Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) – Training or Trainer

Going to training and training officers are two different opportunities.  The latter was not part of my planned journey in Toastmasters.  I thought an officer trainer came from a level high above me, one which I never expected to attain.

Then, I received a course changing opportunity.

A seasoned Toastmaster in my local club needed a substitute to help train VP Education officers at TLI.  He personally asked me to substitute—I was speechless.  How could I train others when I had only been a VP Education for 7 months??

I took a breath and stepped back into my shoes 7 months earlier. I could relate to other VP Ed’s who had just stepped into office. I could share what helped me most in taking on this huge responsibility. As an added bonus, I had just attended a training session prior to this TLI.  It was all still fresh on my mind! The experience and resources were there to lead those like me.

I grabbed the opportunity and received benefits for myself and as well as others!  There were other officers in attendance who were seasoned VP Ed’s and shared their experiences with all of us to help answer questions—now I have the answers to those questions today!

Flash forward—I now serve as an Area Director, due to the encouragement of the same Toastmaster who needed me to substitute for him at TLI.  It was not part of my original journey in Toastmasters, but I figured this opportunity would be beneficial.

Another TLI trainer opportunity came to me. My Division Director, Charlie Bowles, asked me to teach a session at this year’s Division E TLI. (He actually gave more than one opportunity, but I chose this one—Treasurer Training.)

This experience was different from my first time. It required amazing team building with fellow Area Directors, Toastmasters, and Division Director (Eloy Pascal, Chris Van Buren, Sandra Barron, Joe Barron, Les Condit, and Charlie Bowles) to bring a whole TLI session into fruition. There was organizing, delegating, and teaching together with others on the team.

Each TLI I have attended, I have learned something new.

Remember how I wrote I had more than one opportunity, but chose to do Treasurer training?

The other opportunity was to lead the General Session. At the Division E TLI this was conducted by our Division Director, Charlie Bowles.

Charlie gave an insightful presentation on the Road to DTM, showing that any of us can achieve Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), even before the education program’s transition to Pathways is complete.

Because of his speech and the information in it, I have revised my journey to a DTM from its original course to an even better one.

TLI is a place outside of the club or speech contest environment where Toastmasters can meet in a relaxed setting to discuss and learn from each other.  Requesting volunteers to train at TLI was not publicized as far as I knew.  However, any officer with experience can teach. It is a great place to build up yourself and others, network, and learn more as an officer.

Look around, check out the D25 announcements, and ask your district officers for opportunities outside your club, such as TLI, where you can practice your leadership and communication skills in a supportive environment. You can even get speech credit for it, too!

by Sheba Panicker

Area 54 Director, 2017-2018