December Newsletter 2019

December Newsletter

Inside this issue, messages from:  District Director, Program Quality Director , Club Growth Director, Immediate Past District Director, Speaking in Front of Video Camera , Member RetentionSpring Convention, and Spooktaculer

Rozaline Janci Rozaline Janci , DTM

District Director

Hello District 35 members,

We are halfway into the Toastmasters year and it is time to begin succession planning for clubs and the district as well.

Every year, District 35 looks for a new set of servant leaders to take us further on our Toastmaster journey and assure the continued success of District 35.

We always need new ideas, new visions, new inspirations. We need YOU! For all nominations and nomination questions for district leadership, please email our Leadership Chair Andy Little at andynlittle@gmail.com.

The document District Leader Qualifications and Responsibilities (PDF) from Toastmasters International is the first step is to decide how you wish to serve your fellow Toastmasters. It gives you an overview of each district officer role.

The document District Leader Competencies describes the expected skills, knowledge, and characteristics of district officers.

Another great resource is current and past district officers. They can tell you all about the office you’re interested in pursuing and you might even find a mentor for your term of office. If you don’t know a current district officer, contact your District Director and they’ll connect you with someone near you.

After you select an office, it’s time to submit the proper forms.

All Candidates can Declare Their Intent to Run from November 1, 2019 through January 30, 2020.

 You can nominate any active Toastmaster in good standing in our district – including yourself. Yes, you may definitely nominate yourself. The process is simple. Just fill out the District Leader Nominating Form and submit to Andy Little at andynlittle@gmail.com.

Note: Send nomination forms for Area Director, Administration Manager, Finance Manager, and Logistics Manager to our current District Director Rozaline Janci at Rozaline.janci@usbank.com. Even though these are appointed positions, all paperwork will still need to be completed and submitted. If nominating for an Area Director position, please specify the Area of interest if known.

If you are nominating yourself, complete and submit the Candidate Application and Officer Agreement and Release Form. If you are nominated by someone else, the District Leadership Committee will be in touch soon and ask you to fill out these forms.

Elections for the District Officers for 2020-2021 Toastmaster year will be held during our District Council Meeting on May 2, 2020 at the D35 Spring Convention in Waukesha, WI.  The upcoming term is from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

I appreciate and thank all members who continually commit to the Toastmasters promise and the core values of Toastmasters and continue to serve District 35.

I also want to take the opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy holiday season and a blessed New Year 2020.

Looking forward to a great year,

Yours in Toastmasters,

Rozaline Janci , DTM

District Director– District 35

Mobile 262-442-9868

Home 262-544-9202

https://district35.org/

Kris Pool

Kris Pool, DTM
Program Quality Director

Contest Season is Upon Us

You may think it’s the holidays, but in the Toastmasters world, it’s Contest Season!

For the 2019-2020 contest season, District 35 has chosen the Table Topics contest and International Speech Contests to be conducted.

For Table Topics, any member in good standing may compete. This means the member has paid their dues and the club has paid the dues as well. Be sure all dues renewals are paid before March 31 to ensure the continued eligibility of members.

For the International Speech Contest, in addition to being a member in good standing of a club in a good standing, a contestant must have completed six (6) speeches in the Competent Communicator manual OR Levels 1 and 2 in any path in Pathways. If you are a charter member of club that chartered less than one year before the club contest, the minimum speech requirement is waived.

Clubs should have their contests completed no later than February 15. As soon as the contest has been completed, the Winner Notification form should be submitted to the area director. Contests do not need to be held on the same night. Suggestion: use these contests as a way to promote interest in your club and promote the event.

For clubs that are having a contest, all rules must be followed in the Speech Contest Rulebook (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020, revised 8/2019).

NOTE: if you only have one contestant, instead of a contest, a club may appoint a contestant to compete at the Area level.

If an Area has four assigned clubs or fewer in good standing, two contestants from each of those clubs will be allowed to compete at the Area contest. If a Division has four assigned Areas or less, the two highest-placed available contestants from each Area can compete.

All contestants should read the rule book (revised 08/2019) and be familiar with the judging ballots.

I’m looking forward to a fantastic contest season! I encourage everyone to participate, whether as a contestant, contest toastmaster, judge, ballot counter, timer, registration, or audience member. You’ll hear some great speakers and get new ideas, meet new people, and gain a new appreciation for Toastmasters.

District Website and Programs

Kris Pool, DTM – Program Quality Director

Almost six months of the Toastmasters year is complete – where does the time go? We’ve begun the second round of officer training with the Winter TLI. Watch the district calendar for updates and details for a makeup session near you.

I also encourage you to be proactive and visit the district website (district35.org) every couple of weeks. Who knows what you may be missing?

 District 35 Toastmasters Ambassador of the Year

For the second year in a row, we are offering the District 35 Toastmasters Ambassador of the Year program. This program encourages you to visit other clubs and events in the district. After you have visited a club or attended an event (such as a contest, officer training, etc.), go online and complete the paperwork. List the best practices you observed and what you like to implement in your club or for your personal development.

                                                        

Triple Crown

   

Any member that earns three (3) education awards between July 1 and June 30 will receive a Triple  Crown pin. The awards can be any combination of the traditional and Pathways education programs.

 Talk Up Toastmasters!

Make your plans now to Talk Up Toastmasters! This is a chance to encourage your members to invite guests to a special meeting where prospective members can learn about Toastmasters’ many benefits.

This membership campaign runs from February 1 to March 31. Clubs that add five (5) or more new, dual, or reinstated members will receive a ribbon to display on your club banner and a special discount code for 10% off their next club order.

Elite 8

Add eight (8) new members in one Toastmasters year and receive a ribbon to display on your club banner.

Congratulations to Cream City Communicators and NM Speaks! for achieving this recognition by December 11, 2019.

Toastmaster of the Year

This is one of the highest honors for a member to receive. Do you know a District 35 Toastmaster that deserves to win this award? Submit your nomination to District Director Rozaline Janci (rozaline.janci@usbank) by March 1, 2019 for consideration. Winner will be announced during the Hall of Fame at Spring Convention on May 2, 2019.

Use the checklist on pages 5-6 when submitting your nomination as well as a brief written summary of why the candidate has earned the Toastmaster of the Year recognition. https://www.toastmasters.org/-/media/files/department-documents/district-documents/recognition-checklist.ashx

NOTE: A member may only win Toastmaster of the Year in District 35 one time.

Impromptu Speaking: The Better Speaker Series

How many of you are familiar with The Better Speaker Series offered by Toastmasters International? It’s a series of modules – available for free download – to help you become a better speaker. Some of the topics include Controlling Your Fear, Selecting Your Topic, Know Your Audience, Organizing Your Speech, and more. The modules include a script and a PowerPoint presentation. The scripts are meant to be a guideline with presenters adding additional anecdotes and examples of their own.

As we begin preparations for the Table Topics Speech Contest, here are suggestions from the Impromptu Speaking module. Please give thought to using these as you participate in Table Topics at your regular club meetings, as well as when you are competing and moving up from the club, area, division, and district level contests.

It is possible to be prepared and confident even if we cannot anticipate a question’s content. Use this formula for a successful impromptu speech:

  • Listen
    • A good response is dependent on an attentive attitude and careful listening can provide part of your response. If you agree, your reply will reflect your attention by reinforcing the other person’s words. If you disagree, you can tactfully amend or correct the original statement.
    • Don’t interject your own ideas before the other person has finished. Instead, focus on what is being said. This way, you’ll be able to incorporate some of what you’re heard into your reply and you’ll improve your chances of commenting directly on what you’ve heard so you can give on-target responses.
  • Pause
    • Pausing before you speak allows you to refresh your thoughts and formulate an answer.
    • A pause can add drama, allow the audience to absorb your message, or give them the opportunity to respond to humor. A silent pause is preferable to using verbal place holders.
  • Confirm
    • Repeating or confirming the question out loud provides you with a clearer idea of how to respond and will help verify the topic in case you misunderstood the question.
  • Tell
    • Be enthusiastic but stay focused and stick to the essentials. Don’t give in to the urge to analyze every aspect of the topic.
  • End
    • Once you have said what you want to say, don’t belabor the point. Bring your comments to a close: emphasize your main point, smile, and make eye contact with your listener if possible.

There are several common strategies speakers can use to maintain enthusiasm and focus during an impromptu presentation:

  • Express an opinion
    • State an opinion, then justify it with a supporting statement. Use one support item if answering a question, or two or three if giving a brief speech.
    • Strategy variation: offer reasons why you agree or disagree with an idea or concept.
  • Address cause and effect
    • State the situation, then discuss its causes and eventual consequences.
  • Break the topic into components and then discuss each component individually.
  • Discuss the past, present, and future. Organize your answer in the style of a timeline.

Being able to respond spontaneously is an excellent mental habit to cultivate. It takes time and effort to develop. Practice the basics.

Remember:

  1. Be confident. Remind yourself that pausing is okay and restating the question will help you steady your response.
  2. Be brief. It is easy to stray off topic and begin repeating statements, adding new points, or backtracking. Stick to your main points.
  3. Be sincere. Trying to be inventive when you don’t know the answer to a question can be risky. It is better to admit if you don’t know how to respond.
  4. It’s Table Topics – have fun! Your response doesn’t necessarily have to be the truth. You can make up your answers.

Teri McGregor

Teri McGregor
Club Growth Director

Club Growth:  Midyear check-in

We are at the halfway point of the Toastmasters year.  With 6 months in and 6 months to go, now is the time to review and reassess the goals that we set for ourselves back in July.  The district leadership team reviews the district success plan every month.  We review the dashboard metrics, the specific action items that are in place to drive results, and assess the effectiveness of what we are doing. 

 Let’s check in with the three Club Growth goals that I outlined in the August Newsletter. 

  1. Increase market reach to attract new members to Toastmasters.
    • We are active again on Twitter and LinkedIn is attracting more and more people from around the district. Facebook continues to our best way to engage members of District 35.  By tagging, liking, and sharing social media posts, you are spreading the word about what Toastmasters is.  Keep doing what you are doing!
    • My goals at the beginning of the year included only social media marketing. I’ve updated that goal to include more local options.  If you were at the District TLI on December 7, you heard Tom Carlson talk about the “Toastmaster Tower.”  This tower is a vertical banner that can be displayed locally that will be given to each division.  The banner is easy to set up and store and can be customized with individual club or area or division event information.  Look for these banners to be distributed and ready to use in the first quarter of 2020. 
  2. Charter nine (9) new clubs
    • We have chartered five (5) new clubs and have one (1) on the horizon for early 2020.
    • To date, the district has lost 14 clubs since July 1. This prompted me to re-evaluate my original goal and change it from 9 to 14.  To remain a thriving district, we must charter new clubs.  I have challenged each division to charter two (2) clubs by June 30. 
  3. Strengthen the Club Coach Program and decrease the number of clubs that need a club coach by 5%.
    • In August, 40% of the District 35 clubs qualified for a club coach. That number has increased to 46%.
    • My goal remains the same in that I want to decrease the number of clubs that qualify for a club coach to 35%.

When you attend a Division Winter TLI Make-up sessions, you will be encouraged to do the same with your Club Success Plan.  As you work towards meeting your goals, keep these goal setting tips in mind (from mindtools.com):

  • State each goal as a positive statement – Express your goals positively – “Retain 90% of current membership” is a much better goal than “Don’t lose any members.”
  • Be precise – Set precise goals, putting in dates, times, and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you’ll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Set priorities – Give each goal a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and it helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
  • Write goals down – This creates accountability.
  • Keep operational goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
  • Set performance goals, not outcome goals – You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control!

                 Welcome to our newly charted clubs 

                       A special thank you to the stars of D35 who are  

                                   supporting our newest clubs! 

                                                        Fiserv Brookfield

                                                        Division B / Area 2

                                      Sponsors:  Bud Matthews & Rozaline Janci

                           Mentors:  David Gagliano & Yvonne Lumsden-Dill

Ed Thelen

Ed Thelen, DTM
Immediate Past District Director

MID-YEAR CHECKUP – REVIEW YOUR CLUB SUCCESS PLAN (CSP)
Can you believe we are almost halfway through the Toastmasters year? I think the time has
flown by for many of us. This mid-point of the Toastmasters year is a perfect time to take stock of how we are progressing toward our individual goals and for the officer team to review the club’s progress toward goals documented in their Club Success Plan (CSP). These goals should be in alignment to ensure the club is successful in achieving Distinguished Status or better in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP). The CSP should not be a document prepared at the beginning of the Toastmasters year and then shelved away for 12 months until it is time to go through the process again.

Having been a part of many teams that have prepared a CSP, I thought I would share some ideas on what to look out for as you are completing this mid-year review:

  • Celebrate successes club members have accomplished this year. Toastmasters is something we do in our spare time. We work hard toward all of our personal and educational goals. Make sure your officer team is recognizing those individuals who have contributed to goals set forth in the CSP this year. This can be done by the officer team privately or at a club meeting.
  • Identify gaps in your CSP. Did a club member leave that you had pegged for an educational goal? Did that Open House fail to convert any guests to members? Is the club on track to have enough officers trained during the Winter Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) sessions? Do you need to get April dues on time to complete DCP Goal #10? These questions, and possibly a few others, might be ones you want to ask your self as your reviewing your plan.
  • Create back-up plans for these gaps during executive committee meetings. There are several items your officers can do to have fruitful discussions on how to fill the gaps you have identified. Your Vice President Education should review members’ educational progress and have individual discussions with members to review their goals. Your Vice President Membership and Vice President Public Relations should work together to come up ideas to get more guests into the club and ensure the environment is welcoming and friendly to lead down the path of that guest joining the club and becoming a member. Ask for members’ help and form a committee to tackle these items.
  • Link individual success to club success. If you see some potential for meeting DCP goals within some of the members of the club, it is easiest to get buy-in to those members if you link their individual success to the club’s success. Talking to a member and saying “We need another Level 2” or “We need 5 more members to meet the membership requirement” will only motivate the most enthusiastic Toastmasters. Approaches such as “I noticed you have completed two speeches in Level 1. Do you know if you complete two more speeches and serve as an evaluator, you can complete the level?” or “I noticed your self-confidence has increased tremendously in the short time you have been in the club. Is there anyone you know that you think might also benefit from this journey?” are approaches that likely will meet with more positive responses. Educating members can be a key to this success. During a recent board meeting in one of my clubs, a couple officers pointed out to another officer that they only needed to complete two modules from either the Successful Club Series or Leadership Excellence Series to achieve an Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB) award. They downloaded the modules and are working on scheduling the speeches. Task accomplished!

Don’t panic! There are still six months left in the year. That is a lot of time available to meet
many goals that the club desired to complete back in July 1, 2019. With proper planning and execution of tasks to meet goals, a lot of amazing things can happen for your club!
I hope these tips have been helpful as you complete a mid-year review of your CSP.

Best wishes in 2020 as you work to create that “WOW!” factor that attracts so many people to Toastmasters.

Preparing to Speak in Front of a Video Camera

Mike Zelm, DTM

I recently gave a speech on TV Interviewing and one part dealt with “dressing to look good for TV/Video.”  See examples below of the information I found by doing an internet search on “how to dress for TV appearance.” This also applies to video recordings and I felt it was appropriate to share as our contestants begin preparing for the International Speech Contest – especially at the District level contest when they will be recorded.

Some contestants may not have considered that having their speeches on video to be judged might be impacted by how they dressed, or maybe they just did what they could.  Since this video step is new, I suggest contestants perform an internet search for “how to dress for TV appearance” or “how to dress for video appearance.” 

Dressing to look your best on video basically comes down to a list of what not to wear. The following tips will help you get ready, feel confident, and focus on what you’re going to say. Here are some great tips on how to dress for a TV appearance or interview. 

 Don’t wear white: Although you might look great in a white dress or suit, white is a bad TV color. TV studios are filled with lights. The entire ceiling is often a giant lighting grid. Once all those lights get turned on, your white outfit will make you glow, look pale, and be distracting to viewers. Sometimes you’ll see TV hosts wearing white. The lighting director will make special adjustments to compensate. This isn’t always the case with guests. To be on the safe side, avoid wearing white.

  • Soften blacks: Even though it can be slimming, black can also be bad for TV unless everyone else is wearing black. Dark colors will require more lighting. You can soften up a black outfit with a different color shirt, tie, scarf, or a jacket. A good look that might work for you is a dark shirt, black jacket, dark jeans, a light scarf, and bright shoes to shake things up.
  • Avoid bright red: Red has always been a bad TV color. The same way red will bleed in your wash and ruin your other clothes, it bleeds on TV too. Other very saturated colors can also cause problems.
  • Don’t wear intricate patterns: Have you ever seen someone on TV wearing an outfit that appeared to vibrate? They were probably wearing pinstripes, small checks, or another intricate design. This is called a Moiré pattern. Don’t wear small patterns. Guys, this includes menswear ties too. Only large patterns.
  • Don’t wear logos
  • Makeup: Makeup is a must for everyone. The TV station will probably have a makeup person on staff. Say yes when they offer makeup assistance. At a minimum, you’ll need to powder your nose, forehead, and face. Otherwise, you will look shiny or sweaty. If you are losing your hair, don’t forget to powder your head.
  • Suggestion: Watch what news casters wear.

If you want to see the video speeches from the 2019 Spring Convention International Speech Contest, please visit: https://district35.org/2019-spring-convention-international-speech-contest-recordings/

Tom Carlson Tom Carlson DTM

Central Division Director

“Toastmaster clubs are only as good as the members they keep.” 

My quote is a reflection of Member Retention.  But lost members are  not all bad because members may be leaving when they accomplish what they joined for.  District 35 lost 11.77% of its membership in the year July 2018 – June 2019.  We don’t know how many left for negative reasons.  Experts suggest that every club should conduct Exit Interviews.  I don’t agree.  We may not get the real reasons.  I suggest that every club conducts interviews of “Why members stay.”  Then build on what makes members stay.  That would be an easy project for the VP Membership.  Attracting new members is equally as important as retaining current members but neither should replace public relations.

If we do our job in public relations, more people would know what Toastmasters is.  Try this survey: wear a pin that states, “Ask me about Toastmasters” or just politely ask a total stranger “What does the word toastmaster mean to you?”  My experience is about 1 in 20 will have the correct answer.  That’s a project the VP Public Relations can start next week.  That’s what PR does.

PR is not marketing.  Direct Marketing is the best and most efficient way to increase club membership.  

In the year ending last June, District 35 lost 543 members.  It will take 27 new clubs chartering with the required 20 members to replace those lost members.  Starting new clubs is a fast way to grow District membership as 1 club = 20 members.  Growing one member at a time definitely cannot be overlooked because the Community Club is the backbone of Toastmasters.

Using public relation tools is like grabbing whatever prospects what whatever is on the street.  Direct marketing is getting qualified prospects in bulk from a 3rd party, i.e. an employer.  There are two ways I suggest for growing a club:

  1. Joint Club Marketing Event
  2. Two Phase Corporate Campaign

The basics of each are explained.

JOINT CLUB MARKETING EVENT:  3 to 5 clubs in large markets form a Marketing Group of 75 to 100 total members, all located in the same geographic area.  Each member submits 10 to 20 names with a  mailing address  and/or an email address, maybe a phone number. It should be easy to build a list of 500 or more names.  A very professional looking invitation  to this event is important.  Personalize the invite “You are cordially invited” requesting a R.S.V.P.  If the group wants to offer refreshments, the RSVP will give an idea of venue set up and refreshments to have ready.  A 3 to 10% response can be expected.  Secure a venue that will hold between 75 and 100 people.  Put on a top flight meeting, bringing in an outside keynote speaker if necessary.  Stage the best meeting possible.  Tell the history of Toastmasters and stage a typical meeting.  Two to four members from each club will gather by their Club Banner for prospects who live in that area to ask questions.  Have club flyers and Toastmaster brochures to hand out so guests leave with information about a local club Toastmaster club. Here is the key.  The marketing does only one thing, it brings prospects to the door.  The club members take over from that point and sell.  Don’t expect the marketing part to do the selling, it just brings the prospect to the door where Toastmasters take over.

TWO PHASE CORPORATE CAMPAIGN:  This marketing plan takes more time but can be very rewarding for Toastmaster clubs and the District.  It can add members to Community clubs or even start a new Corporate club.   The first phase requires obtaining an appointment with the highest possible officer in a company, the CEO or Human Resources  officer of moderate to large size companies, ideally 200 plus employees.   When a top officer says “I want this to be done,” it will get done.  

A knowledgeable, dedicated, passionate Toastmaster should have this opportunity.  It might need to be a member from another club, well versed in the benefits to the company.  This person is making a presentation with the objective of getting their endorsement.  The Toastmaster needs to be a good listener with answers to the questions asked.  The Toastmaster Education Program has to be seen as a tool for the company to develop leaders.   The company knows who they want to implement the communication skills that develops leaders.  

What is actually happening here is the company is building the prospect list for you.  When the CEO says, “I want this done for the company,” the sale is almost done.  The employee will consider this an opportunity that should be taken very seriously.  

The rest is for the club members to pull off a Demo Meeting that will knock your socks off in front of 50 or 60 employees to result in getting 20 members for a corporate club to charter.  Suggest that the company provide an incentive for their employees like offering to pay dues if the employee is actively participating.  

If there are not 20 employees to charter a Corporate Club, suggest  the company can offer to pay individual member dues to join your Community Club if a certain number of meetings are attended or a number of projects are completed.  The important thing is that both the company and the employee have a stake in the program.           

There are 2 or 3 day Leadership programs which are very popular and cost thousands of dollars that do not work.  They do not have the structure like Toastmasters.  After the show, the presenters move on to the next city and participants are left to go back to their lives with just a hope and a dream they will implement what they learn.  Toastmasters works because their structure offers continued practice and real time for as long as a person needs.

CHANGE WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE DO SOMETHING.  WHAT IS YOUR CLUB GOING TO DO?

If Division Directors want a 30 – 45 minute TLI session on Building Club Membership and starting new clubs, I would love to help.  Toastmasters is my passion.  Now it is payback time.  There is no excuse for membership decline because everyone is receptive to self-improvement.  Toastmasters is a self-improvement club; it is not a service club.  We seek to improve ourselves through excellent communication skills which is the language of leadership.  That’s what communities need, more leaders.  Losing 543 members last year means there will be fewer leaders to serve.

CHANGE WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE DO SOMETHING.  WHAT IS YOUR CLUB GOING TO DO?

Don’t shrug off lost members because all service clubs are experiencing the same loss. Toastmasters is not a service club.  People will always sense a need for self-improvement.  Our market is only going to grow.  We must do better in telling the Toastmaster Story.  

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”  James Humes

Tom Carlson, DTM 608-728-2631 tcarlson@charter

REACH FOR THE STARS at the Spring Convention – May 1-2, 2020, Waukesha, WI

District 35 is meeting at the Milwaukee Marriott West in Waukesha to host our Spring Convention, May 1-2, 2020. Join us for education, awards, elections, and a lot more, including fun and networking.

Two things to know right now:

Plans are underway and convention teams are forming. While you don’t have to work for credit, what a great opportunity to do that High Performance Leadership Project you’ve been pondering. If you like working in teams, are creative, organized and energetic, consider volunteering on the planning committee and/or help onsite during the convention. Contact Rhonda Williams, Convention Chair at  rhondainwisconsin@gmail.com for more information.

The Call for Presenters is open now. Deadline for applications is January 3, 2020. This is earlier than previous years, so please help spread the word. Applications can be downloaded from the district website at https://district35.org/.

Remember: The magic in reaching for the stars is that you are always stretching!

SPOOKTACULAR in Ghostober!

Submitted by Kathy Glaser-Brown (DTM)

What do you do with an extra meeting day in the month? Well, that’s easy, according to organizers Laurie Baker (DTM), Jim Kohli (DTM), and Tom Gust (EC1). You hold a joint meeting between two seasoned and successful clubs, and you do it on Halloween!

Love of Laughter (LOL) Toastmasters and Waukesha Toastmasters have several members in common. Since LOL meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month and Waukesha the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, it was decided that a combined meeting would be held on the 5th Thursday of October, which happened to be Halloween. Despite an early snowstorm that day, members arrived in costume, ready to greet fellow Toastmasters, improve their skills, and share some laughs!

“I really liked the energy of the meeting, “ said guest Billie Mindt, a member of Applaud Quad.

This creeptastic meeting took advantage of the strengths of the two clubs, demonstrating how each creatively goes about improving specific skills while still adhering to basic Toastmasters practices. LOL, a specialty club, focuses on writing, delivering, and evaluating humor, while Waukesha Toastmasters takes a more traditional approach to improving speaking and leadership skills.

“I enjoyed seeing how clubs can do things differently from one another [and still accomplish the same goals],” said guest speaker Hemendra Chonkar, ACB/ALB, Area A2 Director, a member of Finest in Speech.

For example, Waukesha sticks with the tried and true Ah Counter role, but LOL has a Ha Ha Counter instead, who listens for and tracks giggles and chuckles, and then awards a certificate to the member who received the most laughs by the end of the meeting (it was the very funny Sue Kohut (DTM) from LOL). Additionally, LOL’s Live at the Improv segment takes the place of conventional Table Topics and involves acting in the moment with no preparation. Waukesha offers creative roles, as well, such as Inspirational Speaker and Humorist, which still allow members to exercise their speaking skills, but within a shorter time slot and involving less pressure and time than standard speaker roles.

I personally loved LOL’s Monologue role where a member summarizes and evaluates the meeting, like the General Evaluator, but with a very humorous slant. Nobody is safe from this hilarious report – every member is part of it, which creates a very inclusive and friendly environment.

While the format and focus of both Toastmasters clubs differ, what was demonstrated in this frighteningly fun meeting is the same – improvement, entertainment, and friendship. Guests are ALWAYS welcome to Waukesha Toastmasters and LOL, so come visit! For more information on these great clubs, check out their websites at https://waukesha.toastmastersclubs.org/ and https://1227778.toastmastersclubs.org/.