Ted Parsons, DTM – Mentoring-the Answer!

   “What does that mean?” “Who has the answers?” “I am so confused!” Every single person asks these questions when first encountering a new environment, when first joining a new organization.

Toastmasters is no different.

    A guest walks in and is immediately greeted by two or more smiling people!

    “Sign the guest book.”

    “How do I do that?”

    “Here is some material about Toastmasters.”

    “But where do I sit?”

    Immediately, people are confused and their minds are whirling. Then, the meeting starts! More confusion.

    The answers to a new member’s questions come after joining a club, then having a mentor assigned. However, we also have to explain things and answer guests’ questions, or else they probably will not join your club. Over the many years I have been in Toastmasters and in many other organizations, a mentor has made all the difference. Out of a mental morass into a mind-opening motivational state! How does a new member receive a mentor? Either directly ask another member to be your mentor or ask a club officer for a mentor.

    Typically, in Toastmasters, a mentor guides the new member through the first three speeches in the competent communicator manual, the first or basic speech manual. Also, one’s mentor assists in explaining how each functionary role is to be performed. The functionary roles are the leadership roles in any club.

    So, in my two clubs, I volunteered to be the VP of Mentorship. I explain what mentorship is to each club. I ask each member to be open to becoming a mentor. Then, I announce to each new member and to the entire club that I would assist in assigning a mentor to every single member of the club, not just new members. After all, mentorship in business or any organization can last for years.

     Once two are paired, I frequently update and publish the club mentor/mentee list. Ideally, one experienced member has only one mentee. And, I urge each mentor and mentee to talk to each other! The mentor needs to be sure the new member asks the Vice President of Education to sign off each speech. Plus, the mentor should monitor the mentee’s leadership assignments to be sure they are signed off as soon as completed.

    The result? Many questions are answered quickly for the new member. The experienced members who choose to have mentors have a friend who is willing to offer a suggestion or two when needed. And both clubs have more informed and more competent Toastmasters!

    As you read this short essay on mentorship, decide to talk to your mentor today, or ask your VP of Mentorship to assign one. Remember, the answers can come from your mentor!

Ted Parsons, DTM

President, Bilingue Toastmasters

Vice-President of Mentorship, Sweetwater Valley Toastmasters

Ted Parsons with Virginia Cruz at the Bilingue 40th Anniversary.

Ted Parsons with Virginia Cruz at the Bilingue 40th Anniversary.

Ted Parsons has been a member of Toastmasters since 1966 when he joined during his career in the U. S. Navy.  He is a 37 year charter member of Sweetwater Valley Toastmasters.  As president of Club Bilingue, Ted took a small, struggling club to Select Distinguished in 6 months.  –R.L.

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