the Mayor of Oakland come visit Heart2Heart.  It was she whom the Mayor told about wanting a Toastmasters Club for politicians and other government works at City Hall.  And here we are.

There has been a total of 4 Speechcraft 8-week sessions to bring this dream alive. Michelle Peticolas was the Executive Director of the very first one in 2019.   It was live and met first at the Bellevue Women’s Club and then moved to Oakland City Hall where it resided until Covid-19 struck.  Michelle set the standard of what a Speechcraft could be with her organizational skills and her creativity, confidence, and caring.  Her notes and records were what we used for the Leaders Worldwide Speechcraft that just finished.

Going virtual gave us a tremendous amount of flexibility in all things Speechcraft.  Here are just a few:

  1. We could invite people from around the world to join us. Our audience represented over 17 countries and 10 states.  It was truly a diverse community.   We often had upwards of 60+ people joining any one session and had to manage that as smoothly as possible – with success.
  2. We could invite top Toastmasters leaders from around the country and around the world. We were able to bring in an award winning Storyteller, TI International Directors, Regional Advisors, Past International Presidents and President Elects to name just a few. Several of them were so excited and impressed by what this program offers, they have joined as charter members of Leaders Worldwide.
  3. This Speechcraft was not just about people new to Toastmasters, but also those seasoned members who have been giving speeches and working on Pathways projects for quite some time. Instead of only having to manage sets of breakout rooms for just individuals completing Level 1 of Presentation Mastery, this Speechcraft was open to speakers of all levels.
    What that meant was the Level 1 and Level 2 speakers followed the traditional track of education on the speech during odd weeks and creating / presenting that speech in the even weeks. In addition, we had a cadre of speakers who were seasoned and working on perhaps their second or third or more path in Pathways.  These individuals did not need education, but the opportunity to speak in front of audiences to hone their skills.   The Level 3 and Beyond speakers had the opportunity to speak every week if they chose to.
    The Speechcraft graduated 2 individuals in level 1, and  4 individuals in level 2. Of these individuals, two actually spoke in 7-8 sessions and finished both levels.  This is quite an accomplishment.
    Our level 3 participants went beyond expectations. There was no specific education for them. This was a time to speak and speak they did.  Many of them completed a Level 1 and/or 2 in a new Pathway.  Others finished levels 4 and 5.  There were a total of 6 participants wrapping these up.
    Managing breakout sessions for all of these speakers did take extreme organization and planning.  On the even weeks, we often had 9 or more breakouts to create and manage.  For the participants this usually was seamless; for me, it was a lesson in concentration and detail.
  4. The very first Speechcraft in this series brought to it the Cohort Advisors. Without these dedicated individuals, the breakouts could never have been run so smoothly.  As we learned each week, we incorporated the lessons into the instructions for these individuals.  Now we have solid instructions to pass onto the next team.

There were so many more new and reviewed aspects that this article could become a training program which is not my desire to do here!  We have had two closeout and evaluation sessions with my Guidance Committee and with the “boots-on-the-ground” level coordinators.  The Lessons Learned are being incorporated into a comprehensive lesson plan for creating, leading, and visioning the results you want to accomplish with a Speechcraft.  It can truly be a win-win for all involved.

For me, this Speechcraft was a DTM project beyond belief.   It succeeded in bringing together an absolutely amazing team allowing me to lead from a comfluential™ perspective, to watch the growth of the participants as well as my own.  If you are interested in knowing more, please connect with me at  Also, I invite you to visit Leaders Worldwide when they charter on October 19, 2020 from 5:45 – 8:00 p.m. Pacific, on Zoom of course, or on October 26, 2020 from 11:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Pacific.  The reason for the differing times: We have members from all over the world and can accommodate the far-flung time zones. See you on Zoom!