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Early Birds Toastmasters Three Years Later

Almost three years ago to the day, I gave my CC9 speech at my then home club Nairobi Toastmasters on the need to set up a new toastmasters club. It's been my great privilege since then to see dozens of enthusiastic men and women come together and form what is without a doubt the best club in Kenya - Early Birds Toastmasters. Recently one of our members at Early Birds who flew back to San Francisco where he's domiciled told me that Early Birds also beats hands down the three clubs he visited in San Francisco. I am excited at how far we've come and I look forward to another three years of being part of the born ready leaders at Early Birds Toastmasters.

Enjoy the speech below

Early Birds

How many can tell me what the first toastmasters promise is?

Fellow toastmasters and guests, today I’d like to present you with an opportunity. An opportunity that helps you achieve that first promise, but can also result in so much more. My friends - both old and new - today I want to ask for your support in the creation of a new toastmasters club, The Nairobi Early Birds Toastmasters Club, that will meet once a month at 6:45 in the morning. You can support the new club by attending its meetings, becoming a sponsor, a member, inviting guests or participating in the soon to be held demonstration meeting.

I want to take the next few minutes telling you why we need this club, how it will benefit us individually, and what we need to do to make it a reality.

We currently have four chartered clubs in Nairobi and at least four more in the foundational stages, so the question is why do we need another one? The Early Birds Club is needed because unlike all these other clubs, which meet at lunchtime, in the afternoon, or in the evening this one will meet in the morning. 

One of the major challenges facing toastmaster clubs is the members’ sheer inability to make it for meetings on time. This could be because of demanding schedules, heavy traffic, or evening classes. Equally needing redress is the problem that when all we do in toastmasters is give speeches or take roles, we risk relegating Toastmasters to just another item on our daily to-do list instead of the life changing experience it can be.

Your support today can help overcome these challenges, by creating a club that meets early in the morning.

When I look at some of your faces, I can almost read your minds thinking: “but 6:45 AM is too early?”

Is there really any benefit to holding a club meeting starting so early in the morning and is there anything for you to be gained by supporting such an early morning club? I don’t want to brush off this concern simply by talking about worms. Instead I want you to recall throughout your lives and career what you have done when you wanted to achieve success?

When in school, did you get up before the rooster crowed to prepare for your lessons ultimately resulting in you performing well in your exams? At work, did you get to the office earlier than everyone, being more productive and catching the eye of your boss when it came to promotions? In your business, did you make use of the quite of the morning to strategize, helping you deliver greater revenues and reduced costs?

So when it comes to transformative change through the benefits of toastmasters, is 6:45 once a month really too early?

But the benefits of morning meeting are overrated, no one will come they retort.

On the contrary: your supply of willpower is greatest in the morning, when you are fresh from sleep and harbor no negative experiences or thoughts. As James Karundu can attest this time has been found by clubs such as Business Network International to be the most opportune for achieving the greatest productivity. One productive hour in the morning can transform your entire day. 

Another benefit is the relatively lighter traffic and calendar at this time of the day makes it easy to get to the meeting and enjoy it without disruption – ensuring crisper and more fruitful sessions.
What other reason does one have to come? CEOs and senior managers will be naturally attracted to meetings held during the least busy part of their day and this is a plus if you’ve been trying to get their attention. The friendly social atmosphere that is prevalent in toastmasters gives you a great chance to meet with them and build strong rapport.

“But I’m just too busy, I can’t spare the time” is something else you expect to hear.

Well according to research by the Times magazine, 1 in 4 of us spends 30 hours in a year just glancing at our phone to see if there’s anything new. All Early Birds asks for is 12 hours in a year.

Whether or not you can attend the morning meetings and whether or not you can become a member, your support for the creation of this club will change someone’s life for the better, and that will be a legacy you can forever be proud of as a toastmaster.

If you do not support the formation and development of the Early Birds Club, we risk losing an opportunity to make a real difference through toastmasters; but if you do you shall be a pioneer of a club that epitomizes success comprising the go-getters of society and business. A club that radiates energy and optimism and imbues in them a positive buzz that lasts the whole day and contributes to their achievements.

Are you still trying to figure out what is first toastmasters promise? Let me conclude with my personal story and why I believe the Early Birds Club can help you, me and future toastmasters keep the promise: the promise to attend meetings regularly.

The year I joined toastmasters, 2008 was one of the worst years of my life. A combination of factors had led to my business nearly collapsing; the post-election violence had personally affected me, and my life held little meaning beyond eating, working, and sleeping.

In late 2008 when I attended my first toastmasters meetings, it was the catalyst that began my transformation. At every meeting my self-confidence got a boost, I met a new friend, and my life became more meaningful. Regrettably because of problems stated before, I was not able to attend meetings regularly, and I felt an almost physical loss each time, being away from what had become a second home.

Toastmasters is much more than a place to improve your communication skills. Toastmasters can be the place you meet your future spouse, interview for your perfect job, or achieve your life’s mission. By giving everyone a chance to attend productive meetings, despite their time challenges we can put meaning in others’ lives.

Today, I am making this speech, not simply to meet the objectives of this project, but I want you to give you the chance to make a difference. To do this you can commit your support to Early Birds Club through your signature on this document. I am pleased to say that my organization has committed to giving meeting space for the first 6 months, so the ball is already rolling. Sign up to support Early Birds Nairobi Toastmasters Club, fulfill your toastmaster promise, and change lives starting today.


Tullis said…
This Club has changed my life. So kudos to Harry and all those unmentioned Heroes and Heroins who made this club a reality!
Harry Karanja said…
Thanks and is great to hear that the club has had a positive impact on your life. By playing a role in the development of the club you are one of the heroes/heroines who have contributed to the clubs success.

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