The Little Club That Could

Kincardine’s ‘To the Point’: The Little Club That Could

Many clubs have been there: Struggling to get new people in the door, teetering on the cusp of being a club in good standing, members having to wear several hats in order to fill meeting roles. The ‘To the Point’ club in Kincardine is no exception. We recently experienced turnover in senior members and the club was left with some inexperienced but eager rookies keeping the club on its feet.

While we should all be striving to get as many people out to meetings as possible, I couldn’t help but observe that one of the charms of our club is that it is small, but mighty. Almost every member fills a role on executive team, and this year, each member attended training to improve the club. One of the benefits of having a small group is that people receive a lot of individual attention and there is usually a lot of time for feedback and discussion. If we all do one thing spectacularly, it’s ensuring that new comers feel that Toastmasters is a safe environment to grow speaking and leadership skills.

Take Ron for example, his journey began three years ago. Ron was a sales representative, and during work meetings, he would often sit back and hope to not have to share or speak to the team. He began to realize he could be a better team member if he improved on his public speaking skills and decided to give the ‘To the Point’ Club a try. What Ron remembers most about his Icebreaker speech was realizing during the evaluation portion that Toastmasters was a place that offered a genuine and non-threatening place to grow together. Ron has since proven himself as an accomplished public speaker, competing in area and district contests and recently received his Advanced Communicator Bronze title.

Ron’s is just one story in a club that has been around for over 25 years! Membership has been up and down over the years, but one thing remains the same: The people are what make the club great – and we could use a few more of them! There’s something quaint and personable about our small yet determined club. Come out to a meeting and see what we mean.

To the Point TM

Energetics Toastmasters Club in Waterloo

Promoting our Club by Scarlett Sheng

The Energetics Toastmasters Club was founded by Tony Nelson and Greg Kay on May 1, 1994. The Energetics meets every Thursday from 4:30 to 6:00 pm in the Sun Life Building on 227 King Street South in Waterloo Ontario. As the club name indicates, you will feel energized immediately when you walk into the room.

Energetics has been a President’s Distinguished Club for 5 consecutive years. Six new members have joined the club in the past 3 months brining current active membership to 21. Energetics is proud to have a strong and structured Mentorship Program. When a new member joins, the Mentorship Coordinator will assign a mentor to answer any questions the new member may have and help him/her through the Toastmaster experience.

Last year was a hallmark year for Energetics. We had three Triple Crown Winners – Andrea D’Ambrosio, Cliff Graham and Chris Brown. Suzanne Dansereau became the first home grown DTM, and the club is expecting up to 6 more DTMs in the next 2 years.

Energetics is the home of Division W, Area Directors. Our Immediate Past President - Chris Brown and Sergeant at Arms - Clifford Graham are current Area 62 and Area 63 Directors. Doris Tuckett and Suzanne Dansereau were Area Directors in previous years.

Energetics is also very active in Area Contests and District Conferences. Energetics regularly hosts and helps organize the Area Contests, and has sent in contestants every year. Many Energetics members have presented at the District Conferences. For example, Carolyn Wilker facilitated the workshop “ASK for Directions: Mentoring” in Blue Mountain in Fall 2015. At this Fall Conference, Cliff Graham will be giving a presentation on adjusting leadership styles to different individuals’ behavioural styles.

Energetics is truly energetic! It’s not just a place to learn, but also a great place to have fun! Come and check us out soon!

Facebook: @EnergeticsToastmasters
Twitter: @Energetics_TM
Website: http://energetics.toastmastersclubs.org/

Scarlett Sheng
VP, Public Relations
Energetics Toastmasters Club

The Art of Speaking and Leadership

Brampton, ON, Oct. 2nd, 2016 - Hershaw Toastmasters Club

Hershaw Toastmasters

Hershaw Toastmasters Club is happy to announce that earlier today, the Club participated in the Culture Days@Brampton Library program. The event titled “The Art of Speaking and Leadership” took place at South Fletcher’s Library, Brampton, from 2pm-3pm. The event was organized like a mini club meeting, with one speech, evaluation, and a table topics session, to demonstrate how Hershaw Toastmasters can help improving public speaking and leadership skills. All guests participated in the table topics session and indicated afterward that they enjoyed the event very much. Thank you all members who came out and help to made it a successful event. Thank you the club for supporting the team. It is certainly a good opportunity to showcase Toastmasters and we hope to be able to participate again in the Culture Days@Brampton Library program in the future. 

Anh Dao, MBA

Better Toastmaster Club Web Presence

Is Toastmasters a Best Kept Secret in Your Community?

In our community, the answer is “Yes”. Are there steps to changing this accidental Stealth (Invisible) Web Marketing Strategy? Let’s start off by doing a test.

Have you noticed how often new visitors to your club have said “I’ve never heard of Toastmasters.”

Someone who doesn’t know anything about the Toastmasters name might search on Google [my city name] communication and leadership training.

Sadly, Toastmasters will probably not show up at all let alone a Toastmasters club in your city. 

Did you know you have to rank on page 1 of Google search results? Less than 10% of people will look on page 2 or later—a fun fact from a Google search.

A knowledgeable colleague tells me if you are a member of a small noon hour club and you do a search for
[my city name] Toastmasters clubs, chances are it will not show up on the first page.

Instead Google will find the two largest clubs. If Google finds your club’s website, you may be in the minority. 

There are sound reasons for why I am focusing on websites vs. social media at this time. My name is David Bray and as a member of two clubs and currently the VP/PR, Bluewater TM 3835 in Owen Sound, ON. We take advantage of FreeToastHost, Thus, our website is http://bluewater.toastmastersclubs.org. 

Incidentally, if you just Google search public speaking, I get one reference to Toastmasters International on page 1 of search results. I get no reference to other Toastmasters clubs.

Tips for Getting Noticed from Google Searches

We first noticed our stealth (i.e. invisible) web presence issue, in 2014, with a Google search...

[my city name] public speaking. Google told us some local French speaking schools held contests. It still says contest for a lot of clubs. 

We/Bluewater solved this in summer 2014 when I added a custom web page for “public speaking”. This showed up immediately after paid listings.

However, Google has been busy refining their algorithms. With those changes, sometime last year we fell to page 2 (i.e. invisible), but sadly no one noticed.

Kijiji and yellow pages may show up with outdated information. My suggestion in this case is to make sure that your content is accurate. Test the links to your website (or blog or Facebook) actually work. Keep your content current. If it is now late summer, ensure your last notice is not an outdated “Sorry we will have to cancel our upcoming January meeting due to winter snow storms.”

For a search on Kijiji for [my city name] speaker training, Kijiji tells me I can purchase electronic speakers for my stereo. This suggests though that a well crafted Kijiji post might be useful.

Whether It’s a Google search for [my city name] leader training, personal development or clubs, odds are Toastmasters will not be found.

As noted in 2014, our club solved the stealth issue for “public speaking”. I am now working to solve it again—by getting us back on page 1. Plus, we have some new web pages on our site to start replacing stealth for other queries. I am working on learning “Search Engine Speak”—and to sort out any related apparent contradictions.

Toastmasters’ Stealth (Invisible) Web Presence is Pervasive

Clearly, some clubs have overcome the problem of “Toastmasters is a best kept secret”. In some cases, people can learn about Toastmasters because a club in England, Australia or the USA has the same city name—and a strong web presence.

“Good presentations are all about our audience.” I see a huge number of paid and unpaid listings online for speaking and leadership training. Clearly we have an audience out there looking for what Toastmasters has to offer. All too often that audience can’t find us—unless they already know the name Toastmasters.

Conclusion: we are a Best Kept Secret in far too many communities. I call it accidental Stealth (Invisible) Marketing.


About David Bray

My background is not marketing, nor is it websites. Thus I am trying to get up to speed on lots of content, including something I call “(Google) Search Engine Speak” known as SEO, Search Engine Optimization.

Have you ever asked the question “How do we get and keep our membership numbers above 20?” The general response was blank stares. Thus, I changed the question to “Toastmasters is a Best Kept Secret in Our Community. How do we change that?” the response this time, was “Launch a Facebook Campaign”. 

If so, why am I focusing on websites vs. Facebook? In short, I found a 2014 study which noted:

• 94% (that’s right 94%) of folks that buy items, first research them on the web.
• 77% do that research with Google search.

According to my math that is almost ¾ of people using Google search. Thus I ask, “How many folks have never heard of Toastmasters, but are looking for communication and leadership training?” I have no idea. But almost 3 out of 4 of them are looking for answers with Google search. If they live near a local Toastmaster club, we all want them to be able to find our website.

If you have some short cuts or tips for strong Toastmaster web presence, I hope you will share. If you would like to join me on a voyage of how to build and maintain a strong web presence please contact me at Dbray9@gmail.com

For the good of Toastmasters, David Bray

DavidBray jpg

Club News August - 2016

The Newmarket Toastmasters (TNT) Celebrate Distinguished Club Status for the First Time!

TheNewmarketToastmasters2

TNT is Dynamite! After striving to attain this goal since chartering four years ago – this year, we did it! TNT recently held a Distinguished Celebration on Thursday, August 4th, 2016. We were thrilled to have current and past Division M supporters celebrating with us! Division M Director – Dragana Vulpic-Bork, ACS, ALB, Area 14 Director – Tammy Hall, CC, ALB, Immediate Past Division M Director – Al Steele, DTM and Past Division M Governor – Leizyl Sobrinho, ACS ALS. 

Thank you to our members! This outstanding accomplishment would not have been possible without your enthusiasm, dedication and desire to participate.
Thank you to our supporters! We truly appreciate the guidance and support from our Club Mentors, Area 14 and Division M Directors, D86, and our neighbouring Clubs.

Tania Ferus, CC, ALB
President / VP Education
The Newmarket Toastmasters (TNT)

Club News July - 2016

New Club in Paris Ontario

The “Prettiest Little Town in Canada” will be home to one of the newest clubs is District 86. Paris is approximately 15 minutes from Brantford, Ontario & home to wonderful shops and restaurants. It is home to the provincial head office for the Canadian Deafblind Association, Tigercat Industries, Darby Sportswear, Duff Packaging Machinery, and ABC Recreation. It’s over 11,000 residents enjoy some beautiful parks and trails.

Area 51 Director, and club sponsor Jennifer Aucoin is working with Brant Toastmaster’s Club immediate past president Ken Klunder and president Nate Friedman on promoting the club. A club launch meeting was held on Jun 7th, and was successful. Public relations efforts in other areas such as the Brant News are continuing over the summer. The club has formed a small group of interested people who will form the first executive. They are grateful that Tigercat Industries has offered the use of their meeting room at 40 Consolidated Drive. They expect to be meeting on Wednesday or Thursday nights.

Jennifer and her team are confident that the club will charter in the fall and become one of the Districts fall “blooms.”

Anyone interested in joining the Paris Toastmasters Grand Speakers should contact Jennifer through her District email address: area51director@toastmasters86.org.

A Twist to Inductions: New Members' Swag Bag

When we induct new members at Ambitious City, we try to make it memorable and fun. After the promises made by the new members and the club promises to support them, we give a swag bag: a zip-lock sandwich bag full of small items.

The items often change, but they are to illustrate a benefit of the club. Currently we offer:

DavidShawPic'Scaries' (the Hallowe’en version of Smarties) - Smarties so their intelligence shines through in their speeches, Scaries in the hope that they conquer their fear
Batteries – so that you’ll always get a charge out of the club
Push pin - so you always make your point
Excel gum - because we want you to excel
Box of Matches - so you can set the audience on fire with your words
A Hersey Hug – to remind you of the good fellowship of the club
Chocolate Coin – to remind you of the value of the club
Eraser – Remember: mistakes are expected but they can be corrected
This List - So even after the chocolate is eaten, the eraser worn away and the matches expended, you can remember the remaining value of Ambitious City Toastmasters.
TM Pin – To let the world know that you are a member of a great organization: Toastmasters International. And when people ask you about the pin, you can brag about the club and invite them to come as guests.

When there is more than one inductee, one gets the items one at a time, the rest just get the bag – except for the pin. That is pinned to the new member. To make it easy, the pin is attached to the top of the bag so it doesn’t have to be searched for.

David T. Shaw DTM
Ambitious City #1586 and McMaster #6307
District 86 Historian

Room To Grow

AmbitiousCityTM

Like many clubs, Ambitious City Toastmasters in Hamilton has struggled with maintaining membership, but we’ve experienced a dramatic turnaround. The inevitable ebb and flow, attrition vs attracting new members has kept Ambitious City’s numbers at around 11 for the last few yrs. We were certain we had something special in the club itself, we just weren’t able to reach our potential without a larger membership.

Last year we were more successful in attracting guests, but they were not joining. The executive brainstormed what we could do better and consequently conducted the workshop “Moments of Truth” to examine each facet of the club. The conclusion was that our guests and members enjoy a very positive experience. Guests are greeted warmly, receive an excellent guest package, the program is explained, and they are invited to join. After the meeting a follow up by the VP of Membership thanks them for coming and invites them to come back. Guests reported being surprised by how much fun they had. Still… they did not join. Our VP of Membership added a survey to the website asking for honest and anonymous feedback, but it yielded no suggestions.

Since it seemed we were doing almost everything right, we had to look elsewhere. It was noted that when we had more than one guest at a time as well as a good turnout of members, our meeting room felt cramped. In the past when considering guest perceptions we usually considered that our club appeared small. Finally, we agreed it was more likely that we appeared full, that guests may not feel comfortable because the room was crowded. I remembered learning that a fish kept in a small aquarium will not grow to its full potential, but remain a size relative to that of its environment. Our executive decided to consider a larger venue, to give us room to grow.

We were very fortunate that the retirement home where we meet decided they did not need a swimming pool after all, so created a large recreation room on top of it. We negotiated the use of the room and Ambitious City moved within the same building!
Soon after our move in the month of September, 4 guests joined! This turn of events was so dramatic, we feel confident in attributing it to the increase in our room size. By the new year we were up to 24 members!

If your club would like to grow its numbers, I encourage you to reconsider the size of your meeting room. Does it feel tight for space as our former room did? As Toastmasters we are all striving to achieve our personal potential. Ambitious City is looking forward to this opportunity to work toward our potential as a club.

Dawn Claus
VP Education 2015-2016
& Past President

Club News June - 2016

Mississauga Valley  25th Charter Anniversary Celebration

Mississauga Valley # 8277 - 25th Charter anniversary celebration was held on June 7. Club President Richard Robart - Morgan and Club VPE Marisa and team did a great job organizing this event attended by new and long term toastmasters members. Special Guests included Founding member Joe Vanderkooi, Mississauga Ward 3 City Councillor Chris Fonseca, District 86 PRM - Cathy Herschell, Division D Director Mark Hayes.

MississaugaValleyTM

Rogers Toastmasters Celebrates their 25th Anniversary

June 14th, 2016 Rogers Toastmasters Club celebrated their 25th anniversary with a fantastic keynote speech by John Riberio, DTM. Dignitaries from District 86 and other clubs in the area joined to celebrate this happy occasion with awards presentations, champaign and cake. Congratulations!

Rogers25th

Region of Peel Toastmasters Club Open House Event

June 06/2016 Region of Peel Toastmasters Club had a fantastic Open House. Speakers included Mike Proudlock, Program Quality Director for D86, Roger Caesar, past and current International Speech Contest winner for D86 2 years running and Tuula Redditt, D86 blogmaster. Dennis Bartel, incoming Area Director for the region of Peel was also present. Thank you to all the members of the club and club president Leena Milton who helped put together this fantastic event.

Region of peel open house

Club News May - 2016

Goals by Bud Brown

Tomorrow I will be going to our District Club Officer Training. As the incoming President of my club, I expect that I will hear about creating a club success plan. Now anyone who has read the club success plan manual knows that the club success plan is a lengthy document that addresses all the areas in which clubs should attempt to grow and improve to make their program strong and effective. When I was an Area Governor (before they were called Area Directors), I expressed the opinion that I couldn’t create an Area Success plan until I had seen all of my Area’s clubs’ plans. After all, I couldn’t cram my ideas of what the clubs ought to do down their throats could I?

Now I realize that the initial plan of a Club, and Area, and Division, even a District is a ready-fire-aim kind of a deal. Create a plan that assumes the best of everyone and then share that vision with the people you are leading to inspire their plans. Once they complete their plans you may need to tone yours down a bit but don’t begin with the toned-down version. As Stephen Covey taught me, “Shoot for the eagle so you can bag the pheasant then you don’t eat crow”.

Back to my club plan. I will sketch out an overview of my plan for the club to present to my club officers. Then I will ask them to flesh it out by filling in the blanks I have left. I am not saying that the club success plan format provided by Toastmasters International is the only way to plan for success but it does cover all of the key points and if you complete that plan, you will have a very good roadmap to success.

Once my executive have fleshed out the club success plan I plan to share it with all of the members of the club and then ask them what part of the plan they want to help with: I am going to ask them to create their own personal success plan.

At that point, having paved the way, I will hand the process off to my VP of Education. He will find it a lot easier at that point to ask members for their personal goals and to help them establish how they plan to achieve those goals.

It sounds so simple and it is but it will not be easy. As with anything worthwhile, it will be a bit of hard work but I expect that by next June, it will have proved to be worth it.

It is going to be a terrific year!

MCBP Gavel Club receives the Mayor Bonnie Crombie Youth Leadership Award!

MCBGgavelClub

Left to Right: Jamshaid Gul (Club Counsellor), Anisha Akhtar (President), Hunyah Irfan, Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Yathindra Shivakumar (Active Member), Uzma Irfan (Future Steering Committee, MCBP), Madan Chauhan (Club Coordinator)


The Mississauga Youth Action Committee hosted its annual Youth Achievement Awards on May 7th, 2016 to present four very prestigious awards: Mississauga Young Citizen of the Year, Mississauga Library Jim Wilde Young Volunteer Award, TD Sponsored Community Citizenship Award and the Mayor Bonnie Crombie Youth Leadership Award.
The Mayor Bonnie Crombie Youth Leadership Award is presented to one exceptional individual and one group of individuals who have successfully undertaken large-scale projects and initiatives. The recipients play leadership roles in their community and serve as ideal role models to others. The MCBP Gavel Club was the group recipient for this distinguished award.
Malton Community Building Project (MCBP) Gavel Club is an affiliate of Toastmasters International and has been serving the youth of Malton since June, 2014. MCBP Gavel club is aimed to equip the community’s youth with effective communication and leadership skills under the mentorship of seasoned Toastmasters. The club provides mutually supportive learning in a friendly environment to develop the members’ public speaking abilities and leadership skills through speeches, evaluations and impromptu speaking. Over the past two years, the MCBP Gavel Club has trained over 85 community youth and hosted two large-scale conferences as well.
Club members sent the following video submission for the Mayor Bonnie Crombie Youth Leadership Award and were selected among applicants from all over the city of Mississauga: Youtube

Bolton Banter Toastmasters Club Celebrates their 10th Anniversary

Congratulations Bolton Banters!!
On May 5th, 2016 we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of our club! Thanks to our charter members for coming out to celebrate with us and for all of our Toastmaster friends, members and guests!!! It was also a pleasure to have Mike Proudlock and his wife attend this special occasion. 

BB 10th

On the top right: we have 4 original charter members Brendan Dineen, Club founder Eric Solowka, Carol Dowell, and Val Koncan
On the bottom: we have Bolton Banters Executive Team Patricia, Brendan, Eric, Carol, Laurie, Zana, Val, Bart and Phil

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

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