By Dave Gilman
If you are familiar with a vineyard, it takes a dedicated team to keep it well maintained in order for it to grow. The land needs constant tending, the fruits need to be cultivated, and the bad elements need to be kept out. By doing these things it produces the best fruit.
In the bible there is a scripture in Song of Solomon Chapter 2:15 that states:
It’s the little foxes, that spoil the vines.
Often in life it’s usually not the big things that disrupts our life, rather it is the multitude of many small things over a period of time that causes us the greatest difficulties.
Our club is very much like the vineyard just mentioned. It takes a dedicated, committed team to keep it well maintained and growing. Also, it takes some effort in order to keep the little foxes out. As you know our club is certainly well maintained and were always growing new members. They are the fruit of our club.
If you’ve been a member for any length of time, you’ve probably heard it stated from a multitude of guests that they’ve searched the land far and wide, visited many clubs, and that they often find their way back to our club due to its bountiful harvest of professionalism, organization, and entertaining meetings.
They are right, our club is unique, and although we have a terrific club there are things that we can do to make our club and our vineyard even greater. Currently we have a few little foxes that are spoiling our vines.
At a recent meeting when I was the General Evaluator our club President Jeff Shaw heard me state a reminder at the beginning of the General Evaluation portion of the meeting. Jeff asked me if I could expand upon the list of reminders and discuss club protocol. Listed below are ten of the most common little foxes that spoil our vines. In addition a solution is offered so our vineyard can flourish and grow.
The 10 Most Common Little Foxes:
1. Leaving the Lectern Empty – When you finish a speech end with Mr. or Madam Toastmaster and wait for the Toastmaster or General Evaluator to shake your hand before you leave the lectern.
2. Ending a Speech with a Thank You – At the end of your speech, simply end with Mr. or Madam Toastmaster.
3. Showing up After 6:30 p.m. – Please allow adequate time to arrive before the meeting starts.
4. Addressing only your Assigned Prepared Speaker – When giving a speech evaluation, be sure to address the entire room and speak about your assigned speaker in the 3rd person, this gets everyone in the room involved.
5. Table Topics – Give priority to members that are not on the agenda, this permits all members to make a contribution to the meeting and makes it worth their trip.
6. Misspelling of Member Names on the Agenda – Copy and paste any names on our membership list, without doing so it often leads to misspellings.
7. Missing Elements on the Agenda – Be sure to include speech number, purpose, manual, and speech title on the agenda when you are the Toastmaster.
8. Talking During the Meeting – Sometime it is absolutely necessary to discuss club business while someone is delivering a speech, if so whisper with caution, otherwise wait until between speeches.
9. Distracting Noises – This one is speaking to your subconscious. Sometime members continually click a pen, play with a candy wrapper, or make a continual distracting sound. Please be aware of any tendency to do so and stop.
10. Not Ending the Meeting on Time – We all need to be mindful of keeping each and every speech within the time specified on the agenda.
I hope you will keep these reminders in mind so we can make our club even greater, continue to help it grow, while keeping the bad elements out. Remember, it’s the little foxes that spoil the vines.