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COT MOP – Area Director’s Diary

(Club Officer Training – Mop up! Part 1)

The joint area 1 and area 42 club officer training turned out to be a tremendous success.  In pooling our resources, Diane Chamberlain (Area 1 Director) and I were able to pull together something close to a conference.  It was really well received by all.  Whilst neither of us are likely to host next year’s club officer training sessions, we both encourage our successors to seriously consider it.

Don’t take my word for it – ask the Area 42 delegates what they thought:

Ferndown – Shirley Thompson, Gill Hale, Tom Manston, Michael Sones – YAY! DCP point!

Salisbury Speakers – Karen Chapman, Barbara Saph and my good self

Hallmark Speakers – Alistair James, Peter Crowe

Casterbridge Speakers – Christine Wallach

Chaseside – sadly nil point – as they say in the European Song Contest!! 😉



There are principles and processes for making your evaluations engaging, exciting, and eye-opening. They are not easy to come by but once you master them and you put them into action, you’ll fall in love with evaluating and give evaluations that will benefit your club, the speaker, and yourself.

Alex de Jong shared the principles he used to become the 2015 District Evaluation Champion. In his workshop, we learnt how to turn our evaluations into speeches, make them memorable, and uncover insights others didn’t see.

1. Have your own style

Your personality is part of your evaluation skill and will differ from person to person. Bring yourself, your authenticity, who you are into your presentation. Bring it out and share it.

There are two main styles of presenting, fact based or feeling based.  Learn your style and be authentic. A visual example of differing styles is as follows:

                                 Broad brush approach/be self reflecting





Mind/factual/thoughtful  ——- I ——-  hearing/feeling/gentle





                                    Machine gun approach/ bullet points

You can, however, learn to adapt your style to meet the style of the speaker.  Use rhetorical questions

2. Be organised

Prepare a sheet of paper for evaluation with a line down the middle and headed on one side ‘what you did well’ and the other side ‘what you could do even better’.

Note insights but only highlight a maximum of 5 points in all. Think about what will benefit the audience.

If the speaker being evaluated is new: 4 commendations  +   1 recommendation

If the speaker is experienced: 3 commendations  +   2 recommendations

Important points to remember :

Make a connection with the speaker

Watch their performance (use of stage, hand movements, positioning etc)

Listen carefully to their material (research, stats, information etc)

These are in order of importance.  Don’t spend time being too analytical, consider what your connection is with the speaker?

3. Presenting evaluation

Don’t put a barrier between yourself and your audience, whether that is a piece of paper or a lectern.  Your presentation should be a speech in its own right. If possible, the ultimate would be not to use notes.

Make that connection with the speaker  – let them know you are on their side but address the audience.  Illustrate the commendations and recommendations, remember to pause after you have made each point.

Have a go at the club contest coming up.  Whilst members need to have completed 6 speeches to participate in the International Speech Contest, any member can participate in the evaluation contest.  It’s great practice.

NOTE! huge thanks to Christine Wallach who typed up her notes on Alex’s workshop (I did try to video it but failed abysmally!! Sorry)

Succession Planning

One of the perennial problems we face, as Toastmaster Leaders, is the handover of the reins to the incoming committee members. We tend to leave the planning to the last minute in the hope that members will volunteer in droves.  They don’t.  Then, the handover gets shunned and the coerced committee starts its year scrabbling around in the dark to work out what it is they need to do.  This year, I am delighted that Caroline Brewer (AD elect) is focussing on supporting clubs to get the new committee engaged by the end of May, a handover and induction in June and the first Club Officer Training in early July.

In the meantime this is the list of top tips for the incoming committee, we came up with at the Club Officer Training:


  1. Planning should be early and underpinned by the Distinguished Club Programme;
  2. Make sure meetings are fun, varied and enjoyable;
  3. Remember that the job is too big for one,  Draw on the support network (officers, mentors, Area Directors, Immediate Past Presidents) and delegate tasks.

VP Education

  1. Know your members’ educational aspirations and ensure they are given training on EasySpeak when they join;
  2. Plan ahead for the Distinguished Club Programme, i.e. make sure people not only achieve their CCs this year but ensure some are on track to complete awards early in the next Toastmaster year (July);
  3. Encourage members to take roles.

VPPR (Vice President Public Relations)

  1. Read and share materials such as the leadership handbook, PR handbook/notes;
  2. Create and pass on central store of materials (passwords, videos, promotions)
  3. Increase social media presence.

VPM (Vice President Membership)

  1. Appoint a deputy;
  2. Liaise regularly with all members to help retention and assign mentors early;
  3. Be organised and track new and returning guests for each meeting.


  1. Identify successor to change signatory on mandate forms 3-6 weeks before the start of the TM year;
  2. Share expense tracking / cash flow models with successors;
  3. Encourage members to set up standing orders as soon as possible after joining,

Sergeant at Arms

  1. Give a club job description because this role can differ greatly from club to club;
  2. Assist the Toastmaster at meetings to make sure everything runs smoothly;
  3. Clarify committee versus meeting responsibilities.


  1. Set up Skype for members who can’t get to committee meetings;
  2. Send meeting minutes within 48 hours;
  3. Track actions assigned to members are completed;
  4. Handover relevant paperwork and guidance to the new secretary.

In our mop up session on Sunday we’d like you to add your own top tips from your own experience.

Pathways Update – Steve Vear

Please find a link to the most interesting Pathways update … 

During our club officer mop up we will be explaining what we know and field further questions.

High Performance Leadership (HPL) – Richard Blackman

Caroline completed her HPL last year and I will complete mine in April.  We have both found the project really useful in focussing vision, mind and effort.  If there is time at the end of this COT MOP then we will share why we think it is worth embarking on your HPL, whatever level you are at in the leadership programme.  I’m thinking Jeremy & Toni’s (Hallmark) Accelerated Speaker Programme is a perfect example but then so is taking on any of the four key committee roles: President, VPE, VPPR and VPM.

The COT MOP Part 2 Skype Call Details

Prior to this virtual event please ensure you have sent a connection request to me on Skype – my address is TheHiddenEdge.

Sunday 19th February 2017 – the call will commence at 3.15 with a virtual meet and greet for a 3.30 Toastmasters start


3.15  Log in to the Skype meeting

3.30 Welcome

3.35 One minute Intros & club progress report

3.45 International Speech and Evaluation Speech Contest updates

3.50 Succession Planning – your suggestions to share with others

4.10 Pathways Update Q&As – please see link for background information

4.20 High Performance Leadership (if time)

4.25 Summary and Close

This Skype Conference is limited to 25 people

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