By Emily Drenberg DTM
Past District Director
In 2011, I was sent to the Progressive Insurance Call Center in Austin to catch that call center up on some soft-skill training. Half way through the second week that I was there, the training manager sat in on one of the training sessions. At the end of class, she asked me a simple question that completely stumped me: “How are you training this material in eight hours?”
I thought for a moment and responded, “Tina, it’s an eight-hour class.” Tina raised an eyebrow and stated she knew that, but not one of her six trainers in Austin were able to train this class in less than 12 hours. So, she pressed me again: “How are you training this material in eight hours?”
This time, I had an answer! “Oh, that’s easy, Tina – Toastmasters!” That started a long conversation about the many benefits of Toastmasters, some realized and some not realized.
I joined Toastmasters in 2006, and I spent my first two years going over time on everything, absolutely everything. Constantly!!! It took me three long years to master the minute, but once I did, I had it down!
By the time I went to Austin, I was able to nail those training times consistently. Not only that, I was able to help other trainers do the same by showing them how to manage certain areas and control participation by using timing cards. I took what I learned in Toastmasters and applied it to my work environment. If you are not doing, you should start doing that! What you learn in Toastmaster should be leaving Toastmasters.
We all come to Toastmasters for different reasons. Some come to improve speaking skills, some come to develop leadership skills, some come for friendship and camaraderie, and some come to gain confidence.
When I look back over my 17 years in Toastmasters, I have benefited in many ways. The obvious ways include improvements in speaking ability, leadership, organizational skills, and confidence. The not so obvious benefits of my membership in Toastmasters include managing time and relationships. For me, the not-so-obvious benefits have proven to be among the most beneficial benefits.
Two other former members of my original club, Nick and John, have moved on to employment in upper management positions with other large insurance companies. We have remained in contact, and they both shared the same thing with me. Their new companies were both shocked and delighted that both of them hold management meetings that end on time as scheduled! Nick actually said his company told him that is predecessor routinely went two hours overtime on his management meetings, and John said his predecessor routinely went one hour overtime on his management meetings. Just image how much money Nick and John are saving their companies – because they learned to manage time in Toastmasters!
What’s time got to do with it? EVERYTHING!
Emily Drenberg DTM is a member of Grey Matters Toastmasters and is a former district director for District 48.