My Experiences with Zoom

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Fellow Toastmasters

You may be as inexperienced as I was at the beginning of the pandemic in using Zoom for online meetings and presentations. It’s been a learning experience and a good one at that. While we hope some day to go back to meeting in person, I think some form of online presentation is here to stay. It may be for meetings with people who work from home, as I do, and perhaps for employees to choose to work from home.

Our club, the Energetics, has embraced the technology, using it for our weekly meetings and becoming quite proficient with it for our speeches and on-screen sharing and creative Table Topics. One of our members put together an e-handbook for our club’s use. We have a producer at each meeting who records speeches and offers sound effects for the clapping, cheering and other miscellaneous and fun sounds to add to our online experience. We have a lot of fun with that.

Another aspect that COVID made possible was online meetings with other clubs in our district, province, country and the world. In the midst of other challenges, it’s been a wonderful opportunity to “go” where we wouldn’t normally be able to visit. I’ve been to Chicago, Los Angeles, Mauritius, England, Texas, PEI, Nova Scotia, and various clubs in Ontario in our district and beyond. And most recently South Africa and home club of our World Champion of Public Speaking, Verity Price. That was very exciting!

If you haven’t yet embraced that opportunity, try it while we’re still online. The Around the World in 80 Days challenge, even if I was doing it since early days of COVID. I’m having fun with it, participating and meeting people around the world, only limited by times of day of meetings that conflict with sleep and my work.

The past 18 months have been difficult for many people, and for me the online meetings have helped me to stay connected with friends, fellow Toastmasters, faith groups, storytelling, and important people in my life, including my grandchildren. I have to say that the online connection has encouraged and cheered me on so many times during times of limitations, and I have been grateful for those opportunities. I hope you see them too.

Carolyn Wilker DTM