by Tara Rahman
Known as the ‘HPL’, Toastmasters’ High Performance Leadership program is a program that will help you to develop your leadership skills. To navigate the HPL, you have to choose a project and appoint committee members, to whom you report throughout. Some projects that you can do:
For my HPL, I organized the DTM Breakfast. And it was a project to remember! A DTM, or Distinguished Toastmaster, is a Toastmaster who has completed the Communication and Leadership Tracks. The DTM Breakfast is an awards ceremony-cum-breakfast, where new DTMs talk about their journeys. The DTM Breakfast is a regular event that is part of the annual District convention. My mission? To organize a well-run event where Toastmasters celebrate the achievements of new Distinguished Toastmasters.
How did it all begin? In November 2015, I joined the convention team. My immediate team members were convention booklet designer Anthony Murray and Program Quality Director Yoke-Ching Tan. Eventually, I came to regard the DTM award recipients as team members as well. So much of the success of the event depended on the flow of information from them.
Step 1: Invited new DTMs to the event.
Step 2: Got photos and biographies.
Step 3: Checked ticket holders and finalized the list of speakers.
Step 4: Finalized the agenda and released it.
Step 6: Obtained speaker introductions.
Step 5: Emceed the event.
Was the DTM Breakfast a success? We had 13 DTM award recipients speaking about their journeys. 53 Toastmasters attended the event. As the convention approached, the number of ticket buyers became a barometer of success. Also, 10 of the 13 speakers kept to time, admirable considering the 2 minute timeframe.
Victory comes at a price – overcoming challenges e.g. handling my stress levels while dealing with uncommunicative people. The highest point of stress came when the convention booklet was finalized. I realized that the briefings for the evaluation contests would begin only 45 minutes after the DTM Breakfast. My original mentor was the contest coordinator and I had to liaise with her so that our participants did not overlap.
What have I learned about leadership?
Have you thought of doing High Performance Leadership? I have experienced it and learnt a lot. The DTM Breakfast was my project; the mission was to organize a well-run event where the Toastmasters community celebrates the achievements of new Distinguished Toastmasters. It was a project to remember! I couldn’t have done it without my HPL committee members, Ann Banham and Bruce Hill. I would also like to thank the convention team, DTM award recipients and Program Quality Director, Yoke-Ching Tan.