Keep Your Club Healthy

Ask these five questions to make sure your club is meeting members’ needs.

By Janet Fuchek

On the road to good health, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so says the old adage. In the world of Toastmasters, the golden apple to keep a club healthy is an inviting atmosphere with opportunities for leadership, communication, and growth.

Never has that been more evident than during this pandemic, with social isolation making the need
for connection more apparent, and the move to online and hybrid meetings allowing for a new way of
looking at the health of a club. If you’re feeling the need to revitalize and reengage your members, then maybe it’s time for a club check-up.

Here are some questions to ask as you assess the health of your club.

Have You Evaluated Your Format?

The three tenets of a healthy club are making sure members are engaged, progressing through their
goals, and most importantly, attending meetings. There is not a specific “medicine” for assessing
success. Just like people, each club has different ways of measuring success. Some clubs have a
professional meeting tone, other clubs have a more relaxed vibe. Neither is wrong, but the
health of your club may rest in finding the right prescription.

Lynn Goodacre of the Thunderbird Toastmasters Club, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, is a
coach specializing in relationships and effective communication. She knows the value of a nurturing
environment, and as Club President, she tries to provide both structure and stimulation to inspire
the membership.

“If a club is functioning well, members are learning, growing, and challenging themselves to try
new things, so the Toastmasters experience is engaging and long-term.”
—Lynn Goodacre

Goodacre recommends meetings incorporate practical aspects, like using Table Topics® to practice
handling interview questions, along with opportunities for creativity, such as having a fun quiz on
meeting content at the close. She also suggests a new-member orientation process, where new members receive an introduction to club agendas, meeting roles, and an overview of Pathways.

Do You Have a Strong Mentoring Program?

In the same way that a buddy system can help people achieve health goals, mentors and coaches help members and clubs be the best they can be. Pairing up with someone can inspire you, hold you
accountable, and help you feel part of a team.

When mentors and mentees create their buddy system, it is a mutually beneficial partnership. If a
mentor can explain and demonstrate an area for improvement, they often improve their own skill
sets. Additionally, a mentee may see something the mentor does from a different vantage point and share their thoughts.

“If a club is functioning well, members are learning, growing, and challenging themselves to try
new things, so the Toastmasters experience is engaging long-term,” says Goodacre, whose club has
achieved President’s Distinguished for 23 years. “Once someone has been in a club for a while, they
may find that guiding other members is the main thing that keeps their love for Toastmasters
alive.”

Are Leadership Opportunities Encouraged?

Goals and milestones assist in creating healthy lifestyles and the feeling of accomplishment, such
as hitting a personal record in weightlifting or running distance. In Toastmasters, keeping goals
top of mind will benefit those looking for fulfillment. Leadership opportunities are often a good
benchmark.

Matheus Mourao, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is District 111 Public Relations Manager, and says he
appreciates the leadership opportunities in Toastmasters. “Outside Toastmasters, I’m more like a specialist and less like a leader, but in Toastmasters, I’m developing my role as a digital marketing leader, which has enabled me to break through some barriers at my job.”

Encourage everyone to run for office, and don’t let the same people rotate through the club officer
roles. Everyone should understand the skills that leadership positions help develop. By learning
what goes on behind the scenes, members gain a vested interest in the club.

Nadia Gilkes, DTM, Vice President Education (VPE) for Jackpot Speakers and Vice President Public
Relations (VPPR) for Educationally Speaking, both in Las Vegas, Nevada, says her clubs encourage
members to attend board meetings to see how decisions are made. “It’s a great opportunity for members who may be thinking about leadership to see what it takes to run the club,” she says.

Adnan Dodmani, a member of Infosys Toastmasters, Hyderabad Prakriti, in Hyderabad, Telangana,
India, recommends leaders try matching people with club officer roles that suit their background
and interests. For instance, if someone is an accountant, they might enjoy being Club Treasurer, or
if someone is in marketing, they might like the VPPR role. “When you assign the work that members
crave, it is done efficiently with enthusiasm and helps them grow in their respective field,” he
says. “When you show them that the club loves them, they will return the club the love it deserves.”

Are You Regularly Recognizing Your Members?

Just as hitting a personal health record and sharing the news with your accountability buddy or on
a fitness app creates an opportunity for celebration and recognition, social media platforms help
connect and recognize club members. As a digital marketing specialist, Mourao, of Brazil, considers
the online platform a place to connect, inform, and engage club members.

His club, Avenida Paulista Toastmasters, has representatives take photos at each meeting and
display achievements on a Facebook carousel post. They post photos of members and their stories on
Instagram and videos of how members overcame public speaking challenges on YouTube.

Gilkes recommends regular contact and transparency with members. As VPE, she reaches out to every
member once a quarter to ensure they’re reaching their goals. Her clubs conduct a Moments of Truth project at least once a year to incorporate member suggestions, such as highlighting special occasions for strong member recognition.

Infosys Toastmasters, Hyderabad Prakriti club, has a member recognition system that includes the
circulation of a digital poster showcasing a member’s achievement on a WhatsApp group that reaches
club members, the District, and alumni. The poster is shared during club meetings and in their
newsletter. Social media posts, as well as certificates, trophies, and prizes, are other ways to
recognize members’ achievements.

Are You Open to New Meeting Ideas?

As you evaluate the health of your club, don’t be afraid to try something new. Sometimes what
worked in the past doesn’t work months or years later.

When District 111 in Brazil wanted to increase member involvement, it began offering a variety of
new events, like debate contests. “A debate helps people respect another point of view, helps them
listen better to others, be more engaged in meetings, and develop better arguments,” Mourao
explains.

Gilkes recommends clubs carve a niche in the market to maintain membership. “Most clubs have a different personality,” she explains. “You really have to know what your identity as a club is. You have to find a way that sets you apart. What makes people want to come to your club?”

A healthy club isn’t something that just happens. Take its pulse, watch its heartbeat, and adjust accordingly. Go back to the basics on some aspects, and don’t be afraid to try something new with others. With the advent of online meetings across the globe, it’s easy to pop into another meeting for a fresh perspective and some good medicine.

Have You Had Your Check-Up?

A healthy club starts with healthy members! Watch a panel of psychologists and global Toastmasters
leaders as they discuss how to build resilience in times of uncertainty and recommend ways to
address burnout, loneliness, and stress. Discover tips for finding work/life balance, maintaining
mechanisms for camaraderie and community, and how best to practice self-care and gratitude.

Janet Fuchek is a member of Westfort Toastmasters Club in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and six
other clubs. She welcomes hearing from Toastmasters around the world at jetsetjanet1@hotmail.com.

From Guest to Member

How many times do your guests visit before you make it official?

By Gitel Hesselberg

How many Toastmasters clubs do people visit before deciding to join? Many current members joined the first club they visited. But other members take a while, dropping in on different clubs before settling on a “home base.”

That said, how many visits are reasonable before a club asks a recurring guest to officially join? Toastmasters governing documents allow every club to establish its own visitation policies. Some clubs have open-ended policies; others allow a set number of visits before a guest is expected to join.

The Guest’s Point of View

The Find a Club feature is a convenient way to find club locations, status (corporate or community), online options, meeting times and formats, and any special club focus.

Now—what makes the right fit?

Tommy Price, DTM, was referred to Toastmasters by a friend, who suggested it would be a good way to meet people. Price visited two clubs before finding his Toastmasters home with Port Gardner Bay Gabbers in Everett, Washington, Later, he also joined Leading Edge Toastmasters, an advanced club in Kirkland, Washington.

“As soon as I arrived, somebody spoke to me and shook my hand. Before the meeting, everybody greeted me,” Price says. Afterward, he was asked to share his thoughts about the meeting. “That was the point where I decided … to join,” he explains. The club’s interest in him sealed the deal.

Azella Collins of Oak Park, Illinois, didn’t find a match at first either. She visited six clubs. All were “very good at what they do” she notes, but she wanted to attain specific new skills.

As a professional parliamentarian, Collins wanted to master greater speaking flair. “I wanted to learn to add humor and really engage people.” she says. During club visits, Collins found herself winning awards, yet she wanted to challenge her existing skills. She found the perfect fit in two Chicago-area advanced clubs: Windy City Professional Speakers and Stage Craft.

“It creates a certain warmth, that guests are always welcome.”

–Ari Klickstein

Vivaswan Damle, former President of Toastmasters Club of Pune-West, in Pune, Maharashtra, India, visited seven clubs before finding the right one. He was attracted by the club’s hospitality and unique extras: The club meets in English and afterward, hosts a fellowship in Marathi, Damle’s mother tongue. Sharing the language made him feel comfortable.

The Club’s Perspective

So how to handle recurring guests? Ari Klickstein, President of TIC Toastmasters in Manhattan, New York, says his club has no limit on the number of times a visitor can attend a meeting.

“It creates a certain warmth, that the guests are always welcome,” he explains. He added that some guests continue to attend once every three or four meetings, but nobody takes advantage of the club’s open-door policy. The club’s philosophy is “they’ll continue coming as guests until they’re ready to become members.” He adds the club doesn’t push too hard for that to happen. The policy applies to both online and in-person meetings.

Manama Toastmasters in Manama, Bahrain, has a stricter policy. They allow guests to attend three meetings before deciding whether or not to join. The guest policy is stated during the Vice President Membership’s (VPM) report at each meeting. At the third meeting, the VPM speaks to the visitor about joining.

“It’s not a pleasant situation telling someone that they have to pay,” Biljana Davceva, Vice President Public Relations (VPPR), says, “but we have to be fair to our members who are paying fees.” The Manama club must be doing something right; it has been around since 1964, and currently has 48 members.

NOA Toastmasters Club, a bilingual club in Elst, The Netherlands, alternates between meetings in English and Dutch, and has a policy of three visits. Ronald Creemers, VPM, says guests are encouraged to visit at least one meeting in each language, to compare experiences.

Ultimately, guest visitation policies can be a balancing act between warm ­hospitality and guiding guests to membership, allowing them to take full advantage of all Toastmasters has to offer.

One thing is certain. It may be the official role of the VPM to convert guests into members, yet if every member is hospitable, it could make the difference between adding a new member or saying goodbye to a guest.

When the Guest Becomes a Member

After all those visits, your guest finally joined your club! Set your new members up for success. Ask them to take this survey 30 days after they join and use the feedback to close any gaps in the guest experience.

Gitel Hesselberg joined Toastmasters in 2019. She is Vice President Education for her home club, Haifa Toastmasters, in Haifa, Israel, and a member of four other clubs in Israel and South Africa. In her free time, she works as an English teacher.

Zoom Fatigue, Be Gone!

Keep your online meetings fresh by shaking things up.

By Megan Preston Meyer


    

Online meetings: First they were challenging, then fun and exciting, and then, for some, the monotony set in.

Early last year, when clubs had to adapt to changing circumstances from COVID-19 restrictions, Toastmasters around the world responded with enthusiasm. Thousands of clubs moved their meetings online, finding fresh, novel ways to optimize against constraints. It was an adventure, something new, and we were all in it together.

But now, the adrenaline is wearing off.

At this point, many clubs have been meeting online for close to, or even more than, a year, and many members’ daily routines revolve more and more around their computer screen. As meetings and gatherings continue to be virtual, one Zoom call inevitably fades into the next, and they all start to look the same. Our eyes are tired from all that blue light, and our minds are tired of the monotony. Fatigue is setting in.

Luckily, you can counteract it. When life gives you lockdown, creativity is the key. Here are some tips to keep your virtual meetings fresh and fun, to keep growing and improving, and to keep your members coming back.

Change Things Up

As humans, we get used to things very quickly. Just think back to how strange your first online Toastmasters meeting felt—now, for most of us, we barely remember in-person meetings. Get creative! By incorporating novelty into the tried-and-true Toastmasters structure, you can help members stay engaged.

Switch up the agenda.

One way to keep people’s interest is to make sure things don’t get too predictable. “We’ll change up the agenda periodically just to keep it fresh,” says Krista Rowan of Glen Abbey Toastmasters in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. “We don’t deviate from the integrity of what Toastmasters is … we just give it some spice.”

Her club incorporates upbeat music at breaks to keep energy levels high during online meetings. They also get creative with Table Topics®, using screen-sharing capabilities to add a personal touch to prompts—for instance, the Table Topicsmaster may display a snapshot of herself on a past beach vacation and ask the participant to describe a travel destination that he’s dreaming about—and they have even featured improv lessons, taught by a member. For more ideas on how to change up your Table Topics sessions, see the sidebar on the right.

Add a theme for variation.

Glen Abbey Toastmasters has also introduced themed meetings. Many clubs have embraced this concept, weaving a common thread through the Toastmasters’ welcome, the Table Topics session, and the Word of the Day, but online meetings allow you to take the theme even deeper. Encourage members to take advantage of technology by using virtual backgrounds, costumes, and props. Meeting participants can even change their display name to a theme-appropriate alias. For example, if you have a Disney theme, spark some smiles by labeling yourself Ariel and changing your background to an underwater scene, or add an outer-space backdrop and call yourself Buzz Lightyear.

Encourage members to take advantage of technology by using virtual backgrounds, costumes, and props.

If you’re looking for themes, holidays are always great choices. April Fool’s Day is a fun option, as are other lesser-known holidays like Pi Day (March 14), World Music Day (June 21), and World Photography Day (August 19).

You can change the way you incorporate themes into meetings, as well. While announcing the next meeting’s theme well in advance gives people time to prepare, it could add additional stress to busy members. Try announcing the theme 10 minutes before the meeting begins. This puts everyone on equal footing and encourages creativity. You’ll be amazed at the spontaneous ways your members find to participate!

Play with backgrounds.

At Invicta Toastmasters Club in Porto, Portugal, there is a good-natured competition to see who can come to the meeting with the best virtual background. Taking advantage of Zoom’s video background feature, club members create elaborate animated scenes—often featuring themselves. “We record over recorded-over screens,” says Club President Rafael Marques. Notable mentions include a member appearing to row off the screen using an office chair as a boat, “triplets” waving at the camera, and a member bringing himself a beverage in the middle of the meeting.

The creativity entertains current members, and encourages guests to return. “A lot of (new) members come to meetings thinking it’s going to be very strict and bureaucratic. When we show that we are having fun, people stay with us,” says Club ­Secretary and Iberian Toastmaster of the Year Sérgio Águia.

By keeping humor in the foreground, Invicta Toastmasters Club keep members coming back.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/gnN9MRMw3jQ?enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.toastmasters.org 
Sérgio Águia makes Invicta Toastmasters online meetings fun by creating virtual backgrounds. In the video above, he has his clones appear on the screen.

Stay Social

One of the hardest portions of the Toastmasters meeting to recreate online is the part that’s not on the agenda: the socialization that happens before and after the meeting or during breaks. To keep members engaged, find ways keep them connected.

Open the room early.

One of the simplest ways to encourage chitchat is to simply start the video call 15 minutes before the meeting starts, and leave it open after the formal agenda items are completed. That’s what Glen Abbey Toastmasters does. “It’s amazing how many people don’t drop off. After a two-hour meeting, people still want to talk,” says Rowan. Also, if you usually play theme music as people log on, save that music for later on in the meeting to give people time to chat before the meeting officially begins.

Create offline connection.

Members of Invicta Toastmasters Club have found another way to stay in touch, even between meetings. In a group chat open to all members, they talk, share pictures and GIFs, and even challenge each other to informal video or audio “Table Topics” throughout the week. They also keep their website updated with member bios and pictures so that new members can connect with and get to know other members.

“A lot of new members come to meetings thinking it’s going to be very strict and bureaucratic. When we show that we are having fun, people stay with us.”—Sérgio Águia

“There’s a need to communicate informally that there wasn’t before,” says Club President Marques. “[The website and group chat] is something we felt like we needed to complement this lack of physical contact.”

Support new members.

Remember your first few Toastmasters meetings? Before you had everything figured out, you likely had questions—and you probably just turned to the person next to you for clarification or asked an experienced member during the break. That type of interaction is more difficult online.

Help new members find and connect with mentors, and encourage open lines of communication. Consider setting up a “New Member Session,” during which members can ask questions, get acquainted with the club, and even meet with their mentors in breakout rooms.

Members of Glen Abbey Toastmasters use hats, music, and themed backgrounds to keep their meetings lively.


Continue to Improve

As you try new ways to energize your meetings and engage members, make sure to monitor the response. Ask your members what works and what doesn’t, and make changes accordingly.

Gather feedback.

The best way to keep your members engaged is to make sure you’re giving them what they want. Rowan explains the importance of gathering feedback from meeting attendees, especially guests. “When you’re familiar with a Toastmaster meeting, you don’t have the same perspective as an outsider. It’s nice to have guests’ feedback of their experience and perspective. Did they feel value in the meeting and want to return? When you’re trying to retain membership and appeal to new members you want to make sure that they’re benefiting and leaving with a good experience.”

Provide opportunities for all meeting participants to provide feedback, and encourage the General Evaluator to comment specifically on the virtual meeting format, as well.

Test and experiment.

Like Rowan, Águia also emphasizes the importance of gathering feedback from members and making tweaks in response to that feedback. Invicta Toastmasters has pioneered a hybrid model, meeting both online and in person, according to local regulations, and much of the club’s success is due to experimentation.

Águia and Marques perfected the physical setup based on feedback, rearranging the room so that in-person speakers could see the online audience projected onto a screen, and so that online speakers could see the in-person audience.

They also added a second Sergeant at Arms to handle the online portion of the meeting. The Zoom master switches between Speaker view and Gallery view as appropriate, makes sure everyone is muted, and helps with screen-sharing and other technical issues.

Their experimentation has paid off. “We’ve been doing this since July and it works,” says Águia. “It really works.” Gather feedback, experiment, and find out what works for your club.

Focus on the Human Element

Whether in person or on a machine, engage your members to keep them coming back. Connection and communication are more important than ever, and Toastmasters provides opportunities for both. Take advantage of technology to make your meetings fresh and fun, but focus on the human element. After all, “communication is the human experience,” says Rowan, “especially online.”

The Theme of Today’s Meeting Is…..

Add a spark to your sessions with a unifying topic.

By Bill Brown, DTM

Over the last 13 years, I have been a member of 11 clubs. They are all different. And one of the most prominent differences is in the area of meeting themes. Some clubs have them. Some do not. And those that do, employ them in different ways.

Themes can add fun to your meetings. They can revolve around holidays, end-of-the-year celebrations, cultural events or universal experiences (favorite vacations, for example). How do clubs decide their meeting-theme policy? I asked some founding members of my primary club what went into their decision. They all gave me a blank stare and said, “Well, our club mentors said we had to have them.” In other words, they followed the advice of more experienced members who helped start the club. There is nothing wrong, of course, with listening to your mentors. But it’s also good to periodically examine and evaluate if something is beneficial, including how a concept like meeting themes works for your club. Here are a few options to consider.

In some clubs, the meeting Toastmaster sets the theme. In others, the vice president education handles the task. When the Toastmaster selects the topic, he or she typically presents short, educational segments related to the theme throughout the meeting. For example, let’s say the theme is “the Academy Awards.” The segments might include some history about the event or some tidbits about Oscar-winning films over the years.

Whoever picks the theme needs to make the topic interesting and entertaining for members. Making material engaging is always a good skill to learn.

Recently, my club’s meeting theme was “Nevada.” That is not too surprising for a club located in Las Vegas. Our meeting Toastmaster was about to embark on a vacation to some of the most unknown tourist destinations around our state. We all found his travelogue fascinating.

“The Toastmaster accepts the challenge to make the topic interesting and entertaining for members.”

Two months ago, another meeting Toastmaster selected “weird bugs” as the theme. Weird bugs? Believe it or not, it turned out to be an interesting topic. She showed us a picture of each bug and then told us which club member it reminded her of and why. It was all in fun, and we were driven to listen for the humor and for what she would say about each one of us.

Besides making such segments interesting and entertaining, it’s also important to keep them brief or the meeting will run overtime.

Some clubs employ themes only in Table Topics. In this case, the topic is often selected by the vice president education or the Topicsmaster.

One of my former Southern California clubs uses this approach but adds a twist. As the club president opens the meeting, he or she announces the theme and then has everyone stand up, say their name and briefly answer a question related to the theme. That way no one leaves the meeting without having spoken at least once, even the guests. In one meeting, the theme was “radio stations” and the question was “What is your favorite station?” In a meeting with a Mother’s Day theme, the question was “When you think of your mother, what immediately comes to mind?”

As the club’s membership grew, it became trickier to do this activity because of the amount of time it took. But I like this as a way to start a meeting. It adds energy right from the start.

Personally, I don’t like to incorporate themes when I am the meeting Toastmaster. I see my role as giving speaking opportunities to as many people as I can, and not presenting a theme allows for one or two more Table Topics speakers. Others, however, like the practice. A member in one of my clubs told me she likes the continuity themes bring to the meetings.

Themes can be fun, but they aren’t for every club. It all depends on what you—and the members—want. Either way, it is good to know why you do what you do. If themes help your club have fun and accomplish its objectives, great! If not, don’t be afraid to try something different. After all, the ultimate goal is individual member growth.

Bill Brown, DTM is a speech delivery coach in Gillette, Wyoming. He is a member of two clubs, Energy Capital Toastmasters in Gillette and Ahead of the Curve Toastmasters in Las Vegas. Learn more at http://www.billbrownspeechcoach.com.

Two D29 Toastmasters Discuss Speaking with Confidence on Podcast

Written by Philip Wilkerson

Philip Wilkerson, VP of Public Relations for the GMU Toastmasters and the host of the Positive Philter Podcast, recently interviewed Lynne Strang, DTM, for a podcast episode about “Speaking with Confidence.” Lynne serves as Sergeant at Arms for Galloping Governors and Secretary for Sparkling Speakers. During the episode, which aired August 28, 2020, Philip and Lynne discussed a variety of benefits that come from joining Toastmasters, such as honing communications skills and learning how to manage unexpected speaking situations. 
Philip started the Positive Philter Podcast 3 years ago as a way to infuse positive thinking into everyday life. The podcast covers interpersonal relationships, goal setting, positive self-talk, spreading positivity, and other topics that encourage well-being. “I’ve learned so much from my guests,” says Philip. “In addition, the process of creating a podcast has helped me improve my own skills in time management, listening and interpersonal communications.”
The episode with Philip and Lynne can be found here:https://positivephilter.libsyn.com/speaking-with-confidence-featuring-lynne-strang

If you are a fan of podcasts, Toastmasters International has its own licensed podcast with amazing guest speakers. Check it out here:

https://www.toastmasterspodcast.com/posts/index.html

GMU Toastmasters Benefiting the University Community

Written by Ann Ludwick and Philip Wilkerson with contributions from GMU Toastmaster Members

GMU Toastmasters, chartered June 6th, 2008, is a unique club due to its location on a college campus. This location allows members to come from a variety of backgrounds, ages, and life experiences. George Mason University, located in Fairfax, VA, is Virginia’s most diverse four-year public institution with a student body of over 38,000 and staff/faculty population of over 5,100 representing a wide range of ethnicities and national origins. GMU Toastmasters currently has 24 members and holds a legacy of excellence. To that end, GMU Toastmasters was one of two clubs, out of a total of 130, from District 29 to obtain all 16 Distinguished Club Points in 2019-2020. There is a total of 18,337 clubs in Toastmasters worldwide. Using the statistics that were available on June 27, Jim Dooley was able to identify 42 clubs that had achieved all 12 of the DCP Educational Goals (C&L awards, Pathways awards). When Jim looked at the records for those 42 clubs, he saw that only 37 of them had achieved all 16 of the DCP goals (the 12 educational goals and the 4 others). Meaning only two-tenths-of-one-percent of clubs achieved what we can label what we call “Superstar Distinguished” status! For this blog post, we have gathered testimonials from one student, one staff member, one faculty member, and one Fairfax City resident to show how this Community Club has enhanced their lives and why joining Toastmasters is a great experience for professional development and personal growth.

Faculty:

Has joining Toastmasters helped you in your role of teaching?

Toastmasters has helped me become a better teacher. Being a Toastmaster not only helped me improve my teaching ability but also my attitude. I now look at any class as an audience, but not a captive audience. Each class my responsibility is to ask myself: how can I make this communication informative, useful, and interesting?

 Andrew Finn, Founding Member of GMU Toastmasters (2008)

Associate Professor

George Mason University Department of Communication

Staff:

How has being a member of Toastmasters contributed to your professional development?

Every week in summer from about mid-June through all of July, you will find me in front of large groups welcoming new students and families to Mason! Giving these inspiring presentations is a favorite job task, but it wasn’t always easy. Like many people, I joined Toastmasters with the goal of improving my pubic speaking skills. The George Mason University Toastmasters club has helped me tremendously. My club provides supportive members, convenient meetings, and positive feedback – all of which contributes to my job. 

Ann Ludwick, SR1 (VP of Education)

Assistant Dean, Schar School of Policy and Government

GMUT member since 2012

Student:

Why should other students consider joining Toastmasters while in college?

Joining Toastmasters helped me gain confidence and leadership skills to achieve my personal and career goals. My tip for college students is if you can, join Toastmasters in your first year. The skills you will learn will make your college journey a lot easier and stress free.

Aisha Yusuf, LD1 (Area 21 Director)

PhD candidate in Economics

George Mason University

GMUT member since 2016

Community Member:

What brought you to GMUT and what keeps you here?

I decided to join GMU Toastmasters because of the school’s proximity to my residence, and the meeting time and date.  The GMU club is a family, and each member provides the support and encouragement one needs to achieve his/her personal goals and objectives.  As a result of GMU Toastmasters I have been able to get to know faculty, staff and many students who are Toastmaster members.

Regina Faulkerson, DTM (Immediate Past-President)

GMUT member since 2018

The GMU Toastmasters Club aims to develop leaders and speakers while promoting all the benefits Toastmasters has to offer to anyone in our communities at Mason and in the Northern Virginia area. COVID-19 has not slowed anything down and our weekly meetings have continued using Zoom. GMU Toastmasters welcomes guests and you can check out our meeting schedule here.

Additionally please check out all the social media channels: I would like your help in this effort.

https://www.facebook.com/GMUToastmasters/

https://www.instagram.com/gmutoastmasters/

You can also learn about Philip Wilkerson’s GMU Toastmaster Experience in this short podcast episode found below:

https://positivephilter.libsyn.com/three-reasons-to-join-toastmasters

Awards Deadline – Days Away

If you have applications for awards in the traditional program, you must submit them to World Headquarters by June 30, 2020 to have the credit count toward the Distinguished Club Program in 2019-2020.

During the 2020-2021 Toastmasters year, members can continue work to complete the High Perfornance Leadership project, the Advanced Leader Silver, and Distinguished Toastmaster awards. You will have until June 30, 2021 to submit these awards. Only the Distinguished Toastmaster award will count toward the Distinguished Club Program credit in 2020-2021.

You can email educationprogram@toastmasters.org with questions.

Article from the June 2020 TI Magazine

Online Meeting Resources

In light of COVID-19, Toastmasters clubs in every corner of the world have moved online to host high-quality club experiences in virtual settings.

To support these virtual victories, World Headquarters has created special webpages filled with tips, videos, how-to meeting instructions, meeting software comparisons, online speech contest information, and a variety of branded materials to boost the visual appeal of online meetings. You will also find exclusive online magazine articles, as well as FAQs and COVID-19 news updates from World Headquarters.

To view the collection, visit the Online Meetings page on the Toastmasters website. Just a few of the new items are highlighted below.

Image of flier inviting people to attend an online meeting
Image of flier invitation to online meetings with six people smiling

You are virtually invited! Open your club to members and prospects alike with these eye-catching invitations.

Image of Toastmasters webpage showing photos of people in Zoom meetings

Send us photos of your online club meetings and a brief comment on how you’re upholding our core values of integrity, respect, service, and excellence. Send to socialmedia@toastmasters.org for a chance to be featured on this webpage or on social media.

16 Distinguished Club Points

Words cannot describe the awe I feel for the two clubs in District 29 that reached the goal of attaining 16 Distinguished Club Points. You have set an example for all of the clubs within District 29 and you are to be congratulated on your accomplishment!

Job well done to:

Club 00935498 PMIWDC #01 Toastmasters Club which was chartered 8/21/2006

Club 01188374 George Mason University Toastmasters which was chartered 6/6/2008

I commend the members of both of these clubs for their hard work and Commitment to Excellence.

“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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