Toastmasters Branding Online Global Workshop

George How4District 20 and Resources for Toastmasters Facebook Group hosted a unique and amazing Toastmasters Branding Workshop on Wednesday, 27 March via the ZOOM video conference platform. The Workshop were conducted by Certified Trainer TM Cajetan Barretto from Kuwait, and Certified Trainer TM Verna Bonaby from Bahamas. Why unique Workshop? The audience were fellow Toastmasters from worldwide Toastmasters Districts, in a Public Relations role and function at the Club level, at the District level.

COVID-19 has been a challenging time for the whole world, including the Toastmasters International organisation. Toastmasters have been resolute and resourceful. Lockdown has been an opportunity for Toastmasters to connect with like-minded Toastmasters around the world via online meetings. Various Districts have already carried out their Annual Business Meeting via online format. It is also an opportunity for Toastmasters to learn something new, something productive when we are in a confined mode. This specific workshop was an opportunity for Toastmasters worldwide to learn about Toastmasters Branding.

Workshop Learning Objectives include: (1) Brand Color Palette (2) Logo (3) Fonts (4) Images (5) CANVA Hands-On. With a diverse audience, the Learning Outcome for the Novice Users includes: Start creating content that gives priority to branding guidelines; the Learning Objectives for the Experienced Users includes: Start creating branding program for participant own District.

Training Team decided to make the workshop a unique learning experience by getting participants to join a specially-created WhatsApp Group 10 days prior to the workshop, where there were some preparatory work. There were such enthusiastic interest that the number was capped to a maximum of 256 participants, a feature of WhatsApp upper limit. The participants were new users, experienced users, and those in between. There were countless opportunities for the group to share information, thoughts and experience in Toastmasters branding, content creation, and everyday challenges. The whole group benefitted from group osmosis and the feedback that the Training Team provided to the participants individual attempts and submissions.

The actual Workshop was well attended by over 200 plus eager participants. One can safely say that it was likely one of the largest group of like-minded members, coming together virtually from different parts of the world, focussed on Toastmasters brand awareness. At the end, there were lively sessions on Q&A on both TM Baretto’s and TM Bonaby’s presentations. The Chat Monitor compiled all queries to ensure that all were addressed. There is so much more to learn and explore by spending time on the Toastmasters International/Resources/Brand Portal Section, and CANVA Design Tool as reference starting point.

All in all, the Training Team displayed leadership by providing exceptional initiatives and services to the Toastmasters Community. So proud to be experiencing first hand - Toastmasters Helping Toastmasters. We can all learn and aspire to become a better brand ambassador, to strengthen the brand and be compliant. To summarise on the impact of the Toastmasters Branding Global Online Workshop - It has ripple effects on Toastmasters Branding worldwide.

Acknowledgements: (1) Trainer TM Cajetan Barretto, Incoming Division F Director, District 20 (2) Trainer TM Verna Bonaby, Incoming District Director 47 (3) DTM Ali Shabaz Region 11 Advisor, Past District Director 20 (4) DTM Noor Mohammad, Resources for Toastmasters Facebook Group Administrator (5) DTM Wafaa Salman, Past District Director 20 (6) Priscilla Dias, Workshop Chat Monitor & Quality Assurance.

George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters, Club Founder
Area Director of the Year, 2016-2017
Blog Submitted May 28, 2020

Une occasion inouïe pour vous en français Sharpen Your French Speaking Skills

Le club Toastmasters Mots du Midi offre par visioconférence un séminaire d'expression orale (Speechcraft) d'une durée de 4 semaines soit du 4 au 25 juin de 12 h à 13 h 15. Ce programme intensif vous permettra de travailler les compétences suivantes: organiser leur discours, varier la voix, évaluer un discours et utiliser l'espace et les mains. Alexandre Matte, du club Mots du Midi qui a représenté à deux reprises le District 86 au concours du discours international se joint à l’équipe des formateurs du District 61 de grande renommée tel que J. A. Gamache, Delphis Babin et Daniel Gélinas pour présenter des ateliers de formation. Vous allez ainsi recevoir des astuces importants afin que vous puissiez parfaire vos compétences en communication. Pour vous inscrire, veuillez remplir le formulaire : Le frais d’inscription de 70 $ vous donne droit à une adhésion au club jusqu’au 30 septembre 2020.


Toastmasters Mots du Midi club is offering by ZOOM Conferencing a 4 week Speechcraft on Thursdays from June 4 to June 25th, 12 :00 pm to 1 :15 pm. This program will specifically address the following points : organise your speech, vocal variation, speech evaluation and use of space and hands. Our educational sessions teams is comprised of our own Alexandre Matte, two time District 86 winner of the International Speech Contest, and formidable Toastmaster members from District 61, J. A, Gamache, Delphis Babin and Daniel Gélinas. They will share helpful tips to perfect your communication skills. Please fill the registration form : The cost covers the membership fee to the club until September 30, 2020.

Download the PDF flyer

Thriving During the Pandemic Times - The Road Travelled

George How

Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 16 to combat the spread of COVID-19. Our community club OTM Oakville Toastmasters meets on Thursday evenings at the St Simon’s Anglican Church (McKay Hall), Oakville. I have been informed by St Simon Warden on March 14 that the location was no longer available for use. What do we do now? Cancel meetings indefinitely? The pandemic times presented a problematic situation. OTM rose to the challenge, by being up and running our 1st Online meeting via the ZOOM platform on March 19.

On a personal basis, I took the opportunity to learn as much as possible about video conference tools, online meetings, etiquettes, Dos and Don’ts, security aspects, etc. A snapshot of the participation and learning activities include: District 60 1st Online Judges Training via ZOOM, District 60 Division G 1st Online International Speech Contest, District 86 1st Online Speechcraft by Som Speaks, Toastmasters International 1st Online Webinar on Thriving During Social Distancing, Promoting Toastmasters, and George How Survey on Usage of Various Video Conference Platforms amongst the Official Toastmasters International Members Facebook Group. Visiting various Club Online Meetings and Open Houses provided the vehicle to learn, exchange and adopt new ideas: MCEBT, Brampton Talks, MI Speaks & Chennai Speakers, and Mississauga Sales and Marketing.

Indeed OTM has been thriving during these pandemic times. OTM held their 9th Online meeting on May 14. OTM hosted the Club's 1st Online Learning Workshop on “Effective Evaluation” by Steve Elliot on April 16. OTM hosted the Club 2nd Online Learning Workshop on “How to Write a Speech in 15 Minutes” by Aurie Contosta, Division C Director on May 14. Throughout these challenging times, the Club pursued on its drive towards continued excellence. The Mission: to provide the members with quality, inspirational and educational learning experience in a positive, safe, and virtual environment, whilst respecting social distancing.

The 15-Minutes Speech Preparation Workshop, based on a John Wang Worksheet was a great learning experience. Aurie helped the participants through the various phases of speech preparation. Two hardy souls volunteered to deliver their “impromptu” speeches. Hitesh “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Politicians”, and Mirjana “I am Hooked” were evaluated by Josephine and Paulette respectively. Everybody pushed the envelope during the Online Workshop. Participants from across the province were connected, from Belleville to Sarnia, to Northern Ontario. The Guest Participants (“Awesome Strangers”, per Mirjana) came from 10 Clubs, giving rise to the workshop potential and positive impact on approximately 250 Toastmasters. All in all, it was a most rewarding experience. A synergistic win for OTM, OTM Members, and fellow Toastmasters within District 86!

Acknowledgements: OTM Club Officers, OTM Club Members, Som Speaks, Brahm Memone DTM, Glynis D’Souza DTM, Iona Rondricks DTM, Annie Bai DTM, Madan Chauhan DTM, Hilgay Beckles DTM, John Wang DTM, Shahan Aaron, Novette Gordon, Lucia Yglesias, District 60 Angela Ho DTM. Thank You Steve Elliot and Aurie Contosta DTM for conducting the Online Learning Workshops. Huge Thank You Speech Writing Workshop Participants: Cityvp Manjit (GMAT), Elise Leblanc (Voix du Nord), Hitesh Parmar (Markham), Igor Varshavsky (Fluid Communicators & Leaders), Jale Fancey (Riverspeak), Lily Wang (MCEBT), Mirjana Sheridan (Brampton Talks), Rachelle Alincy (Fellowship), Sandra Valks (Belleville Speakeasy), Suzanne Rondeau (Mots du Midi), Bryce Fung, and Anoop Srinivasan.

George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters # 5940499, Club Founder
Area Director of the Year, 2016-2017
Submitted May 17, 2020

New Virtual Open Houses & Events

Virtual Open Houses

Toastmasters clubs in District 86 and around the world were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that they needed to adapt to the new normal, such as holding online meetings. Sadly, this new normal has not convinced many members to renew their memberships because they prefer the traditional experience of conducting in-person meetings that they embraced for years.

In today’s fast-growing digital age, businesses today adopted the idea of having online meetings as professionals interact virtually around the globe. Many of you are wondering what does this have to do with Toastmasters?

Our new and potential members are looking for ways to improve their communication and leadership skills, as well as grow their professional development and self–confidence in our competitive digital marketplace. While we are dealing with this pandemic of job loss and economic turmoil, this is a chance for all members, including us long-time members, to set an example and educate one another of conducting successful online meetings.

Most interestingly, I witnessed two clubs that already embraced the concept of having virtual events that attracted all members.

As part of my HPL project, I worked with my guidance committee from my club at Mississauga Sales and Marketing towards rebuilding our membership. On May 8th, we hosted our 1st Virtual Open House by inviting a keynote speaker and other members outside of our club to take on our meeting roles. I was delighted to say that 27 attendees had fun with their meeting roles and in Table Topics. The best part of our event was two of our attendees participated from India.

The following event that I attended got more interesting. On May 9th, Hershaw Toastmasters hosted its 30th anniversary online. I had the privilege to hear speeches from the founder of the club, Isabel Hershaw, DTM, and the Past Club President of the club and Past District 86 Director, Vitaliy Fursov, DTM. Along with my fellow District 86 executive officers, as Public Relations Manager, I was invited to share my remarks to help them mark this milestone. Overall, I loved how they reimagined the ambiance of this online event, such as encouraging all 77 attendees to dress up and toast with their favorite drink.

We should not let this new-normal stop us from conducting fun meetings and hosting other Toastmaster special events. While counting the days of physical self-isolation, we can still embrace the traditions of our Toastmasters meeting experience, given that we have the technological means to do so online. All clubs in District 86 should consider organizing virtual social meetings, just like Mississauga Sales and Marketing and Hershaw Toastmasters did, as they promoted all members to connect, engage, communicate and celebrate in the SAFETY of their own home.

Samaa El Sayed, ACG, ALB
Public Relations Manager, District 86

Hershaw Toastmasters is 30!


Isabel Hershaw and a small group of Toastmasters chartered Hershaw Toastmasters in Brampton on February 1, 1990 and the club has been embracing the club mission to support members as they improve their communication and leadership skills ever since. While the club held a small celebration at a regular club meeting at the beginning of February, the plan was to hold a much larger celebration on May 9th when the weather improved. Sadly, now other things have gotten in the way of us celebrating with everyone in person.

In true Toastmaster form, the club is not going to let even a pandemic get in the way of recognizing this milestone and paying tribute to the club founder, Isabel Hershaw. With a venue change to Zoom, Hershaw Toastmasters will be celebrating as planned on May 9th at 7:00 p.m. and everyone is invited to share an evening of speeches, table topics and fun!

Please register on Eventbrite. Registrants will receive an email by May 7th with the agenda and Zoom meeting information. Registration is at

We hope you can all be there!

Best regards,
Sue Hopcroft, DTM

Video Tips by Bud Brown

Talking Heads? I Don't Think So

BudBrown2With all of the virtual meetings going on in Toastmasters clubs these days, it occurs to me that we need to learn (and teach) another skill set.

We can benefit greatly from becoming more effective at developing a screen presence. Today, I am referring to two skill sets:

1. Facial expression and upper body language and
2. Screen eye contact

Take a look at the main players on the news channels for an example of what NOT to do. People do not call these people “talking heads” for nothing. Their facial expression is almost schooled in it’s lack of expression and their vocal variety is practically invariable.

As a contrast, observe the people in the small screens in the corner of the larger screen; the people doing a sign language interpretation of the main speaker. Their faces are filled with expression and their hands do more than just interpret. Even their use of hands is filled with expression! This is at least part of the model we can emulate.

What appears on the screen of your audience can and should draw their eye; capture their interest.

Is your presentation important? Let that show in your face! Is there humour? Let your face know it. Lips can curve upward or twitch with unspoken “almost” laughter. Dimples can appear and eyes can twinkle. Your head can tilt to express irony, quizzicality and even as you pause for effect. World Champion of Public Speaking, Darrin LaCroix, decries practicing in front of a mirror and when it comes to learning your speech, I agree. But all of the devices I just mentioned can be practiced in a mirror.

Movement of the head can also impart meaning: Nodding, shaking a head in the negative and tilting the head as mentioned before are all useful. The next speech that you give in a video conference, practice head and hand movement and emoting in a mirror ahead of time. learn how to impart the emotions; the attitude and the sensation of your message with your physical presentation. This is your first step.

Next, is eye contact. When you look directly at the camera lens, it is the same as looking directly at a member of your audience. Now consider what it is like when you have a physical audience. Toastmasters recommends that you pick people at disparate locations in the audience and hold their eye for a few seconds then move on. When I was competing in the International Speech Contest at The District level, they had to video our speeches in HD and in high quality audio to be sent to a regional committee who would decide who, from the Region would move on to the International Conference semi-finals. We were asked NOT  to look directly at the camera. Instead, we looked at audience members on either side of the camera and at a table of people directly
under the camera.

I recommend that when doing a speech for video, look to one side of the camera lens, look at the lens and look to the other side of the lens. Do this all as if you were looking at individuals in an actual audience. You can physically move your head as you change the “virtual” person you are engaging. This will simulate what your eye contact would be like if you were present in their room.

Finally we come to voice. Emotive power in your voice is key to getting your message to have more power. Let your feelings out! You wouldn’t even be giving this speech unless it meant something to you. So let people know what it means.

That is the sum total of my advice to you today.

  • Let your head and face be free to move and emote
  • Make eye contact as if you were present with your audience
  • Make your voice impart your message

The rest of your presentation should draw on the skills that you are already learning in the Toastmasters program:
Vocal variety | facial expression | speech structure | rhetoric: grammar and so on.

These skills are not just for your Toastmaster meetings. They are for meetings with your cohort at work, in group meetings with other groups than Toastmasters and even with your family and friends.

Toastmasters is valuable for connecting and becoming known as a leader and communicator. Video is just another medium for that reputation.

Good Speaking!
Bud Brown DTM ES4 VL4

Are You Ready?

Tuula Redditt sketchARE YOU READY? Are you ready ... for the COVID-19 pandemic? Every morning our alarm wakes us to news on the COVID-19 Virus and its rapid case increase all over the world. As Toastmasters what are you doing to prepare for this?  Fellow Toastmasters many of our clubs have been stricken by this news and unfortunately it lands right before renewal time for some clubs. What do we say to our members? How can we help keep our clubs going during this outbreak?

As VP Membership for our Speak to Inspire TM noon hour club we were lucky enough to have 8 members renew to have our minimum to be in good standing. Some corporate clubs aren't so lucky. With the economic meltdown and businesses suffering there is the possibility of layoffs and cutbacks. Some corporate clubs have cancelled their meetings until further notice.

How is Toastmasters International dealing with this situation and all the questions their valued members might have? I went online and chatted with TI on their chat line and at the time our districts in Ontario were not affected and should continue business as usual. That was Mar 7th before they declared it a pandemic. Now I cannot get on their chat line. 

In a previous blog I reflected on a story about my experiences with health issues that prevented me from attending Toastmasters and events this past month because my immune system was at risk. Here are some tips on how we can all do our part in preventing ouselves from getting sick moving forward.

As Toastmasters we love shaking hands and we have recently discovered that avoiding shaking hands can help prevent the spread of germs don't you agree? That being said our club has come up with a not-so-secret handshake by simply tapping elbows as our greeting as a precaution. Or perhaps even better a bow. This is a great start and here are some more tips we can do as well:

  • If you feel sick in any way STAY AT HOME and sleep it off and sweat it out. There is also a super cold bug going around. Avoid the hospital if you can.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after going out.
  • Do not touch your face. It's amazing how we get into a habit of touching our nose, our mouth and rubbing our eyes with our germ infested fingers.
  • Avoid eating in the car. Have sanitizing wipes to wipe down steering wheel and car interior.
  • Tissues and every day necessities are priced through the roof but stock up!
  • At our last meeting a lady wore lady! It was quite fashionable too.
  • Masks are no where to found so bring a scarf especially outside if you have a cold so your lungs don't freeze leading to pneumonia. I'm sewing up my own masks made out of coffee filters.... just in case.
  • Meetings and events are cancelling meetings for an unknown period of time. Stay tuned for email flashes and announcements sent by our district and most of all stay safe and keep your family and friends safe.

These are just a few tips that we can share with anyone and everyone you know... not just Toastmasters.

As the pandemic develops I will update what I know just to keep this blog filled with helpful information.

Above all keep a positive outlook and we can beat this outbreak and hopefully share our stories of survival ... at Toastmasters!

Your D86 2018-2019 Toastmaster of the Year, Tuula Redditt

First Time To The Conference?

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As a First Timer to the Conference you get treated royally. A special reception is held just for you where you have the opportunity to rub elbows with the District Trio, Toastmasters International Dignitaries and the accomplished DTM’s. A team building exercise helps break the ice and helps you get to know your fellow first timers, DTM's and Dignitaries a little bit better. This is done especially for the First Timers to welcome them and make them feel comfortable in unfamiliar territory when attending their first conference.

We want the First Timers experience to be a positive one. A chance to learning, gain knowledge, experience the workshops, observe the best of the best speakers, make new friends and have a lot of fun.

I’ll be looking out for you April 24th.

Eva Britton, DTM

District 86 Conference Co-Chair 2020

LINK to register on Eventbrite

LINK to conference page

Toastmasters International Values:  Integrity • Respect • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:   Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team

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