Prepared by: Dr. Ahmad Faiz Mohammad, Prof. Dr. Nor Haniza Sarmin, Nur Athirah Farhana Omar Zai & Syaza Soraya Sauli
On 24 July 2021, all seven Officers of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Toastmasters Club (UTM TMC) completed their first training goal. They are Prof. Dr. Nor Haniza Sarmin (Club President), Dr. Ahmad Faiz Mohammad (Vice-President Education), Dr. Siti Zaleha Daud (Vice-President Membership), Nur Athirah Farhana Omar Zai (Vice-President Public Relations), Dr. Nor Hidayah Abd Radzaz (Secretary), Muhammad Nur Syiham Abd Razak (Treasurer), and Syaza Soraya Sauli (Sergeant at Arms).
The Club Officers Training 1 (COT1) was held by Division G’s COT Organizing Chair from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. through an online platform, Zoom. The training was mainly attended by Club Officers of other Toastmasters Clubs from all areas, particularly in Division G. UTM TMC was designated under Area 3 of Division G.
The Club Officers’ training requirements, which are part of the Distinguished Club Program outlined by Toastmasters International, must be fulfilled by the club to ensure those Club Officers are well trained to perform their duties. To achieve the club’s training goal, a minimum of four club officers must attend and complete each of the two training periods in this term, COT1 and COT2 (to be held between November 2021 and February 2022). Upon the completion of COT1, not only UTM TMC successfully achieved the first training goal but also all the seven club officers were trained in their respective roles.
In the agenda of COT1, five sessions were conducted where each intensively covered essential aspects of running a successful TMC. Out of the five sessions, two were conducted by the Toastmaster Leadership Institute (TLI) officers, two by Area Directors and one by the Division G Director. The first TLI session introduced the roles and responsibilities of each Club Officer, which was followed by separate sessions for respective roles in breakout rooms. Each breakout room, which involved a more focused discussion on the respective club roles, was led by an Area Director.
The aim of this session was to produce trained Club Officers who are able to lead and support their club and recognize the best ways to carry out their duties. The second session was conducted by Area Directors and covered the club succession plan, which is essential for Club Officers to ensure the longevity and continuous growth of the Toastmasters club.
The training resumed after the lunch break with the third session, which covered various inputs that can be implemented to create quality club meetings. Club meetings are the main element of a Toastmasters club as they serve as the platform for club members to learn and develop their public speaking, communication and leadership skills, whilst fostering relationships with visiting Toastmasters and guests.
In the fourth session, the club officers were given exposure on how to create a quality club. It highlighted that a quality Toastmasters club is supported by four pillars, namely, experiential learning, self-paced program, peer feedback, and mentoring. These pillars are essential towards recognizing and dealing with club situations from critical to success.
Club Officers’ training is a continuous agenda of Toastmasters International in ensuring Club Officers are able to fulfil their roles in serving and supporting their respective clubs. A successful Toastmasters Club is one that upholds the core values of Toastmasters International (Integrity, Respect, Service, and Excellence) in every aspect of running the club.
For the Club Officers and members of UTM TMC, the inculcation of the four aforementioned values and the core values of UTM (Integrity, Synergy, Excellence, and Sustainability) are very coherent. This lays a foundation for the club to accomplish the mission of providing a supportive learning experience in which the club members, comprised of UTM staff, students, alumni, and retirees, are empowered to develop their communication and leadership skills.
Subsequently, the final session was conducted by the Division G’s Director on member engagement and retention. This was an important session in the training as it can be challenging for a club to encourage members to continuously progress in their education programs and retain a minimum number of memberships. Various issues in this topic were discussed to help the Club Officers deal with the existing and potential problems. This session was followed by the question-and-answer session in which Club Officers were given the opportunity to ask questions to the Area and Division Directors.
In summary, COT1 was successfully completed. The training period had been fully utilized to train the Club Officers in their respective roles and responsibilities. For the Club Officers of UTM TMC, this was indeed a huge productive training period which gave the opportunity for all of them to not only learn the ins and outs of their roles but to realize that the proficient execution of their roles will give a lasting and positive influence on the club, its members and guests.
Needless to say, the officers and members of UTM TMC will continue to strive for excellence and remain optimistic en route to becoming a quality and distinguished club, recognized at the global communities of UTM and Toastmasters International.