In Toastmaster I have been trained to "listen, think and speak" and I believe our new Leaders ought to be reminded of this basic principles. I was at the COT (Club Officers Training) for Division W at the WIM and I believe that I should take some time to do a review and hopefully, my views rightly or wrongly, can be discussed amongst those who value the training we gained in Toastmasters to further improve the organisation and its members.
Before I proceed to state my views I must qualify myself here that what I state here is my personal view and not of any club, district, division or any individuals. It is not my intention to be critical of any individual but as Toastmasters I felt we must be thankful for the evaluation we receive.
I like first to question the leaders of the District as to what COT is for. To me it is to prepare our Club Leaders when they take up office. How can a leader learn something on 28th June to take office on 1st July? Is this too short a time for anyone to learn, plan and prepare their task during their term? If we notice the high rate of clubs collapsing and lots of members disheartened I am not surprised as we have half-baked leaders - though it is not entirely their fault.
It is about time our District and even International Leaders rethink about this. Can we have our election, say in December and have our COT before April the following year so that they will have time to learn, prepare and plan. If we are elected in May and be trained in June (which I learn is the earliest so far) and most of the time in July or August, how can you do our job well?
My next issue is on the subject or the substance that is being provided to the trainees or club officers. Most of the time, I observed that the subject is more on how to become a President Distinguished Club by getting the 10 points. Here we are taught on the bottom line alone. Why are we so concerned about the points when what we should be focusing is how to make our members to be better members and better leaders.
In my opinion, the purpose of the COT is to train the club officers and what we are doing is totally irrelevant. What I like to see is a session focussing on the individual club officers portfolio. If he is the President, how do we train him to be an effective President. I am sure if each club officers are empowered with the respective knowledge and skills the club would function better and members would benefit from it. Here again, as a President, we should also train him on the duties and responsibilities of the various club officers so that he is aware as to who is doing what. Of course he can read all the books and expect him to know everything and if this is so then we do not need the COT at all. The COT should be more focused on issues that will help the club officers to do their job better.
My next point is on the quality of the Facilities. When I was at WIM for the training, I was asked to go to a room somewhere at the top and a bunch of us went and then someone else told us that is further at the top. We waited and waited and finally the door is opened and we sat. Unfortunately, the trainers were not able to proceed for some reasons or another and I left in disgust. How can this happen? Why can't someone do something whilst we wait? It is just a group of non-comunicado affair to me; when we teaches people to communicate. This may not be the fault of Dr Sharon but I hope someone in WIM must be alert enough and rectify the situation.
Finally, my disappointment is with the selection of Trainers. Whilst I like to encourage Division and Area Officers to take on the job, I strongly recommend that all these people must go for training themselves - and be trained thoroughly. How can they impart to us when they themselves are 'green horn'? We want the best and we expect the best. We want to have great clubs and if the kind of trainers we have I am afraid we would not go far.
Trainers should not deviate. They should only focus on the syllabus but with the topic given I don't blame them. As I have said we should train the club officers to be prepared for their respective role but what I hear is that personal opinions are expressed. To me trainers personal opnions should be kept to themselves. Let the participants suggest on ways to improve their club and let the participants share their experiences. Trainers should shut-up - just listen and let the participants contribute. Your job is a facillitator and not to express your personal likes or dislikes. Worst never to argue with the participant who merely ask a simple question.
Before I conclude, let me also say a few good words to the organisers. They have done well, starting on time and ending on time - this is something I commended. They may not have the power to secure good premises and trainers but I hope future leaders should consider future trainings be don for the whole District and be held in Bangi where Maybank, Petronas, RHB Bank, and others have their training centres there. We must invest in training as the club leaders of today will be the International Leaders of tomorrow.
I must also commend on our three District Officers for being present and being there. Please recommend to TI that we need to have some changes, like our AGM & Election should be held earlier and our COT be done at least three months before they take office.
Our District is now most likely to be in the top 6 spot in the world and I hope we can achieve better result in the years to come.