Returns Beyond Expectations: HUBS MBA

When I joined Hull University Business School (HUBS) to study for a Master in Business Administration (MBA), I had two objectives in mind:  Expand my business knowledge and expand my professional network.  That was it; nothing more, nothing less.  Now, when I have reflected on my journey after completing the MBA, I have realized that the returns I received from HUBS MBA are “Returns Beyond Expectations.”  This blog article is intended to help me in reflecting on my experience, serve as an inspiration to others and pay a tribute to HUBS.  Now, let me share with you some of the returns I received from HUBS MBA.

HUBS

Becoming a published author.Getting a distinction on my dissertation made me think: “Shall I keep my dissertation on the shelf and forget about it or shall I capitalize on it?”  I consulted few friends and they recommended that I publish it as a book and offered to introduce me to a publisher.  The rest is history as they say.  Now, the book is available  in local bookstores in Bahrain (You can find more information about the book at:http://www.IR-Review.com).  This experience was fascinating and taught me that publishing books is not as difficult as I thought.  Currently, I am writing two more books.  The first one is entitled:  3 Weeks With God (www.3weekswithgod.com).  The second one is: Your World-Class Speech Coach in a Book.

3Weeks_with_God_Cover

My Upcoming Book: 3 Weeks With God: My Pilgrimage to Makkah

SpeakerA_Cover

My Upcoming Book on Speaking: Your World Class Speech Coach in a Book, How to Deal with 21 Real Life Speaking Situations with Full Confidence

Becoming a speaker.After publishing the book, I started receiving invitations to speak about IR at conferences in Bahrain and beyond.  My best experience was at the Investors Conference in April 2010 when the publisher of the Bahrain Banker Magazine approached me.  He told me:  “This is my business card, can I get yours.  I want you to write an article for my magazine.”  To my delight, I was not only paid for the article but I also felt like a celebrity because they sent me an expensive professional photographer to take some pictures of me!  Now, I am involved at more conferences beyond the subject of IR.  Recently, I was the master of ceremonies for Dr. John Gray’s Mars and Venus Seminar in Bahrain.  It was a lot of fun!

_ANL8233

With Dr. John Gray author of Men are from Mars, Women From Venus. With us another Hull University Business School graduate; Mr. Ghaleb Al-Oraibi, Managing Director of Leaders Training & Development Institute.

Getting more publicity.By becoming a writer and a speaker, I received a great amount of publicity in the media.  In 2011, I received an invitation to appear on a radio talk show to discuss the subject of my book (IR).  The show lasted for two hours.  It was a great opportunity to promote the book.  I am expected to appear on a morning TV Show on national TV in April 2013.  What’s next? Who knows!

An expanded professional network.  As I highlighted above, one of my objectives in joining the HUBS MBA program was to expand my professional network.  It surely did.  For example, I met Mr. Ahmed Al-Banna who is a HUBS MBA graduate who runs an event management company.   Few months ago, I partnered with him to co-manage an upcoming event on Productivity & Leadership Strategy by becoming the Conference Chairman and one of the promoters of the event.  I am expecting to expand my connections greatly by being involved in the event.  In addition, it is one way of getting more publicity.  I am expecting more press coverage and I have already appeared on a TV Show promoting the event. Yes, I had my 15 minutes of fame!

Appearing on a TV Show to promote the Productivity Conference.

Appearing on a TV Show to promote the Productivity Conference.

Obtaining professional designations.When I finished HUBS MBA, I started looking for other professional designations to improve my professional profile.  The first one on my radar was becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) in the UK.  I successfully met all the requirements for becoming a Fellow thanks to my work experience and HUBS MBA.  Having an MBA exempted me from undertaking further studies with ILM.  After becoming a Fellow of ILM, I became a Chartered Manager, which is the highest membership level bestowed by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) using a similar assessment process to that of the ILM.  Now, I am one of only three Chartered Managers in Bahrain.

ILM edited CMI Logo

Becoming a CMI Lecturer.After becoming a CMI Chartered Manager, a professional connection introduced me to the CMI Programs Manager in Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance to teach CMI Modules.  So far, I have taught two modules, and I am scheduled to teach four more modules in 2013.  Lecturing not only helps in paying for my son Abdulla’s Pampers but also helps in expanding my professional network, because the students come from different backgrounds and different walks of life.  For example, someone connected me with banker in Bahrain Development Bank for some potential financing for my Doctorate level education.

Establishing a consulting practice.  It is has been always my dream to start my own consulting practice; having HUBS MBA was my ticket to do that.  To gain a consulting license from the Ministry of Commerce in Bahrain, you must have a higher degree.  With HUBS MBA, that was taken care of.  I established a speech coaching company with the trade name: 3D Speaking.  This is the place where I coach aspiring speakers to become 3D Speakers, speakers who speak to the mind, touch the hearts and tickle the funny bones of any audience.  You can find more about it at: www.3DSpeaking.com

3DS Logo

There you have it.  These are some of the returns I received I after I have finished my HUBS MBA.  I was truly delighted because they were “Returns Beyond Expectations.”

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The $100,000 Speech

How are you progressing towards your new year’s resolutions? If you’re not, don’t worry about it.

I have a proposal for you.  You can implement it today.  Here it is: Scrap all your new year’s resolutions and have only one resolution – improving your public speaking skills.  You may disagree with this proposal but I challenge you to disagree with it after you finish reading the next paragraphs.

A few months ago, my childhood friend entered a business startup competition sponsored by few large companies.  After the elimination process, he qualified for the finals of the competition.  Five minutes separated him from winning or losing the competition.  All the work he accomplished over two months was to be judged on those five minutes.  He had to face five tough judges – the CEO’s of the companies sponsoring the competition – to convince them that he had the best business startup idea.  And he did. He won over the rest and was crowned as the best.  He received a prize of around $100,000 and free consultancy services until he established his business.

I was so happy for my friend when he told me about his story.  I asked him: What was your edge against the other contestants? Was it your business idea?

He replied: Not the idea.  I won because of my speech.  Some of the contestants had good ideas too but they could not communicate them effectively to the panel.  $100,000 for a five minutes speech!  It is mind boggling if you break it further. For each minute he spoke, he received $20,000.  This story confirmed my firm belief that public speaking skills can do wonders for our personal and professional lives.

This belief was confirmed further two weeks ago when I finished reading a book entitled “How to Sell Yourself” by Ray Grose.  The book offers practical ideas on how to sharpen up your personal image to impress everyone in your organization and to achieve promotion quickly.

In one chapter, the author suggests five tested and tried ways to boost your image.  Here they are: (i) public speaking, (ii) Giving “Good” presentations, (iii) the nasty word “Selling”, (iv) the morning welcome and (v) step forward.  When I finished reading this chapter, I thought the author could have summarized it in one sentence:

“Become an Effective Speaker.”

Apart from the last idea, all ideas relates to public speaking skills.  For example, giving presentations is one form of public speaking where speakers inform the audience about certain matters.  In addition, when it comes to “the nasty word,” the author is referring to speakers who are selling things like their ideas.

In this article, I am selling you the idea of scrapping all your new year’s resolutions and having only one – improving your public speaking skills.  Effective speakers know the sales process and prepare diligently before they approach their audience with their ideas.  Sales is part of life. We sell when we try to persuade another person to do something, buy something or take on board an idea, whether the object of your persuasion is work colleagues, friends and family members.  So why not start learning how to use public speaking skills so that you achieve your life dreams faster?

Finally, effective speakers know the importance of the morning welcome.  They arrive early in the speaking venue to greet the audience as they arrive with a warm welcome with a sincere smile and a confident handshake.  They do this because they know that rapport with the audience should start before the speech begins, and they know that the audience will be friendlier if they have already met the speaker.

The benefits of being an effective speaker are many and are beyond this article.  Look around you; many people attribute their success to this one skill – Public Speaking.  The choice is yours. You could continue working on your many New Year’s resolutions or focus on this priceless skill but before you do so, keep this in mind: my childhood friend did not win his $100,000 because of his business idea but because of how he communicated his idea.  I trust you will make the right choice.  Work on your public speaking and it will be a step forward you will never regret.

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Powerful Event but Powerless Speakers

The place smelled like money; the company must have spent at least USD 500,000 on the event.  This amount is peanuts for the billionaire investor who has investments in all major business centers of the world from New York to London and Tokyo.

The place was so well decorated; I thought I was walking in one of the internationally famous galleries.  The gorgeous servants were wearing very short and tight skirts along with high heels.  They were as busy as bees serving the VIPs.  In the right side of this commodious reception hall, there was an old man playing a strange musical instrument, it looked like an enlarged guitar but sounded very disturbing.  I felt like a stranger because I did not meet anyone I know and these VIPs were busy talking to each others, perhaps striking lucrative business deals.  Few minutes, I was lucky to meet some of my business contacts and few friends.

The organizers called us to enter one of the halls of Bahrain RitzCarlton Hotel to begin the official launch ceremony.  It was on the eve of 1 February 2011 around 8 o’clock.  We sat comfortably on one of the round tables.  Without waiting for the organizers permission; we attacked the samboosa, spring rolls and the cheddar cheese cubes on our table.  We were so hungry!

The Master of the Ceremony tapped the microphone to check whether it was on or not and then began by opening in the usual way: Your Excellencies, Your Highness, Dignitaries and our most welcome guests: Good evening.  I thought this was very boring and expected.  This well-known TV news anchor lost an opportunity to make an impact on the audience by having a better and stronger opening.  She then continued with her prepared remarks and introduced the different segments and speakers of the event.  She was very formal and dull.  She did not smile at all.  I thought we were supposed to be happy and jolly because a new company is born.  But instead I felt I was in a funeral.

Unfortunately, the pain and suffering continued.  All the speakers she introduced lacked the basic skills of public speaking and had common areas of improvement to shape up their speaking abilities.

For example, the first speaker did not start with an attention grabbing opening, instead he had the same boring opening of the MC.  He almost put us to sleep because he spoke in monotone voice.  He would definitely be a good babysitter.  In addition, he had zero eye contact with the audience because he was reading his remarks from his notes.  I did not connect with him at all; he did not use stories to engage us.  I thought: Please tell us about your vision for the company, share with us your dreams for it, tell us how all this started, and take us with you in a journey.  He was pouring facts and figures that did not make any sense to me because he did not put them in perspective. His speech was verbose.  Five of the six people on my table started typing and fiddling with their Blackberries and iPhones.  I even overheard someone telling another: “Can you believe it, we are in the RitzCarlton and we do not have a 3G network!” When he finished everyone was clapping for him, instead I grabbed another spring roll.

I remained in the hall observing the speakers and making mental notes about their performance while I was indulging myself in the starters available on the table.  What would you do if you were in my place? Stay or leave?  I decided to leave the event because I was so bored but then I decided to stay few more minutes because they started a fantastic laser show.  It was so colorful.  The two performers were magnificent.  They knew their routines, they perfected their choreography and they were so entertaining.  The audience clapped for them several times during their show. What a change from the powerless speakers who did not prepare very well and did not make us listen to them.  When the show finished, I left the hall to go home.

Do you think it would be a good idea for those speakers to join Toastmasters International to enhance their public speaking skills? You bet.  On the other hand, if these executives are too busy to attend Toastmasters meeting regularly, they could have hired a speech coach to help them in crafting their speech messages and improve their speech delivery because the last thing you want as an event organizer is to have a powerful event but powerless speakers.

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The Snooze Button

Please answer this question with complete honesty and frankness.

It is a simple question with yet some profound implications on your life.

When was the last time you hit “Snooze Button” in your phone or alarm clock?

I am referring to that moment when you feel so tired and so warm in bed especially in Winter. You planned to wake up at, say, 6am but now, you keep on hitting the “Snooze Button” constantly.  You tell yourself; just 5 more minutes and I’ll get out of bed, just 5 more minutes. Suddenly, you realize it is very late and you are going to miss something important like a business meeting, a job interview or worse, a flight!

Come on, be honest, didn’t you experience that? How did you feel? How did the rest of the day unfold? Did you notice all the traffic lights were red; did you encounter more traffic jams? Did you have a good day or a bad one?

What about in your life? Did you hit the “Snooze Button” for some of your dreams or goals? Did you keep saying “I’ll start tomorrow, next week, next month or perhaps next year?”

I did, so many times. I postponed marching to many life goals. The “Snooze Button” held me back big time.

For example, I was supposed to sit for the Certified Public Accountant Exams in USA in November 2001 but I kept hitting the “Snooze Button” very often because I felt I wasn’t ready.  The real problem was that I kept delaying my exam preparation (I kept saying tomorrow, next week and next month) and did not have the courage to register for the exams. I still regret those days.

In 2002, I registered for the exams early on to be more committed for my studies and to set my mind to nailing the exams. However, in May 2002, I sat for the exams but I failed all the four papers thanks to hitting the “Snooze Button” very often.  I took a 4-week leave to study but I only studied for 2 days!  I hate thinking back to those days; they bring a ton of fury and frustration.

In 2003, I thought enough is enough; I must sit for the exams and pass them all.  It is time to move on. I lowered the number of hits to the “Snooze Button”, I was more committed, I prepared more.

In February 2004, I received my results envelope for Colorado, USA.  I looked at the envelope for a while.  I thought will this be good news or bad news.  I slowly opened the envelope.

It read like this:

“Dear MR ISA

On behalf of the Colorado State Board of Accountancy, we congratulate you on passing all sections of the CPA Uniform Examination …”  

I passed all the exams with flying colors! I was so happy to the extent I was shouting inside the office, people thought I went bananas!

It is true that I ultimately passed but there is a big difference between passing in 2001 and 2004 in terms of promotions, perks and prestige.

Is the “Snooze Button” holding you back from achieving your dreams?  Do you feel frustrated? Do you feel furious? Do you think you should have achieved more things in your life?

If you answered “YES” to any of the questions above, all I could say to you:

It is the time to remove the “Snooze Button” button from the keyboard of your life.

It is the time to move on!

Go out and get your dreams!

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I need HELP …

My phone rang …

Although I knew this gentleman for years and met him in numerous occasions, I did not expect to receive a call from him at this time. I picked the phone and warmly greeted him: Hello brother Mohammed.  I am delighted to receive a call from you.

After the chatting for a bit, he said: “I know you are busy man, so I will cut it short.  I need your help.”  I wondered what kind of help he needs.

“I need your help to finish one of my course assignments” he said. Without hesitation I replied: “sure, what kind of help do you need?” In normal conditions, I would have said “no” because I am usually busy with so many things.  I like to keep my plate full to feel productive and get the sense of achievement.  At the time of his call, I was not only busy preparing for an important speech in Jordan but also I had severe pain in my back, chest and stomach and I was on medications as well as on physiotherapy program.

However, for Mohammed I would do anything.

Let me explain why.

On my wedding night, we held the wedding reception in one of the public halls in Bahrain.  In our traditions, once the reception is over, the bridegroom is followed well-wishers to his house in a march where they chant, clap and sing for him; in a way, preparing him for the BIG NIGHT!

Once I left the hall, I found out that my sandals were gone, they vanished, the bridegroom’s sandals have magically disappeared!

Mohammed came to me and said: “What’s the matter? Why aren’t you moving?” I told him my sandals are gone! He retorted: “no worries, here, take mine.” And I accepted. Once I wore them I realized how big his feet were! Wearing the traditional Arab dress, Thoob, with Beshet, the cloth usually worn by VIPs and Royals, and big sandals was the perfect recipe for falling on my face.  Thank God I did not fall on that night.

Back to the phone call.

What kind of assignment is this? I asked.  He explained the assignment was on Operations Management and he needed to hammer out some answers to some questions regarding a case study.  I gave him my email and then I received the requirements from him.

It was my time to help him and pay back my dues when I badly needed help on my wedding night.

It took me two days before I started working on the assignment because of my back pain. I drafted some quick answers to inspire him to finish the assignment and sent it across to him.

I called him to tell him that I sent my draft responses to his email and here lies the pleasant surprise.  I asked: By the way, what is the program you are doing? He replied:

This is one of the courses of my Bachelor Degree in Business Administration.  I have few more courses to finish it off.  Then, I plan to do an MBA as well.

At this time, my admiration for Mohammed grew exponentially! Here is a man who graduated from high school long time ago, married, lives in his parents’ house, was made redundant by his company few months ago, with various responsibilities on his shoulders and yet he went back to University to attain a Business Administration Degree!  Others in his position may say: “why bother”, “I am too old, what difference would it make” or “why waste time and money.”

What an inspiring man!

What an amazing man!

What an incredible man!

I got very curious, so I asked him: When did you finish high school? He replied: 1989.

Let me do the math for you, we are in 2011 and he finished in 1989, so we are talking about a gap of 22 years!

Friends, if you are looking for a flame of inspiration and a flame of hope, think about my friend Mohammed.  He is living proofs that: Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY.

Mohammed is like Muhammad Ali, the Greatest Boxer of All Times, he believes:

IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING.

All your dreams are within your reach.  All you need to do is reach out for them and if you can’t reach them alone … all you need is to shout … I need help!

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Two simple ideas to change your life …

The Prophet Mohamed – Peace Be Upon Him & His Family & Companions – once said: “Seek knowledge from the cradle until the grave”

In the past, people who could not read were called illiterates,

In present, people who cannot use computers are called illiterates.

What about the future, what would be the criteria for being an illiterate?

Whatever that might be … I don’t want be called … illiterate.

What about you do you want to be called illiterate?

That’s why all of us should seek more and more knowledge all the time until we rest in peace in our graves.

You should be committed to Lifelong Learning.

The world is changing all the time … everyday you hear new words:

Global warming, globalization and … googlaization!

The world is shifting from paper to paperless.

One change all of us experience is the introduction of Microsoft Office new versions.

Did you try the latest version?

… It is amazing, it is more user-friendly, it has more functionalities

… be honest with yourself …

Which is better to copy-paste two thousand letters you want to send to your clients? And then change the names and addresses manually? Or learn how to make Word functions do it for you in a matter of seconds?  I use mail-merge all the time to save time and efforts.

In this post you will pick up two ideas that will help you in integrating Lifelong Learning to your life.

Idea Number One:

It comes from Robin Sharma, the internationally renowned speaker, executives coach and author.  His idea is simply this: get up earlier by one hour.  You could use this hour to learn more about your profession, a language or a computer skill.  I know this idea is challenging especially in winter.  Who on earth would get up from his warm bed and blanket in the winter to read a book or to learn a new skill.

Only 3% of people can do this.

Only people who have big audacious goals in their life.

Only people who want to make a difference.

Many of the successful people I know use this technique and some of them are millionaires because of it.

So if you want to join them … act like them … Today not tomorrow!

If you implement this simple idea … you will add 15 learning days to your life annually.

And remember this important fact …

I personally benefited a lot from this idea.  For example, I wrote my MBA dissertation in these fine hours.  There is nothing like it.  The house is quiet, everyone is asleep.  No one will interrupt you or break your thoughts-chain and rest assured:

No one will send you a Blackberry Message!

When you die, hopefully after a long life, you will have a plenty of time to sleep.

If idea number one can be implemented by only 3% of people,

I believe idea number two can be implemented by everyone.

All of you can apply this idea to integrate Lifelong learning to your life.

Idea number two:

This idea is simply this – Invest your commuting time.

I have been doing this since 2001 and it worked wonders for me.

You could improve your English.

You could pick up a new foreign language.

You could stay updated on the recent developments in your profession.

You need to invest in an mp3 player or a smart phone and then connect it to your car audio system.

Assuming you are lucky and don’t encounter traffic jams … your daily total commuting time is 40 minutes and each lecture is 60 minutes,

On a yearly basis, you will be able to listen to around 170 lectures on your chosen subjects.

Long time ago and after a heavy lunch with my cousin and longtime friend Abdulla, we sat in the living room chatting about the Golden days when we were kids.  We were laughing very loud at the many pranks we performed together at the expense of others.  We remembered the days when we went to Manama Souq for trivial reasons like eating spicy Samoosa and then cooling off with Strawberry milk!  Then, we talked about the Big Blue Bus Days or the days we spent in University of Bahrain.

We used to take the Big Blue Bus every day to go to University.  Every day we spent anywhere between two to three hours in the bus chatting and laughing about different things.

I asked Abdulla:

Imagine if we did not chat during the bus commute and instead we listened to educational programs for the 4.5 years we spent in University of Bahrain?

He kept quiet for sometime.  I guess he silence said it all.

I wish I implemented this idea earlier in my life but as we always say: It is never too late.

Well, these are just two ideas to integrate Lifelong Learning to your life.

I hope you make the best use of these simple yet pragmatic ideas.

Finally, please keep in mind that, Smart, Intelligent and Ambitious people like you always integrate Lifelong Learning to their lives because they are fully aware that ignorance is very expensive and does not pay dividends in the future.

That’s why they seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.

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The Ultimate Leadership Machine

Are you a member of Toastmasters International (TMI)? If not, this post will inspire you to become one.  Here is their website: www.Toastmasters.org

Are you a business leader? If so, this article will show how to grow leaders in-house.

The Ultimate Leadership Institute

The role of leaders in today’s society could never be overstated. The following quotes confirm this simple fact:

  • “Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future”- Edwin Friedman.
  • “I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers”, Chirps Ralph Nader.

Nothing can define Toastmasters movement better than the above statements. We are the best in the business of identifying, coaching and delivering leaders on to the world stage every where and all the time.

In October 2007 Issue, Fortune magazine published a newly created list headed: “Top Companies for Leaders“. Alas I wish they would create a similar listing for non-profit organizations too.  Toastmasters International will definitely top this list beating all other non-profitable organizations in the area of leaders’ development

Toastmasters International is “The Ultimate Leadership Institute“. I say this with conviction because Fortune magazine used nine best practices companies use in grooming their future leaders, for evaluating the companies and guess how many practices we use from these nine? All nine! Yes, TMI scores 9 out of 9 points.

Below is a brief outline demonstrating a few of these practices and shows how they are applied through Toastmasters International.

Invest Time and Money:

Toastmasters invest plenty of time developing other Toastmasters. This is done through a mentor-mentee relationship where the mentor coaches the speaker in creating and delivering a speech and guiding the mentee in performing different assignments.  In addition, Toastmasters conduct, lead and present different workshops for other Toastmasters throughout the course of the year to support them in becoming better speakers and leaders.

Toastmasters also invest time in writing articles for different newsletters whereby they share their knowledge and experience with other Toastmasters.

You might think: “Where’s the investment of money?” Well, time is money. Toastmasters who invest their time in Toastmasters’ activities could easily invest this time somewhere else and get paid for it. An Opportunity cost, as called by economists.

Identify Promising Leaders Early

According to Fortune magazine, “Spotting leaders early means working on their development early.” Toastmasters with a high level of potential are identified right from their initial entry, in all leadership levels, whether it was the club or district level, and given the opportunities to shine during their membership in the Toastmasters’ movement.

We could do this by observing the passion, performance and preparation of new members and offering them opportunities to conduct different projects assignments inside and outside the club to learn, grow and be a role model to other Toastmasters.  This measure makes new members more engaged and more productive in the Toastmastering process because they feel appreciated and much needed within the organization.

Choose Assignments Strategically

In Toastmasters, future leaders are given development opportunities to learn and grow. After identifying potential leaders, we entrust them with the best possible assignments within the club meetings so that they could develop different leadership skills.  From conducting and leading a Speech Craft Program to chairing a Division Conference, the Toastmasters’ movement offers a plethora of leadership opportunities.

Toastmasters do not wait to be offered these opportunities; on the contrary, they are encouraged to take a proactive approach in grabbing these opportunities.  For example, I’ve always offered to participate in activities beyond my club, Bahrain Toastmasters Club.  That’s why I received the honor and privilege of becoming the PR Committee Chairperson for the Past International President, DTM Johnny Uy, visit to Bahrain in April 2006. This in itself was a fascinating experience.

Few years ago, Toastmasters International introduced a great tool that helps in developing more leaders – The Competent Leader Manual.  This manual helps in identifying the weaknesses in your skills and abilities and aids you in developing them. This manual helps in developing Toastmasters, at all different levels, and also secures different Leadership Awards in the Leadership Track for the mentors.

Be Passionate about Feedback and Support:

Our organization is the only entity that places evaluation and feedback at the heart of its learning programs.  We all receive feedback on all the assignments we conduct in the Toastmasters arena.  You can easily notice this if you examine our different programs and feedback mechanisms. Positive, constructive and honest feedback is a very important component of toastmastering. The “Effective Speech Evaluation” and the “Competent Leader Manual” are both submitted to every new Toastmaster to ensure they make the best of the available feedback opportunities.

The Evaluation Session during the club meeting is a rich learning experience for both the evaluators and the performers/speakers. All speakers come to know how they performed; they get to know their strengths and areas for improvement. Through the feedback given to performers by mentors and evaluators, improvement plans to achieve higher levels of excellence, are designed.

The evaluation process goes well beyond the club level.  Any performance within the toastmastering arena gets evaluated.  For example, if you deliver a keynote or a training session you will get evaluation forms collected from the attendees after the event to help you improve your future performances.  On another hand, if you conduct a High Performance Leadership Program (HPL), you are provided several manuals to guide you through managing the project assigned to you and a committee that guides you and evaluate your progress during and after the project before you can file it with Toastmasters International.  The HPL program offers instruction and practice in vital leadership skills and activities such as developing a mission and vision, goal-setting, planning, identifying values and building your team.

Encourage Leaders to be Active in their Communities:

Toastmasters are encouraged to contribute to their communities by teaching the values of Toastmasters International —integrity, dedication to excellence and respect for the individual.

In addition, you can use your public speaking and leadership skills in local events by becoming an event’s Chairperson or advisor.  In summary, you as a Toastmaster could become a knowledge transfer agent in the community.

One remarkable method of getting involved in your community is to conduct Speech Crafts Programs and lead Youth Leadership Programs to help young and adult people develop better public speaking and leadership skills to become successful people in their personal and professional lives.

Make Leadership Development Part of the Culture:

Leadership development is at the heart of the Toastmasters’ culture, and also reaches up to Toastmasters International’s vision. All Toastmasters programs revolve around providing members opportunities to become better speakers and leaders.

The Past International President, DTM Chris Ford, believes that through Toastmasters program we can shape our world. His Presidential Theme was: “Shaping Ourselves, Shaping Our World.” Being Toastmasters, we’re half way through. We’re already shaping ourselves through Toastmasters International, and now it’s the role of every Toastmaster to shape the world.

The above brief outline illustrated clearly how Toastmasters International use internationally established best practices to develop its members in the area of leadership.

Isn’t Toastmasters simply amazing?

Hopefully someday we will be recognized officially as the “The Ultimate Leadership Institute”. Whether this becomes a reality or not is totally up to us, to the Toastmasters of the World. As Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see”.

Let’s continue shaping ourselves and shaping our world.

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