Toastmasters at Work

clarkson tm muktha

In April 2018, I started a new role with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation as their Cycling Engineer.

I’m responsible to collaborate with internal stakeholders throughout MTO’s five Regions to develop standards, guidelines and training to design safe cycling facilities.  

Since starting in this position, I’ve applied everything I have learned so far in Toastmasters. I listen effectively to understand and learn about the issues and gaps. I applied my leadership skills to take initiative, challenge status quo and collaborate with my Team to develop solutions. I communicate with internal and external stakeholders to encourage dialogue and express myself clearly. As a Team, we have achieved so much over the past few months and was asked to present at a Highway Standards Branch meeting. Here’s the catch, the director is a Toastmaster, and he asked that I keep the presentation to 5 - 7 minutes! With all the Toastmaster experience I have, I rose to the challenge! I wrote out a script, reviewed it with him and once we agreed on the outline, I filled in the content. 


I was blessed to have the opportunity to practice my presentation with Port Credit Toastmasters, Speaking for Success Toastmasters and Clarkson Toastmasters. Something else I apply from Toastmasters…I rehearse my speeches and presentations, many times. What was amazing was that the director told me that there would be about 100 staff attending. Just before my presentation, I found out that there were 220 people at the meeting! I had rehearsed so many times, that although I was nervous, I knew I would be fine. Guess what, the presentation went well! I forgot some material, but no one in the audience would have known that, except my director! If you would like to learn tips on how to get the most out of your Toastmasters membership, or want to learn more about the benefits of Toastmasters, I encourage you to come on out to Clarkson Toastmasters Club! We meet Tuesdays at 7:00 pm at Christ Church, 1700 Mazo Crescent. 

Muktha Tumkur, ACG, ALS




Happy Birthday, District 86

Happy Birthday, District 86

On July 1, 2018 we turned exactly 10 years old! Although may I say – with due modesty – that we don’t look a day over five!

Yes, it was exactly ten years ago when District 60 gave birth to a new district under the leadership of our first District Governor (now called District Director) Lori Lococo. Maybe we should have been scared of venturing out on our own – but we weren’t. We had strong, experienced leaders – Bill Bienia, Ross Mackay, John MacDonald, Joan Binetti, Jean McAllister, Gina Cook, Ralph Williamson, Harold Usher, just to name a few.

Toastmasters of the new District 86 were in large measure the heart and soul of the old District 60. In many ways, one could think that the “new” district was the reconstituted District 60, rather than the “official” new District 86. Not just because of our leadership, but also the nature of the districts themselves. District 86 became a mix of urban and rural, stretching from Niagara Falls to northern Ontario (eventually including Sault Ste. Marie); District 60 became a heavily urban district, centred mostly (but not exclusively) on the City of Toronto. Which of these districts was markedly different from the old District 60? I would say the reconstituted District 60!

District 86 has accomplished much over its first decade. Many “Distinguished District” honours have been achieved; our District has been represented on the Toastmasters International Board of Directors; the District has been incredibly well-represented at the World Championships of Public Speaking; but more importantly, members continue to set and achieve their goals to improve their speaking and leadership skills, as recently evidenced by our recent achievement of “Presidents Distinguished” for Distinguished Clubs.

Bring on the next 10 years! History is waiting to happen! Be a part of it – it’s up to you!

Michael Proudlock,DTM 




5 Ideas For A Great Open House

When is your open house? Start planning early for the best results. Here are some ideas to help you have the best one yet:

1- Organize a committee:

Find out who in your club needs a CL project
Organize or Help organize club special event
PR campaign - chair or help with
Membership contest
Befriend a guest at a meeting

2- Get all members involved

Share the plan
Review the moments of truth standards - these are found in your Club Leadership Handbook
All members greet guests
Arrange a fun themed meeting – all meeting roles filled in advance
Invite a guest speaker 5-7 minute manual speech with evaluator

3- Promote the event

Flyers - distribute to members to post in the community or at their workplace
Social media, Eventbrite,
Local papers- press release, article
Community calendar, SNAP

4- Arrange for greeters

Have lots of guest kits made in advance
Ask guests how they found out about the meeting
Introduce both guests and members (30 seconds why they joined)

5- At the meeting

Have an easy fun table topics session, invite guests to try (ask them first)
Have an experienced member deliver the open house Powerpoint (download below)
Hold a special session for guests (VPM) during the break – explain the benefits of joining your club and answer questions

Measure your results

Process memberships promptly
Follow-up with guests
Invite guests to future meetings by phone or email

Open House Checklist




6-8 weeks

Assign a committee & set budget

Club Executive


6-8 weeks

Set date with VP Education, VP Membership & VP PR


Communicate date to Club Members

Plan Public Relations campaign - The key to your success!!!!

Invite local politician if appropriate

Arrange for Guest Speaker - creates buzz and excitement!

Approach experienced members for key roles - put on a good show.

Invite Area, Division & District dignitaries & put on agenda

Invite Past Members to attend - they might re-join

Invite Founding Members, Club, Sponsors/Mentors/Coaches

Ask Club Members to "Bring A Friend"

Pick an appropriate theme for the meeting (new beginnings, achievement etc.)

Pick a Word of the Day that matches the occasion

Prepare a suitable Table Topics session

Select speakers who will represent the club effectively

Prepare Open House packages/New member kits

Consider an incentive to join the day of Open House (with club approval)


2 weeks before

Name tags purchased/prepared


Finalize Agenda

Decorations? Make it fun & festive!

Cake? - (Yellow & Blue theme)

Food? (Consider dietary restrictions when planning)

Supplies for food (plates, forks, napkins, cups)

Finalize incentive if using (gift card, draw, slight discount to fees, etc.)

Print ample supply of "Agenda's"


1 hour before

Set up room theatre style & test AV equipment


Committee & Club Executive arrive early & set the welcoming tone

Guest Greeters to arrive early & set up welcome area

Guest Book, Open House Packets available


During Meeting

Welcome guests

Allow guests to participate in Table Topics

Explain all parts of the meeting and the purpose of it

Thank the guests and dignitaries

Thank the organizing committee

Invite everyone to sign up or come back (Call to action is needed)



Resources from Toastmasters:

Download Open House PowerPoint from TI
Consider Demo Meeting format
Digital brochures to put in Open House Packet
Digital Posters to promote event

Jocelyne Vezina, DTM
District 86 Club Growth Director 2018-2019
District 86 Toastmaster of the Year 2016-2017

Conversion Rates – The untapped metric

What is a conversion rate?

The conversion rate is the number of conversions to new members divided by the total number of visitors.

• A conversion rate is just a number but it can help you to drive meaningful changes in your club meetings, visitor follow-up, set goals for the VP Membership and impact your member retention rates.

Why is a conversion rate important?
It is an efficiency metric! If you can convert 80% of your guests to members then you are doing a much better job than is you convert 30% of your guests to members.

How can you use this?
Start by tracking the number of guests for a one month period of time.
How many became members?
How long did it take for them to become members? (Right away, after their 2nd club visit, after their third visit?)

What if you are not happy with your conversions?
Define the issue first!
a. Not enough members come to the meeting – Attraction issue
Open houses, awareness building, Executive/HR support (Corporate Clubs)

b. Lots of members but they never come back – Engagement issue
Complete a Moments of Truth session to help uncover gaps

Suggestions to improve conversions:
• Do you have a greeter role?
• Are guests invited to introduce themselves or participate in Table Topics
• What happens to your guests during the meeting break?
• Guest Packages?
• Do you invite them back?
• Are they emailed or phoned after the meeting?
• Do you know their goals so you can refer back to them during your follow-up?

Issue defined?
Now you can work with your team to come up with a plan! A good Toastmasters plan is not complete without timelines, targets, accountabilities and happy celebrations once the goal is met!

How to use the Conversion Rate for planning purposes:
• Where are you right now?
• Where do you want to be? Growth goal or flat line retention? (Hint: our goal is growth!)
• Keep in mind we have a 30% churn rate in Toastmasters! A churn rate is the number who do not renew. What is your rate? Are you better or worse than average? Sometimes factors beyond your control can be a challenge especially in a closed corporate club going through layoffs! Remember a churn rate is just a number. What is important is what the number is telling you and what you are prepared to do about it!
The numbers in action!!!!

Example A:
Super Duper Toastmasters Club
Members as of June 30: 50
Churn rate at renewal: 40%
Number of members to be replaced based on churn rate of 40%: 50 members x 40% churn rate = 20
Conversion rate: 70% Wow that is high!

How many guests does Super Duper Toastmasters Club need?
The math: (20x100)/70 = 28 guests are needed

Example B:
High Achiever Toastmasters Club
Members as of June 30: 35
New Member Growth Goal for the year: + 15 new members or 50 members by year end
Churn rate at renewal: 30%
Number of members to be replaced based on churn rate of 30%: 35 members x 30% churn rate = 11
Conversion rate: 60%

How many guests does High Achiever Toastmasters Club need?
They need 11 to replace those who do not renew + 15 new members to meet their club goal. They are not called High Achievers Toastmasters Club for nothing!!!! They need 26 new members!
The math: (26x100)/60 = 44 guests are needed

Now you have calculated how many new members you will need!
• Should you start now or wait until June 1st?
• Should you aim for higher than what the math suggests? (Yes! “Averages” are not the same as an “actual” so we suggest you bump up the number of needed guests!)
• Should you work to reduce the number of members who don’t renew? How can you engage members? (Always a good strategy!)
• How many open houses can you schedule? Are they on your planning calendar?
• Does it make sense to schedule Open Houses with Toastmaster Membership drives? (Yes! There are club incentives tied to Smedley Award, Talk Up Toastmasters and Beat the Clock!)
• How many “bring a friend” nights can you schedule?
• Are you leveraging Meet-up, local media? For corporate clubs are you able to use bulletin boards, company intranet sites, company onboarding or performance management initiatives?

Knowing your conversion rate is a handy planning tool! Have fun planning but have even more fun doing! Good luck!

Leona Wilson
Club Quality Chair
District 86


Guest Kit Checklist

Guest Kit Checklist
District 86 July 2018

Mandatory Items
 Toastmasters Application Form
 About the Club Welcome letter
- history of TM Club / Toastmasters International
- About weekly meetings
- About meeting roles
- About Membership Dues
- How to contact Club Officers
- Reasons to Join Toastmasters
 Pathways -- Overview of 10 Paths
 Features/Benefits/Value Chart
 Brochures: Find your Voice and Confidently Speaking
 Benefits of Toastmasters Membership

Optional Items
 a copy of the Toastmasters monthly magazine
 List of Fees
 Ice Breaker: Speech outline
 Ice Breaker: Evaluation form
 Welcome letter from Club President
 Testimonials from Membership


Club Growth Team | District 86

Open house - A perfect match to the Smedley contest

Dear Members,

The Smedley Award Membership contest is the perfect time for you to have your first Open House of the year.
Find attached a checklist to help you plan the perfect Open House. Once your team is in place have fun with the planning. Treat an Open House as a party.
Who would you invite to this party?
What would be the entertainment?
How would your guests know where to go?
Will you serve food?
Do you have a take away for your guests such as a “Guest kit”? (See checklist attached)
How will you follow-up with the guests after the Open House?
How would you know if your Open House was successful? (See attached conversion rate)

If you have guests interested in becoming members, sign them up for a year not just six months. Think about it. If you sign them up for a year:
You won’t have to worry come April.
You won’t have to chase them for their dues in April
You will know which members are “for sure” in April
You won’t have to worry about losing your DCP points because you don’t have enough members.

For those reasons, you should also consider signing your existing members for a year. I know, not all of them might want to sign for a year or be financially able to, but if you can, you would save yourself so much stress and anxiety come April.

Give it a try. You might be surprised how many members will like the idea of having their membership secured for a year.

To your success,

Jocelyne Vezina, DTM
District 86 Club Growth Director 2018-2019

Toastmasters Member Supports Nipissing Voters

Arlene Phillips, North Bay OPS Toastmasters incoming Secretary, used her Toastmasters leadership skills to organize a very impactful all candidates debate in North Bay in the week prior to the provincial election.
The event was sponsored by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s (OPSEU’s) Vote Better Campaign and the target audience was OPSEU members and their families. Ken Steinbrunner, OPSEU local 642 President, provided opening remarks.
As the Vote Better Campaign Mobilizer for North Bay, Arlene’s challenge was to host a public debate with the riding’s provincial candidates that included an opportunity for each candidate to speak, respond individually to audience questions asked by moderators, and debate issues with one another. Moderators were Natalie Rondeau, Vote Better Mobilizer, Sudbury and Jamie Kensley, We Own it Mobilizer. Melanie Alkins, North Bay OPS Toastmasters incoming Sergeant-at-Arms, played an important role as timer and also photographed the event. Five of the six local candidates accepted the invitation.

Nippising Voters
Nipissing candidates Vic Fedeli -Conservative Stephen Glass - Liberal, Trevor Holliday - Northern Ontario Party, Kris Rivard – Green Party, Henri Giroux – NDP, absent Bond Keevil – Libertarian

Candidate questions focused on public services and were specific to North Bay and Northern Ontario concerns. This was a one-of-a-kind event for the city where local voters could hear directly from most candidates in the Nipissing riding.
The event was a runaway success with about seventy people in attendance, almost double the number expected!
With four media outlets participating, the debate had print, TV and radio coverage. To quote the North Bay Nugget, Arlene explained “What we’re trying to do is get a higher percentage of our members out and voting. From my point of view, I get to vote for my employer. This is such a unique opportunity. When I go to the polls, I want to make an educated vote. And that’s important for the people of Ontario as well as the people across OPSEU.”
Despite an exchange described as “heated” between several candidates, Arlene is to be commended for her role in running a very informative, orderly and respectful event!

Submitted by Sandy Bell-Murray
Photo credits, Mel Alkins

Mots du Midi 5e anniversaire/5th Anniversary Celebration

Le club Mots du Midi invite les membres, amies et amis de Toastmasters à une réunion portes ouvertes afin de célébrer dans la convivialité son 5e anniversaire le jeudi, 21 juin 2018 de 12 h à 13 h au bureau du Conseil de la Coopération de l’Ontario, 10 rue Elm, salle 604.

En plus d’un discours d’un invité d’honneur surprise, des improvisations amusantes dans une ambiance amicale et accueillante, les invitées, invités voteront pour le meilleur gâteau froid sans cuisson. C’est l’occasion idéale des retrouvailles et de faire connaissance des gens dynamiques.

5th anniversary celebration will be held by Mots du Midi on June 21 2018 in the office of Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario, 10 Elm St., room 604. Toastmaster members and friends are invited at this special event.

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

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