Four Ways To Spice Up Your Meetings

 Four Ways to Spice Up Your Toastmasters Meetings

Eddie Kasprzyk

By Eddie Kasprzyk –  Marketing Committee Member

· Relate the theme to a current event. As we all know, the 2018 Winter Olympics has just wrapped up. In our last club meeting, we did have a Winter Olympic theme. Random Olympic trivia was asked throughout the meeting and whoever answered a question correctly received a plastic Olympic Medal ribbon to proudly wear around their neck (kudos to Wendy Miller of Westwinds!). It was such a fun meeting and we even got to keep the Gold Medals that we “won”.

· Invite other clubs. Having a group of new faces in the room may prompt you out of your comfort zone and you’ll be able to work on fine tuning your public speaking skills that you usually don’t get to work on. Example: Evaluating someone’s prepared speech that is a total stranger.

· An All Table Topics Meeting. Who doesn’t love table topics? Break out of the norm and allow every member to have a speaking role and possibly speak multiple times. This is a great way to get those fellow members, who are a bit shy, to come out of their shell.

· Change up the location of your meeting. By having new surroundings, you’ll get the opportunity to practice in a setting that you may not be used to. Example, if you generally meet in a classroom, try having your next meeting in a restaurant around the table. This is a great way to practice giving a toast for your next dinner party.

Remember….this is your club. Try something new for one of your upcoming meetings and have fun. Having fun is what Toastmasters is all about!


FUN Meeting Ideas

By Keith Maderer, DTM – Club Growth Director

Fun meeting make members and guests welcome and engaged. Here is another fun idea that everyone can participate in.

book review

BOOK REVIEW MEETING: Announce this meeting at least 2 weeks in advance and ask each member to prepare a short 2-4 minute presentation on a book of their choice. The assigned topic would be to review a book the member read, liked, hated, would recommend, would not recommend, should be burned, etc.

The object would be to get everybody up to the lectern to share their short review. The book reviews will enlighten other members as to what type of literature they are interested in and whether or not the book is worth reading.

These type of meetings can help members bond and become more engaged with each other. If guests re in attendance they will get to see some short, interesting presentations that are tailor made by your members.

These short presentations are a cross between a full speech and an evaluation. With 40 to 50 minutes available for a one hour meeting, you can continue to have a Word of the Day, Ahh Counter, Grammarian and a General Evaluator. The Toastmaster can introduce each member with the book’s title and author that they are reviewing.

Have fun with it and you are guaranteed to be exposed to some valuable lessons and great literature.


Making Large Groups Less Scary

Meeting Mixing Motivations

Making Large Groups… Less ScaryMingling at meeting

By Carina Paton

Carina Paton

When I first ventured to events above the club level last year, the first thing that I noticed is that people were tending to stick with the people they knew. This is great to continue building relationships with people that you may not see as often as you like, but it’s not so great for the first-timers who have not yet built their “circle.”

I noticed this phenomenon because I was that first-timer. I sat and talked with a couple others in my club who attended the conference. One of the reasons that I came to the conference was to meet new Toastmasters that I could learn from. But despite my best efforts, my fellow club members were pretty much the only ones I talked with. It did not feel like an environment in which I could approach people that I didn’t know.

Those of you that attended Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) trainings (a.k.a. officer training) in Batavia and Syracuse this past month may have noticed that it felt different than the last one you went to. Our new District TRIO, Ellen, Lillian and Keith, encouraged everyone sit next to people that they did not already know, and get to know them.

You may have grumbled about it feeling like a forced speed networking session—but honestly, did you feel that way because it put you a little bit outside your comfort zone? The result was incredible! By the time lunch came around, people chose to sit with “strangers” and it was hard to hear over all the wonderful discussions that people were having over their salads and sandwiches.

This is the first step our District has taken this year to create a welcoming environment for all. And a welcoming environment is one of those “intangibles” that Corey Wilson and Alex Turner, spoke about in their presentations both at the TLI and in their workshop in the Spring conference in Rochester earlier this year. If we create a culture of welcoming environments, we will have more successful clubs, areas, divisions, and districts—and as a result we will have more successful members.

We are always telling new members that Toastmasters is a safe place to try things out. But we forget that this also applies to our social skills, our mingling skills, our networking skills—whatever you call it. Your next club meeting is the perfect opportunity to push the boundary of your comfort zone ever so slightly. Often people will tend to sit in the same seat, next to the same people meeting after meeting. Mix it up!

When you next enter your meeting room, ask yourself: “Who haven’t I chatted with for a while?” Sit next to them. Ask how their week has been or what they did over the weekend. Ask about their family. Ask about their work. Ask about their next goal in Toastmasters and how you can help them.

Take every opportunity to practice those skills—the more you practice, the more confident and friendly you will be, and the more you will help your club, area, division, district and yourself.

Fun Meeting Ideas – Comical Courtroom Caper

FUN Meeting Ideas

By Keith Maderer, DTM – Club Growth Director

One of the most important ways to build a great club is by having fun, inclusive and engaging meetings. While every club’s personality is different, the most successful clubs have a nice balance between structure and laughter. Every month we will try to share a different idea on how you can add some FUN to your meetings.


Comical Courtroom Caper

Try to allow 1-3 weeks preparation for this meeting to assign roles and give details of the topic and proceedings.

Choose a member to be the defendant, real or imagined, and assign a crime to them. One of the members portrays the character on trial. The meeting can be fun if the charges are something funny. For example, they could be charged with stealing the cookies from the cookie jar, Santa Claus damaging a roof, or Popeye selling steroid enriched spinach.

You can also search google for: “Worlds Dumbest Criminals”, or click the following link for other great ideas from Reader’s Digest.

Assign members to be the bailiff, judge, lawyers, news reporters, and conduct a mock trial. Vote for or against acquittal. The charges against the accused and the description of the scenario are handed out a week or two before the meeting. The two prepared speeches are the opening arguments by the prosecutor and defense attorney. Table topics is the testimony of the witnesses. News reporters will offer feedback on the opening remarks and testimony.

The judge is the general evaluator who oversees the entire trial meeting. Give each evaluator 2-3 minutes to comment on the speakers opening remarks and witness testimonies.

Typical 1 Hour Meeting Agenda and Roles:

  • Toastmaster: The Bailiff – Introduces all roles and keeps meeting moving
  • General Evaluator: The Judge – Oversees the meeting and adds final FUNNY verdict
  • Timer: Times all roles
  • Wordmaster: Same as always – Try to have a legal or trial theme.
  • Grammarian: Same as Always – Try to have a legal or trial bias.
  • Ah Counter: Same as Always
  • Speaker 1: Prosecuting Attorney – Opening Arguments (5-7 Minutes)
  • Speaker 2: Defense Attorney – Opening Arguments (5-7 minutes)
  • Table Topics Master: Randomly selects 3 – 4 witnesses for testimony – for or against
  • (1-2 minutes each)
  • Evaluator 1: News Reporter – Offers feedback on Speaker 1 (2-3 minutes)
  • Evaluator 2: News Reporter – Offers feedback on Speaker 2 (2-3 minutes)
  • General Evaluator: Delivers final role reports and verdict

Have fun with the roles. Take liberties to exaggerate and enhance testimony. Encourage members to add insight and humor throughout.

Most importantly, engage all members, use CC or advanced manual speeches to fill the speaking roles if possible… and have FUN.

If you have a FUN Meeting Idea that you would like to share, please send your ideas to Keith Maderer at If your idea is selected, it will be printed in the newsletter, and shared on the District 65 Blog.