In This Issue:
- No More HUGS?
- District 35 Wants You… To Be a District Leader
- Reminder About Club Officer Elections and Summer TLI
- Spring Conference Recap & Feedback Survey
- Congratulations Speech Contest Winners!
- Congrats – Education Achievements
- CGD Report: Opportunities to Finish the Year Strong
- Division Demo Meeting Incentive Update
- D35 Virtual Business Expo
- D35 Research Team
- Thank You to a Fantastic CGD Team
- D35 Summer Toastmasters’ Leadership Institute (TLI)
- Club Coaching Update
- Testimonial Video Library: Project Update
- Hybrid Meetings
- Have You Heard About the Give-Back Benefit?
- To Join or Not to Join a Second Club?
No More HUGS?
What do you mean no more HUGS? Of course, there will still be HUGS! As the end of another Toastmasters year draws closer every day, it’s hard to imagine that we will not continue with the HUGS! Helping Us Grow Stronger! This has been part of my mantra, tagline, and vision for the past three years serving as a leader in District 35. This year has been difficult for me with only Zoom meetings and getting hugs from my fellow Toastmasters, but it’s getting better every day!
Every club meeting, training, conference, contest, and personal discussion has been about helping us grow stronger! Sharing ideas, trying something new and different, stepping outside our comfort zone in order to improve our skills. Learning Zoom and other online meeting platforms – these skills transfer directly to the work place (and family get togethers for those of living across the state or country). Camera angles, eye contact with the camera lens, lighting, audio and video settings – all new skills that I never thought I would need to understand two years ago.
What did you learn this past year? What have you done this past year? Have you made strides towards achieving your personal goals in Toastmasters? Did you complete the education awards you set for yourself? Take some time this coming week to reflect on these questions. What changes do you want to make and what goals will you set for yourself for the 2021-2022 Toastmasters year?
I love this quote by Deb Dickerson: “A setting sun still whispers a promise for tomorrow.” When my terms ends on June 30, 2021, you’re not getting rid of me completely! I’ve already got a busy year planned as Immediate Past District Director, District Club Extension Chair, and a club officer role in each of my three clubs. I want to coordinate a SpeechCraft for Safe Harbor (shelter for abused women) this summer or fall. I need to be a club mentor or coach as well as complete a DTM project to earn my fourth DTM and first Pathways DTM. There is definitely a promise for tomorrow! And there will always be HUGS!
Speaking of HUGS, if you didn’t read about it in the Spring Conference program or hear it during the announcements, District 35 is offering the 5 HUGS Award this year. This ribbon for your club banner is for any of our clubs that achieve five (5) or more DCP goals, but will not achieve distinguished status due to the membership requirement. Can we get at least 45 of our clubs to receive the 5 HUGS Award?
You’re in good hands with the incoming Trio team — Teri McGregor, District Director; Jennifer Kibicho, Program Quality Director; and Jason Feucht, Club Growth Director.
Thank you to everyone that has been part of my journey in District leadership – way too many to personally thank! HUGS to each and every one of you. Without your support, I don’t know how I would have been able to complete this year.
When the opportunity presents itself, go for it! This was the message shared by Karim Ellis, keynote speaker back at our Winter TLI in December 2019. It doesn’t matter if you are prepared or experienced – go for it! You’ll learn as you go along.
This is the mindset I encourage you take when you are asked to take on a district leadership position. Go for it! Because we are in need for Area Directors throughout our district!
You have so much potential that can be developed into more if you go for the opportunity presented to you. You don’t have to know the job to do the job – that’s what training on July 10 for the incoming Area and Divisions Directors is for.
Why do volunteers take on leadership roles? In addition to increasing your own self-esteem, you help others improve their self-confidence. You can improve the lives of others by showing how you care and want to see them grow and develop into a better communicator and leader. It takes you beyond your comfort zone – remember, you can grow if you stay where you are. If you have a vision, you can share this with others and develop a plan to work towards that vision. And it’s an opportunity to make a difference!
If that’s not enough motivation for you, consider this:
- Development and Learning – enhance your understanding of Toastmasters, develop social skills, gain new perspectives, increase self-esteem, and remain physically and mentally active
- Belonging and Protection – make new friends and meet people, show appreciation of others, and engage in social interactions
- Career Recognition – increase welfare through tangible rewards or benefits, find opportunities to network with potential business contacts, enhance your resume, and develop skills for future employment
Still not convinced? How about:
- Autonomy – do something on your own (innovate, experiment, receive feedback for improvement)
- Mastery – improve skills you enjoy doing and gives you satisfaction or develop new skills to increase your confidence
- Purpose – understand how you are a part of something bigger and how your contributions help to meet the mission of the club/district and how you can help the organization as a whole
Want to learn more? We had a one-hour session on the “Ins and Outs of Being an Area Director.” It’s too large to email or upload to You Tube, but it you want to view it, send an email request to Kris.Pool.DTM@gmail.com to receive a link to the drop box with the video and a copy of the District Leadership Handbook which gives a great description of what is involved with being an Area Director (or other district leadership roles – hint, hint – for the future).
The opportunity is here now for you to take on an Area Director role within District 35. Go for it! Contact District Director-Elect Teri McGregor at email@example.com to receive the district officer release statement.
Just a quick reminder that when your club has elected its new officers for 2021-22, the current president or secretary should submit their names and contact information to World Headquarters online through Club Central by June 30. It is preferred that clubs submit this information as soon as possible after the election. The District needs this information to invite the newly elected officers to Summer Officer Training.
As you talk with your members about the responsibilities of the various officer roles, please refer to the Club Leadership Handbook (01/2021 version) so they can get an idea of what to expect for each role.
Summer TLI sessions have already been scheduled and registration is now open for June 19, 30, and July 24. To get the best out of the training experience and be able to bring the most ideas back to your club to help you plan for a fantastic year, all club officers should plan to attend at least one of the TLI sessions. There’s no stopping you if you want to attend more (different speakers, additional ideas). And feel free to invite the rest of your club membership to attend.
Many of you have heard me talk about my journey to Program Quality Director. The first time someone asked me to consider running for Club Growth Directory, I was quick to say no. One thing I thought about was that if I was elected to Program Quality Director, I would be responsible for the annual spring conference and I wanted no part of that. I had never planned an event and felt that those that came before me had set a pretty high bar that I could never live up to. I could not have predicted the blessing of being given the opportunity to do something new, something exciting, and something that had not yet been done in District 35.
With no playbook and no guidelines, I found freedom with the opportunity to bring a new experience to our members. A virtual event allowed us to bring you a variety of keynote speakers and events. Tom Carlson kicked off the event with an inspirational message. Saturday, we hosted Accredited Speakers and a World Champion of Public Speaking from across the United States. Kris Pool organized a virtual banner parade to honor all clubs and Speech Contests remained the highlight of the three-day event.
I want to thank everyone who attended and ask for your feedback. Please complete the survey to give your thoughts on the event. 2021 D35 Spring Conference Feedback Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/D352021SpringConference
And a very special thank you to the conference planning committee!
Lois TeStrake, 2021 Spring Conference Chair
Jason Feucht, Registration Chair
Eric Young and the Area Director Team, Friday Fun Night
Adam Miller, Keith Cumiskey, and Robert Wall, Techmasters
Ed Thelen, Credentials Chair
Speech contests are an important part of the Toastmasters Program. Contests challenge speakers to speak in a different way. Those serving in functionary roles have the chance to hone skills like listening and paying attention to detail at a whole new level. Audience members get the chance to learn from watching experienced speakers compete.
Contests are tradition and part of the history of Toastmasters. And we love traditions, don’t we? Both in Toastmasters and in District 35. I’m so happy that we were able to bring this tradition back this year. But it wasn’t the way we’ve always done it – which is what we typically think of when we think of traditions. Virtual speech contests gave us the opportunity to shake things up a bit. And this was the most exciting part of contests this year!
The contest season wrapped up at the Spring Conference with the district level Evaluation and International Speech contests. The contestants began their journey months ago, probably by thinking – how is this going to work virtually?? They won at their club, in their areas, and then their divisions to compete against six of their fellow Toastmasters. They crafted their message by poring over every word and gesture. They probably spent hours creating the perfect space to deliver their message. I imagine each one meticulously testing and moving their microphones, cameras, lights, and computers to every corner of their home until the setting was just right. And I would be willing to bet that each one practiced in front of anyone who would give them 5-7 minutes of their time.
The 2020-21 speech contest season was one for the books! Congratulations to everyone who participated in contests this year! Michelle Pehler will represent District 35 in the Toastmasters International Region Quarterfinals. Results will be shared when the judging is complete.
International Speech Contest Winners
1st Place: Michelle Pehler
2nd Place: Paula Houlihan
3rd Place: Gladys Rivera
Evaluation Contest Winners
1st Place: Katie Adams
2nd Place: Jodie Schillinger
3rd Place: Maggie Bradley
Congratulations to the following Toastmasters on their Education Achievements!
Advanced Leader Silver
CGD Report: Opportunities to Finish the Year Strong
As the economy recovers and vaccination efforts are bringing hopes of returning to normal, we are beginning to experience growth in new membership. Between February 2021 and June 1, 2021, the number of new member payments nearly doubled from 194 to 359.
As of June 1, 2021:
- 96 clubs added at least one new member
- 36 clubs added 4 or more members
- 20 clubs increased their net membership by at least one member.
- 2 clubs more than doubled their base membership
- Toast on Tap
- Direct Supplies
- 1 club is only one new member shy of doubling their membership and has leveraged virtual meetings by recruiting members from 3 different continents (Africa, Europe, and America)!
- Eclectic Image
First the bad news! Unfortunately, the number of paid clubs dropped after the April 2021 dues renewals. We are currently at 88 clubs in Good Standing (with 8 or more paid members).
Next, the promising news! 12 clubs are within reach of Good Standing status with 4-7 paid members. For these clubs, consider SpeechCraft and Open House/Special Events as strategies to get more guests at meetings. With a dedicated effort, we can finish strong and have all 12 clubs increase membership to at least 8 paid members and be in good standing when the clock strikes midnight on June 30, 2021.
We thank our Division and Area Directors, Club Presidents, Vice Presidents Membership, and members who have worked so hard to recruit and retain members!
Nine (9) Clubs with Charter Strength (=>20 members)
Twenty (20) Clubs increased base membership
Finish Strong – The Opportunity
As the Toastmasters year comes to a close, please consider employing one or more of the following strategies to finish the year strong.
- Facilitate a virtual or face-to-face Open House
- Organize a 4-6 session SpeechCraft Workshop
- Request a Club Coach—clubs with 8-12 members are eligible for a club coach
Winners of the Demo Meeting Incentive:
The CGD team is excited to report that Julius Theisz (J.T.) and Dick Hawley, DTM are the winners of the DD$200 demo incentive. J.T. has worked tirelessly since October 2019 to charter a club at his place of work, Kerry Corporation. In May, he and our SpeechCraft Liaison Dick Hawley, held a 4-week SpeechCraft workshop. After the SpeechCraft graduation ceremony, J.T. announced that they had enough people willing to be charter members to go ahead with charter process. Congratulations J.T. and Dick Hawley for showcasing how SpeechCraft is a powerful tool for starting new clubs, in addition to rebuilding existing clubs. We shall provide an update in our August 2021 District newsletter.
Incentive Deadline Extended:
Excellent news! We are extending the Division Demo Meeting Incentive deadline for another month. Each division has an opportunity to earn District Dollars (DD$) for hosting a demo meeting and/or chartering a club before June 30, 2021. Here is a summary of the Division Demo Incentive:
- DD$100 per demo meeting
- DD$200 for demo PLUS charter club within one (1) month
- DD$150 for demo PLUS charter club within two (2) months
To be eligible for the incentive, you must keep the Club Growth Director informed about your plans, including date for the demo meeting and contact information on the possible chartering club.
Keep in mind that any new club that charters before the end of June 2021 will have the $125 new club chartering fee waived, as well as the $20 new member fee for all charter club members.
We will be announcing the winners of this exciting incentive in our August 2021 District newsletter!
The Club Growth Team is thrilled to report that our inaugural District 35 Business Expo held on March 29, 2021 was a phenomenal success. 54 people participated in the virtual event that included a Keynote Speech by Tom Lenk, Vice President Engineering of Rockwell Automation; Bett Bollhoefer, District 57 Director; and a panel discussion hosted by Cindy Laatsch, DTM, Region 1 Advisor, that included Michele Runte, Stephan Church, and Danielle Goard, HR person for Molson Coors. The panel discussed how the Toastmasters training curriculum has been implemented in a multifaceted TAP2LEAD program developed for internal, high-potential leaders within Molson Coors to grow their professional development and leadership skills. The videos from the recordings will be posted on the District 35 webpage.
We are looking for individuals to assist the District 35 Research Team. The Research Team will support the Club Growth Team by researching businesses and organizations within the District and help connect with potential leads for new Toastmasters clubs. The Club Growth Team is looking for volunteers.
If you need to complete an HPL or DTM project, this is another fantastic opportunity. Volunteer Today – contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please join me in thanking the following Toastmasters for serving on the CGD Team this year:
- Judy Bauer – Club Extension Chair
- Jean Rossett—Corporate Clubs Chair
- Keith Cumiskey—Club Coach Chair
- Dick Hawley—SpeechCraft Liaison
- Division and Area Directors
- Trio—Kris Pool and Teri McGregor
It takes a village to get the work done. Thank you very much for your commitment, service and leadership to our District.
Attention all incoming Club Officers! Thank you for agreeing to serve the members of your club for 2021-22.
We are excited to offer three opportunities to participate in the TLI sessions:
- Session 1: June 19, 8:30 am – 1:00 pm
- Session 2: June 30, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
- Session 3: July 24, 8:30 am – 1:00 pm
We are planning to offer both unique sessions (keynotes and one educational session for each TLI) and consistent breakouts in all TLIs. Please look out for announcements in social media and other platforms about specific offerings for keynotes and educational sessions for each TLI event.
Please encourage club members who are not officers to consider attending various education sessions that might be of interest to them. Club officers are required to attend and participate in all sessions at a specific TLI event in order for the club to receive club officer training credit towards your Distinguished Club Performance (DCP) goal.
Club Coaching Update
We have added another coach to the team … Susan Brushafer has begun coaching The Breakfast Club. Susan brings many years of Toastmaster experience… first at Direct Supply Champion Chatters, and now at Menomonee Falls Toastmasters.
Congratulations to Toast on Tap and their club coaches, Shelly Runte and Stephan Church, for reaching Distinguished club status. Toast on Tap currently has 30 members… up from a base of 9 members on July 1, 2020. This is our first coached club to reach Distinguished status this year. Bravo! Well done.
Clubs with 12 members or less (about 70% of the clubs in our District) are eligible to request a coach. Coaches work with the club and their officers to build club membership, achieve educational goals, and reach Distinguished status.
We are also looking for members to serve as coaches. This is a great opportunity to flex your leadership skills. If you have achieved DTM, put your skills to work. If you are working toward a DTM, here is a place to meet your leadership requirement.
Contact Keith Cumiskey at email@example.com to request a coach or to get information about serving as a coach.
Testimonial Video Library: Project Update
In the April newsletter, we shared the background of how the industry-focused testimonial video library project came to be. This month, we are happy to be in a position to seek out volunteers!
As a quick refresher, a small team of Toastmasters met to envision what the District would look like if Toastmasters was the brand of choice for personal and professional development needs across diverse groups in the community. We decided to design and develop a targeted library of testimonial videos that can be shared out to specific industries. This library will live on the District 35 website and will be accessible to members so they can share individual industry-focused videos or a broader, more general-reach video.
We are starting with a small, targeted list of industries. If you have a story about how being part of Toastmasters has helped you professionally, and you work in any of the following industries, we want to hear from you!
- General Business (B2B)
- Health Care/Medical
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share your story with the team. Also, be on the lookout for our member survey – even if you don’t want to record a testimonial, your input will help us understand if this project is successful.
We’ll continue to post updates as the project continues. Keep checking back to learn more!
It was May 2020. The local library, our meeting location, was shut down until further notice. None of our members had a Zoom account. Our meetings ground to a halt. With only seven members, our club faced suspension for lack of membership. Fast forward to today; our club now has 16 members, with more people looking to join every month! We’re thriving in a Zoom environment and are looking to earn our first Distinguished Club designation in a very long time.
How did we do it? We fully embraced the hybrid meeting!
My name is Lucas Roberts, and besides serving in a District 35 leadership role, I also serve as the Vice President of Education and Vice President of Public Relations for the Eclectic Image Toastmasters in River Falls, WI. I’ll share with you what a hybrid meeting is, what sort of etiquette our club has adopted to help foster great hybrid meetings, and how you can easily bring hybrid meetings to your local club.
What is a hybrid meeting? A hybrid meeting has elements of both an online (or Zoom meeting) and the physical meetings we all grew up on. As our world continues to open up from the pandemic, more and more people will look to have physical interactions again. But not everyone is ready for physical meetings. You might have had some members fallen off due to their lack of desire to meet online. But you don’t want to alienate the members you do have by abandoning the online format that they’re more comfortable with now.
If this is your dilemma, then a hybrid meeting is the solution for you! Follow these simple steps to implement a hybrid meeting that will allow you to attract people who want physical meetings while keeping members who need an online format.
Step #1: You need at least 2 devices – As long as you have at least 2 smartphones in the physical group, you can set up a hybrid meeting. Simply open up the meeting on the smartphone like you normally would. You can use laptops or tablets if they’re available… anything works.
Step #2: Place one device at the Lectern – Make sure this is positioned in such a way where the online audience can clearly see and hear the person at the physical meeting who is speaking at the lectern. It helps to rename the Zoom ID as “LECTERN”, but your online audience should be able to pick up that that device is for the physical members who are speaking pretty intuitively.
Step #3: Face the other device towards the physical audience – When your online members are speaking, they’ll be able to look at this device’s camera and see the physical audience! This will greatly enhance the speaking experience of your online members. Even though it’s virtual, they’ll still have a wider audience to speak to courtesy of your second device.
Step #4: Your audience-facing device MUST NOT be connected to the audio! I cannot emphasize this enough. If both your lectern device and your audience device are connected to the audio, they will give each other noisy feedback making an untenable listening experience for your online members. Do not connect the audio for the second device. If you accidentally connect audio, simply leave the meeting on that device and re-connect. Very easy troubleshoot!
Congratulations, you’ve now set up a hybrid meeting! Now you can have physical meetings for those who can’t handle another online meeting while also catering to your online membership and audience. This method has allowed our club to attract and recruit members and talent from Ukraine, Iran, and Kenya!
With your sergeant of arms, I highly advise you to adopt the following etiquette when implementing hybrid meetings:
Etiquette #1: Be quiet! – If you’re not at the lectern, you do not speak. This shouldn’t be new, but sometimes a Toastmaster or two will chit-chat quietly while the meeting progresses. Any extra noise, no matter how quiet it is, will disrupt the listening experience of your online audience. Please make sure that everyone is quiet while the meeting is happening. They can catch up after the meeting has concluded.
Etiquette #2: Everyone speaks at the lectern – Some clubs will have their grammarian or timer reports given from wherever that Toastmaster happens to be standing. But remember, your online audience won’t see them! Anyone and everyone who has a speaking role must come up to the lectern to speak… no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.
Etiquette #3: Explain the hybrid meeting at every single meeting – Without exception, stay in the habit of explaining the format of your hybrid meeting at the opening of every single meeting you conduct. If you have the online guest, they’ll be a bit perplexed by the other online members and one camera that a bunch of people seems to be hovering around. At our club, we usually open up by saying, “Welcome to Eclectic Image Toastmasters! We are a local club in River Falls, WI, but meeting with folks from all over the world through Zoom. There are those of us here in River Falls who meet physically, which is why you’ll see us come up and share this camera. The rest of our members meet online. If you’re in the River Falls area, let us know if you want to pop in to meet physically with us!”
Now you know how to bring hybrid meetings to your club. With two devices and the proper etiquette, your club can start to benefit from meeting both online and physically. Establishing a hybrid meeting will be a little wonky at first, but after your first two meetings, you’ll be a hybrid meeting pro! I said earlier that hybrid meetings have allowed us to look at making Distinguished status. Obviously, a lot more work goes into making Distinguished, but the hybrid meetings gave us the groundwork, the foundation to build an excellent club.
If you’d like to see a hybrid meeting in action, please visit our club, the Eclectic Image Toastmasters! We meet every Saturday at 10:30 am (or 6:30 pm for our members from Ukraine!). Zoom link is here: https://zoom.us/j/93274280237?pwd=MWY1VzU5L1kzdzJmN2lybld6SkNrUT09
Have You Heard About the ‘Give-Back Benefit’?
There is a commercial on TV in which a famous, retired football player, often referred to as Broadway Joe, encourages Medicare recipients to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. That type of plan ‘may’ make them eligible for the ‘give-back benefit,’ a reduction in their Part B monthly premium.
With the new Toastmasters year upon us, Joe’s commercial started me thinking about the ‘give-back benefit’ for which each of us is eligible when we pay our membership dues. You never heard of it? Well, you can take advantage of it!
Each club officer takes part in the give-back benefit when he or she accepts and executes the responsibilities of the officer role. The give-back to the officer comes in the form of gaining or strengthening leadership skills, improving communication with others, and working with a team of fellow officers to provide guidance to the club. Toastmasters who take leadership roles in Areas, Divisions, Districts, or higher offices receive the same give-back benefits. They also gain experience in growing club memberships, sharing ideas across leadership levels, supporting others in their leadership development, delivering training to new and experienced Toastmasters, and building strong, engaged clubs. Sounds like great benefits? You bet!
Are you feeling left out because you’re not yet an officer? You can receive the give-back benefit as a club member by giving speeches, taking meeting roles, providing feedback to fellow members, and by supporting your club’s officers. Imagine having every role filled at the meeting where you’re the Toastmaster. Think about stepping into a judge’s role in a speech contest. How about inviting a friend to a membership-growing event!
Broadway Joe will probably continue to promote the Medicare ‘give-back benefit.’ When it comes to Toastmasters, however, Ralph Smedley, founder of Toastmasters, said it best: “Let us share with others the benefits we have gained for ourselves.” Fellow Toastmasters, as we enter the 2021-22 Toastmasters year, how will you take advantage of your ‘give-back benefits’?
To Join or Not to Join a Second Club?
How many of you are members of one club? Have you ever asked yourself, “should I join a second club?” Only you can answer that question based on your availability, resources, and priorities; but here are some strong reasons that may motivate you to consider it!
Increased Speaking Opportunities – the more you speak, the better you get.
Speech Contests – if you plan to compete in speech contests, belonging to more than one club gives you more chances to practice and a better chance of winning at club level.
Evaluations – belonging to more than one club gives you the benefit of being evaluated by different groups of people. Even though all evaluators follow the guidelines provided in the speech project, everyone has a unique perspective, which allows for a richer growth experience.
Leadership – multiple clubs provide more opportunities to serve.
Networking – the more people you meet, the broader your network becomes!
Advanced and Specialty Clubs – belonging to an advanced club where there are higher-level speakers will motivate you to push yourself further. A specialty club is tailored to a specific interest where you will meet like-minded individuals and share a common goal.
When exploring your options, make sure you take the time to visit many clubs that pique your interest and find the best fit for your needs. There are many reasons for joining a second (or third or fourth) club, or maybe you’ll discover that a single club is perfect for you!
If you are ready to expand your experience, I invite you to attend Leveling Up Leadership, an online specialty club focusing on business and leadership. We are a prospective club in in District 35, nearing charter strength. This club is open to anyone world-wide and is perfect for existing members of corporate clubs, and Toastmasters or members of the community that own their own business, or work for companies that do not have a corporate club. At club meetings we practice various elements of business such as: presentation and training, interviewing, managing people, project management, and networking. Special to our club is the role of “Business Tipster” where a member provides a business tip of their choice.
Come see for yourself! We meet via Zoom on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday’s of the month from 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm Central Time. Contact me at email@example.com for a meeting link.