A Guide to Competent Leadership and Realizing that You Can Get Rewarded for being Grammarian that Many Times!

So, if you aren’t really all that interested in giving CC Speeches, what else can you do at Gavel Club, and more importantly, what do you get to show for it?
It may surprise you, but Gavel Club is definitely more than giving speeches. Of course, giving a speech and performing it well is the core of a successful speaker, and at Gavel, we help you achieve that goal. However, there is another Manual, like the Competent Communication manual, a secret manual that even I didn’t know about until recently – that you can fill if you take up a role at a meeting! cue dramatic music

“Nish! I knew you’d come up with a new way to get role-players”

Now, I know what you’re thinking – this is just Nishedha trying to bait us into taking up roles at meetings, so she doesn’t have to hunt you down and force you to do it every week. While that is only partially true, there really is a higher goal in mind. And so, we will dive into the Competent Leadership Manual, and trace your Competent Leadership (CL) journey should you take up the challenge. If you complete it, you get a shiny (I presume it’s shiny, I don’t know if it’s actually shiny) certificate from Toastmasters International to frame and put on your list of achievements!
First off, the CL manual is easily found online, and I’ll attach a link at the end of this post, so you can check it out, download it, print it, and annoy others into signing it every week. Also, the man on the cover page is a sight for sore eyes. Aptly titled “Competent Leadership: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Better Leader”, this manual basically gives you an excuse to sign up for and complete meeting roles and other leadership positions in a bid to cover the required number of slots.

Like the CC manual, the CL manual is also divided into 10 projects. These are designed to train you in becoming an all-round leader. Of course, there’s a catch. In order to complete one project, you have to fulfil a grand total of THREE meeting roles. So that’s three weeks’ worth of role playing for one page to get done. Sounds tedious, I’m sure, but think of it this way: you know that I am anyway going to make you take up meeting roles in the future (not because I’m evil, okay? It’s because I admire you and I want you to showcase your talents to the club whenever and however you can!), so might as well get your book signed while you’re at it.

Right about now you must be thinking “alright, Nish, we get it! What exactly do we have to do to complete this book?” So, I’ll get right into it. In order to complete the CL manual, you need to get a varying number of slots for meeting roles filled in, for each project. No, you can’t fill multiple slots for Grammarian just because you did it once – the CL manual strictly forbids it. This means that for one meeting role, only one slot in any of the projects can be filled in. You don’t have to complete the projects in order, which is good. So, for example, if I take up the General Evaluator role, I can fill in the relevant slot from Project 5, even though I haven’t had all slots filled in for Project 1. Also, if you take up two roles – for example, Table Topics Speaker and Toastmaster – at the same meeting, you can’t fill in two slots for two different roles. I know, I know, this sounds tiring, but trust me, when you get started, you can actually finish it off really soon! You just have to keep taking up roles and getting someone to fill in the slots. You can ask a fellow Gavelier to do that – each slot is like a mini-evaluation of how well you performed your role, it really is no problem.


Here’s a breakdown of the projects, and what you have to achieve in each, as summarized by yours truly:

Listening

Do you pay attention to others when you’re supposed to? It’s not as simple as we’d think – the guide even has a section titled “How to Listen”, so we really have a lot to learn there. Under this project, you have to complete three out of the following four roles: Speech Evaluator, Table Topics Speaker, Ah-Counter and Grammarian. As you can see, all of these require you to listen to someone in order to do your job properly, so, you get it, right?

Critical Thinking

This project assesses how you analyze the information that you get from all aspects of the meeting and the opinion that you form about it. The manual also asks you to refrain from making decisions too early and be honest about yourself and what you feel with regard to the role you’re playing. To complete this project, you need to have played three roles: Speech Evaluator, Grammarian, General Evaluator.

Giving Feedback

Now I know the title may be too complicated to understand, but this project is easy! For those of you who didn’t get it, the previous sentence was my failed attempt at being sarcastic. This project isn’t so hard – we love telling people what we think about them, don’t we? Roles required: Speech Evaluator, Grammarian and General Evaluator.

Time Management

I know what you’re thinking. This is rich, coming from the Club that never starts a meeting on time. However, the project exists and this could be why we start on time in the future! To complete this project, it is mandatory that you be timer (duh) and either Toastmaster, Speaker or Grammarian.

Planning and Implementation

Man, this isn’t an easy task – just ask any ExCo member from any year, and they’ll nod their heads in agreement or glare at you because you brought up traumatic memories. Basically, this project requires you to plan well and carry out said plans without making too many mistakes. You need to be three out of the following four role-players: Speaker, General Evaluator, Toastmaster and Topicsmaster.

Organization and Delegation

Okay, so this is where things get interesting. For this project to be completed, you need to get involved in the organization of a club speech contest, special event, membership campaign, PR campaign, help produce a newsletter or help the webmaster out. Now many of you are thinking “Bro, I have done almost all of these things and more”, and that’s right! If you’ve already done this, get a slot filled by one of us, or don’t worry – we have plenty of special events coming up that you can definitely be part of!

Facilitation

This is basically a fancy word that in this context, means “solve problems”. Whenever the agenda hits a snag or something else goes wrong, this project requires you to empower the rest of the team to power through. Be two out of these four roles: Toastmaster, General Evaluator, Topicsmaster and the informal (and one I think most of you will gladly attend to) of befriending a guest. Just wait for a joint meeting, and work your magic.

Motivation

Much like your 10th CC speech which requires you to inspire your audience, this project evaluates how well you encourage someone else or multiple people to keep going and improve themselves. Here, you need to perform two out of the following three roles: Toastmaster, Speech Evaluator and General Evaluator. You also have to perform one of the two following tasks: Chair a club membership campaign or contest, or chair a club PR campaign. You could be thinking “okay, that’ll never happen” but don’t you fear, my friend. Good things are coming this year, and you can totally be a part of one of those things.

Mentoring

This project can be completed when you’ve got some experience, so start coming to meetings regularly, watch how things work and talk to your seniors! Once you think you’re wise enough, you can ask me (or whoever is VPE after me) to assign you a mentee to coach. It’s that simple, but you have to do it responsibly, because your advice is going to shape someone else’s speaking career to a degree. You can either mentor a new member with their first three CC Projects, mentor an existing member with their next three speaking or leadership projects or serve of the guidance committee of a High-Performance Leadership project. That last one is out of Gavel’s scope, so just focus on the first two.

Team Building

This is kind of a ‘well, obviously’ sort of project, but the last one you have to complete centres around your talent with team building – how you get people to work together, how you nurture growth and all that. You have to be both Toastmaster and General Evaluator (at separate meetings) or you can do one out of the following tasks: Chair a club membership campaign or contest, chair a PR campaign, chair a club speech contest, chair a special event, serve as newsletter editor or webmaster. All of these things are things you can do – so don’t worry about it too much.

Some of us are already on the CL path – some of us probably didn’t know about CL until today. Some of us possibly just scrolled down and is reading the last paragraph because they couldn’t be bothered with the whole thing. Either way, completing your CL manual will be a breeze if you just plan your roles with your VPE and get them done. Then there’s one thing checked off your list to Toastmasters greatness! That’s a whole other article, by the way.

Also, side note: keep your VPE in your good books because she/he has to sign the back of your manual for every project you complete. On an unrelated note, I really like chocolate. But I digress.

“Nish, would you like cake instead?”

So, do you think you’re up for the challenge? Plan everything right, and you won’t even have to try that hard. Gavel Club is about speaking, but it is also about making leaders – the Toastmasters International tagline is “Where Leaders are Made”, so, go figure – and we are here to guide you through it. Gavel Club is all about defying the odds and daring to put yourself out there and become an improved version of yourself. So, there really is just one question you need to ask yourself – do you dare to defy?

If you do, then this is the place for you.

Download your CL Manual here: https://yeinfo.com/dtm/cl_manual_265.pdf