Southern Africa District (District 74)
Press release [724 words]
For immediate publication
EXCLUSIVE TO THE STAR WORKPLACE
Volunteer for your next promotion
Companies are willing to pay top dollar for effective leaders.
This should be good news for you, no matter where you are in the organization. To make more money, you need a promotion.
To get a promotion, you have to prove you're a good leader.
The problem is, of course, how to do that? If you're stuck in a job with no leadership opportunities, it's impossible to prove to your boss that you are the next team leader he's been looking for.
That's when savvy workers find other ways to impress their bosses – they find a leadership position outside their work.
There are many NGOs and non-profit organizations that need good leaders even more than companies do. If you want to be a leader, all you usually have to do is ask, and bam! The job's yours!
These organizations may operate as "not for profit", but they still have to generate money so that they can do their charitable work.
This means they have to have products, customers, marketing, operations – exactly the same things that "real" businesses have. If you've always wanted to be head of marketing, you can try it out for a year. If you want to learn how to manage finances, volunteer to be the treasurer of a non-profit.
Volunteer organizations such as Toastmasters rely on a large core of leaders every year to take their organizations forward. You can start working at a management level almost immediately. And the benefit is that you're working with other leaders who can mentor you and help you achieve your goals.
In "real" businesses, you and your colleagues are often fighting for the same promotion, so it's unusual to get people who actively want you to succeed. But in volunteer organizations leadership and good management is so scarce that everybody wants you to make it big.
Toastmasters is an ideal match for leaders because Toastmasters is a non-profit training organization that teaches people public speaking and presentation skills – key skills that every company needs.
Toastmasters is run like a global training franchise, with every club operating as a different business. Over three million people have benefited from Toastmasters training over the years. Not bad for an organization that doesn't pay any salaries to its club management teams!
Toastmasters even has volunteer regional managers which means you can find yourself running a region like the East Rand or Nothern Johannesburg and Malawi in a year or two, something guaranteed to give your career a boost.
As a leader in a Toastmasters structure you get world-class training twice a year to help you make a success of your business; you learn how to network with other business leaders in the same industry; and you learn how to manage teams – all key skills for a manager back in your own company.
People with successful careers have learned to manage complex projects with large teams and large budgets. This is another skill that you can learn by volunteering.
For example, Rotary runs cycle races and other projects to raise money for its activities. Toastmasters runs two conferences a year as a service to its members. The next one, in May 2006, is aiming to have 500 delegates, which is a large conference even in the business world.
Are you going to find yourself running a large project like that at work any time soon? Probably not.
But imagine you were part of the team that successfully pulled it off. That would really impress your boss, look great on your CV, and teach you how to work with large teams and conflicting priorities.
And that's quite apart from the satisfaction and self-confidence you build when your project really succeeds.
With organizations such as Toastmasters, there's always a club near where you work or live, so finding a leadership opportunity is as close as looking for a club on the Internet.
Or, if you really want to demonstrate to your bosses how clued-up you are, start your own Toastmasters club at work.
Every company needs more of its staff to be skilled at giving presentations. By joining or starting your own Toastmasters club, you will not only learn how to manage a team effectively, but also how to give your boss that killer presentation persuading her to give you that promotion.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Erich Viedge at 083-441-0781.
Toastmasters International is a global organization dedicated to personal development. Over three million people have benefited from Toastmasters' presentation skills training since its inception more than 80 years ago.
It has over 200,000 members in most English-speaking countries in the world, but also across Europe. District 74 consists of eight countries in Southern Africa, and is run entirely by volunteers.
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