Table of Contents

Ed Thelen, DTM, PDD - District Leadership Committee Chair

The Call for 2022-2023 District Leaders Continues!

While many great nominations have come forth, we are still looking for some additional candidates for District leadership for next year. Therefore, the District Leadership Committee (DLC) is reopening nominations for District leadership positions evaluated by the DLC (District Director, Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director and Division Directors) for next year.

Each candidate will need to submit a candidate application (links are below) for any of the offices along with the officer agreement and release form.

The following forms will need to be filled out and submitted to the DLC chairperson:

For your reference the following documents can assist you to determine if these roles are right for you:

 

Nominations will need to be received by Sunday, March 13th to allow time for the DLC to schedule an interview and make their assessment prior to the deadline of presenting the DLC report to District Director Teri McGregor.  Documents can be emailed to DLC Chair Ed Thelen, DTM, PDD at edmthelen@gmail.com.

Teri McGregor - District Director

#Thrivein35 – Let Me See It!

Every month, the entire DEC team gets together. The Trio, administrators, Division Directors, and Area Directors come together for training, idea and information sharing, and fun. Every meeting we start with kudos and shout-outs. It’s a time for everyone to recognize their teams. We also share all the good things going on in our lives, our areas, and in all the clubs throughout the district. It’s my favorite part of the meeting. I love starting our time together on a positive note AND (selfishly) I get to hear about all the cool things going on that I’m not able to be a part of.

We have celebrated engagements and new jobs and personal goals achieved. We’ve heard about open houses, new members, and fun themed meetings. We celebrate each other’s wins and I always come away with enthusiasm and just an overall good feeling about how Toastmasters are thriving in our district. 

Now I want to hear from you. How are you thriving in your Toastmasters journey? What are some of the awesome things going on in your club? Share your kudos, shoutouts and success stories with me by emailing photos of the fun to tmcgd35@gmail.com.  You can also share on social media and use the hashtag #district35tm & #thrivein35. Photos will then be shared with the district on the D35 website.   

Jennifer Kibicho, DTM - Program Quality Director

Program Quality Director Mid-Year Report

Path To Distinguished

Time flies! We are halfway through the Toastmasters year and have only 5 months left to the end of yet another Toastmasters year. The number of clubs that have earned at least 1 DCP went up by 10 to 81 of 99 clubs.

Please join me in welcoming the newest club in our District, A Stately Discourse Toastmasters Club No. 07961184, that has set the record by earning 2 DCPs and having all 7 club officer roles trained, less than 1 month after their official charter date!

For District 35 to be Distinguished, we need 40 clubs to be Distinguished.

As of February 4, 2022, 32 clubs have earned at least 3 Distinguished Club Program (DCP) points and are on track to be Distinguished by June 30, 2022. To better understand the numbers, I have categorized clubs based on:

  • DCP goal met—earned 5 or more DCPs
  • DCP goal not met –earned 3-4 DCPs
  • Membership goal met based on either:
    • Charter strength status—have 20 or more active members
    • Net 5 or more increase in active members since July 1, 2021

 

The 32 Clubs in our District on track to be Distinguished by June 30, 2022, fall in one of the following 5 categories:

  1. Distinguished—DCP goal met and charter strength status [1 club]
  2. Distinguished—DCP goal met and net 5 membership goal [1 club]
  3. Almost Distinguished—DCP goal met but membership goal not met [5 clubs]
  4. On track to be Distinguished—DCP goal not met but membership goal met [4 clubs]
  5. On track to be Distinguished—both DCP and membership goals not met [21 clubs]

 

1.     DISTINGUISHED — CHARTER STRENGTH STATUS
 AreaClub NameActive MembersDCP Goals
1N4Royal Toastmasters248
2.     DISTINGUISHED — LESS THAN CHARTER STRENGTH
 AreaClub NameActive MembersDCP Goals
1A1Menomonee Falls Toastmasters186
3.     ALMOST DISTINGUISHED — MEMBERSHIP GOAL NOT MET
 AreaClub NameActive MembersDCP Goals
1B1Brookfield Toastmasters147
2B2DJAB146
3B1Love of Laughter125
4D1Cream City Communicators125
5E1Sheboygan Club 2121115
4.     ON TRACK TO BE DISTINGUISHED–MEMBERSHIP GOAL MET
 AreaClub NameActive MembersDCP Goals
1A2ROK the Talk234
2C2Eastside Madison Toastmasters Club264
3D2Toast On Tap534
4D3NM Speaks!233
5.     ON TRACK TO BE DISTINGUISHED–MEMBERSHIP GOAL NOT MET
 AreaClub NameActive MembersDCP Goals
1A3Tosa/Medical Club94
2C4Reedsburg Area Club194
3F3The Breakfast Club134
4N2Wisconsin Rapids Area Toastmasters Club104
5N3Eclectic Image Club184
6A1Direct Supply Champion Chatters Club163
7A2Ozaukee Toastmasters83
8A2Toastmasters In Control133
9A3GE Speaks Toastmasters Club193
10B2Generally Speaking Toastmasters93
11B3Waukesha Toastmasters Club163
12C3Capital City Club123
13C3Madison Achievers103
14C4Rolling Hills Toastmasters Club143
15C4Coulee Region Toastmasters93
16E3Thriving Communicators133
17E4Talk of the Town183
18F2CNH Industrial Toast Team153
19F3Southwest Toastmasters143
20N2Univ./Wi-Stevens Point Club113
21N4Heart Of Eau Claire103

Pathways Adoption Rates as of February 4, 2022

Congratulations to Division A for being first position in Pathways enrollment in total member and new member enrollment rates, and second place in officer enrollment rates. Way to go Division A team—Division A Director Dave Hendrickson, Area A1 Director Susan Brushafer, Area A2 Director Jim Vitrano, and Area A3 Director Yuriy Ksenidi.

Division B has the highest Officer Pathways enrollment rate. Thanks Division B team—Division B Director Amy Linn-Strosin, Area B1 Director Judy Bauer, Area B2 Director Maria Vazquez, and Area B3 Director Theresa Flynn. 

 Pathways Total Member Rate Officer Pathways Member Rate New Member Pathways Rate
Division A94% 98% 79%
Division B92% 99% 40%
Division C79% 92% 56%
Division D84% 95% 42%
Division E87% 95% 61%
Division F93% 95% 71%
Division N80% 90% 40%

Education Awards (as of February 4, 2022)

Congratulations to Royal Toastmasters for having the most education awards submitted to date (11 awards). Below, a list of 17 clubs that have submitted 5 or more Education Awards in this Toastmasters year (since July 1, 2021).

 

Club

Education Awards

1

Royal Toastmasters

11

2

DJAB

10

3

Eclectic Image Club

10

4

Mid-Day Women’s Alliance Toastmasters

9

5

Love of Laughter

9

6

Brookfield Toastmasters

8

7

Sheboygan Club 2121

8

8

Menomonee Falls Toastmasters

8

9

Cream City Communicators

7

10

Ozaukee Toastmasters

7

11

Capital City Club

6

12

Univ./Wi-Stevens Point Club

5

13

Tosa/Medical Club

5

14

Waukesha Toastmasters Club

5

15

Wisconsin Rapids Area Toastmasters Club

5

16

The Breakfast Club

5

17

Reedsburg Area Club

5

Triple Crown Winners

Congratulations to the following 16 Toastmasters that have earned Triple Crown (3 or more education awards) in this Toastmasters year:

Member

Awards

1.     Barb Sexmith

5

2.     Kris Pool

4

3.     Kathy Shine

4

4.     Jennifer Lynn Liedl

4

5.     Jim Kohli

4

6.     Janet O’Rourke

4

7.     Robyn Krueger

3

8.     Yuriy Ksenidi

3

9.     Elizabeth Pollock

3

10.  Lucas Roberts

3

11.  Lois TeStrake

3

12.  David Schmitt

3

13.  Carol Mather

3

14.  Anthony Cooper

3

15.  Kristin Ann McCabe

3

16.  Susan Brushafer

3

Pathways Path Completions:

Congratulations to the following 19 members who have completed a Pathways Path since July 1, 2021. The asterisked individuals completed their Pathways path after the October 2021 newsletter:

Name

Club

Pathways Path

1.     Jennifer Riley

Thriving Communicators

Dynamic Leadership

2.     Craig Mosey

ROK the Talk

Dynamic Leadership

3.     Heather Prueher

Royal Toastmasters

Effective Coaching

4.     Jennifer Liedl

Royal Toastmasters

Engaging Humor

5.     Susan Brushafer*

Menomonee Falls Toastmasters

Engaging Humor

6.     Jennifer Liedl

Royal Toastmasters

Innovative Planning

7.     Carl Ervin*

Generally Speaking

Innovative Planning

8.     Bonniejean Alford

The Breakfast Club

Leadership Development

9.     Tracy Rothman

Cream City Communicators

Leadership Development

10.  Jim Kohli*

Love of Laughter

Motivation Strategies

11.  Annemarie Braun

Spectacle City Club

Pathways Mentor Program

12.  Carol Mather

Fox Speaks Toastmasters

Pathways Mentor Program

13.  Keith Cumiskey

Rockwell Automation A-B Club

Pathways Mentor Program

14.  David Hendrickson*

Advanced Leadership

Pathways Mentor Program

15.  Lucas Roberts

Red Cedar Toastmasters

Persuasive Influence

16.  Debra Ruskamp

Rolling Hills Toastmasters

Presentation Mastery

17.  Philip Rechek

Heart Of Eau Claire

Presentation Mastery

18.  Eric Wunder

Brookfield Toastmasters

Strategic Relationships

19.  Kathy Shine

SpeakEasy Toastmasters

Team Collaboration

Club Officer Training—Winter Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI)

Only 58 clubs in our District had 4 or more club officers trained during the Winter TLI. Please note that your club needs 4 or more club officers trained at both the Summer and Winter TLIs for the training to count towards DCP credit.

Congratulations to the following 4 clubs that had all 7 Club Officer Roles Trained in both Summer & Winter TLI!

Area

Club Name

B2

Generally Speaking Toastmasters

B2

DJAB

B3

Waukesha Toastmasters Club

C4

Reedsburg Area Club

Attention Club Officers: please check your club’s dashboard to ensure that the Winter TLI Club Officer Training record is accurate. If you find that the number of officers trained in your club is inaccurate, reach out to me @ kibichodtm@gmail.com right away to have that corrected.

2021-2022 Speech Contests

The 2021-2022 Speech Contest season is underway! Most clubs have already held their Speech Contests, and some Areas are gearing up to hold their contests.

On January 12, 2022, the District Trio (District Director Teri McGregor, Program Quality Director Jennifer Kibicho and Club Growth Director Jason Feucht) made the decision to move all Area, Division and District Contests from in-person to virtual, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our District is sponsoring two Virtual Only Speech Contests:

  • Table Topics Contest—final contest will be at the District Level
  • International Speech Contest—winner will advance to the International Regional Quarter Finals Speech Contest

 

Speech Contest Important Timeline:

  • February 1, 2022 – March 26, 2022: Area-level Table Topics and International Speech Contests (virtual contest)
  • March 31, 2022 – May 1, 2022: Division-level Table Topics and International Speech Contests (virtual contest)
  • May 7, 2022: District-level Table Topics and International Speech Contest (virtual contest)

 

Please visit the District Calendar on District35.org for dates on when specific Area and Division Speech Contests will be held virtually.

Speech Contest Resources:

Attention speech contestants: Did you win your club speech contest? Are you preparing to compete at your Area contest? Perhaps you are advancing to the Division contest? Or have ambitions to compete at the District level?

If any of the above apply to you, we have lots of resources for you. Consider watching the following Contestant Training Workshop videos for tips and tricks by a two-time World Champion of Public Speaking Finalist Eric Feinendegen, DTM:

 

Please visit our District 35 Speech Contest Resource Page for additional resources.

Last Word: About that $0.25/Day Investment in your Professional Development

My fellow District 35 Toastmasters. I must confess I have made no progress since the December 2021 Newsletter issue! I did not follow-through with the plan to give a speech and complete a third Pathways Project Level. However, I am now scheduled to give at least 3 speeches in two of my clubs in the next two months!

My commitment is that I will complete a third level project and earn my Triple Crown by the April 2022 District Newsletter Issue!

Are you on track to complete a Pathways Education Level by end of year? If not, reach out to your Vice President of Education (VPE) and schedule to give a Pathways speech soon. Remember, if you give a speech every 3 months, you will complete a Level by end of year!

Please reach out and share your journey about completing a Pathways Level or perhaps earning a Triple Crown @ kibichodtm@gmail.com

Jason Feucht, DTM - Club Growth Director

Membership Renewals are Open!

On February 1st Toastmasters International shared with all club officers that Membership payments for the April – September renewal period are now being accepted in Club Central. Our Semi-Annual dues are due prior to April 1, 2022.

Work with your club treasurer today to renew and continue the investment you are making in your personal development as a speaker and leader through Toastmasters.  Being a member of Toastmasters and participating in your Toastmasters Club is one of the most cost-effective ways to invest in yourself.

Remember, clubs need to have a minimum of 8 paid membership renewals to count toward the membership renewal goal on the DCP. Eight is also the magic number for clubs that have any members competing in the contests!

Don’t forget to also share the benefits of Toastmasters with a friend or colleague by inviting them as a guest to your club.

Toastmasters and Personal Goals

With a new year comes new opportunities to think about our own personal goals and how our membership in Toastmasters is part of that.  I encourage all of you to think about and set 2022 goals for your personal development through Toastmasters. 

The great thing about Toastmasters is it’s a safe place to try things. We are all here to learn. Is it your goal to finish the pathways path you are in, is it to work on completing your DTM, is it talking with your leader at your employer about Toastmasters and your career, is it just giving your first icebreaker, or something else? I encourage you to set a goal and accomplish it.

Here are some ideas:

  • If you are newer to Toastmasters (and even if you are more experienced), set a goal to get more involved in your club – perhaps commit to taking on a meeting role at each meeting and giving at least one speech per quarter.
  • If you are further along on your Toastmasters journey, consider being a club officer, work on that advanced Pathways Project you have been putting off, or join an advanced or specialty club, like Resource Advanced Toastmasters, Leveling Up Leadership, Love of Laughter, Sales Masters or DJAB to name a few, to challenge yourself in a new way.
  • If becoming a DTM is your goal, look into becoming an Area Director, and hold a speechcraft or youth leadership program. Start working on chartering a new club in your workplace or with some other group of people that you know could benefit from Toastmasters. In the virtual situation we find ourselves in, the whole world is out there.

 

One additional goal I encourage us all not to forget as we work on our Toastmasters goals is to find and experience the fun along the way. Being a Toastmaster is a great journey, one of growth and learning, but also one of fun. Set some goals for yourself, accomplish them, have some fun, and have a great 2022!

District 35 Social Media Advertising Campaign

District 35’s Social Media Advertising has continued since launching in September.           

I have shared previously that this program is focused on building brand awareness of Toastmasters as an organization across Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.  Our ads are targeted to help build membership in existing clubs by targeting the counties in Wisconsin and Michigan where there are existing District 35 clubs.  The ads give some basic information about Toastmasters and direct the individual to “Learn More” and “Find A Club.”  We continue to adjust which of Toastmasters’ approved ads are running and have seen some increased reach and impressions in response.

Facebook Campaign Statistics

Month

Individual Reach

Ad Impressions

September 2021

14,863

26,129

October 2021

20,559

43,498

November 2021

16,692

37,143

December 2021

18,143

40,237

January 2022

47,139

107,410

Total

94,014

254,417

 

LinkedIn Campaign Statistics

Month

Individual Reach

Ad Impressions

October 2021

6,286

10,246

November 2021

3,384

3,704

December 2021

3,247

3,469

January 2022

4,586

5,457

Total

16,244

22,876

We plan to continue running the ads on Facebook and LinkedIn, as planned and budgeted for the remainder of the Toastmasters year.  We are hopeful that this effort will increase awareness of Toastmasters as well as drive some interested individuals to clubs.

Remember to ask guests and new members where they heard about Toastmasters.  The only way we know the ads are working is through feedback from guests and members. If guests or new members share that they saw an Ad on Facebook, LinkedIn or elsewhere, please ask where and let Jason Feucht, Club Growth Director know.

Let’s all grow our clubs!

Kris Pool, DTM - Immediate Past District Director

Talk Up Toastmasters – Club Membership Campaign

The Talk Up Toastmasters Club Membership Building Program runs from February 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022. What plans have you made to bring in additional members to your club this month and next?

The Talk Up Toastmasters membership program is the chance to encourage your members to invite guests to a special meeting where prospective members can learn about Toastmasters’ many benefits. Then add five new, dual, or reinstated members with a join date between February 1 and March 31, and you’ll receive a special Talk up Toastmasters ribbon to display on your club’s banner. Qualifying clubs can also earn a special discount code for 10% off their next club order. (The discount code expires six months from the date of issue and is not valid with any other offer.)

Applications and payments for members with a join date between February 1 and March 31 must be received at World Headquarters or online no later than March 31.

NOTE: the addition of transfer and charter members does not count towards Talk Up Toastmasters credit.

Incentive Program – REMINDER

The District 35 Awards & Incentive Program strives to reward you and your clubs for delivering a quality club experience. Have fun and earn a little something as you work to meet your goals!

Are you on the road to DTM? Have you completed the Pathways Mentoring Program? Have you completed a Pathways Level 5 education award? All these would earn you something as an individual.

Has your club held an Open House or Moments of Truth? Have you “spruced up your website?” Are you on your way to building up your club membership from below 12 to charter strength? These could earn rewards for your club.

Learn more about the details of each program as well as how many District Dollars and/or rewards you and/or your club have already earned. https://district35.org/resources/incentives/

Stirring Up Memories with District 35!

Kris Pool, Immediate Past District Director, is coordinating a District 35 Cookbook with profits from the sale to be used to help offset costs for the May 2022 Spring Conference in Marshfield, WI.

You’re invited to submit your favorite recipes — but it’s more than the recipes that will be included in this cookbook. You’re asked to share the story and memories behind the recipe.

The story doesn’t have to be very long, but it is to help us gain an understanding of why a recipe is important to you. This is also a way for us to connect more with one another in the future.

If you want to be included in this cookbook, please send your submission(s) to Kris Pool no later than February 27, 2022 (deadline extended). The book will be available for purchase by mid-March. The planned cost for this is $5.00 per cookbook. You’ll receive a pdf file.

Current and former members of District 35 are invited to participate. And yes, you can submit multiple recipes and stories.

Please send the following information to Kris.Pool.DTM@gmail.com:

  • Recipe title and actual recipe
  • Story behind the recipe
  • Your name and club(s)
  • Your phone and email (in case I need to follow-up with you for any clarification or questions). Contact information will NOT be published.
  • Optional – picture of your completed dish
  • Indicate a category for your recipe. If no category is indicated, the team will make the best decision possible to place in the right category.
    1. Appetizers and Snacks
    2. Beverages
    3. Breakfast
    4. Breads and Rolls
    5. Cookies and Candy
    6. Desserts
    7. Main Dishes
    8. Soups and Salads
    9. Vegetables and Side Dishes
    10. This and That (Play Dough, BBQ sauce, Chicken Rub/Spices, etc.)
    11. Other category – please specify

 

NOTE: This is a DTM capstone project for Kris as she works towards her first Pathways DTM. If you would like to be part of the team to review the recipes, edit, format, and proofread the cookbook, please contact Kris by February 28, 2022. As part of the team and the requirements for this project, you’ll be asked to complete a 360° evaluation on Kris as the leader of this project.

Be a part of something special and let’s stir up some memories together!

Jesse Franklin - Pathways Chair

Coming in March!

District 35 Pathways Advance Levels (PAL) Workshop

The Pathways Advanced Levels workshop is intended to provide support, ideas, and discussion as members work to complete Levels 3, 4, and 5 in their chosen path(s). Working together with other members offers additional encouragement and support, as well as guidance toward achieving individual goals.

The PAL workshop is a six-week session. Any member of District 35 is invited to attend and we look for a minimum of 80% attendance.

BENEFITS

The benefits of the PAL workshop are to provide resources and an accountability team to participating members as they are encouraged to complete their learning path. It is our hope that this workshop will be a “fast track” to completing a learning path, although we do recognize that some projects take more than six weeks to prepare and complete.

OBJECTIVES

Upon completion of the PAL workshop, you will have:

  • Completed most of your learning path projects
  • A concrete plan for completing their remaining path projects
  • Enhanced your leadership skills
  • Participated in the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) process
  • Provided guidance and mentoring to future participants and club members

The workshop will be limited to 10 participants. Be sure to sign up now using to link below to receive more information.

Pathways Advance Level (PAL) Workshop

For more information, contact Kris Pool (Kris.Pool.DTM@gmail.com) or Jesse Franklin (jesse_frnkln@yahoo.com)

Keith Cumiskey, DTM - Club Coach Chair

Team Coaching sessions

Is your club struggling with low membership, low participation, and meeting quality that could be spruced up? Attend the District 35 Club Coaching sessions. This program will consist of a team of experienced Toastmasters who will lend their support to clubs by hosting a series of one-hour sessions focused on building and sustaining club membership and club quality. Each session will consist of a 30-minute presentation on a specific topic, followed by a 30-minute open discussion on that topic. Potential topics include:

  •   Community Outreach (public clubs)
  •   Internal Marketing (corporate clubs)
  •   Hosting Speechcraft
  •   Organizing an Open House
  •   … and more

 

Sessions are held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month from 7:00 pm-8:00 pm. Attendance is open to all, but highly recommended for Club Presidents and Vice Presidents Membership.

Zoom meeting links – no registration necessary, just click below when it’s time to meet:

     *   1st Sunday <https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84912751616?pwd=c29hbGU2bmU4RXhMeEp5cUttWlRaZz09>

     *   3rd Sunday <https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89076819652?pwd=czMrOGI5NTZyTExpbzNuTGNQSmdqZz09>

D35 Spring Conference “Let’s Celebrate”

Cindy Laatsch, DTM – Immediate Past Region Advisor

Presenter Lineup

The Spring District 35 Conference is taking shape and it’s looking like an incredible experience. We are so fortunate to have Ed Tate – 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking – as our keynote presenter! Talk about starting off strong. And the Education Sessions will be incredible!  Here are our presenters so far – with more slated!

  • Pres Vasilev – 2013 World Champion of Public Speaking
  • Rich Hopkins -WinAnyway and Using Humor!
  • Jim Kohli – Past International Director
  • Dick Hawley and Brandon Birrenkott  – The POWER of Speechcraft
  • Lucas Roberts – Turn your Guests into Members!
  • Gina Glover – Conversation to Communication
  • Paula Houlihan – Time! Our Most Precious Commodity
  • Dave Hendrickson – Introverts and Toastmasters
  • Theresa Flynn – A panel discussion of selecting speech topics and your projects!
  • Ekit/Edit TM Club – Club building in the new normal! 

Let’s Celebrate together!  Stay tuned for updates on the sessions and our incredible presenters. Interested in being a presenter? Interested in being a Zoom Master for a session? Reach out to Cindy Laatsch – Educational Chair at cindy.laatsch@yahoo.comWhat a great way to support the event!  

Janet O’Rourke, DTM – District Public Relationsh Manager

Club Basket Contest and Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities

As published in the December Newsletter, The District 35 Spring Conference “Let’s Celebrate” will be held on May 13 and 14. As part of the fundraising efforts for the conference, the Conference Committee is planning another online auction (similar to our 2020 auction), combined with some on-site raffles. The proceeds from the raffles will help defray some of the costs of the conference. We are asking clubs to put together a basket and submit. Do you have a special artistic talent? Or are you involved with a local business who could donate their products or services? We would love to have 20-25 prizes at the event.  

There will be prizes for most bids, most tickets, and more. Please watch the District 35 Website for the entry form for clubs to submit with their basket contents. We will be collecting auction items beginning March 1, so put on your thinking caps and let your creative sparks fly!!

In addition, we are putting together a sponsorship packet. If you are a corporate club, please consider asking your company to sponsor part of our conference. If you are a community club, please consider asking local businesses for a sponsorship, or to donate a product or service from their business. 

We are also looking for additional members to serve on a Sponsorship Committee. If you are interested in helping on the Sponsorship subcommittee or have questions on the Basket Raffle, please contact Janet O’Rourke, District 35 Public Relations Manager at janet.orourke.tm@gmail.com.  

Thomas Tryon - Sergeant at Arms, Toast on Tap

Toast on Tap – Our Club Story

Toast on Tap is an 11-year old corporate club at Molson Coors Beverage Company in Milwaukee, WI. In 2020, we had 6 paid members. Today, we are up to 54 members. How did this come to be?

Our story comes from a humble beginning. Many years of single digit membership taught each member to be a jack of all trades. As our members became more comfortable with their own speaking and leadership journey, we became more skilled at investing in new members when they came along. Many members have known each other for 5+ years. As our relationships have grown, we find ourselves at a spot where each member would do anything to help one another be successful. This applies not just to the world of Toastmasters but to all facets of life. 

Our relationship-growing journey shifted gears in 2020 when Shelly Runte became our club coach and then again in 2021 when Stephan Church joined as a co-coach. Shelly and Stephan taught our members not just how to be better speakers and leaders but also how to embrace the joy and camaraderie that comes from the Toastmaster growth process. 

The work-from-home pandemic allowed us to make our club accessible to all our company’s employees. We’ve had members from as far north as Ontario and as far south as Puerto Rico. We now work in the office 3 days a week, but still hold our meetings remotely so as to be accessible to our non-local members. Being a corporate club has given us the luxury of having our club meetings during the workday when our members have the choice of: A) working, or B) entering a safe learning environment where laughter abounds. We meet over the lunch hour to increase the chances of people being able to attend.    

Perhaps the biggest reason for our growth has been our ability to partner with our Learning and Development (L&D) team. It was a 3+ year relationship building journey to get to the point where our L&D team understood the value our club had to offer and incorporated Toastmasters in their learning programs. In 2021, our club taught public speaking as part of a 6-month development program for high potential employees. That program was highly visible and extremely successful such that we will be teaching two classes to 40 people in 2022.

One graduating member of this developmental class, Tyler Monroe, had an opportunity to speak at our 2021 distributor convention. When our club heard of this opportunity, we offered intensive coaching sessions to enable Tyler to put her best foot forward. To see what good looks like from a new Toastmaster, check out Tyler’s intro and speech by going to the 19:04 spot in the below link.  

Inclusivity Imperative Focus Session — 2021 Molson Coors Distributor Convention (vimeo.com2

Theresa Flynn, DTM - Area B3 Director

Moments of Truth Meeting Summary

I recently had the pleasure of hosting a discussion on Moments of Truth (MOT). If you were unable to attend the call, here are some resources to help you plan for Moments of Truth with your club. The District is offering an incentive for club quality through Moments of Truth, so by all means, consider it!  Please check with your Area Director, or I’d be happy to help. 

Here are the recordings of the December and January sessions, and also a series of links to provide you with more information.

The chart is a summary of the specific suggested points of contact to be discussed, broken out by the broader categories.

The beginning of your club’s Moments of Truth is talking about your club culture — are you serious and professional? Social? Do you want to aim at a specialty?  One way to find out about your club culture is to find out what members are hoping for and what they want from the club – the new member profile is a great start for that discussion  

One way to discuss some of the club challenges is a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Click here to learn more.  Disclaimer: Not my site, not Toastmasters site, but it has solid information.

Stop Start Continue tutorial  – This can be a concise, focused way of bringing people together to brainstorm, come up with ideas, and develop new opportunities for your club – this is one way of dealing with the logistics.  

If you have any questions, please reach out! I hope this is helpful in your quest for excellence.

Jennifer Young - Toastimonial Project Lead

Toastimonials Now Being Accepted!

Over the past year, a small team of Toastmasters throughout the state have been working on a project to create industry-focused testimonial videos to help recruit new members. Our goal is to help District 35 Toastmsters to become the brand of choice for personal and professional development needs across diverse groups in the community. 

I’m happy to share that we are now actively recruiting volunteers for this project and will start recording testimonials soon! If you are interested in sharing how being part of Toastmasters helped you excel in your industry, please send me a note. I’d love to hear your story! 

Tom Carlson
Tom Carlson, DTM

Hybrid Toastmasters Meetings – Observations and Suggestions for Meeting Room Setup

I have been attending hybrid meetings more and more over the past couple years. I know District 35 has offered training and there are articles and videos on YouTube to help. Today I would like to share my personal observations about hybrid meetings and the meeting room setup.

First, let me remind you to be professional once the meeting begins. Leave the social networking to before or after the meeting. Just as if we were all meeting in person, give your full attention to the speakers and what is happening during the meeting. Room laughter can be magnified for virtual listeners; be aware that when speakers are truly funny, you should certainly laugh, but please avoid the nervous noises such as “cackling.”

Second, I highly encourage every club to offer a hybrid option. I know not all venues are ideal for this but do the best you can. Classroom settings, especially in a college venue, seem to offer the best audio and visual options. Some corporate venues may also offer an excellent setup. Typically, restaurants, churches, and community venues are not as likely to have the ideal technological setups, but again, do the best you can with what you have.

Following these suggestions will be a good practice to showcasing your club – both virtually and in person. We want to make a good impression on the guests that attend—and we should always expect that a guest will attend! We want to turn our guests into members and continue to retain our current members. Virtual meetings can be an important tool to market your club.

ROOM LAYOUT

  1. Always try to eliminate walking directly in front of the camera.
  2. Have one camera (such as a laptop camera) in the back of the room facing the lectern. You may need to elevate it for a better view of the room.
  3. Have another camera focused on the person at the lectern. This camera should be adjusted as needed for the height of each speaker.
  4. Place the banquet tables side by side with an aisle on each side. This way, the chairs are sideways to the camera. With the camera in the back of the room, the online viewer will see the in-person attendees from the side rather than just the back of a head.
  5. If there are 12 or fewer attendees in person, take out the two middle rows of chairs (as shown in the chart) and push the tables together side by side so participants are socially distant and can walk behind the chairs.
  6. You will need a screen or monitor so people in the room can see the virtual attendees. Set up the screen close to the lectern so both are in view of the camera. All speakers, whether virtual or in person, will need to stay within their camera’s view.
  7. Some rooms are equipped with a projector mounted from the ceiling. This is the best setup that I’ve seen and is usually available in a classroom or corporate conference room.
  8. As an in-person speaker talking to a hybrid audience, be careful with your eye contact. You want to be sure to include eye contact with the audience members, as well as make eye contact with the camera lens so include the virtual audience. If using a PowerPoint and it is behind the speaker, be careful when turning your head to look at the screen behind you. Look at it briefly, but do not talk the screen. The audience – both in person and virtual – will see the back of your head.

 

ADDITIONAL TIPS

  • Presenters should always sit close to the lectern. Leave the seats in the back of the room for guests and latecomers.
  • Have a sign on the table and chairs in the back for “GUESTS.” Always plan that guests will attend – either in person or virtually. Have a plan in place to get their contact information so the VP Membership can follow up with them (this can sometimes be missed with online attendees).
  • Try to have the entrance at the back of the room / camera so it is not a distraction for the virtual attendees.
  • When going to the lectern, try not to walk in front of the camera. Instead, walk on the side of the room out of the camera view.
  • Remember to “turn control” of the lectern over to the next person. The rule still applies to “never leave the front of the room naked.” Whether a handshake, fist bump, small bow, make some acknowledgement with the person current at the lectern and the person taking control of the lectern. This seems to be an action we’ve gotten out of practice since not meeting in person for so long.
  • When you are at the lectern, adjust the camera angle if needed so it shows your face (and body depending on the setup).
  • REMEMBER – always play to the camera unless you never plan to have virtual attendees.
  • Regarding audio quality in virtual meetings: for those of you at home, it is recommended to purchase a headset with a microphone. Most microphones on computers and laptops are of poor quality. For the computer being used in person, speakers (for any role when talking) should be facing the microphone on the laptop. Check in with your virtual attendees that the in-person attendees can be heard without issue.
  • Use a wireless microphone – even if you must purchase one. The audio quality is greatly improved for the virtual attendees.

 

Don’t forget that after your meeting, be sure to return all tables, chairs, and equipment to the original setup if you did rearrange the meeting room layout.

And one final suggestion – if you haven’t already conducted SpeechCraft with your club, please consider holding one.  

If you haven’t heard of SpeechCraft—it is a 4- to 8-session crash course in public speaking where a team of experienced Toastmasters in the role of presenters and mentors teach the fundamentals of public speaking and leadership to program participants in an atmosphere similar to a Toastmasters club meeting.  Mentoring participants creates a powerful opportunity for relationship building.

It is a blended learning program, which combines directed learning and individual learning and provides optimal support for learners interested in building their communication and public speaking skills. The directed learning portion of SpeechCraft is delivered by experienced public speakers. The individual learning portion supports the in-person sessions using online interactive materials designed specifically for adult learners.

What attendees get out of it: Attendees jump start their public speaking and leadership skills. This intensive introduction to public speaking gives them more Toastmasters projects under their belts faster than they’d get from simply joining a Toastmasters club. They also get more in-depth feedback and one-on-one mentoring than typical for new members.

What Toastmasters get out of it: Toastmasters gain experience delivering speeches on Toastmasters practices that qualify for Pathways credit, as well as practice mentoring new members. The coordinator of a Speechcraft program receives credit towards a DTM that can only be replaced by sponsoring a new club or coordinating a Youth Leadership Program.

SpeechCraft materials are all digital and can be purchased through the www.toastmasters.com website. The cost is $50 and includes materials for 5 people. If you have additional participants, you will need to purchase an additional SpeechCraft set for another 5 people.

Learn more about SpeechCraft here.

If you have questions, I’d love to talk with you. Please contact me at TCarlson@charter.net or 608-728-2631.