What is a TLI, and why should I attend?

January is around the corner, and all of a sudden Toastmasters everywhere are starting to chatter about their upcoming TLI. If you’re new to the Toastmasters world, it may seem like you’re also dealing with some TLI: Too Little Information. What is this TLI stuff, anyway?

What is TLI?

TLI stands for Toastmasters Leadership Institute. This training occurs at the District level twice a year, at the beginning of the Toastmasters year in July, and again in January. TLIs are held on multiple dates at different locations to allow as many members of the district to allow as many members to attend as possible.

Why should I attend TLI this year?

  1. You’re a club officer. If you’re a club officer, you need to attend training on your role, even if you’ve already held it before. This will help you learn not only the basics of your role (What are my responsibilities? What resources are available to me on the Toastmasters International website? Who can I talk to if I get stuck?) but also give you a chance to talk with others who are in the same boat. Each club needs a minimum of four officers trained. In 2015, Best of Dallas Toastmasters had 100% of our officers trained, and we hope to continue the trend!
  2. You’re interested in serving as an officer in the future. Maybe you’re a brand-new member. Maybe you’ve just had a promotion at work or a new baby or you’ve been taking a huge courseload at school. Maybe you just want to focus on your communication skills for a while. For whatever reason, you’re not feeling ready to take on an official leadership role just yet, but there’s that one role that looks like something you could do in the future. Go ahead and attend the training for that office! Not only will it give you a clearer idea of what the role entails, but you’ll also be able to hit the ground running when you do take office, eliminating a lot of potential stress.
  3. You want to expand your Toastmasters experience in other ways. Club officer trainings are not the only things that happen at TLI! Want to get more involved in speech contests? Judges training is often being offered. Curious about what exactly you would need to do to become a Distinguished Toastmaster? There’s a training about that. Informal lunch-and-learn sessions may cover anything from hosting open houses to organizing contests. Who knows? You might just find your new favorite area of service.
  4. You want to meet other Toastmasters. Building friendships within your own club is vital, but there’s so much more out there! At TLI, you’ll have the chance to meet your fellow Toastmasters from different clubs across the District (and occasionally some from outside). You’ll meet people from corporate clubs, advanced clubs, clubs that give speeches in multiple languages, and clubs that meet first thing in the morning. You’ll meet District leaders and members who just gave their Icebreaker speech last week. Each of their Toastmasters experiences is different. But you’ll never know if you don’t get out and meet them! TLI is a friendly and welcoming environment for making friends outside of your club.
  5. You want to be a better leader. The need for those core skills from the CL manual—listening, critical thinking, providing feedback, and the like—never goes away, but there is always more to learn. How do we manage conflict when working as part of a team? How can we tell if our style of leading is a healthy one? How can we improve communication in order to make sure everyone is working towards shared goals? If you’ve ever wished you could be more effective at making and managing change in your everyday life, TLI is the place to be.

Okay, when is TLI this year, and where do I show up?

Specific locations will be posted soon on the District 50 Toastmasters training page, but dates have already been set. There will be TLIs taking place on January 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, and 23, as well as a last-chance training in early February. And if you’re closer to the Ft. Worth side of the Metroplex, you can always attend TLI with our neighbors in District 25, just be sure to let them know when you register that you’re from District 50 so that you can get credit for your training.

Toastmasters is where leaders are made, and TLI is where we learn many of the skills that make that happen. We hope to see you there!