Toastmasters provide a positive and supportive environment to meet like-minded people. On top of the common interest, Toastmasters programs and activities enable members to connect on many levels.
Being a single member adds another dimension to the challenge of your role as a Toastmaster. I offer some tips to help single members achieve their communication and leadership goals with additional courtship objectives.
With a few refinements, your Toastmasters journey will change your love life, if it hasn’t done so already.
Maximize your effectiveness in meetings
(1) Be active in regular meetings. Take a role. Whether you are the Toastmaster, a prepared speaker, an evaluator, or a table topic speaker, every role gives you visibility. Whatever you say or do serves as an ‘ice breaker’ for other members to approach you. At the same time, listen to other members to find ‘pickup lines’ for further conversation.
“Hi Rachel, your recommendation to John about …… is very true. I have the same challenge myself. Thanks for bringing that up.”
“George, you counted many more Ahs and Ums which I did not notice. You are a very good listener.”
“Tom, your planning for this special meeting is very effective. I bet you are as organized in life as in Toastmasters.”
Being an active listener and participant creates opportunities. Be positive and observant. A meeting highlight is an excellent topic to start a conversation.
Try to make your presentation interesting even though the role may seem trivial. I repeatedly volunteer for a timer, ah counter, and word master. Through some innovative planning, I can make good impressions on others. For example, one time I read time as dollars and cents. “Mary has a budget of 100 to 200 dollars, and she used 250 dollars.” Even though dollars and seconds don’t exactly convert, members were having fun. This new timing rule was noticed by many members.
Bottom line: No matter what meeting role you fill, fulfilling it actively and creatively beats sitting on the corner and being quiet for the whole night.
(2) Choose your topics wisely and speak your thoughts with intention. Since other single members may be in the audience, you should think twice about whatever you are going to say. Off‑color humor, taboo topics, or controversies are mostly turn offs. Creative, simple, and clean is the best policy.
Talking about sports can be interesting but tricky. Consider your last five speeches were about baseball, basketball, football, NASCAR, and wresting. During this time, the other single guy talked about success, investment, family values, overcoming adversity and strategic life planning. Unless your target audiences are sports fans, your chance of projecting success will be slim by comparison. I have known a lady Toastmaster Stephanie (not her real name) who visited close to two dozen of clubs just to meet her future husband. Stephanie joined a few clubs and paid all the membership dues to express her sense of belonging and commitment. She carefully listened to every member she was interested in. She took notes and kept track of who said what. After a little over a year, she got her guy. At the same time, her district benefits from a few extra goals (and per caps) she contributed.
Bottom Line: KISC principle. Keep it simple and clean.
(3) Make the best use of your manuals. The Toastmasters Communication and Leadership manual is a great training tool for singles.
How do you introduce yourself to a potential wife or husband on your first date? It is an ice breaker speech! You have to introduce yourself and arouse interest. An ice breaker is not about dumping your life history and problems on your listener in six minutes.
Speech #2 “Organize your speech” is about sharing your goals and visions in life. Your potential spouse may enjoy hearing how you will construct a better future for both of you.
Speech #3 “Get to the point” gives you a chance to convey your thoughts in a clear and concise manner. This speech can be a rehearsal of asking for a date.
Speech #4 “How to Say it” reminds you the selection of words and sentence structures can make a huge difference in the end result with the same old material.
Speech #6 “Vocal Variety” is a golden opportunity to project your enthusiasm and charm through your voice.
When you get to Speech #10 “Inspire Your Audience”, it may well be the speech you propose to him/her, inspiring a formation of a new family. Giving speeches is a great way of showing who you are, what you know, what you care for, and where are you going. By delivering versatile and enjoyable speeches, you will come out ahead in the game of love
Bottom Line: Your speech manuals are your road maps to success.
(4) Develop your evaluation and listening skills. These two vital skills are not only for speech evaluations. We listen, watch, and evaluate people at all levels all the time. We observe word choice, body language, eye contact, and personalities. Relationships provide us opportunities to use our best judgment. Developing evaluation skills helps you clearly see the pros and cons of being with someone you are interested in. You can even offer some positive feedback to help another person grow. In fact, the ideal situation is to exchange feedbacks with your potential partner on a regular basis. Loops of honest and constructive feedbacks build trust in relationship, and are considered ‘quality time’ together.
In the early stage of any relationship, evaluations help paint a realistic picture. “Is she interested in me?” “How much of a chance do I have?” “What does he care about?” “Do we have common interests besides Toastmasters” “What kind of person is she?”
You will be better prepared to answer these questions if your evaluation skills are sharp.
Bottom Line: Your listening and evaluating skills improve all of your relationships. Pay attention to what people say.
(5) Develop conversation skills. Communication starts the minute you walk into the meeting room. Club members may have time for conversations before or after meetings. This is especially true for clubs that meeting in the evening. If time allows, arrive early and stay for the entire meeting. You have more opportunities to talk to other members and guests, and your club benefits from the extra help setting up for the meeting and cleaning up the venue.
Bottom Line: Spend quantity time in Toastmasters as well as quality time.
Make the best use of your leadership role
(1) Serve as an officer in your club. In order to serve the members, your official duties give you valid reasons to approach members. You need to get the job done!
You do not have to invent your pickup lines. Your officer’s manual has plenty. “Hi, Maggie. This is John Doe, VPE of XYZ Toastmasters. I noticed you haven’t served in any formal meeting role for the last several meetings. Will you participate in our next meeting as the Joke Master? We look forward to hearing you practice your humorous speaking skills.” This is a good way for John to have a meeting role filled and to see Maggie again.
Do your job well and the members will get to know you better. Whether you are VPPR interacting with local media, VPM following up guests and signing up new members, SAA greeting visitors and participants, VPE calling members for assignments, President coordinating club functions, you will be recognized for your leadership contributions. As Toastmasters, we value speech contents and presentation. Your officer jobs provide the contents of these conversations, and it is up to you to present them well. Since you know you will be scrutinized by the single club members, you will do what is necessary to strengthen these skills. By performing your officer duties tastefully, you will benefit your club as well as your personal, if not your dating, life.
Single members may have more flexibility to devote time and effort to the club’s success. When your club is thriving under your leadership, this aura of success gives you an extra edge to attract others.
Performing district officer duties requires dressing up to conduct club visits, attend contests and executive meetings. Your role and title give you a positional advantage. In a way, you are a mentor, a supervisor, or even a hero. Your leadership qualities and experience projects an appealing image of success. It is always easier to talk to a member as a District Governor, than as a new member who has little idea what is going on.
Bottom Line: Leadership quality only shows when you are practicing it.
(2) Participate in Toastmasters activities. International conventions, District and Regional conferences, club, area, and division contests, joint meetings, demo meetings, and special theme meetings are great events to meet other people. While you are communicating with an interesting fellow member, you can glimpse at their left hand for a wedding ring. Being an active Toastmaster provides ample opportunities to meet special people. You can even be more effective by volunteering to be an organizer or a presenter. Whether you are the conference chair, committee chair, facilitator, or a speaker, you are in the spot light. You have more ‘stage time.’ You have more opportunities to show your strength and style. Through volunteering in Toastmaster activities, you polish your leadership and communication skills, making you a more versatile person in dating or in real life.
A few years ago, I planned and executed an acclaimed demonstration meeting. I received many inquires from other clubs, asking me to share my secrets of success. I went out with one of the inquirers for lunch.
Every district conference needs workshop presenters to share their experience and ideas. Being a presenter, just like being a prepared speaker in a meeting, is highly visible and appreciated.
Bottom Line: The Toastmasters network enriches your life by connecting you with more people..
Your ability to communicate well and to project leadership qualities is vital in any relationship. In Toastmasters, you learn the right skills and attitude to be a better person who automatically qualifies as a better spouse.
Being a single member requires some adjustments in your behavior and mindset. This article has offered some strategies and directions to maximize your effort as a single Toastmaster. Try them out.
Make your presence in Toastmasters an educational, fun, and rewarding experience for everyone around you. On the chosen path, you may find yo