Toastmasters Division Director Position–5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Success

Tomorrow at the District 30 Toastmasters Spring Conference, I am throwing the proverbial hat in the ring and running for Division Director position of the South Division.

Actually, I threw my hat in the ring months ago, but tomorrow is the election, because the Division Director is an elected position, as opposed to the Area Director position, which is an appointed one.

I have been preparing for this position for quite some time, and I wanted to pass on my ideas on how to prepare yourself for success as a Division Director for those considering the position.

  1. Be an Area Director–since you will be directing all of the Area Directors in your Division, you need to know from their perspective what they will need to be doing in their roles.
  2. Be an Asst. Division Director–all this past year, I have assisted the current Division Director in order to find out what the Division Director position entails.   I have attended all of the District Executive Committee or DEC meetings, I have assisted with all of the Area and Division level Speech Contests, and helped with other areas such as running the Division makeup training for club officers who have not attended  the District-level Toastmasters Leadership Institute.   Besides learning how to do the job, I have gotten to know the people at the District level of leadership.    I will go into the Division Director position hitting the ground running because I already know and have worked together all of the people I will be dealing with.
  3. Recruit an Asst. Division Director–I hope I have been helpful to the Division Director, but I knew that going into the Division Director is still a daunting task even if I have already practiced it a year as an Assistant myself, so I was sure to recruit an Asst. Division Director who will help me with the planning of all the events in the Toastmasters year.   He is a fellow project manager and understands the need for good planning.
  4. Recruit and interview the potential Area Directors–you can’t choose the Area Directors, you can only recommend them to be chosen by the incoming District Director.   However, the selection process by the incoming District Director can be made easier if you yourself gather information on the Area Directors, including: a) their previous leadership experience at the club level, b) their ability to use computers, which is crucial in doing some of the tasks they must accomplish, and c) what they want to get out of the position in terms of leadership growth.   In between the lines, the interview should be an opportunity for you to judge what kind of a fit this person will have with you and the rest of the team.
  5. Have a pre-planning retreat with your Area Directors–the Asst. Division Director are planning to have a planning retreat with all of the Area Directors in the month of May BEFORE the regular training takes place.   This will give us a chance to present to the Area Directors what the requirements and benchmarks they will have to clear from the District perspective.   And then, rather than say, “you should start doing your Club Visit reports in July”, we will put the District calendar including all relevant deadlines on a whiteboard and ask the Area Directors to help us put together a plan of when they have to get things done.   As far planning is concerned, if they are just shown it, they won’t own it.   They have to participate in the planning if they are to buy into why they have to complete certain tasks.

This will not guarantee success as a Division Director, but it will greatly put the odds in your favor.   These are just suggestions, and anyone who is a Toastmaster who either has been a Division Director or who is planning on being one is welcome to give me feedback on other tips for success.

To the best of success in the 2016-2017 Toastmasters year which starts July 1st, 2016!


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