James Hurford DTM

James Hurford DTM
James Hurford DTM

Joined:  July 2014

Club:  Anglia Communicators Club 3380

Roles: President, Area Director, VPMembership

What did it feel like when you earned your DTM and how did you celebrate?

I felt a bit of a wolly with the DTM gong around my neck for a whole evening but I was mightily impressed by the plaque.

My club at the time, Winelands, presented my DTM at the club awards night at Simonvlei Winery, Western Cape. We celebrated by opening plenty of bottles of
wine. It seemed the appropriate thing to do at a winery.

What was your greatest personal achievement on the journey to your DTM and   why is it so special to you?

Discovering ‘The Golden Thread’. It gave me self-belief. It was liberating.

Who was the most influential mentor(s) on your journey and why?

I entered Toastmasters and a whole new world opened up for me. I met and was coached by Aletta Rochat, Past District Director Southern Africa, Present
International Director, Region 11. It was then I knew I’d found my second career. I just took-off.

Annien Smith, Past President Winelands Club. A born coach who led Winelands to become one of the top clubs in Southern Africa.

Having achieved the highest educational award that TMI can bestow, what new goals are you looking forward to?

I’m not one for collecting DTM’s but I am one for learning and stretching myself.  My next goal, Division Director.

What tips or advice do you have for members on the DTM journey?

I never set out to achieve a DTM. I just wanted to be a better speaker.

Very early on in my Toastmasters journey I was told by the President, Annien  Smith, “When you join one club you can visit any club”.

That was a watershed moment.

I figured, if I wanted to be a better speaker faster, I just needed to speak more.  Instead of going to two meetings a month, I could go to three, four or five
meetings a month by visiting other clubs.

Within three years I achieved DTM but that wasn’t the only benefit of visiting and speaking at other clubs. Here’s what I found:

  • Speaking more regularly helps you develop faster
  • You only learn by stepping out of your comfort zone
  • Visiting other clubs with new audiences stretches you
  • Every Toastmaster you meet can teach you something

“There are two types of speakers;

Those who get nervous and those who are liars.”
~ Mark Twain