The question at the heart of moment 6, achievement recognition, is how do you know that your effort and success are appreciated? The criteria proposed are
- Send award applications to World Headquarters or apply for awards online immediately when members complete educational requirements
- Maintain and post member progress charts at every meeting
- Formally recognize member achievements
- Recognize club, district, and international leaders
- Publicize member and club achievements
- Use the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) for planning and recognition
I think we all agree that the DCP is critical to our success, that we’ve got to process award applications promptly, and that we need to celebrate our successes, but we’ve also got to ask what’s the best way to get this done? Jeffrey Cufaude reminded of the power of personal attention instead of formal recognition a while ago and suggested handwritten notes: “Contrast the likely value of that effort with a short handwritten note in which you personally comment on the specific contributions the volunteer made. Which would engage you more?”
Notes would be fine in our club, but there might be other forms of personal attention. What do you think would be the power of using a remark like “I remember your icebreaker presentation and the gestures you used today showed that you’ve really learned how to use your hands more effectively” in an evaluation? There must be many ways to find to let members know that we’re paying attention to them and we appreciate what they have to say. What do you think would be the effect of encouraging members to speak by showing that we’ve missed hearing from them? “We haven’t heard a presentation from you in quite a while. How would you like to speak at our next meeting?” That would show that we’re paying attention to their progress and we want them to keep growing.
About that suggestion to recognize leaders—I don’t think we should take away from our formal leaders the recognition that is due them, but I think there’s plenty of room to recognize effort in our organization that is not recognized or appreciated sufficiently. Inviting the winners of contests at many levels to speak at our club might be a way to provide extra recognition for them and an oppotunity for the members of our club to learn from them. What about seeking out thought leaders in the Toastmaster community and inviting them to speak at our club—Toastmasters who have shown success at using skills learned in our organization in a wider community or who have been successful at membership building, club rebuilding, or another essential skill.
There’s some suggestions to warm you up for this moment. You can tell us what ideas you have in a comment to this post or you can save them for our discussion in the club.