Toastmasters Turnaround Story

Wow… From Last Place… to the Top 10%… and Still Climbing

District 65 – Toastmasters Turnaround Story Of The Year

We have a real chance of making our District 65 a Distinguished… or even a Select Distinguished District this year.

But We Need Your Help.

Here is how you can help your Club, your Division and your District.

Step 1: Check your club report by visiting this link, scroll down to your club and click on your club name: your club report will pop up and you can save as a PDF (upper right corner)

http://dashboards.toastmasters.org/Club.aspx?id=65

Step 2: Find out what your club needs to do to be come Distinguished or better by sharing your club report with your members and officers.

Step 3: Reach out to former members, guests and existing members with the attached PDF on Pathways – visit this link:

https://secureservercdn.net/50.62.194.59/zhm.631.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Pathways-Core-Competencies.pdf

Step 4: Submit any CC’s, CL’S, or advanced awards electronically through Club Central before the June 29th deadline. https://www.toastmasters.org/

Step 5: Let us know when you reach Distinguished or Better and your club will receive Toastmasters magnetic Name Badges ($8.00 each) for every member in your club plus a $25.00 gift certificate. Email: d65trio@gmail.com

Don’t let all our hard work this year go for naught. Let’s race to the finish line and make District 65 the Turnaround Story of the Year.

You earned it, now lets finish it!

Hobby Or Talent Meeting

Fun Meeting Ideas

Hobby Or Talent Meeting:

By Angela D’Amico – Marketing Committee Member

For this meeting, you suggest that each of your members who signs up for a speech provides a talk about their favorite Hobby or a specific Talent that they feel is unique.

In addition to their presentation, live demonstrations are encouraged and audience interaction is also a welcome addition.

Focus your daily Table Topics around hobbies, talents or even super-powers to maintain the theme and get everyone engaged.

Have Evaluators contribute as well with a brief description of their own favorite hobby and what they learned from the Speaker.

Remember that variety is the spice of life. Toastmasters meetings that encourage fun will encourage members to attend and re-engage.

Here are some creative ways to get your club’s endorphins pumping at your upcoming meetings.

  • Once a month keep an element of surprise.
  • Change the layout of the room.
  • Place the lectern in a different spot.
  • You can assign roles at the door as each member picks their roles for that day from a bag.

The more fun you have, the more fun your members and guest will have. Focus on Fun and your club will grow.

5 Tips For FTH

5 Tips to Help Your Free Toast Host Website…

Help Your Club… Get More Members

By Keith Maderer, DTM – Club Growth Director and many others

The most common place people find Toastmasters is on Google…

They go to – https://www.toastmasters.org/ – and hit – Find a Club.

They type in their zip code and look at a few clubs close to them that meet at a time they prefer. Then they look at your club website, members, meeting information and contact us.

Is Your Site Ready?

Take a look at Buffalo Flyers Club – http://buffaloflyers.toastmastersclubs.org/ Is this website ready? At the time of this article, they have a few items that they can work on to improve.

1. Your Home Page is Huge – Next take a look at The Larkin Leaders website for a comparison https://1196232.toastmastersclubs.org

  • You only have one chance to make a first impression.
  • Photos, announcements and events from your club make it personal and real.
  • Keep them rolling down the screen. Write a brief meeting recap or article

2. Meet Our Members

Have profile photos, bio and social sharing for all members. Unlocked them for all to see. Here is how to fix this.

  • Members >>> Edit Your Profile
  • Admin or Officer >>> Private Member Directory>>> You can fill out for them.

3. Meeting Information/Directions:

  • Spell it out, tell them the details, where to park, use the map, etc.
  • Launch Admin Console >> Meeting Info/Dir -TAB >>> fill out and add map

4. Contact Us:

  • VP Membership and President – make sure to respond to every inquiry.
  • Have 1 or both respond. Two responses is better than none.
  • Launch Admin Console >> Email and contact forms >>> Add members name

5. Photos on agenda: Why??

  • If guest walks in and see member photos on the agenda. Starts the process of getting to know your members.
  • Launch Admin Console >> Meeting Agenda Settings >>> Global Settings
  • >>> Include member photos on agenda – check box.

Bonus Tip: Write a meeting recap/summary with current or next meetings agenda. Email to all members and occasionally to guests and former members after every meeting.

“Miss a Meeting… You Miss A Lot! Bring A Guest… Ask A Co-worker??” from  Paul Justinger – Clarence Toastmasters

I hope you find these tips helpful. If your website is ready when a guest reaches out, you have a much better chance of having them visit your club. Then it is up to you and your members to make them stay.

Here are some great sites to help you learn to make the most of your Free Toast Host Websites.

Free Toast Host Setup:  https://www.toastmastersclubs.org/welcome/

Free Toast Host Support and Training:  https://support.toastmastersclubs.org/forum

Big Distraction Meeting

Fun Meeting Ideas

By Keith Maderer, Club Growth Director

The Big Distraction Meeting

Distractions

While most toastmasters meetings are orderly and welcoming, in real life, speaking to groups can be more challenging. Dinner meetings, meetings with children in the audience, meetings with construction going on outside, cell phones going off, people talking in the back or even hecklers can all be disruptive to a speaker’s “flow”.

But the reality is… it happens.

So if you want to prepare your fellow members for the potential distractions they could encounter, a Big Distraction Meeting can be a lot of fun.

Download some random sounds, noises, crying babies and other potentially distracting noises which can be played back during the meeting.

Appoint a couple of members to deliberately have a side conversation, mildly heckle or otherwise distract the speakers, evaluators and others during their presentations.

Watching members handle distractions can be humorous and entertaining, but will also be a great learning experience for everyone involved.

Be sure to warn each member before the Big Distraction Meeting and make sure to inform any guests that this will be happening on purpose.

As long as the distractions are thought out in advance and properly planned, everyone should have a fun time, learn a little more about tolerance and truly appreciate that “positive and mutually supportive environment” of your regular meetings.

Toastmasters Volunteerism

Toastmasters and Volunteerism

by Sam Metha, DTM, PDG

Sam Metha

It is said that “if you can’t stand the heat, leave the kitchen.” A great majority of club and district officers take their job-responsibility seriously and execute them responsibly. I applaud them. However, from time to time, we have seen a handful of club officers and some district officers, attempt to take cover behind the term “volunteering” and/or serving in a “voluntary organization” etc., especially when things don’t fit-in their timetables and/or have some personal ongoing conflicts.

From time to time, they abdicate their officer responsibilities. Especially when they do not “feel” like complying with the Toastmasters International’s published policies and procedures and district’s directives. They tend to pick and chose what they like or dislike. In other words, they take shelter behind “volunteerism” and the “volunteer” part of Toastmasters organization, thereby covering-up their personal shortcomings and/or lack of personal commitments.

This especially holds true for a handful of club officers who voluntarily or involuntarily hold an office, year-after-year. This is unfortunate. They need to learn to step aside and encourage newer Toastmasters to take up the club officer responsibilities and support & mentor them in their efforts.

Toastmasters is an organization of policies, procedures, rules, regulations, protocols, mandates, compliance, and structure. These have been carefully developed over a period of years for a purpose and benefit of all Toastmasters. Non-compliance of these established policies and procedures is a violation of the very purpose in becoming a club or a district officer and impacts the integrity of the organization.

Strictly speaking, the only volunteers in a Toastmasters organization are its members. Once a member chooses and/or accepts to become an officer at clubs or district levels, he or she ceases in-part to remain a volunteer. As an officer, he or she now has duties and responsibilities to discharge; assignments to undertake and perform, and leadership to execute and deliver. The fact that he or she is not financially rewarded for the officer position becomes irrelevant.

My personal opinion on the subject-matter of “volunteering” and holding elected/appointed offices at club and district levels are as follows. If an elected/appointed officer is unable to commit reasonable amount of time, energy, interest levels, and resources, towards performing the job as required and adhere to the by-laws and constitutions of TI, the district and the club; the officer in question, is not only doing a disservice to himself or herself, but also to the fellow Toastmasters, who depend on him or her for providing the service and leadership.

The key word in all volunteer organizations is “commitment.” Naturally, there are degrees and levels of commitments. Club and district leaders are consistently required to provide service and leadership during their term in office. That is the primary reason why they have been elected/appointed. Officer positions are not ceremonial or default positions. Officers cannot “volunteer” to serve when they feel like it and “not volunteer” when they don’t feel like it. In other words, they don’t have a choice. They have made their choice of commitment to serve for a specific period of time.

Commitment is not like an electric switch, that one can be turned on and off arbitrarily and discretionarily. It seems that when things become dark and problematic, the switch is turned off and when there is light and things are going well, the switch is turned on. I believe that as a club or district officer, the switch of service and leadership must stay on; clear and bright, for the entire term in office.

I congratulate all those who have stepped up to-the-plate and volunteered their services at club and district levels. I also congratulate all those Toastmasters who plan to become club and district officers, going forward. Your commitment and hard work are admirable as are the rewards that you receive in form of self-enrichment, fellowship, and personal success.

Sam Mehta, DTM, PDG

Just Say Yes

Just Say Yes!

By Keith Maderer, Club Growth Director

For many of us, our toastmasters journey started with fear, anxiety, dry mouth and sweaty palms. We knew we needed help, we knew we were uncomfortable in our own skin and we knew that to overcome it, we would have to step outside our comfort zone.

Caroline Organ

Recently my mentor, Caroline Organ, gave her final speech in her journey to reaching her DTM – Distinguished Toastmaster. She shared how she would panic in High School and College when it was time to get up and speak. She shared how her job required her to train groups and give presentations, but she dreaded the process.

Then she saw a flyer for a new Toastmasters club in her office building. She decided to give it a try and said YES when they asked her to join. It took 6 months for her to give her Ice Breaker and she confessed that she became the best timer at every meeting until then.

When Dennis Gauda and Kevin McCue nudged her along and “Volun-told” her it was time to give her Ice Breaker, she finally said YES.

Then several months later, the club lost some members due to a corporate restructuring. They needed club officers badly and they asked if she would help out. She said YES.

After filling several officer roles, she was asked to be an Area Governor (Director). You guessed it… she said YES. Then she was asked to be a Club Coach… She said YES.

Since then, Caroline has mentored and helped so many people throughout Western New York that she forgot to receive credit for all the seminars, workshops, speeches and roles that she completed, or helped others to complete.

Shortly after I met her in 2012, she got married, gave birth to 2 handsome young boys and became a great mom. This took her away from her pursuit of that elusive DTM for several years. But when we needed her… she always said YES.

Late last year, I asked her what she needed to finish her DTM? We took a look and found out it was only a few more speeches and roles. I asked her to prepare a few pocket speeches, just in case a speaker backed out at the last minute, and of course… she said YES.

At a recent meeting, we had 3 speakers scheduled. At the last minute, each of them had a conflict and were unable to attend. Caroline walked in the door 5 minutes before the meeting was to start. I asked her if she could quickly prepare a speech… she said YES. It was funny, entertaining and had a great message.

Her final 3 speech projects were scheduled well in advance and I was thrilled when I heard the title of her final project. You guessed it. It was called – Just Say YES.

She delivered a moving, inspirational and motivational presentation that encouraged everyone of us to “Just Say YES” the next time we are asked.

Your life, work, career and family can all be enhanced when you step outside that comfort zone… and Just Say YES.

PlaNetworker

Become a PlaNETWORKER at the Fall Conference

by Carina Paton

Pla-Networking

Have you challenged yourself to push past your safety net and graduate from a safety networker to a cabinetworker? At my club meeting this past week, one of my fellow toastmasters beamed with pride as she told us a story of her doing just that.

Normally, when this Toastmaster attends external meetings for work, she sits with others from her organization—keeping well within her safety net. But at the most recent meeting, this Toastmaster built up the courage to sit next to people that she didn’t know, away from her colleagues. Not only that, but this Toastmaster initiated a conversation with one of them, using the tools in her cabinet: she asked this person standard questions about themselves.

To her surprise, the person sitting next to her grew up just 10 minutes away from her parents! Had this Toastmaster not worked up the courage to sit next to this person and strike up a conversation, she would have missed the opportunity to learn of her connection to this person, and they would still be strangers to one another.

My fellow Toastmaster attributed her ability to do this to Toastmasters. It would be an understatement to say that our club is proud of her courage and achievement. This is just one story of many about networking skills growing due to Toastmasters. What is your story so far? What do you want it to be?

The upcoming District 65 Final Fall Conference is an ideal place to continue to build your networking skills. If you are a notworker, aim to be a safety networker at the conference. If you are comfortable in your safety net, aim to be a cabinetworker. If you think you’ve got that down pat, it’s time to move on to the next level: be a planetworker!

Planetworkers use things in the world around them as conversation pieces. The following are just a few of the many items in the environment you can talk about.

Weather and Seasons: This is the classic planetworker go-to.

  • Isn’t this weather beautiful?

  • Do you know if it is supposed to rain all day?

  • Have you had a chance to look at the fall leaves yet this year? Where did you go?

Food and Drink: This is good to use when you are at a catered event.

  • Have you tried the salmon? It’s delicious.

  • What kind of beer do you drink?

  • That looks good. Would you recommend I try it?

Speakers and Program: Good for an event with a set agenda and speakers.

  • What did you think of the keynote address?

  • Which workshop has been your favorite?

  • Which session are you going to next?

Meeting Location: This can be used anywhere, but is particularly good when you’re in a special location.

  • Didn’t they do a wonderful job decorating this room?

  • I’m just amazed by the renovation. Did you see the ceiling in the main foyer?

  • What else should I do while I’m in town?

Note that all are in the form of a question. Questions are wonderful conversation starters – it gives the person that you’re talking to a chance to talk. And we all know that Toastmasters love talking any time they’re given a chance!

What are you waiting for? Sign up for the conference if you haven’t already, and give those networking muscles some exercise. Just like any other form of exercise, it gets easier the more you do it—I promise!

Club – Harris Spacetalkers

Club Spotlight:

Harris Spacetalkers Officers

by Keith Maderer, Club Growth Director

We are always looking for clubs that are building better, stronger and larger clubs. This month we met with the club officers of Harris Spacetalkers to discuss how they have already added 8 new members to their club since July 1st of this year.

Harris Spacetalkers Interview

You can click on the image above or the link below to watch the replay of their interview and learn from their insights, ideas and answers to our questions.

Click Here to Watch Recording

https://recordings.join.me/-Ucs-yzBY0yYMn5e2Y5Row

Mingling Open House

Mastering Mingling at an Open House

By Carina Paton

Carina Paton

Yet another wonderful opportunity to practice your mingling skills is nigh. That’s right, it’s Open House season again! As a club member, you have one of the most crucial roles at your club’s upcoming open house… to float and interact with guests.

Every club is unique because it is composed of unique individuals. And because you are one of those individuals you are the ideal spokesperson. Is your heart suddenly aflutter because you have no idea what to say to guests? Never fear, your mingling mastery guide is here!

By simply attending your club open house, you move up the mingling mastery ranks from a Notworker to a Safety Networker. I encourage you to use this upcoming event to push yourself to progress the next level in mingling mastery, which I call a “cabinetworker.”

The cabinetworker takes standard items that are stored on the shelf in their cabinet and uses them to help network. These are the building blocks that can help you make a new connection. Standard items many cabinetworkers have on their shelves are:

· Hi, I’m (name). And you?

· What do you do for a living?

· Where do you work/study?

· Where are you from?

These are great questions to pull out when you are making your first courageous foray into mingling. They are easy to ask, and because they are so commonly asked, generally easy to give a well-rehearsed answer to.

In the open house environment, we can stock much more valuable questions on our cabinet shelves:

· How did you learn about us?

Not only is this an extremely easy question to ask and answer (and therefore an easy way to begin a conversation), it’s a simple way to find out what marketing and outreach methods are working for your club.

· Why did you decide to come to our meeting today?

Asking about a guest’s motivations help us frame how we can help them. Rather than rattle off the myriad ways that Toastmasters is beneficial, it’s much more effective to listen to the guest’s motivations for coming, and then aid them in understanding how your club can help them meet their goals.

· What did you think about our meeting?

Asking this question one-on-one helps threefold: 1. It gives us immediate feedback on meeting from the perspective of a guest. 2. It gives the guest an opportunity to practice giving an evaluation in a non-threatening environment, and they feel that their opinions are heard and valued. 3. It can often serve as a bridge to further conversation on an aspect of the meeting or the club that they are interested in.

· Can I answer any questions?

Remember that guests are in an unfamiliar environment, and they may be afraid to speak up. Asking this lets them know that it is okay to ask questions. Even if they can’t think of any questions right at that moment, it lets them know that you are willing to help them understand what Toastmasters is all about.

· Would you like to join our club?

This is the question that guests are often waiting to be asked, so don’t be afraid to put it out there!

Now that you have the tools to be a proficient cabinetworker at your upcoming open house, go and give your club all that you have. And remember: You can practice these mingling questions year-round. Every time there’s a guest at your club meeting is one more opportunity to push the boundaries of your comfort zone that little bit further. You might be surprised just how flexible those boundaries can be!

This is the third installment of a series encouraging fellow District 65 Toastmasters to take every opportunity to develop their mingling skills. The first two articles are Making Large Groups Less Scary and Push Past Your Safety Net.

Speaker-Evaluator-Table Topics Exchange

The Speaker-Evaluator-Table Topics Exchange Meeting

Fun Meeting Ideas – Sept. 2017

Speaker Exchange

A great way to encourage club members to grow is to arrange for a Speaker, Evaluator and Table Topics master exchange program with one or more of your nearby clubs.

Each club gets to hear a new speaker and has one of their speakers receive an evaluation from someone outside their club and hears favorite table topics from another club. Both clubs get a new speaker and a fresh evaluation. Plus everyone involved has the opportunity to speak in a different setting without leaving the Toastmasters’ umbrella. We can always learn something new from other toastmasters.

This is a particularly great strategy for clubs that are struggling with membership. Sometimes having a few new people involved in their meetings can motivate members to invite additional guests or send an email to their co-workers, friends or family inviting them to visit a meeting.

If you are interested in exchanging with other clubs, please contact your Division or Area Directors. They can provide you with a list of clubs in your area that might be willing to swap members for a few meetings. They can also provide the email and phone numbers for the club officers of each club that you are interested in exchanging with.

As another idea. Try to make this exchange a monthly or quarterly event, or a round robin with 3 or 4 clubs. Each club involved will benefit from the exchange and it will help all clubs become stronger members of the district.