Successful Winter Club Officer Training of District 109 Division E

What was your highlight of the last week? Looking back on the second week of 2024, the District 109 Division E club officer training was my highlight. Let me tell you why.

The short answer is because of everybody who was involved in the organising and attending the event.

The long answer can be divided into three parts:

  • Bingo for  speed networking
  • Workshops on mentoring and succession planning
  • Drinks at the bar

Bingo for speed networking

Have you ever been to a networking event? And of a scale from 1 to 10, how boring was it? Some are really good and others not so much. I’ve attended quite a few during the past couple of months and one thing I’ve noticed was that sometimes attendees don’t mingle so well. Seniors network with seniors or people they know. The same applies to juniors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but networking benefits from talking to people outside your peer group. Playing bingo is a great way to achieve this and is based on the following set of rules:

  • Everybody gets a bingo card
  • The bingo card is filled by 4×4 squares, each square containing a statement
  • You need to find a person who fulfills the statement in the respective field. Get their signature on the card and exchange contact details (e.g. LinkedIn)
  • Whoever has a row or column filled with signatures first yells “Bingo!”

We have prepared Toastmasters related Bingo statements and the event was a success. The participants of the training were fully engaged and the first one screamed “Bingo” after 12 minutes – WOW! 

In case you are intersted, the template for our bingo cards and the used questions are available on Canva via this link. We’ve had so many statements that we managed to generate three different bingo cards.

Mentoring and succession planning workshops

Division E of District 109 consists of both English and German speaking clubs, plus the only trilingual club (DE/ENG/FR) in continental Europe. Thus the Division E club officer trainings usually offer both German and English speaking sessions. I was attending the German workshop sessions and learned a lot. In the first part we had an expert from one of the German speaking clubs talk about the mentoring program which she has developed and implemented in two clubs – one in Salzburg and one in Zurich. My two key take-aways are the following:

  1. For a successful mentoring the chemistry between mentor and mentee is key. The higher the level of chemistry, the more likely it is that the mentoring will succeed.
  2. Coaching and mentoring are not the same. One key difference in the relationship is how much a coach or a mentor speaks. A coach primarily listens, whereas a mentor has as much speaking time – if not more – than the mentee.

The second topic in the German speaking session was about succession planning. I think this is a very important topic and usually does not get the attention it deserves. Having a well built club committee and smooth handover are key factors for the future success of a club. In this session we opened the floor and asked the participants in the room what they thought was important for succession planning. The group came of with three key categories:

  1. Strategy and Timeline
  2. Empathy and Suitability for the Club Officer Roles
  3. Transfer of Knowledge and Reliability

I’ve digitized my notes and the key take-aways of the workshop are available in this document. For anybody who is looking for a successor or doing some sort of handover, I highly recommend to have a look at these notes. I was impressed by how actively members participated and the experiences they were willing to share. 

Drinks at the bar

Once all is done and cleaned up, it’s nice to go for a round of beers at a local bar. It doesn’t really matter which bar it is, but it matters who tags along. After being actively involved in moderating and running two sessions, I’ve enjoyed to wind down with a cold beer and exchanging impressions of the evening with others. 

One thing I love about Toastmasters is that I get to meet a ton of people I otherwise probably would not have met. This has certainly increased in my current role as Area Director and I’m very much looking forward to how the next six months of my term will be.

All the best and until soon,

Aline ☀️

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