By Alberto Pineda, TC2
I’m member of an open club, the “World Renowned Grand Prairie Toastmasters.” We are bold, we are proud, we are “World Renowned.”
As an open club we don’t have a company sponsor that helps with the cost of an individual membership. What many people don’t realize is, just because your company does not host a toastmaster club that doesn’t mean they won’t help you with your educational goals.
For the last three years my company has paid my toastmaster’s educational expenses (club dues, and any event with an educational agenda). You may find that your company has a budget for education and other activities, and in this article, I will help you find out if you have access to sponsorship.
Explain the why:
Start by explaining the “why.” By becoming a better communicator and leader you’ll be an asset for the company which can help generate better products and services that help the company’s goals.
Who to approach:
First, start with your immediate supervisor. If they don’t have funds or the ability to approve your involvement, consider reaching out to HR. (Different departments have different budgets and HR might have the funding support you need).
How to make the pitch:
A face to face conversation is always the best way. You can also send an email if face to face is not possible.
- Start with the interest you have in improving your skills and serving the company
- Explain the value that Toastmasters can provide to the employee and the company
- Share key details about Toastmasters and how membership works
- Describe how the company can assist you and what the details associated with membership are (costs, meetings, etc.)
- Provide relevant handouts that explain Toastmaster’s mission and program details
A sample would be:
Dear (supervisor name, HR contact name),
As you may know, I’m highly interested in developing my skills in order to deliver the most value to this company in my current role. I recently joined a Toastmaster club where I’m developing my communication and leadership skills. I’m hoping that the company will recognize the value that this may contribute and would like to talk with you further about the possibility for support for the membership dues.
I’m excited about this new learning opportunity and the value this may contribute to our company. Is there a time when we can talk more in the near future?
Here are some links with more information about Toastmasters:
Give your contact a few days to respond. If you don’t hear within five business days, follow up with a call or another email. If you are able to speak with someone who can approve the process, find out what next steps are, and if there are others to talk to (like the finance office, procurement, etc.).
Can Toastmasters help me advance in my career?
Many members have found that participation in Toastmasters helps them develop the leadership and communications skills to advance within their companies. Participation shows initiative, and helps you communicate your value to the organization. It can be a key influencing factor when you are in a position to discuss a raise, promotion, or that dream job you always wanted
Be sure to attend Toastmasters conferences, the Summit, and other events. Be sure to include the flier from one of the events so the person you’re contacting understands details associated with your membership in Toastmasters.
As always, “Be Bold, be Proud, and I’ll see you at the top.”