What does it take to present an online speechcraft program?
Hershaw Toastmasters just completed a six-week, in-meeting speechcraft on Zoom and it was AMAZING! Ten participants completed the workshop and we saw growth and improved communication skills in each and every one of them.
Whether due to shyness, intimidation, or inexperience, many people are struggling in these times to communicate online. Running a speechcraft within the club meetings was something that the club decided was the best way to help.
The club decided that it was of the utmost importance that Speechcrafters had quality experience. To that end, these are the steps we decided to take:
- Build relationships – the club felt it was important for the Speechcrafters to feel like part of the club. The Speechcrafters found out about the program through any of the online or print channels where it was promoted but all the channels pointed them to Eventbrite where they registered and paid their $15 materials fee. Once they were registered, they received updates by email as well as calls from the VP Membership. The VP Membership stayed in contact with the Speechcrafters from beginning to end – always there to answer questions and to provide support.
- Provide materials that support learning – packages of materials were prepared to help the Speechcrafters to feel at home in a Toastmasters meeting and to support their growth in the program. The packages included the Speechcraft workbooks, descriptions, and instructions for the roles they would be asked to take on, evaluation forms for speeches they would be evaluating during the program, goal setting forms, advisor evaluation forms, a Toastmasters magazine, and a welcome letter from the President.
- Zoom orientation – the club felt that the program would be most effective if the Speechcrafters had an opportunity to become familiar with the Zoom meeting platform and the best practices the club uses to manage their meetings. The Sergeant-at-Arms held an orientation on the weekend before the first Speechcraft meeting to make sure that all the Speechcrafters felt comfortable.
- Dedicated advisors – Teams were set up with one advisor and two Speechcrafters. Throughout the program, the groups of three worked together. The Speechcrafters evaluated one another and the advisors provided ongoing support and guidance. The advisors used the lessons and forms in the Pathways mentoring program and gained credit for their mentoring of the Speechcrafters.
- The education program – the Speechcraft program is a Toastmasters staple. With the support of the workbook, Speechcrafters write and present speeches, evaluate their peers.
- Graduation ceremony – we felt it was important to celebrate all the successes that we held a graduation ceremony as part of the final meeting. Each Speechcrafter was congratulated with an electronic certificate and had the opportunity to speak about their experience of the program. The Speechcraft participant certificates were mailed to all the participants after the final meeting along with a letter of congratulations from the President.
- And repeat – Hershaw Toastmasters is doing it all again starting January 19, 2021! The club has twelve more non-Toastmaster participants signed up. Each will get the opportunity to practice and improve their communication skills with the Toastmasters Speechcraft program.
What’s the answer to the question, what does it take to do an online speechcraft? A group of dedicated Toastmasters with the desire and commitment to help and support others in achieving their goal of improving their communication skills.
Sue Hopcroft, DTM
VPPR Hershaw Toastmasters, 2020-2021