Monday, September 15, 2008

What's your club's "rituals"?

A recent article by Jackie Huba (click here) about the importance of rituals for die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fans in cities outside of Pittsburgh got me thinking about whether or not there were any rituals within Toastmasters that added to the experience of a meeting.

Jackie points out...
Rituals are the code of ceremonies observed by an organization. They are the shared experiences of a group. They create emotional glue. To an outsider, a ritual can be weird, wacky or just plain stupid. To people inside the organization, they may be metaphors for life, death, or renewal. For never-say-die Steelers fans, rituals can symbolize all of the above.
She also provides some fun examples ...
... at the Chicago Steelers bar (and others I've visited), the rituals were abundant:
Does your Toastmasters club have any rituals?

Perhaps all the club officers make it a point to talk to guests and ask them what brought them to Toastmasters.
Then if the Toastmaster introduces the guests during the meeting and asks them "what brought them to Toastmasters" it gives the guest a chance to speak in front of the club (after having practiced their response before the meeting when all the club officers asked the same question).

In one of my clubs, we always ask if anyone has had a "public speaking success outside of the club". We feel that this is important because Toastmasters is about developing skills in a supportive environment, but the acid test is when you apply your skills in the "real world" !

What rituals could your club develop to boost the excitement of each meeting?
Have you heard about a new ritual that will be started at the Fall 2008 District 53 conference?

It is being called "The Parade of Banners" and if you saw the opening ceremonies of the Olympics... well, you have not seen anything until you have seen the D53 Parade of Banners !

Clubs are encouraged to bring their (full size) club banner and nominate someone (who will be at the conference) to carry your club banner in the Parade. Don't worry if your club does not have a full size banner... contact Mike Aron, Chairperson for the Parade of Banners, for alternative ideas.

Will this become a ritual for District 53?
Come to the Fall conference and find out.

As Jackie's article summarizes...

... it's repetition of rituals combined with emotional subtext that creates meaning. People will tell their friends and family about the rituals they experience when the context is right. That just leaves it up to an organization being open and brave enough to establish and follow rituals that's difficult...

As the District theme says ... Be The Change You Want To See !
... and build the rituals that will take your club to a new level !

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