District 35 Toastmasters

October 2020 Newsletter

In This Issue: 


  Kris Pool, DTM – District Director

Autumn is a Time of Transitions

Autumn is a time of change and transition – the leaves changing colors and fall to the ground, bright sun and cool winds, dropping temperatures and hot apple cider, shorter days and longer nights. And during all this, we in Toastmasters are also changing.

We are now in the 8th month of COVID changes and the majority of clubs are continuing to meet online. Some clubs have decided to close or have lost membership numbers because they don’t want to meet online. And we’ve had some clubs that have found creative ways to hold hybrid meetings (both online and in person).

From a District perspective, it is up to the discretion of the club if they want to continue to meet online. The limitations are contingent upon CDC guidelines, a club’s venue, and local community guidelines and restrictions. Clubs are encouraged to come up with ways to engage their members to help them meet their individual goals and needs.

As you begin to meet in person, here are some suggested guidelines:

  • All attendees should wear face masks.  Think about bringing extras.
  • Bring in your own coffee or drink.
  • Limit paper handouts. Think about online guest packets.
  • Please bring in wipes.  Furniture, like the lectern, should be wiped down before the next person uses it.
  • No handshakes allowed. Determine another option such as an elbow bump, head nod, or a simple bow when approaching another member. 
  • Position members 6′ apart from another member at a table or sit upfront secluded on a chair.

Here are a few resources as you consider moving to hybrid meetings;





Moments of Truth

When was the last time your club conducted the Moments of Truth? What is Moments of Truth, you ask? It is a series of questions asked of the club members to get their opinion of how well your club meets different standards of a quality club.

  1. First Impressions – first impressions are important to club success because guests’ positive experiences and observations determine whether they will return and become members
  2. Membership orientation – In order to offer members the greatest benefit from the Toastmasters experience, the club must acquaint new members with the education and recognition programs and make members aware of the club’s responsibility to them and their responsibility to the club.
  3. Fellowship, Variety, and Communication – the club retains members by a fun, friendly, and supportive environment that encourages enjoyable learning.
  4. Program Planning and Meeting Organization – when club meetings are carefully planned, with well-prepared speakers and useful evaluations, members are able to meet their education goals.
  5. Membership Strength – when the club has enough members to provide leadership and fill meeting and committee assignments, this creates a lively, active club that benefits existing members and draws new members in.
  6. Achievement Recognition – the club motivates members to stay active by monitoring members’ progress towards goals, submitting completed award applications immediately, and consistently recognizing member achievements.

Download the Club Quality Standards Evaluation today: https://www.toastmasters.org/-/media/files/department-documents/club-documents/290-moments-of-truth/en/290b-moments-of-truth-chart.ashx?la=en&hash=50E1858B7BE588858ADE32B39DEEC4B5F9093543

As you review and answer the questions in each of the six areas, be honest. It is a simple “Yes” or “No” answer. If you hesitate and think “Maybe,” then mark “No” as your answer. These “No” answers are the areas that members feel the club is not doing its best that can provide the greatest opportunities to make improvements to the club.

Once you have your “Yes” and “No” answers, take the next step. Break into small groups and brainstorm ideas for improvement on each “No” answer. Don’t limit yourself and don’t strike down any option at this time.

When you have your list of ideas for each of the six areas, review and discuss each option. Is the idea feasible for your club? For the resources, time, and talents of your club members? If yes, write the idea into a goal and incorporate it into your club success plan. If it’s a fantastic idea, but no one is willing to step up and coordinate it, then put it on the back burner. Do this for every idea in all the areas.

Next, prioritize. Again, look at the resources, time, and talents of your members. What is most important to incorporate within the next month, next two months, next six months? What makes sense to hold off until next year? You won’t be able to commit to all ideas and put them into practice now, but use this to begin building your club strategic plan for growth and improvement over the next couple of years.

Clubs are encouraged to reach out to their area director to help facilitate the Moments of Truth. Sometimes an objective person can help keep conversations on task and help prioritize what needs to be.

I challenge all the clubs within District 35 to complete a Moments of Truth session and let me know what improvements you will put into action!

Teri McGregor, VC5 – Program Quality Director

Incentive Program Update

During the Toastmasters International Board of Directors briefing at the annual business meeting, it was announced that effective August 27, 2020, third-party gift cards will no longer be allowed for District use.  This includes the use of such cards for incentives and gifts and thank yous.  The change has been added to Protocol 8.4 District Fiscal Management, Section 8.  

With this new information, incentives have been updated.  Instead of gift cards, the District will award District Dollars for incentives.  District dollars will be tracked and available for purchasing items from the Toastmasters International Store.  We will give you the opportunity to purchase items “Just in time” to be available for pick up at the Spring Conference in May.  If the event in May is virtual, items will be shipped or delivered to a club officer.

For more information about 2020-2021 D35 Incentive program – including how to report your progress – visit our website: district35.org


Saturday November 7, 2020

Registration:  8:00am | Event Start Time:  9:00am

Crowne Plaza Milwaukee South

6401 S. 13th St | Milwaukee | WI 53221

Join us for the D35 Winter TLI.  This in-person event is the first of three winter training opportunities for club officers and is open to all members. 

The event will include:

  • Keynote speaker, Gina Glover.  Gina is a career coach, a speaker and workshop facilitator and, most importantly, a connector. Her greatest gift is her ability to foster connections. She does this with people, ideas, companies, and she’s done it for Toastmasters clubs since she joined her first club in 1994.  Gina will teach you how to turn conversations into connections.  Her session will focus on 5 elements for a more effective conversation.
  • Education session on Listening led by John Scott.
  • Club Quality Workshop lead by R5 Region Advisor, Phil Varona.
  • Panel Discussion on topics to help you lead your club to a thriving new normal.
  • D35 2020 Hall of Fame & DTM Ceremonies and more!

ATTENDANCE IS LIMITED TO 200                                                                                                                                                                                                                    REGISTRATION INCLUDES A BOXED LUNCH

  • Register by October 10, 2020 for $25.00 per person
  • Registration between October 11 and October 17, 2020 for $35.00 per person
  • Registration between October 18 and October 31, 2020 for $45.00 per person


No registrations accepted AFTER OCTOBER 31. No walk-in registrations allowed. If you need to cancel due to COVID related symptoms or illness, please contact Tom Gust (tommygust@hotmail.com). 

IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE HIGH RISK OR LIVE WITH/CARE FOR SOMEONE WITH HIGH RISK, PLEASE DO NOT PLAN TO ATTEND THIS EVENT.  Online makeup Winter TLI sessions will be offered on January 19, 2021 and February 6, 2021. 

Two ways to register:

  1. Register via Eventbrite HERE
  2. Download and mail a registration form per the instructions found on the form. Click here for the form.

Important COVID-19 specific information about the event:

  • We will be in a room that has a capacity of 600 people. The setup will be 10’ round tables with 3 people per table OR 1-2 people at a 6’ table (depending on final registration numbers).
  • Masks are required to be worn throughout the day except when eating or drinking. To minimize contact as much as possible, please bring your own pen and paper and hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the hotel. 
  • Temperature checks will be conducted at registration. Screening attendees reduces exposure for others, helps prevent the spread of disease within the hotel, and helps ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) is used effectively. 
  • A health questionnaire will be required to enter the event. The questionnaire is available for download and print from this website, will be emailed ahead of the event to all registrants and will be available for completion at the door. 
  • No name tags will be distributed. Bring your own if you have one. Wrist bands will be given out after the temperature check and will designate your lunch selection. 

 Hotel Reservation Information

We have special pricing available for Friday, November 6, 2020

  • Standard 2 Queens or Standard King Rooms available – $99.00 plus tax
  • Click here: Toastmasters 35 – Crowne Plaza Milwaukee South
  • Call: 866-664-5777 and identify Toastmasters District 35 for the room rate. 
  • Preferred rate available for reservations made by October 23, 2020.

You can read more about the COVID-19 precautions being taken for this event by visiting the website:  district35.org


Donations Requested for Winter TLI Raffle

Donations are now being accepted for the November 7th Winter TLI bucket raffle!

If you are interested in making an individual or group basket donation, please contact Janet O’Rourke at janet.orourke.tm@gmail.com. Donations can be brought the day of the event or coordinate with Janet to drop off items ahead of time.

Tickets will only be sold the day of the event. Ticket prices will be 1 for $1.00, 6 for $5.00, 15 for $10.00, and 35 for $20. Prizes will be drawn at the end of the day – winners must be present (or arrange for someone to take your prize home). The District will not deliver any prizes (but we may drink the bottles of wine you won!).

In addition to the bucket raffle, there will be a 50/50 raffle with the same ticket prices. Winner will receive half the pot and the District will receive the other half (to help offset the cost of the Winter TLI).

Cash or checks payable to “District 35 Toastmasters” will be accepted.


Beyond Boundaries

Tuba Mansoor, LD5

One year back, if someone would have told me that we TCS Maitree Toastmasters Club, District 98 (TMTC) a club from another district halfway across the world would be holding a joint meeting with Fond du Lac Toastmasters Club (FDL), District 35, I would have simply scoffed. Toastmasters has always been thought of as a physical platform – after all Toastmasters is all about public speaking. But with Toastmasters going online, joint meets became possible. On September 27,  we had a joint meet between the two clubs, and while we realized we were different in most aspects, we were similar too.

I belong to the oldest club in District 98 (India) – TMTC, and we were chartered in 2004. Established in 1947, FDL though older than independent India, it still is not the oldest club in District 35. This itself brings out the disparity of cultures between the US and India. And the differences between the two clubs just did not end there – FDL has 8 members in contrast to TMTC’s 80, FDL has more senior members, while TMTC has members who are young working professionals. And add to this the salt of cultural differences, we knew the joint meeting was going to be one spicy fusion.

The idea of a joint meeting started brewing when I joined in as the VP of Education of Fond Du Lac (FDL) through the reference of my good friend and FDL’s club coach and Area E4 Director of District 35, Atul Sharma. As I kept on attending the meetings in both the clubs, I realized that while both the clubs were different, they were bound by the basic tenets of Toastmasters. I wanted members of both clubs to experience how similarities and differences are equally interesting – hence the joint meeting.

For the joint meeting, we divided various roles between the two clubs and conducted a meeting in a manner which was comfortable for both the clubs. The meeting was great – there was fun, laughter, and jokes. Yes, we had trouble understanding each other’s accents, some cultural content was lost in translation, and I could see participants making extra efforts to understand each other – but in the end it was all worth it. We had Program Quality Director Teri McGregor coming in to support us. We had members from clubs in Iowa and Wisconsin joining in too. Overall, our VPPR Atul had done a fantastic job promoting the meeting in the US.

We, the members of TMTC, got a taste of the American culture, an experience of a more interactive meeting, and we were introduced to a new role – the Joke Master. Paul’s icebreaker introduced us to a whole new era in the States. Our FDL members meanwhile witnessed a different flow to the meeting and a different crowd of young energetic people. In the end, I am sure each of us took some learning home. We do have some plans for future joint meetings laid out. With Toastmasters going online, we believe this is the best platform to learn about clubs beyond the boundaries. As they say, Toastmasters is a place where learning never stops – even when it’s virtual.


Speech Contests Move Online in 2020/2021

The 2020-2021 speech contest season will begin on December 1 in District 35.  The district is sponsoring two contests:  the Evaluation Contest and the International Speech Contest. 

Toastmasters International has given the direction to districts that contests at the Area, Division, and District levels must be held on-line.  This is an exciting opportunity to try something new!  Learn and grow as you develop new skills in executing online events in the form of conducting a fair contest in a new platform.  

Mark your calendar for these important dates:

  • Saturday, October 17:  DEC members will receive training on how to conduct on-line speech contests
  • Sunday, October 18:  On-line speech contest training open to all clubs and members
  • December 1 – January 31:  Club Contests (clubs have the option to conduct their contests in person or on-line)
  • February 1 – March 20:  Area Contests
  • March 31 – May 1:  Division Contests

The district contest dates are TBD. Visit the calendar on district35.org for details on the training. 

A team of Toastmasters from across the district have come together to help develop tips, tricks, and training for conducting online speech contests.  This team researched what has been done by other districts and combined that with their own experience and helped to update the district’s speech contest tools.  Look for updated resources to be available on the district website later this month.  


Club Coaching

A Club Coaching program is underway this year led by Club Coach Chair Keith Cumiskey. The vision is for Club Coaching to become part of the normal Toastmaster experience in District 35 … just like attending meetings, delivering speeches, and providing evaluations. Our focus is to support sustainable clubs by implementing ongoing process improvement … not short-term fixes.

Additional resources for club coaches are now available on the District website.

Five clubs have new coaches in the past month. There are still several (25) eligible clubs (12 members or less) who have not responded with a coaching request. If your club is eligible and would like a fresh perspective on developing ongoing and sustainable success, please contact Keith Cumiskey to have a coach assigned.

We are also looking for additional coaches. While in the virtual meeting environment, coaching from the comfort of your home with a club across the state is easier than ever.


Speechcraft – Your clubs #1 Membership Building Tool

Overcome your fear of Public Speaking….from your own living room.  Sentry Toastmasters is offering a unique opportunity this fall. Practice your presentation skills and gain confidence in public speaking through a Zoom Speechcraft.

The Sentry Toastmasters are conducting their first ever Zoom Speechcraft. We have been presenting Speechcraft for over 30 years but this is our first virtual presentation. If you’ve ever wondered how Speechcraft is conducted, this is an excellent chance to observe one in action. It is a six week program beginning on Thursday October 1 and concluding on November 5; 6 consecutive Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Contact Dick Hawley DTM at dick21hawley@gmail.com if you would like to attend a couple of the meetings.

You would not be introduced and called on to participate, you would merely serve as an observer. Once you provide Dick with your email address, he will ensure you receive an invitation. It would be helpful if you had the background material available from the District 35 website to review before the meeting. It is located in the Files & Forms tab under Speechcraft. For single digit clubs, this could be the tool to turn your club into a 20 member club again.

What is SpeechCraft? SpeechCraft is a program to develop your presentation skills. Experienced Toastmasters present the fundamentals of public speaking in a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere. Through participation, you will become a more confident and poised speaker.

How the program works: You will have the opportunity to talk in front of a small group, conduct a meeting, participate in impromptu speaking exercises, sharpen listening skills, and more. The program is conducted in a non-threatening workshop atmosphere. A Toastmaster advisor will serve as your personal coach through the program. The course is open to all interested individuals within the community.


Training Opportunities Just For You!

How often do you visit the district35.org calendar? If you’re not visiting regularly, you’re definitely missing out!

Here’s a brief overview of our upcoming events and training:

  • October – Pathways, Club Contests
  • November – Winter TLI, District Leadership Expo
  • December – Succession Planning
  • January – Mid-Year Check-in, Winter TLI (makeup)
  • February – Winter TLI (makeup), Marketing Your Club
  • March – Pathways
  • April – Parliamentary Procedure
  • May – Spring Convention, Club Officer Transition
  • June – Training for Incoming Area and Division Directors

Visit the calendar for dates and details. Check back frequently for new trainings!