Monday, April 4, 2011

Speaking to Inform Project 4 - Slow Progress on the Competent Communicator (CC) Track :Facts and Figures

[Disclaimer: Speech based on the responses received during an online survey conducted during February 2011. Scenario might have changed and hence the facts and figures may not represent the real situation when you read this post]

What is Life without Challenges? Challenges lurk around every nook and corner. Our Club is no exception.As per the President and the VP-Ed the biggest challenge in our club is – the Members not giving speeches often enough and not progressing along the CC track.
I chose to do investigate this issue.

Lord Kelvin has said, ‘When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind’.  Hence I conducted an online survey to get real hard facts and figures behind this problem. I sincerely thank everyone who responded to the survey and provided valuable inputs for this talk.

I received 30 responses.  It is a fairly representative sample in terms of membership tenure and the number of speeches given.
So here are the facts and figures:
  • Speech Progress Rate is about 1 speech in every 4-5 months.  CC Manual recommends at least 1 speech in 2 months.  But only 4 members in their CC Journey are maintaining this rate. Why this is a major issue?  Unless one gives enough speeches, one can’t be in a position to evaluate and mentor the speeches of new members.  With very few evaluators and mentors encouraging and ramping up the new members and ensuring good quality speeches has become a daunting task.
  • Where do the priorities of the members lie?  Only about 50 % of the members say that they can’t achieve their career and personal goals without good speaking skills.  So giving speeches regularly is not really an absolute must for the remaining 50 %.   Only about 60-70% of the members have indicated Toastmasters and Speaking Roles as their topmost interest apart from their work or personal life.
  •  For the members who really want to give speeches regularly is Daffodils providing a conducive and friendly environment?   73 % of the responses said that they were likely to recommend Daffodils on a scale of 9 or above. 37 % said that Daffodils had excellent mentors.  These figures are good but needs to be better if we want to have a continuous flow of speeches by the members.
  •   Now if the environment is not an issue what delays a member’s next speech? The top 3 roadblocks which account for about 60 % of all the reasons cited in the survey are:
    • Difficulty in Topic Selection
    •  Getting the Right Content
    •   Writing the Speech
  •  So what does club needs to do to motivate and encourage members to give speeches?   Nearly a one-third of the members felt that the club was already doing enough and the ball was in the individuals’ court to take initiative of giving speeches regularly. About 30 % were looking forward for more persuasion and encouragement to speak. The rest suggested more mentoring and educational sessions. The three noteworthy suggestions  I received apart from the above mentioned areas are:
    • Table Topics Master should give chance to new members or members who rarely speak.
    •  In every meeting at least one Committee member should be  a Speaker, thus leading by example.
    • A website or blog to post all the speeches delivered by its existing speakers     
To conclude here are my recommendations:
1) Accept the fact that for nearly half of our member public speaking is NOT a MUST HAVE
    Skill. They have other priorities.  Identify and Focus on the individuals who really need and seek help.
2) Take more proactive efforts to create a sense of belonging among new members
3) Focus Mentoring & Educational Sessions on areas like Topic Selection, Finding Content and Writing Speeches

Hopefully implementing these recommendations will encourage more speeches among CC aspirants. 

Silence is NOT Golden in a Toastmasters Club!
[Date Delivered:  March  26 2011

*   Prepare a report on a situation, event, or problem of interest to the audience.
*   Deliver sufficient factual information in your report so the audience can make valid conclusions or a sound decision
*  Answer questions from the audience

Time: Five to Seven Minutes for the speech, and two to three minutes for the question-and-answer period.

As mentioned in the beginning I had conducted an online survey among our club members which formed the basis of the speech. Some of the key questions asked during the survey were:
1) What delays the delivery of your next project speech ?
2) How helpful has been your mentor's guidance ?
3) What the club can do to motivate/encourage you to give more project speeches?
4) How interested are you in Toastmasters in comparison to your other interests and hobbies?
5) To achieve your career and personal goals and aspirations, how important it is for you to acquire good speaking skills?
6) In a scale of 1 to 10 how likely you are to recommend our club to your friends.

I delivered the speech using power-point slides showing graphs as visual aids. The speech was well received and there were several questions which I handled well ]

No comments:

Post a Comment