by Megan K. Whitney
Where do Toastmasters go after attaining the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award? What do they do? I attended a meeting of the DTM Masters Toastmasters Club of Arlington on a quest to answer these questions. I arrived excited to see these seasoned Toastmasters in action and was catapulted into a journey around the world as speakers from Australia, England, Hong Kong, California and Connecticut appeared before me on webcams and participated in the meeting.
Members of the DTM Masters club hone their advanced communication and leadership skills through dialogue (D), training (T) and mentoring (M). Each member’s magnetizing dialogue equally engaged the speaker and the audience from the moment the meeting began. They mentored a junior Toastmaster through comprehensive analysis of his prepared speech that he will deliver in an upcoming competition. During a round robin evaluation the DTM Masters offered suggestions for maximizing the impact of the speech as well as tools the speaker could use to improve the speech.
Extemporaneous speech takes on a new meaning for the DTM Masters members. When one speaker for a prepared speech was delayed, a club member from Australia used five minutes of this time to deliver a speech about a randomly selected word – fashion. The speaker engaged the audience with humor at the outset citing his own fashion sense and weaved a powerful message of the need to focus on clothes as something to provide to others in need rather than disposable garb of the time.
An example of the club’s commitment to training and collective personal growth was its members’ incorporation of quotes from the leadership book How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life by John C. Maxwell. The meeting’s message focused on the importance of introspection, self-discovery and acceptance of one’s journey to change in a positive way. That message taught me techniques I will use both as a Toastmaster and as a person.
I encourage you to attend a DTM Masters meeting and witness the extraordinary skills of its members, their humbleness, their ability to impart helpful techniques for speakers to improve, and their commitment to helping each other and guests to become their best self.
Megan Whitney (CC/CL) is an editor for the District 27 Public Relations team and is the past Vice President of Education and current Treasurer for Challenger Toastmasters, which meets at Asahi Restaurant in Courthouse Plaza (2500 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite G), Arlington, Va., at 7 PM on the first and third Tuesday of the month.