The Sergeant at Arms calls my name, the crowd applauds and I walk up to the stage to open the meeting. Sitting in the audience are members of Early Bird Speakers and guests. The time is 7:10…but there is one key difference: it is not 7:10am on a Thursday morning.
Instead, it was 7:10 PM on a Monday night!
Early Bird Speakers Plus was about to kick off for the first time in the history of our club.
A few weeks ago, on Thursday, 7 June 2018, we marked special moment in the history of our Toastmasters club.
After being chartered on that exact day back in 2007, it was our birthday.
Early Bird Speakers had just turned eleven. This birthday wasn’t celebrated with any particular grand occasion. After our club meeting that Thursday morning, we all simply went to breakfast, enjoyed good conversation and shared some cake.
Now, I must admit that it is hard to speak about my home club without a certain element of bias.
However, I’m sure that anyone within the Toastmasters community who are familiar with Early Bird Speakers cannot help but feel impressed with our successes as a club both over the past year and throughout the entire history of Early Bird Speakers.
In addition to the highly competent and amazing speakers we have who have demonstrated their speaking prowess both within our club and at contests in our Toastmasters world, we’ve also enjoyed spawning members who have gone on to serve in leadership positions within Areas, Divisions and our District.
All of that stemming from a 95 minute meetings on Thursday mornings every week.
I remember coming to Early Bird Speakers for the first time as a guest back in May 2015. It was 6:45 in the morning and I’d arrived early. I sat in the middle of the room and looked around: I was taken by the magnificent surroundings, the seating arrangement, the two banners displaying the Toastmasters educational journey and the club’s values and mission, the clear and concise multi-coloured meeting agenda and how everything was meticulously organised.
All of that before the meeting had even started.
And then there was the meeting itself…
At the end of the meeting, I looked around the room once more and said to myself, “Yes, this is where I want to be every Thursday morning. These are the people I want to spend time with every Thursday morning. One day I will become this club’s President!”
Quite a bold statement spoken by someone who has just come as a visitor to this club for the very first time!
But what I saw that day was something that wasn’t simply a one-off, but something that was consistent and continues to grow within our club. I saw professionalism, innovation, committed members dedicated to their club who were willing to innovate both on and off the stage so that they and others can benefit from the club environment. I was inspired.
Now, three years later, my term as President of Early Bird Speakers comes to an end as the new Toastmasters year brings forth our new leadership team and an upcoming year full of greatness.
I would not have been able to become President had it not been for the encouraging members within our club. The various mentors and supportive members who have guided, encouraged and inspired me is something that I hope I will never take for granted.
I’ve learnt public speaking skills that I’ve been able to instantly apply outside of Early Bird Speakers. I won’t forget that time I was at a business gathering and the event organisers sheepishly asked me if I could deliver a five minute speech…on the spot! Whilst I was sat in the audience, I slowly stood up and delivered the longest table topic of my life! I was able to pull it off thanks to the skills I developed in the club.
Then there’s the leadership element as well: skills that I’ve been able to learn and instantly apply within business as well as in other areas in life.
But that’s just me. Some of our members have said that-
“EBS has helped me get a promotion at work”
“I’ve been able to work as a better project manager in my company”
“EBS has given me my voice”
Those are just a few of the examples of how our club has served its members.
As the popular meme within the Toastmasters community goes “no one ever comes to Toastmasters to become a better Toastmaster”.
We come to Toastmasters so we can be become better at whatever it is we do outside in the ‘real world’.
Back within the four walls of our club meetings, we’ve enjoyed a great many successes this Toastmasters year. These include our members successfully completing speaking and leadership projects, our club members making it to every contest at the Division level, our Vice President of Education became the District 91 Table Topics Champion, seamless integration of Pathways, fun social events that club members and guests have enjoyed, successful integration of GDPR and we attained President’s Distinguished Club Status for another year!
We also experimented with our evening (EBS Plus) meetings which were a success.
Having a large group of Early Birds gathered in an evening meeting for the first time ever and being able to draw in a completely different guest base was a truly remarkable experience. It is something that we will continue to run in the new Toastmasters year as we experiment with things like group evaluations, business pitches and keynote speeches.
Above all, we’ve had 50 weeks of fun filled, energetic morning Thursday meetings filled with lots of learning for guests and members alike. Meetings that have greatly benefited all of our attendees and left them energised for the rest of the day.
So, if you’re a Toastmaster who’s interested in developing yourself further and who happens to be free on a Thursday morning (bright and early!), or a guest who happens to be interested in joining a truly amazing Toastmasters club, then come along to Early Bird Speakers!
We meet every Thursday morning at 7:00 AM, Freemasons' Hall (Lodge Room 17, 3rd floor) 60 Great Queen Street London, WC2B 5AZ
Our meetings finish at 8:45 AM sharp, after which we go to breakfast where we converse and get to know each other better!
I wish you all the very best as we approach the end of the Toastmasters year.
I’d like to thank all of the wonderful Toastmasters clubs within the District and members from our wonderful community who have supported Early Bird Speakers by attending as guests, providing amazing feedback as general evaluators, supported our contests as judges, helped us as functionaries at events and been there to cheer on our speakers and leaders throughout the year.
I would like to thank my brilliant team who stuck by me and worked with me over the past twelve months so that we successfully and purposefully progressed our club this year. I wish the incoming team a truly amazing time leading our club.
Lastly, I would like to thank each and every single member of my magnificent club, Early Bird Speakers. I wake up every Thursday morning at 4:30, with a bounce in my step and knowing that in a few hours, I will be in the company of great individuals.
May the new Toastmasters year bring you all great successes, memorable moments of fun and ample learning to last you a lifetime.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon at Early Bird Speakers!
Early Bird Speakers