By Sean Kern

President, CCET

Fellow Toastmasters and Guests,

I cannot begin to tell you how much I look forward to each and every meeting.  The opportunity to see our members develop their communications and leadership skills as well as a chance to learn from the diverse styles and speech content make every meeting enjoyable.  To be honest, I could not really imagine going to another club…there really is no place like home.  Or so I thought…

Do not get me wrong.  My heart is and will always be with CCET, but sometimes our professional or personal lives takes us on a journey away from our club locale.  Does that mean we should put our development on hold until we return?  The answer is a simple no.  There are 14, 350 clubs in 122 countries around the world and just like each one of us, they each exhibit their own unique personality.  That is what I found when I attended the Oyster Point Toastmasters Club in Newport News, VA last week.

My job brought me to the Newport News area for the next 10 weeks.  I really did not want to stop progressing in my Competent Leadership Manual, so I searched the Toastmasters International website (www.toastmasters.org), found a local club, and contacted the club Vice President, Education.  He was very welcoming and encouraged me to attend their next meeting.

I arrived early and began meeting Oyster Point Toastmasters immediately.  They opened the meeting and I was fascinated.  Much was the same, but there were key differences as well.  They opened with the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.  They had a Listen Up! Master (he asked questions at the end of the meeting to see if members were listening critically–very cool!).  Their meeting agenda had precisely delineated time slots for every item.  The speakers were great!  I even had the opportunity to serve as a Speech Evaluator (and check off a CL task!).

All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to going again…of course, I miss CCET, but I definitely encourage you all to consider visiting other Toastmaster clubs, make new friends that share your same passion, and bring back great ideas for how we might improve our own club.

There’s no place like home…but you can get pretty close!

Until next time,

Sean