Evaluations Are Important To Our Club

A speech from one of your peers has just finished, and as the Speech Evaluator, you are up next. You witnessed a really great speech and are now responsible for providing feedback to the speaker. You ask yourself, how can I do this so that it is both interesting and valuable for my audience.

Fellow Toastmasters this is your time to shine! As Evaluators, we are responsible for contributing to the success of both the speaker and our club experience. I would like to highlight areas where we as a group can get better at providing memorable evaluations.

An evaluation is first and foremost a speech about what you saw, heard, and felt. The structure to an evaluation is very similar to any speech, which includes a great opening, a body, and a conclusion. Structure is imperative to keeping the audience and speaker engaged throughout your evaluation. My suggestion is to limit the body to 3 areas of focus, which is easily done with the “Good, Better, and Best Method” or the “What I Saw, What I Heard, and What I Felt Method”.

When beginning your evaluation get creative on how you grab the audience’s attention. A simple but effective way to open is with a question or statement. An example may be asking a question related to the topic of the speech or make a statement that grabs our attention. An example could be a “What if question” or a quote related to the speech. The options are endless and it is important to “Hook” your audience in your introduction.

The second thing to remember is that you only have 2-3 minutes to do your evaluation so it is important that you get to the feedback (body) of your evaluation quickly. Using the Good, Better, Best Method as an example, gives you the opportunity to provide what was done well and constructive criticism on how to get better. It is important that you always provide ways to improve; otherwise, the speaker will not have any feedback on how they can get better in their next speech. We want to be respectful, however, please do not shy away from providing areas for improvement to both new and seasoned speakers. This is what we want and expect from our Evaluator’s.  Also, please remember that the evaluations are on the speech itself, and not on who the speaker is.

Finally, when providing feedback, provide examples of what was done well and where they can improve. Telling someone to work on vocal variety is one thing, however, providing a specific example of where in the speech would have benefited, and giving the audience your version of how it may have worked better is much more beneficial and entertaining.

Our goal as Evaluators is to provide feedback on the speech we heard and entertain the audience as we would with a traditional speech.

I trust that if we all take the time to deliver both entertaining and meaningful evaluation both the quality of the speeches and club experience will elevate.

Elvis Gregov, DL4
Own the Moment (OTM) Oakville Toastmasters Member
Winner of 2019 Oakville Invitational Mary Heary Tall Tales Contests
Submitted April 2021

Town of Oakville Proclamation April 2021 as Toastmasters Month

The Town of Oakville Mayor, Rob Burton is proclaiming April 2021 Toastmasters Month in Oakville. 

George How Pak Hing was instrumental in getting the Town of Oakville Proclamation, five years in a row.  It is gratifying to note that the Town of Oakville recognized the value of the Toastmasters Program as a vehicle for the development of communication and leadership skills, for the community.
 
Community and Corporate Clubs from Area Clubs in Area D81, Area D83, and Area D84 that are in Oakville:
 
• Wood Oakville Toastmasters (D81) (Corporate)
• Glen Abbey Toastmasters (D83) (Community)
• Horizon Toastmasters (D83) (Community)
• Sheridan Toastmasters Trafalgar (D83) (College)
• Own the Moment Oakville Toastmasters (D83) (Community)
• First Oakville Toastmasters (D84) (Community)
• Callisto Toastmasters (D84) (Corporate)
• Burloak Toastmasters (D84) (Corporate)
• Trafalgar Toastmasters (D84) (Community)
• SUEZ Water Toastmasters (D84) (Corporate)
 
 
 Mayor oakville TM April
 
 
George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters Founder
Area Director of the Year 2016-2017
Submitted March 16, 2021 

How To Keep Club Social Media Fresh and Relatable

Puzzled? Struggling How to Promote Your Club on Social Media?

Some Post Ideas for Toastmasters

Bryn Snow, Club President, Escarpment Toastmasters, Milton, ON

Do you ever struggle to “write something” for your club’s social media posts?

Your club anniversary has passed. Your holiday party is history. You’ve posted about all these events.

Maybe your members haven’t finished any Pathways levels yet.

You’d still like to keep your social media feed interesting and relatable to the non-Toastmasters world.

What else could you possibly post?

Read on for a few hints.

First - think of the potential readers of your posts. They might not be Toastmasters. They are likely non- Toastmasters, or people who are thinking of joining Toastmasters.

Look at writing a post with non-Toastmasters’ interests in mind.

Ask yourself: what are they looking for? You need to step inside their shoes. But here’s my view.

Potential members would like a ‘sneak peek’ inside Toastmasters. What goes on in a meeting, they wonder? How can they get a taste of the experience without attending a meeting (just yet)?

Try out these ideas - and make sure you avoid ‘inside Toastmasters’ language here unless you explain the terms!

Describe what happens in a meeting. Write about each of the roles of the meeting. Each one of the following can be a separate, short post.
  1. What does the Grammarian do? How does the Word of the Day work?
  2. What does the Timer do? Why is this important?
  3. What does the Ah-Counter do? Why is this important?
  4. What does the Toastmaster of the Meeting role have to do with leadership skills?
  5. How can club members benefit from membership?
  6. How much is membership and why is it affordable and valuable?

Each of these description pieces – and they need only be 100-300 words long or so – gives clues to what goes on in a meeting and why. It “lifts the curtain” on the meeting for outsiders, helps reassure them that the meeting experience will feel safe, and the content will meet their needs.

Retail businesses employ this strategy: clothing shops in malls position racks of clothes outside the shop door. Stores aim to provide a kind of buffer zone, to allow customers to transition slowly to the inside.

Especially during online meetings, this might be helpful as you cannot hide at the back of an online meeting. There are no chairs against the wall, right by the door!

Expand on this idea in many ways.

Consult Toastmasters International for inspiration. There are loads of topics to choose from.

You can explain how Toastmasters International understands leadership. What leadership activities take place in a meeting? Describe them. How do mentors help members? Describe this in 100 words or so. (After all, 100 words is enough for a post. Look at marketer Seth Godin’s blog (https://www.sethgodin.com) to see brilliant examples of short, thoughtful, and engaging posts.

Create a series of short posts that slowly “drip” information to potential members and educate them about what happens in a meeting. In marketing terms, you “educate” your “buyers” so when they attend a meeting, they are more ready to consider membership. After all, an educated prospect is more likely to purchase, aren’t they? (If you know understand what an oil change does for your car, won’t you be more likely to schedule one?)

Finally, you’re done!

Once you create a series of posts, build a ‘content calendar’ or a weekly list of posts that you can repeat once a month or so. Your readers won’t likely see all of them, so repeating them works well.

Importantly, populating your club’s social media feed makes those accounts look lively and active. A Facebook account that only has last month’s post on it gives the impression of dusty store shelves. Not a great draw for customers.

With a little effort, and a calendar of posts in hand, you can, week by week, educate and interest potential club members.

Why not give it a try?

Escarpment Toastmasters – the Little Club that Could!

Bryn Snow Club President, Escarpment Toastmasters, Milton, Ontario

Imagine starting a Toastmasters club right at the beginning of a global pandemic. Not a local outbreak, not an epidemic affecting a large area, but a pandemic creating illness and the death of millions through the entire world.

This is exactly the experience of Escarpment Toastmasters in Milton.

Karen Pantaleo, DTM, with the support of Louis Li and Lou Mulligan, DTM, all members of Milton Toastmasters, spent about a year promoting the idea of a second Toastmasters club in that town west of Toronto.

After a year of meetings as an unchartered group, Escarpment Toastmasters finally realized its vision and received its charter on March 21, 2020.

A week prior to this, on Friday, March 13 Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that the province’s schools would be shut down for two weeks following March break in response to the rising Covid cases. It would be six months later before schools would re-open.

Suddenly, long lines at supermarkets and other businesses formed (most, of course, crowded with mask-less patrons). Items such as toilet paper and meat were hoarded. Some people reported seeing individuals with shopping carts piled high with meat and then store shelves bare of food.

Quickly, Escarpment Toastmasters reverted to a virtual format. Thankfully, their members were comfortable enough with Zoom applications that meetings took place with only a few glitches.

Escarpment members, along with most other Canadians, hoped that the restrictions would only last a few months. That was then, this is now. One year later, everyone is still meeting virtually!

On this long road, members have strengthened their resolve and adjusted to the new norm. Not everyone has been happy. Most members struggled with long daily working hours plus the online Toastmasters meetings. Backs ached and eyes glazed over following hours of screen time. Childcare issues, interruptions, or a combination of these erected more challenges to confront.

Members picked up all sorts of new skills. These skills may serve them well - it seems that many meetings and interviews will move online in the future. Members navigated through Zoom buttons and adapted to the use of Google forms to evaluate speakers. To stir up a bit of holiday cheer, the club organized a virtual Christmas party, enjoying holiday traditions around the world.

The club is happy to report that they are in good status with Toastmasters International: enough members renewed prior to the March 31 deadline to achieve this goal. However, since December, together with the Milton Toastmasters club, the club has engaged with membership building projects to increase their base still further. They’ve explored online platforms such as MeetUp, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and currently make tickets available to their meetings on Eventbrite.

Escarpment has learned a great deal through launching a new club during the pandemic. Given that they have little club history, they’ve faced the dual challenges of pandemic uncertainty and the task of building expertise within the club. The experience has been tough. But members feel that if they can succeed, even in a small way, during this challenging time, they will be able to grow even further when (finally) Canada and the world return to some sort of normalcy. As they say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Escarpment Toastmasters, Membership Building, and a Pandemic: Lessons Learned

Bryn Snow, Club President, Escarpment Toastmasters, Milton, Ontario

Building membership during a pandemic: what fun!

This has been the journey of Escarpment Toastmasters in Milton and its sister club, Milton Toastmasters.

Since the end of December, both clubs have taken up the challenge of building their membership base.

Club executive members, VPPRs and VP Memberships have met regularly via Zoom to attract new members during one of the most challenging times in living memory.

While adding new members certainly has not been as easy as in pre-pandemic times, both clubs have gained some important new marketing knowledge.

Normally, prospective members would attend an Open House, or a regular meeting. Often, the warmth of the welcome and the strength of the agenda has often been enough to convince visitors to join the club.

Now, warmth is muted by the digital experience in the online platform. Members occasionally struggle with the technology and this may or may not contribute to a visitor deciding to join. Visitors may be tired from hours of remote work. They may not be excited about another virtual meeting.

To make up for this, both Milton clubs have opened accounts on social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MeetUp, and LinkedIn. They have listed their meetings and Open Houses on Eventbrite.

Which platforms have delivered the most success?

You might be surprised. Eventbrite has in fact delivered more prospects to book tickets than any of the other social media sites.

Week after week, visitors have booked tickets to attend the meetings. In six months, over fifty prospects have booked tickets for one club alone.

However, there is one caveat. Though many prospects have booked tickets, leaving their names and email addresses with Vice President Memberships, the number of visitors that attend the meeting is still frustratingly low. When one sees the number of registrations for the meeting, excitement grows. However, this translates into only a few visitors.

Still, during this time when so much else remains virtual, to have one platform collect names and email addresses is encouraging. The challenge now is to figure out what can push potential members to attend a meeting.

If you as a Toastmasters member have tried out Eventbrite and have experienced this problem, please let us know what solutions you may have. We’d love to find out.

Celebrating 15 Years at Creekside TD Toastmasters

D95 ANNIVERSARIES3 smaller

Last week, Creekside TD Toastmasters - a corporate club - celebrated 15 year since their charter. The club plans to hold a celebration on February 3rd from 12-1pm to honor this important milestone. Creekside is my home club and it continues to evolve and adapt despite these turbulent times. The club is currently headed by President Pavan Jeedigunta with Glynis D'Souza, DTM acting as VP Education.

Creekside TD Toastmasters is an energetic club whose members have occupied many significant positions in the District and won numerous competitions.

If your schedule allows, feel free to join us and say a few words or just drop in for a few minutes. Retired club founder Eric Matto, DTM, himself a Toastmaster for 30 years will return as a guest as will one of the clubs earliest and longest-standing members Hilgay Beckles, DTM, a former Division Director and current District 86 Club Coach Co-chair.

Look out for our Zoom invitation over the next couple of weeks.

Our contact email is creeksidetdtoastmasters@outlook.com for further information.

Take a look at our promotional video HERE

Sonia McGregor,
Area E3 Director
VP, PR Creekside TD Toastmasters Club

OTM Oakville Toastmasters Virtual December 2020 Open House & Celebrations

Own the Moment (OTM) Oakville Toastmasters held a very successful, multi-purpose, and fun-filled meeting event on December 17th. It was a fitting ending to a challenging year, ever since OTM migrated seamlessly to the virtual format since March 2020. Truly, it was a night to remember down the road for the OTM history book. The Meeting theme was: RESILIENCE.

Oakville Toastmasters

The Meeting Agenda had all the aspects of a regular meeting plus more, namely Virtual Toast, Guest Speaker/Author Darline Noel (IPC Toastmasters), Table Topics, Trivia, Games, Awards, etc. OTM recognized the educational achievements of the members, including the DTMs earned by past Area Directors Sasha-Li Chinloy and Katia Miroplskaia.

 Tom Adams PEng, Halton Region Councillor, and Oakville Ward 6 Councillor was on hand to bring encouragement and greetings from the Town of Oakville. Many Toastmasters District 86 DEC Leaders (Division Governor / Division Director / Area Director) were in attendance: Brahm Memone DTM, Lou Mulligan DTM, Aurie Contosta DTM, Hilgay Beckles DTM, Albert Chang DTM, and Suzanne Rondeau ACG. The ongoing support of many Guests (Toastmasters as well as non-Toastmasters) that came from the surrounding communities is greatly appreciated.

Oakvill tM2

For more info on OTM: www.oakvilletoastmasters.com

George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters Founder
Submitted December 23, 2020

Bluewater Toastmasters 1975

45 years ago, Bluewater Toastmasters chartered. It was one of the first clubs to accept women. Over the years, many Toastmasters have called Bluewater home. Our longest reigning member is ACG Marilyn Bell. Marilyn has been very instrumental in keeping Bluewater a driving force in our community.

We kicked off our 45th year with MPP (former Toastmaster) Bill Walker. Bill brought greetings from the province and some of his Toastmaster memories. The following week, Saugeen Shores mayor, Luke Charbonneau, brought greetings from the town and thanks for providing Saugeen Shores and communities with high quality education.

Mayor Boddy, Owen Sound, was on the call the following week. He too brought greetings and showed his interest to promote our club in the area.

We are celebrating throughout our 45th year on Zoom, however, we do look forward to a gala in-person gathering.

We have had several successful Speechcrafts in the past few years. The most recent was partnered with a second language learning centre in Owen Sound. We hope to partner with more groups in the new year.

Our club, like many others, is finding it difficult to grow during this pandemic time. We usually however have a full slate of speakers at each meeting. It is definitely a wonderful and rewarding experience to be part of a great organization and a Club with creative and interesting people.

Stop by…2nd, 3rd or 4th Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm…https://bluewater.toastmastersclubs.org/

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

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