These three crucial (word of the meeting) aspects were the focus for my General Evaluation on November 2nd.
There are many traits of leadership which can be used in a meeting and at work.
- Setting the culture creates a safe and welcoming environment for guests and nervous speakers. Bev Hepting, President, and Steve Graham, Toastmaster, did that by making sure the room was set up correctly and by their warm, enthusiastic and explanatory introductions. They described clearly what was going to happen and brought humour to reduce the anxiety people may have been feeling. This continued when Luke Mclachlan used a humorous and creative explanation of the time keeper’s role, citing the importance of contracting.
It was lovely to have four guests attending and to see how members made them feel welcome at the start and in the break. The safe atmosphere allowed them all to have a go at Table Topics and for Jade to win best Speaker!
- Listening is a key skill, which was demonstrated by our evaluators and especially the Grammarian.
- Role Modelling adds credibility to your message, which Caroline Brewer showed in her leadership and delivery of the High Performance Leadership project to create a sustainable induction process
- Delegation is another key skill for leaders. Caroline again had effectively carried this out in her project by calling on members’ strengths to get the job done.
- Challenging people to achieve more is important, but the task needs to be achievable and not set people up to fail. My recommendation is that table topic questions are easy enough that participants can focus on speaking off the cuff, not trying to work out what the question was.
- Resource Provider means ensuring that the meeting has all that is required. My recommendation would be for the Sargeant-at-Arms to ensure there are spare copies of the agenda; especially for guests.
The role of the evaluator is to offer constructive feedback on how the speaker performed. This enables people to recognise what they did well and where they could be even better. The danger is that evaluators, for a variety of reasons, are lenient on their negative feedback. Yet this offers the greatest opportunity for growth. There was certainly no quarter given by Luke for those who went over time!
It is not necessary to apologise for your evaluation, even if you are not as experienced as the speaker. Your views still matter. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it is important to be specific. Saying a speech was really good without explaining what you liked is no more helpful than saying it wasn’t very good. Giving clear examples from the speech and offering recommendations, as Christine Wallach and Rachel Knowles did, adds greater meaning. Rachel went on to deservedly win best evaluator
Good leaders leave a legacy. They make a difference. Every member and guest can impact on others for the greater good. We can learn from each other in how we speak or fulfil a role.
The Club has contirbuted to past members achieving more, such as Harriet Laurie securing her funding bid, Gail Aldwin winning a poetry reading prize and Robin Clifton-Day giving a fabulous father of the bride speech.
Just a few examples of individual legacies are Steve Graham, who founded and has helped maintain Casterbridge Speakers, Caroline Brewer developing the induction process and Luke redesigning the website.
As a club we can also support members in their time of need, as with Dryden Pennington, Past President, who brought a legacy of humour and kindliness to the Club, and is now seriously ill.
Andrew Knowles spoke about defining your purpose. I believe you can also define your legacy. By showing good leadership and not being overly lenient in your feedback, you can leave an outstanding legacy.
What will your legacy be?