What happens when it turns negative?


Yesterday I had a wonderful day at our District semi annual conference.  It was a day full of inspiring educational sessions and personal growth for me.  I had a great time networking among the fellow Toastmasters in attendance and I got a lot out of the day.

But what happens when it turns negative?

Negative may be a bit harsh, possibly anxious would be a better word.  It wasn’t much, but during the day I spoke with a few (not many) people who are well ingrained in the way that they do things and aren’t really prepared to adapt to change.

We had an excellent presentation on the new “Pathways” education program and we all did an exercise of which pathways would suit us best.  Toastmasters has spent years redeveloping the education program to bring it up to modern day standards including online learning via video tutorials and other exciting mediums.

I do understand the apprehension from the members who are happy with the way the current program operates and don’t see the relevance of the new program and what it can bring for them.  I do see the pathways being centered more around professional growth especially in the areas of career advancement.  I acknowledge that.

I guess my question is what can we do as members to help the ones who are apprehensive to give something new a go?  The pathways education program will be focusing deeply on mentoring and that may be the key.  These apprehensive members may be able to be mobilized as mentors to others who are traveling along their pathway.  It will give the sense of purpose that we all need and the acknowledgement we all seek.

International President Mike Storkey instills into all of us “Remember the member”, so I am remembering the member.  Not just those who are excited for “Pathways”, but also those who are apprehensive. Some of these members have been in Toastmasters upwards of 30 years.  Let us not ignore or forget the hard work they have done before us to be build this organisation into what it is today.

5 thoughts on “What happens when it turns negative?

  1. It was a great day yesterday Simon, and like you, I too see the apprehension from older members. I must say though, once I had my Pathway exercise completed, I showed it to one of those (older) struggling members and they could then easily see how it worked and came together. It just goes to show, we need to remember the member, hold hands and mentor – old to new and vice versa.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m excited about the new direction, but yes we must “Remember the Member” & allay their fears & cater for all preferences. The old way of using manuals will still be available for those that prefer it and there’s nothing wrong with that way. We can all learn from each other whether it be the old way or the new way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am excited about pathways as well and I believe this may be our chance to demonstrate how mentoring truly works. All those established Toastmasters that have mentored many of us over a number of years may now need some assistance and mentoring themselves. I think it is a wonderful opportunity for us to return the favour and offer assistance, guidance and mentoring to those members who are not quite sure about pathways.

    It is time to remember the members who made our district great in the first place. The members who helped us to develop. It’s time to turn to our ‘tribal elders’ and return the patience they showed us as we grew. Change can be difficult for some people. It is the fear of the unknown that will cause the most anxiety in the district but remover knowledge dispells fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think the main problem is for those who are part way through the old program. What they have done isn’t transferable to the new one. Should they continue the old program for the time remaining to use it, thus not making progress on and taking part in the new program, or should they start the new program, thus tossing away what they have done in the old one? I realize the push is to be nothing but positive, and see those “old” folks as just people to be comforted–to jump on the bandwagon, and not be one of those negative types. But this is a real concern of reasonable people, even “new” ones who are willing to change and accept new things. I don’t believe it has been addressed. There might be members lost because of it. Let’s not ignore it in the rush to be happy and positive. There should be something in it for those who have joined and become good members, but may be stuck in a no-win situation. Some of their efforts should be recognized somehow in the new program. Just leaving what you have done so far with some real effort isn’t something to feel good about. And plodding along with the “old” program while others are taking part in the new one doesn’t sound good either. Sometimes some negativity can be reality and something that deserves thought.


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