Episode 6: Harry Potter and the Toastmaster’s Goblet

While bringing my daughter home from college yesterday, I told her she either needed to drive or she’d be taking dictation and doing some math problems for me as I worked on this podcast.

Clara wanted to know what I was working on.

[car conversation about a weighting system to measure out what percentage of the DTM a person has completed based on the number of tasks per award.  There are seven awards…

Mom, seriously?  Seven awards?  Why not compare them to the Harry Potter books?  There are seven of them…]

What can I say?  She’s always brilliant, but this idea is a lot better than a spreadsheet.

Spoilers ahead, as we consider the DTM as a Harry Potter allegory – On the Table.


Getting your DTM should be fun. In that spirit, I presenthp TM Goblet

The DTM Track Compared to the Harry Potter Book Series.

cc hp


Book  1

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


Harry’s introduction to the magical world is like our first intro to Toastmasters.  We see meetings and hear speeches and start our own journey.  We meet trolls, scary teachers, half giants and face off with our great nemesis – in our case, our fear of public speaking.


cl hp

Book  2

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 

HP2Harry’s second year at Hogwarts seems as charming – pun intended – as his first.  But it was watching another wizard in a duel that taught him what he needed to know to win his final battle – just like our meetings.

Many Toastmasters barely open their CL manual.  In corporate clubs in particular – not all of them, but many – the CL is completely ignored.  But like the basilisk under the castle, ignore it at your peril.  Failure to work on the CL can freeze you in place in your DTM quest.


acb hp

Book  3

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


HP3Harry’s third year introduces new, unexpected challenges – even inside his family.  For those who are speeding up their DTM journey, family often don’t get what the TM is trying to do, any more than Harry understands Sirius Black.  Giving all these speeches takes up a lot of time.  As if giving 10 more speeches with more difficult requirements isn’t enough – we may face our own werewolves – the resistance of family or our own lack of confidence.  Cheer up – time is on your side.

alb hpBook  4

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 

HP4Harry finds himself in an Olympic task – maybe you’re feeling that way too as you look at a year’s work as a club officer.  There are tasks you must overcome – the Officer Training sessions, the club success plan.  How will you face your challenges – including trying to present 2 of the Better Speaker and Successful Club speeches – without boring your audience to death?  It’s time to pull out those leadership skills you’ve been learning and expel those doubts.

als hpBook  5

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

HP5Not everyone believes in Harry in the 5th book of the series.  He’s under pressure from the new headmistress who doesn’t seem to know how to run a school as much as a torture chamber. No one believes him or his story about the return of He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Taking on a district office is taking on a lot of new pressures.  As Area Governor, you’re supposed to visit each of your clubs at least 2ce over the year, but I found the job was far more than scheduling a trip across the county.  I got calls about problems with clubs.  I had to run contests and help arrange make up trainings.  I had DEC meetings to attend.  I had a great Division Governor, Richard Friedman, who helped me as much as Dumbledore helped Harry.

On top of that, you’ve got the High Performance Leadership Project requirement – a chance to discover your skills and what you need to develop to be a better leader.  Fortunately, the HPL can be done at any time.

But I will freely admit, it was a tough year for Harry and a tough award for me to achieve.

acs hpBook  6*

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

HP6Harry’s back at Hogwarts with two mysteries – how did his enemy, He Who Shall Not Be Named, come into his powers and how can he be destroyed, and who owned Harry’s textbook before he did?

12 more speeches.  If you’re like me, you picked advanced manuals that were meant to help your career and personal life.  These two manuals were my most challenging.  In retrospect, I could have used a good coach that year, like Harry’s book helped him.

acg hp


Book  7

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

HP7Harry’s a mature wizard now and spends the year on the run.  But there are big tasks that must be done before he is able to defeat Lord Voldemort.

Most people don’t look ahead to see the two hour workshop from the Success: Leadership or Success: Communication series that’s on top of the 2 advanced manuals.

We have big tasks too that can easily trip us up – mentoring a new member seems so simple – but what if they quit before they finish that 3rd speech?  Or if their schedules don’t move them along as quickly as you like?  This last requirement is so simple… and so tricky.

Yes, our DTM is like Harry killing Lord Voldemort.

I TOLD you there would be spoilers.

With all respect to J.K. Rowling and our illustrious leaders in Toastmasters, yes, this works.   (Before anyone asks, no, I don’t have any intention of comparing the DTM journey to Game of Thrones.  No. Just no.)

While we’re talking about young adult literature…


High School Speech and Debate Tournaments Need Judges

November is the start of the high school speech and debate season.  We here at Toastmasters work on our public speaking skills – but it’s like comparing a walk in the park to boot camp when you see what these teenagers do to master their speech skills.  Three or four weekends per month from November to March, these students will prepare, perform and perfect their speeches at local competitions to go to the state and national tournaments.

These local tournaments are scheduled all over the state – and every single one of those tournaments needs good judges.

If you can give an evaluation, you can judge a speech tournament.  You’ve got the skills!

Let’s give back to our communities.  Call your local high schools and ask if they have a speech and debate program where you could volunteer as a judge. One weekend a month will make a difference to the program, to the tournament and especially to those competitors.

Every single Toastmaster I’ve taken to a tournament has said they will do it again.

Prepare to be amazed and impressed! Make the call today!

Thanks today to all of the wizards of words of Toastmasters District 10.  You make magic every time you speak – you change worlds with your words and your acts of leadership.  To all of you, – my greatest respect and appreciation for making Toastmasters a magical place for me to be.

If you want that mathematical analysis of the DTM track… well… My math skills are pretty bad, but I do have a form you can use to fill out on the DTM Track Page.  You can download it from the DTM Track Page on our website onthetablepodcasts.com/DTMTrack.

Music today is from Incompetech.com, for which I’m very grateful, as getting the actual Harry Potter theme music would have been killer expensive.

You can reach us on our contact page, we’ve got a nifty little form for you, or you can use your own email program with our email address.

*Yes, I said book 5.

Just in case you want to make your own Harry Potter graphics, try this site.

Book covers are all property of Scholastic, Inc., and the images are from Amazon.com. No copyright infringement is intended.  Graphics from Flamingtext.com.  Thanks to my daughter, Clara, for being a very good sport and repeating our conversation (more or less) and recording it while I was driving.

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