On the 30th of June the Pathways extension expires for those members yet to renew. 6th of May Announcement #WeAreToastmasters
The dues split over 26 meeting a year are equivalent to a snack of a couple of 400g punnets of strawberries or raspberries
In contrast a one-day professional workshop would start in the hundreds and be forgotten faster than the strawberries.
Historically, Toastmasters International’s membership has grown faster in times of economic down turn as more of us invest in skills to get us ahead in the job market or to compete to hold on to our job.
The dues are invested to fulfill Toastmasters International Mission “We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders” which is to help you and I
As the saying goes for a rising star if you want to see a change you need to put in ‘some change’
This is an unprecedented time to enjoy global fellowship afforded by 70% of all clubs and events now being online. I had a great time attending a passionate bilingual meeting of 8 Colombian clubs involving 80-90 members. I came away with 3-4 great ideas to try at my home club
2.75 million Toastmasters got stuck straight into online meetings. If your club isn’t online and you can’t find a club to renew at then find one online and ask to transfer in until September. Use Toastmasters International Find-A-Club, filter for those online and reach out to a few clubs that look right. https://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club
It gives me great pleasure to announce the Fall to Winter membership incentives (see charts below). In total we recruited 316 new dual or reinstated member during November and December at a time of year when festivities abound, and roads can be foggy and icy. It is really encouraging to see the clubs that have coaches, Cashel, Dundee, and Cornerstone, share in the glory. Long may that continue.
Google Phonic, in Division M Area 18, grew 500% from 10 members on the 1st of July to 50 today, adding 46 in November and December, having lost 6 during the autumn renewals. Google Phonics’ performance pushed Division M and Area 18 to the top of the pile for best performing Division and Area –almost. In the last half of December Division H edged ahead to end up a best performing Division with 53 new members on a membership base of 428 members compared to 59 new members on a base of 488 members in Division M. Three of Division H’s Areas, H14, H20, and H44, finished in the Top 5 Areas and four of their clubs finishing with five or more new members with two leading the table on 7. Not to be outdone Area H32’s Coached Cornerstone Advanced Toastmasters Communicators added 2 new members to gain an incentive. A fantastic all-round performance in H.
Forthcoming Club Growth and Membership Incentives in the third quarter 2019-20:
The worldwide Talk Up Toastmasters membership campaign though February and March.
On this webinar, District Leadership Chair and Past District Director, Kevin Lee discusses Toastmasters leadership opportunities beyond the club, highlighting the benefits, rewards and challenges that District Leadership brings. He believes that every toastmaster has more to gain from serving their fellow members. In addition, Kevin will demystify the process for becoming a District Leader.
Call for District Leader Nominations 2020-2021 To:
Are you interested in serving as a District Leader for the Toastmaster year 2020-2021?The first call for Nominations for District Officers for 2020-2021 is Wednesday 15th January 2020.
To find out more, on Sunday the 8th December at 8.00pm there will be a webinar run by District Leadership Committee Chair, Kevin Lee, DTM, Past District Director. Registration details to follow. Serving as a District Leader is a wonderful opportunity to support our clubs and fellow members, and further develop your communication and leadership skills. Leadership roles can be challenging, but they are rewarding and a further opportunity to learn and grow. The District Leadership Committee (DLC) is seeking Nominations for the roles of: District DirectorProgram Quality DirectorClub Growth DirectorPublic Relations ManagerDivision Director (for Divisions A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, M, N and S) There have been some key changes this year to Protocol 9.0 particularly regarding floor candidates. For more details and the critical deadlines please click on the links below: District Leader Qualifications and Responsibilities For further information about these roles, please refer to the District Leadership Handbook and the District Administrative Bylaws, Article VII: Officers in the Toastmasters International Governing Documents. See the Toastmasters International Website for the Elections Toolkit.First call for Nominations for District Officers for 2020-2021 by Wednesday 15th January 2020. If you know of someone you feel would make a suitable candidate, or would like to nominate yourself, please complete the following paperwork: District Leader Nominating Form From the candidate themselves: Officer Agreement and Release Statement Candidate Application Form Both Submissions should be made to the District Leadership Committee Chair – Past District Director, Kevin Lee, DTM at kevinlee25 (at) hotmail.comDeadline for candidates to declare intent to run is: Wednesday 15th January 2020. After this date, the DLC will contact candidates to arrange interviews and will seek out other candidates as appropriate. The final report of the DLC will be circulated to District Council members by April 2020, 4 weeks prior to the District Council meeting in May 2020, when voting will take place. Any questions, please contact the Committee Chair Kevin Lee at kevinlee25 (at) hotmail.com
In “The Sound of Music”, the Von Trapp family sang, “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye. I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye”
It’s almost time for me to say “so long, farewell” as your District Director. I’ve served 5 years and 3 months on the District Leadership Team. It has been a huge commitment in terms of time and effort, but it has also been richly rewarding. A member of the DLT told me recently that “the amount of knowledge you have about how things are done is encyclopaedic and I for one would have had a much harder year if you hadn’t been there to advise me”. That DLT member was right. I do have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the district. But that knowledge has been learned from the District Directors I served under – Luanne Kent, Kevin Lee, Michael Collins and Red Skelton. For better or for worse they had a big influence on my development on the DLT.
Other members who influenced me are past District Governor, David Thompson, past Region Advisor Aletta Rochat, Past International Director Teresa Dukes and most especially Past International President, Ted Corcoran. I am grateful to each of them.
While it’s difficult to measure commitment and effort it’s important to recognise it. I would like to recognise the commitment and effort put in by the members of the DLT and the wider District Executive Committee in 2018-19.
John Cox, Program Quality Director was a great support to me and masterminded a very successful 8 semi-finals and 4 finals at the District Conference.
Gerard Mannix, Club Growth Director helped to add 14 new clubs to the District and was so committed to his role that he went in person to a corporate club and guided one of the members through the renewal process and followed up with Toastmasters International on a daily basis to get the club reinstated.
Daniel Sandars, PR Manager gave us informative, interesting and entertaining newsletters, ensured the district was visible on social media and resurrected the District YouTube channel.
Brenda Lannon, Administration Manager, whose attention to detail, willingness to learn and commitment to her role made my life easier and contributed to the smooth running of the District.
Martin Foran, Finance Manager was patient and dependable and understood the importance of accountability in his role. His strict adherence to accountability meant that he even had the temerity to challenge the District Director’s expense claims. I couldn’t have asked for a better finance manager.
Red Skelton, Immediate Past District Director was always available to take a call when I needed his advice.
The Division Directors all of whom are at least Distinguished – Phillip O’Brien, Larry Lyons, Barry Lane, Shaun Durkin, Andy Nichols, Pat Croke, Alex Knibbs, Steve Campion, Colm McGlade, John McFadzean and Avril Stringer.
The Area Directors – Mari Manning, Alun Rees, Charlie Corrigan, Darren Burnett, Donnacha Smyth, Helsa Giles, Rosario Walsh, Derry Butler, Michael Madigan, Marie McNamee, Chris McCabe, Laurence Kelly, Jim Keating, Loretto Kenny, Niamh Doherty, Ita Finnerty, Danny Banks, Jill Ming, Mish Barad, Ken MacKenzie, Thérèse Kinahan, Pat Coakley, Paul Gannon, Kevin McGill, Karen Bellerby, Ray Mitchell, Martin Harnor, Faye Ritchie, Wojciech Zujla, Martin Mansell, Binal Sawjani, Gareth Coghlan, Mairead Murphy, P.J. Claffey, Mary Burnham, Bobby Buckley, John Kelly, Lynn Gregory, Becky Pennington, Rumbi Chihoro, Shyamenda Purslow, Tina Norbury, Adrian Herbert, Helen Kelly, Phil Cooper and Neil Whitelaw.
Will I “heave a sigh” as I say goodbye? Of course, there will be a sigh of sadness that my year as District Director has ended. But it’s time to move on. I will step into the advisory role of Immediate Past District Director and will still be involved in various pursuits across the District. Outside of toastmasters I’m looking forward to spending more time with my 18 months old twin granddaughters and their 6 months old sister. I’m hoping my garden will be blooming beautifully by the end of the summer and in September I hope to go back to college.
Alfred Lord Tennyson said in Morte d’Arthur “the old order changeth, yielding place to new”. I wish the incoming team a very successful year and I look forward to working with them.
One of the current DLT members said to me recently “your year as District Director will play a big part in my activities in TM for years to come”. As I say, “so long, farewell”, I couldn’t ask for a better compliment.
2019-2020 Division and Area Director Training (DOT#1)
Over the weekend 23-24th June District officers gathered for the first round of training. We currently have 210 active clubs arranged into 12 Division and 47 Areas. First to go were the Irish Divisions at the Carlton Airport Hotel on the Saturday followed by the Northern British Divisions at Manchester Hilton Airport Hotel on the Sunday
Divisions A, B, C, D, F, M, and J (blue in heart of Dublin)
Divisions E, G, H, N, and S from Northern Britain
A few take-outs
Remember the member -when members and guests flourish everything else follows
Excellence is build from the foundations up
Communicate clearly, concisely, and convivially
It is a hobby -keep it fun
Excellence is the next five minutes…the next conversation…the next email… or it is nothing at all (Tom Peters)
It is obvious when you think about it! Across the District we have a diverse range of clubs appealing to different catchments and these each require and have evolved different Public Relations strategies. I’ve decided to seek some best practice examples to help provide ideas that others could take inspiration from. This is not a complete typology of model PR strategies, far from it.
The big city club: Manchester has a population of c.510,000 and Manchester Orators came to my attention because they had already added 34 new members by mid-February. I was impressed by their website with online joining facilities.
The county or county town club: Prominent open or guest nights and an earlier open night case study by John Cox brought clubs like East Midlands Speakers to my attention. There are c. 250,000 people living within their 30-mile radius catchment. A similar number live near Northampton Speakers club where I have personal experience
The rural town club. Speak Easy Mallow, Ireland came to my attention with the most robust press coverage. Mallow has around 12,000 people. I’ve also been able to get Naas Toastmasters in Ireland to tell me about what they do, and they have c.22,000 living in their area.
The campus club: Another club I have experience with is Cranfield Speakers, which is a campus-based community club and the fresher’s fair open night is the heart of their PR strategy.
A pattern, if it exists, across the top three categories goes from most new members finding the club for themselves via good web presence to the club going out finding the new blood with boots on the ground community PR.
By Jim Gregory DTM
After I had presented a session at the division contest in Leeds, Daniel Sandars asked if I would write an overview of Manchester Orators to share with readers of the magazine, and here it is…
Manchester Orators chartered in 2003. It was set up by me and 2 others. Only one of us had ever heard of Toastmasters and the ‘expert’ who had visited clubs in the US was a German guy called Thomas Bungard. From the very earliest days the club embraced diversity. The club always had a welcoming, casual but committed atmosphere.
Being based in Manchester meant that we attracted many students and people from all over the globe that were temporarily working in the city. We never ‘targeted ‘ any demographic or area but the club was targeted by all the people of all ages and backgrounds that wanted to develop their personal skills.
Today we do very little active promotion of the club. We are currently running a SpeechCraft course that will produce new members. In addition to personal recommendations and friends bringing guests, we do get visitors joining via Meetup and from their search of the Internet. For that reason, we have always had a website that is aimed at answering questions but telling them that the best way to experience and judge the value of Toastmasters is to visit the club.
When the club reached over 40 members we decided to have extra meetings each month. We now have 4 meetings per month. Two are open meetings and two are members only meetings. Attendance at the open meeting is usually between 40 and 50 people with 12-15 being visitors. The members only meetings have around 25 attendees and because we need less explanation we manage more Table Topics and 4 speeches.
All guests are welcomed at the door and available members then usually chat with them and give them the agenda. We never try to rush or push membership on them. Guests can visit an open meeting as often as they like without joining, but of course we do remind them that to get the full benefit of Pathways and all the club benefits, they need to join.
Signing members up at meetings used to be an issue. Factors such as the pro-rata effect (Which can delay some people signing up) and the need to read often bad handwriting caused delays and errors. Since we switched to an online sign up, using the services of Go-Cardless to set up Direct Debits (DD), we have had a very smooth sign-up process. The DD also means that we do not have to chase everyone at renewal time and club ‘cash-flow’ is always healthy. We usually manage to get the Beat-the-clock and Talk-up Toastmasters etc. awards.
With the old road to DTM we used to just use educational speeches and individual mentoring to ‘onboard’ members. The new Pathways has had an unexpected effect of some members becoming confused and reluctant to embrace the online system. We have had special training sessions and have produced videos to share with new members to get them started. Recently, we have set up a series of automatic emails using MailChimp. The auto generated emails are set to be sent out as a drip feed over an initial period. These introduce the new member to the club procedures in small digestible chunks. They introduce them to the use of EasySpeak and Pathways.
The club has always also had a strong social aspect for members to get together outside of meetings. There is the regular cinema club, and there have been fun runs, theatre visits, comedy club visits, restaurant visits, show visits, TEDx visits and hikes and even rock climbing to ‘enjoy’.
One area that the club has always had to work on is that of long-term retention of members. This is because of the nature of our base. Since the club has a high proportion of transient and student members there is always going to be a ‘churn’. Fortunately, we have always had a strong core of regular capable members to work on the committee and help. Some of our members leave to join other clubs and even start new clubs if they move to an area or country that does not have one. Some have remained members of our related online group Advanced Orators.
Another beneficial aspect of having a relatively high membership and a strong bank balance has been the club’s ability to sponsor and help set up new clubs. In addition to Advanced Orators, Manchester Orators sponsored and helped to set up Warrington Toastmasters, Didsbury Speakers and Salford Speakers. The club is now set to spin off another club and members are currently launching Manchester Communicators which will meet in rooms kindly donated by Manchester Metropolitan University.
Manchester Orators could be described as a successful club and with the continued support and dedication of key committee and general members it is certainly set to continue developing its members and new clubs. We all appreciate what Toastmasters adds to our lives and the joy of sharing the Toasties ethos.
If anyone reading this should want to ask any questions then I will be happy to respond via firstname.lastname@example.org. …Cheers.
County/ County town
Personal experience from chartering and running Northampton Speakers club (c. 215,000 population) taught me the power of a good Website and Meetup in coming to the attention of people we did not know already. Local Radio helped as well. Of the four of us that started Northampton only one of us had personal contacts, the rest of us came from away. Yet we had a steady stream of guests.
Word of mouth helps as well with guests coming in from training and networking groups. In the early days two of our members were socially active in Meetup and that helped make our meetup group popular and procure guests.
We are now adding open nights to our strategy and the most recent brought in 10 guests, four returning guests and two lapsed members. This year we have seen a better return from using paid for Facebook advertising than we did last year of trying to leaflet the train station, library, and café’s
East Midlands Speakers’ Club
Ian Joynes, Vice President of Education
1. What is your target market and what are the demographics of your target members?,
We have no target market. We cover a large area in the East Midlands with members travelling 30 miles to get to the club. We get a few members from Rolls Royce which is the biggest employer in Derby.
2. How is the club promoted? What works best?,
We promote via Club Website, Facebook, Meetup and recently Eventbrite. We ask members to try and tell people about the Guest Night.
3. How are guest welcomed?,
We have a special Agenda for Guest Nights which is a mini meeting format and we explain roles etc. We also have a Questions and Answers panel.
4. How are guests converted to members / how do they join (online, on paper)?,
Most guests join online. A few pay on the night.
5. Do you make use of the TI membership drives (Smedley Award, Talk Up Toastmasters, Beat the Clock) or the Individual Membership Sponsor program?
We don’t use TI membership drives. Turnover of members is high and it’s a struggle to get members to do roles and officer roles.
6. Are there limits to the number of times a member can visit as a guest?,
No limits I am aware of. 1 or 2 guests come a couple of times and then don’t join.
7. How does your club orient new members and get them involved?
We are not very good at orienteering new members as explained above. It depends on the Club Officers. VPE books the Ice Breaker speeches in. It’s hard to get a balance with new members between them volunteering for a role and pushing them to do one.
8. What does your club do to ensure longer term member retention?
Nothing, currently. We have nothing for retention. We are good at getting members but they seem to leave after a couple of speeches.
Pat Sexton, the Vice President of Public Relations of Speak Easy Mallow (c. 12,000 population) has been rather too busy contesting at the District Conference of late. However, I’ve been really impressed with the Public Relations at that club. Every month, without fail, Pat has obtained coverage in two to three local newspapers gaining very many column-inches of coverage. In addition to this the club vigorously promotes and judges a schools speaking contest and takes part in the town literary festival. This community PR is backed up with an effective blog site and Facebook.
Literary Speaking Literary Speaking John B Keane’s The Letter is hilariously delivered by Sean Corcoran.
Pat’s mission has been to keep the club in the public eye at the heart of the community.
Stephen Mulvaney, Vice President of Public Relations
[What is very noticeable in contrast to the bigger city examples is the well-defined poster drop off run requiring boots on the ground to deliver them as well as local radio and press]
Social Media Tools
WhatsApp group (two groups; existing members and guests who have attended a meeting)
Hootsuite (can use to post to Facebook, LinkedIn & twitter at the same time)
Meetup (currently not used by Naas Toastmasters as there is ~€8 monthly charge to setup a group)
Agree PR budget with committee approval. Example expenditure includes flier printing costs and promoting Facebook posts
Start of year:
Prepare for first open night in September
Setup recurring Facebook event on Facebook and setup all meeting dates for coming year to end of your term on 30 June.
Setup dates in the calendar on the website calendar
Ensure visitors to website – see the next meeting date on website on the landing page. So, they know the club is active. I usually update the webpage once a month, for the next 2 meeting dates.
Prepare an open night flier and share it on social media. Print 20 copies and put up around Naas town (1 hour); Garda station, Supervalu, Kildare Co.Co. (side door often open), Tesco Extra, Library, Swans, GAA club, Tea Convent Rooms, Town House Hotel, your workplace.
Repeat for open night in January
Regularly post social media to keep potential guests and members up to date
Try make posts either educational or have a news factor (who won the gavel etc.). Best posts have pictures of members at the meeting, Christmas party etc. Gets more clicks.
Use Facebook and pay to promote posts (usually €2 is enough at a time). Do this ahead of big events only (open night (Sep & Jan), ahead of contest, unusual meetings etc.)
Do radio interview on Kildare FM
Write article in local newspapers (Kildare Now, Leinster Leader, Kildare Post)
Attend committee meetings and give update on PR activity
Respond to queries from potential guests received via social media. Link in with VPM where appropriate.
Ensure website ALWAYS shows next 2 meeting dates very clearly on first page (time & date). Webpage is designed to get potential guests to contact VP Membership & Eileen takes over from there in converting them to members. Front page of website is basic but is up to date and covers
Next meeting dates (time & place)
Reasons to attend
How to Join
There are two articles here. The first is a reprint that describes the Fresher fair and open night (District 71 Newsletter December 2016 p6-7) and the second is the emerging PR strategy that underpins it all
Cranfield Speakers Club: Fresher’s and demo night success!
By Vicky Lester, Mar Batista, Sara Fane, and Daniel Sandars
October for Cranfield Speakers club is without doubt the busiest month for both our PR activities and guest attendance at meetings.
It may be unique to our club but being located on the campus of Cranfield University gives us a peak interest period that starts in October when new students arrive on campus to start their studies.
The University is a research-intensive postgraduate university located just outside of Milton Keynes in Bedfordshire. The majority of the students are studying yearlong Master’s degrees, but there is a significant population of doctoral students studying for around three years.
The Cranfield Speakers club (District 71, Area H 44) membership base is drawn from community members, staff, and students. It benefits from being highly multinational and multicultural, but regularly expands to nearly 30-40 members or shrinks to 10-14 core members with the comings and goings of students.
There are fresher’s fair events that take place early October where students can find out about what’s going on in the area and sign up for things they are interested in. It is key for Cranfield Speakers club to be seen at these events. The earlier students can find out about us and how Toastmasters can help them with both their communication and leadership skills, the better, they can make sure it’s in their schedule from the start!
A focus we must peak their interest is highlighting how the club can help them prepare for presentations, practising to deliver their message to their tutors and peers confidently.
Along with promoting our club at the fairs, we advertise that we are having an open demo meeting in October that they can come along to and find out more about the club and exactly what happens at a meeting.
On average we receive 200 names/e-mail addresses signing up as being interested, this helps us also e-mail them all prior to our demo meeting as a reminder of when it’s taking place and where.
Our committee members work brilliantly at the fresher’s fairs talking to students, and then also networking at the club meetings ensuring we’re speaking to as many students as possible and answering their questions.
We are also very lucky to have faculty on campus that mention our club when doing their own lectures on communication skills as they know the benefits it can bring to their students.
Both last year and this year we had approximately 100 students at our open demo meeting, and of course we welcome guests to come to any meeting, therefore some of the following meetings usually have high numbers too where some were unable to make the main demo evening. For these meetings we ensure we book a lecture room that can cater for more people!
At the open demo night, we focus on a shorter program with an example of an experienced speaker and a beginner as well as fun accessible table topics, well explained roles, and a strong well led evaluation team. We also allow ourselves more time for networking with our guests all helped along with an exciting range cakes and refreshments.
The relatively few core members of the club are helped by half a dozen or more visiting Toastmasters from Area G44 along with a few former members. On behalf of the Cranfield Speakers club I would like to thank those wonderful Travelling Toasties.
When the students have completed their studies, they leave to go back home and hopefully continue their Toastmasters journey at another club near to them. We hope we are helping raise the profile of Toastmasters internationally with the diverse member base we have each year!
A key benefit we find with having a high turnover of members is that you regularly have a different audience to talk to, never getting too ‘comfortable’ with the same faces looking at you.
One of our aims as a committee is to try and increase our percentage of members to be from local businesses, this will help reduce the risk of having too few members to keep the club running particularly during the Summer when students leave…and then having more of us to network at the demo meeting, it’s an absolutely fantastic night, but we all need plenty of rest after it!!
If you’re in the area we’d love to welcome any passing by Toastmaster to visit us!
We meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, 6pm, L&D room, building 33, Cranfield University campus, Beds.
At Cranfield Speakers PR is everybody’s responsibility
By Anita Devi, VP of PR #TeamCranfield and is developing a growing team of individuals to support succession planning and club growth.
Whilst the Toastmasters calendar runs from July to June for Cranfield Speakers (#TeamCranfield hereafter), situated on a university campus, they need to think about the academic year cycle. In this article Anita Devi, walks us through their recruitment drive and on-going Public Relations (PR) activities.
#TeamCranfield consists of members who are in employment and locally established, as well as visiting students at the university. We strongly believe PR is a team effort and involves four key stages:
We all lead busy lives, so informing members and prospective members about upcoming events is a vital part of the on-going cycle of PR. It builds momentum and excitement. We communicate this through five different social media channels using a combination of designed graphics, suitable text and our #TeamCranfield hashtag. The platforms are used interdependently too. For example, a link to Meetup is placed on other platforms. We avoid using a branded template, as each message we want to be specific to the event to demonstrate creativity and diversity. Toastmasters set the themes and are given creative licence to suggest any suitable graphics. On some occasions, the PR Team take on board the theme, but create their own graphic, suitable for the audience. Our messages are designed to invoke curiosity, awe and wonder. Many involve a ‘call to action’ to get involved or respond to a question. The consistent branding element of our campaigns is our use of colours and #TeamCranfield.
For our Open Demo night each year (held in October), we also produce an A5 flyer that is distributed at Freshers’ Fairs and other university events. Club members volunteer to stand at stalls and talk to new students. We host a main open night, which usually attracts over 100 students … food being the main attraction! The format of the meeting models a usual club meeting with an X-Factor edge. The club meeting following open night is also demo night, so students still thinking about joining can come again.
All #TeamCranfield members know they have a responsibility to invite people to the club, throughout the year. So, in addition to sharing our social media posts, many share their stories on their timelines. This has led to people within their network asking questions and sometimes joining #TeamCranfield as well as clubs in other parts of the country.
To start the recent storyboard for our #WowFactor Film, we asked members and guests how they would describe #TeamCranfield These are the words that came forward:
Multicultural / Diverse
Safe to share vulnerability
All these words describe the culture of our club, that is a collaborative responsibility to embed and sustain. Giving feedback is a regular part of the club and often used for social media messages. Guests at our everyday meetings, all receive a welcome ribbon and are invited to briefly share how they found the meeting.
Follow-up, after a meeting is critical. At #TeamCranfield this operates on three levels:
From a PR perspective, we share photos, videos and animations on our social media outlets, usually within 24 hours. This is particularly useful for keeping connected with #TeamCranfield Alumni. Members are tagged in and so they too share and celebrate club successes regularly.
Our Vice President of Membership follows-up with guests, encouraging them to either join or come again.
Finally, new members are allocated Mentors, who support them through their first three speeches.
At #TeamCranfield, we are very proud of our members, club ethos and team approach. So, what’s next? We are currently exploring the use of video recording of speeches. We’ve invested in some equipment and are now experimenting in how we can use this effectively. Watch this space for updates.
Richard Branson is often quoted as saying, “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” For #TeamCranfield this is SO true because we believe PR is everybody’s responsibility.
The entertainment will be top class as well. The D-Day Darlings will be performing on Friday evening while the Joe Ringer Band will be performing Saturday evening. The Rock Vox Choir will also be performing during pre-drinks on Saturday evening.
The theme of the conference is, “going back to the 1940s”. People will embrace this theme in many ways. From the traditional 1940s dress the whole weekend to the 1940s Friday evening wear, we just want you to enjoy the 1940 theme.
My friend was very excited about the idea of coming and asked if I knew if there were any more tickets available? I told her that there are still a few tickets available and if she wanted to go then please go to the conference website https://www.norwichconference2019.com to book the ticket and also check on the availability of hotels. I warned her that the conference will be selling out fast so not to delay her booking. She booked immediately so not to miss this exciting experience.
Lastly, bring your club banner with you. Do not worry about the dowels so you can fold your banner and fit it in your hand luggage if flying from Ireland. Please leave your banner when you check in for the conference. You will get it back once the conference is over. I hope to see as many of you as possible during this extraordinary event!
Do not miss out on a weekend of fun, friends and your Toastmaster family.
**** HOLD THE PRESSES I HAVE GREAT NEWS……
Four individuals have cancelled their tickets for the Norwich Conference. These tickets were purchased at the Earlybird rate and will go on sale immediately for the Earlybird rate of £240. These tickets will be on a first come first served basis. Please send your interest and intent to the “Contact Us” link and ensure you add your name and the number of tickets you want. These will sell out fast so please contact the conference team via the website.
March the 20th will see the first anniversary of the District 71 roll out of the revitalized educational program that is known as Pathways. This section starts by reviewing how we have got on and then moves towards looking to see what new things are happening and tips for moving forward:
How have we got on?
Pathways level 1 and onward
Pathways Benefits – a user summary
The New Engaging Humor Path
Easyspeak Pathways Progress Chart
Pathways Pin Badges Now in Store
Pathways Schematic Chart
Tips going forward
Revised HACKING PATHWAYS for New Members A guide to Basecamp
How have we got on?
By Daniel Sandars DTM, District 71 Public Relations Manager
In November Toastmasters International published Pathways enrolment statistics for all Districts. Worldwide 55% (39-69%) had enrolled in Pathways within which 69% (46-81%) of officers had and 50% (35-68%) of new members (joined after 1st July 2018) had. Within District 71 the figures were Members 44%, Officers 59% and new members 48%. Just published data (Feb 22) has 49% of members, 63% of Officers, and 57% of new members enrolled in Pathways in the District.
You may think that all new members after the roll-out are enrolled on Pathways, but that is not instantly true as it takes time for new members to understand and operate Basecamp (virtual learning environment), choose their paths, and enrol. In clubs that support their new members with electronic and printed level one materials that enrolment step may only occur at the end of their level 1.
Curiously, around one year before our rollout the three pilot District’s D27, D51, and D57, who were a testbed for Pathways development, fully rolled out and they have only reached 61% of Members, 74% of Officers, and 51% of New members enrolled. Clearly there are diminishing returns to the extent of enrolment over time whilst the legacy program runs until 30th June 2020.
One of the stronger patterns in the rollout data is that the more members a club has enrolled on Pathways the more likely new members were to have enrolled. Peer to peer support within the club seems to help new member orientation to Pathways. A key question clubs could thus pro-actively ask is how are we supporting new members and each other with Pathways?
The educational awards registered by our clubs since the first of July, which is the beginning of the current Toastmaster year, provide additional insight. To date we have 595 awards of which around a third are from the Pathways program. The relative rate at which Pathways Awards are being registered is accelerating from around one in ten awards last July to nearing half of awards registered in February
Excitingly, we now have three people who have been awarded all five levels of their paths, thus completing them and moving onto their second paths. Close behind that we have five who have been awarded four levels, six who have been awarded three levels, 25 who have been awarded two levels, and a whopping 134 who have been awarded the first level and are catching up. Well done all.
What paths are members taking?
District 71 Pathways Awards 1st July ’81-22 Feb ’19
Key PM Presentation mastery, IP Innovative Planning, EC Effective Coaching, DL Dynamic Leadership, VC Visionary Communication, PI persuasive Influence, LD Leadership Development, MS Motivational Strategies, SR Strategic relationships, TC Team Collaboration, and PWMENTORINGPGM Pathways Mentoring Program (which is not a Path, but one of the overarching leadership projects)
Presentation Mastery is clearly a favourite generating over a quarter of the awards. The top three paths alone generated over half of the awards to date. Innovative Planning, Effective Coaching, and Dynamic Leadership are leadership focussed and their popularity is at striking odds to the popular [mis] perception “that nobody joins Toastmasters for leadership, they join for speaking”
Which clubs have registered the most Pathways Awards?
Table 1 Clubs that have registered three or more Pathways Awards
Div H14 Huntingdonshire Speakers
Div E42 Heart of England Club
Div A23 Republic of Work Toastmasters Club
Div N51 A1 Speakers
Div S43 Aberdeen Toastmasters Club
Div N31 Warrington Toastmasters
Div H44 Bedford Speakers
Div D8 Clonmel Toastmasters
Div A3 Blarney Club
Div N15 Leeds City Toastmasters
Div G1 Ipswich Electrifiers Speakers’ Club
Div S33 Linlithgow Speakers Club
Div H32 West Herts Speakers Club
Div N48 Manchester Orators Toastmasters Club
Div N15 Strictly Speaking Harrogate
Div G1 Camulodunum Club
Div E6 East Midlands Speakers
Div C19 Dundalk Toastmasters Club
Div J2 Accentuators
Div D28 Maynooth Toastmasters
Div M26 Clondalkin Toastmasters
Div F12 Loughrea Toastmasters Club
Div S43 Inverness Toastmonsters
Div H20 Hertfordshire Speakers Club
Div G41 Cambridge City Communicators
Congratulations to all those involved.
Pathways level 1 and onward
Julie Kenny ACS ALB VPPR Ipswich Electrifiers
I’d been hearing about Pathways (then Revitalised Education Program) since my first district council meeting so by the time it came along I was keen to get my nose into it. I didn’t know what I’d think of it, but my curiosity meant that I just wanted to know as much as I could. Unlike a lot of members, the technical side didn’t worry me, I’ve spent many years with computer systems, using and developing, and I took my usual approach; I would defeat and master it by clicking everything and seeing what happened, if all else failed I would find and read the instructions. Overall that approach has worked with the Pathways Basecamp, but I have resorted to reading instructions and learnt that a there’s a few things I shouldn’t have clicked – beware, you cannot re-do an assessment.
The questions I really wanted answers to were about the projects. What would I be asked to do, were these things I wanted to do or could benefit from, and as a long-standing Toastmaster and committee member could I understand what the intention was behind these projects and the benefit to members and clubs; essentially, I tried to reverse engineer the program.
The first hurdle was choosing a path. The assessment gave me a list of choices which I found near impossible to prioritise, so I turned to the wealth of information others were sharing about the paths, primarily the Pathways catalogue. I went through the paths and projects to understand what was involved in each, picking up on things I really wanted to do and others I wanted to avoid. One colour coded spreadsheet later I had chosen Leadership Development; it has opportunities to organise small and larger events which I enjoy enough to want to be better at. What struck me most however is that although there is a lot of leadership in the paths there isn’t really a path that isn’t about speaking. Yes, you may work on a project to develop leadership skills but very few of those aren’t completed by giving an evaluated speech. I don’t think everyone has grasped that yet
Once chosen I wanted to get moving on my ice-breaker, mostly so that I could get to know the system by completing a project. I’m on my third CC so it’s not my first ice-breaker but it coincided with a fantastic opportunity; the Safe Haven team were asking for speeches at the pre-conference Anglo-Irish meeting and I got accepted. My ice-breaker was then my story so far, told to a group of Toastmasters but outside my comfort zone. Some of these I’d seen speak before and I was in huge awe of. I think it went OK, but I’ll admit I was very nervous.
Regards the project itself, the information and videos were good with tips on preparing, basic structure, timing and handling nerves. New members often put too much into their speech and overrun so I could see how this project helps, particularly when using the speech preparation worksheets. The challenge to me was not to rush ahead through the project screens, it does take you step by step with great hints and it’s easy to miss something. As an experienced member it’s good to know how newer members are being supported too.
The second project in level 1 is evaluation. I think this is the game changer for clubs in a good way. Essentially you give a speech and then repeat it or a version of it, before evaluating another Toastmaster. Possibly every club has seen members who either have no interest in their evaluations, argue with the evaluator during the evaluation itself and either won’t evaluate others or have bad habits when they do. The evaluation project outlines good practice and courtesy and asks for the member to actively listen to and use their evaluation. I was planning to speak about our club at a networking event, so the core of that presentation was my speech for this project. My improvement points made me realise that I tend to speak more ‘to my audience’ than ‘with my audience’. So, on the second version I reworked it with more questions and better opening. It was better the second time around and since then well received at the networking event. The final step where you do an evaluation and get feedback was insightful and more specific than the feedback I’d received for my CL.
Every path’s level one completes with a research project. Digging into the detail on this it’s also about speech structures. The challenge for me was not only to research but to keep track of that research and credit accordingly. The growth of the internet has made it easier and easier to plagiarize speeches and I suspect the question of originality is being raised more and more often so I’m glad to see this tackled head on. My speech was centred on Mary Lee Berners-Lee (an early computer coder and mother of Sir Tim Berners-Lee), I found the research hugely addictive and it will be a theme I return to. Keeping to time and getting the credits referenced I found challenging but I managed to do so. On reflection this project is also likely to help those who struggle for topics, once you explore something you have a passing interest in it’s easy to end up with ideas for more speeches than you planned.
So, level 1 completed, Fiona Watt our VPE is very good at approving and submitting awards so I’m looking at level 2. For leadership development my next project is Managing Time. In the CL this skill seemed to be more closely related to clock watching in a meeting. But I find my challenge is to track all the time it takes me to write and practise my next speech – a daunting prospect because I know I’m rarely honest with myself about that. Frankly it can only be a good thing.
Pathways Benefits – a user summary
By John Kendall DTM DL5
The District now has five members who have completed full paths and several others who are at a very advanced stage. I conducted a survey on a self-selected group of experienced Pathways users who are active on Facebook. The question posed was “What do you regard as the most important benefits that Pathways brings us?”
I have added the sub headings, edited whilst keeping the essence of the quotes.
The flexibility to choose specialization right at the start of your journey.
Members can choose printed or online materials and use what works best for them.
There is a wealth of materials and videos which I love.
To expand your mind! Learning how to plan your speeches with greater meaning and connectivity with your audiences.
Pathways provides a framework for a successful educational journey.
Opportunities to broaden communication styles e.g. blog and podcast. In line with social media.
There are choices aplenty, like fish in the Ocean. If you want to catch it, it is yours to do so, refrain and you will not get it.
Pathways is a treasure house rich with enormous wisdom. You have a lot of freedom you can enhance your talents.
So much support material for every project! For example, the elective project “vocal variety,” provides much help on exactly what vocal variety is, how to implement it, how to practise it, and an example video! I LOVED it! And this has been true for every project I’ve done!
You can, like me at 82, be walked through the process, very patiently (from TI phone call), and I have had zero problems with it since.
Excellent learning resources e.g. videos, assessments, etc.
Pathways is so practical with lots of examples and materials.
Adult modern learning, more practical and deep projects, experiential learning and reflecting our club meetings as were there 100 years already.
Pathways it is not restrictive, so you can go farther. Once we understand the ropes, personalise each path and even each project, get used to reflect, improve, we get a real adult blended learning.
For me on every project I find something to utilise in my everyday life and this helps me to not only grow as an individual but to see a growth in my business too!
As relatively new, the videos help me understand certain concepts and the before and after quizzes are awesome. They push me to check my progress.
Good for those that learn best using videos. Others it doesn’t suit can download the projects.
I like the levels with increasing challenges as you progress.
Each path & mentoring underscore theory with practice through short (1 month), medium (3 months) and long projects (6 months).
Potential for Change
You can provide that feedback when you complete the project.
I agree with the evaluations that we can enter after the completion of each project. Doing it will help towards the programme being updated & changed in the future
Some projects are very well done and provide great examples already. I have faith that others will be improved.
It should be easy to expand and enhance the entire programme as we move forward.
It will benefit from pruning some new & under used aspects.
It should be easy & efficient to update & distribute changes with electronic publishing. For instance, the videos obviate the need for huge quantities of written material
Demonstrated with the new 11th path in February on Humour & with its new projects.
Give and receive more effective evaluations (express feedback in both words and numbers)
In pathways you learn to evaluate early on and self-evaluate all the way through & be evaluated by others.
The before and after quizzes have meaning once you get to new material.
A thorough introduction to mentoring in increasing sized projects.
Really understanding pathways and mentoring will mould real leaders.
Paperless should be a big help when we get there.
The ability to complete more than two speeches per manual outside of a Toastmasters meeting. Good for those that learn best using videos. Others it doesn’t suit can download the projects. (Important to some)
Having the ability to choose additional options.
I needed a new experience. Pathways has inspired and challenged me to rejuvenate my journey.
Pathways gave new incentive and passion to me. Top of Form
Pathways integrates Communication and leadership skills like the real world.
Saving evaluations online to refer to at a future point of time – if you scan & load paper versions.
Breaking through those barriers and ‘doing it my way’. I set out with a plan in mind for my second and third Paths, once I had learned the ropes in Path number 1.
I could choose my goals, then select the relevant themes for the required projects, then choose my preferred electives to enable me to reach those goals.
Now that I have mastered skills in being a communicator, leader and mentor I now have a clear outline of how to help others in their journey.
As a self-directed learner and Pathways Guide, I learned quickly the navigational how-to in Base Camp and am now preparing a Learner Guide for those who are new to the system.
I believe vocal variety is so useful, it should be much closer to the front of the learning curve.
Some of our retired members, myself included are moving right along in Pathways. We oldies are perfectly capable of learning the technology.
However, we may need to help the less capable
I am dedicated to helping members get used to the navigation in Pathways, so they then focus on improving their speaking and leadership skills.
You could choose one path and do all the electives giving you access to lots of extra projects at no cost.
The New Engaging Humor Path
Toastmasters International launched Engaging Humor, the 11th path in the Pathways learning experience, helping members develop their funny bone to entertain an audience.
This path is designed to help you build your skills as a humorous and engaging public speaker. The projects on this path focus on understanding your sense of humor and how that sense of humor translates to engaging audience members. The projects contribute to developing an understanding of how to effectively use humor in a speech, including challenging situations and impromptu speeches. This path culminates in an extended humorous speech that will allow you to apply what you learned.
Engaging Humor is only offered online and is available to all members. Its projects, which include titles such as “Know Your Sense of Humor” and “The Power of Humor in an Impromptu Speech,” offer strategies on writing humorous speeches, using effective timing and pacing, crafting strong openings and even how to cope when your jokes bomb. (Tips: Don’t sulk, don’t be irritated with the audience, and take time later to analyze why some bits worked and some didn’t.)
As with the other 10 paths in the program, you advance through five levels that increase in complexity. The projects include interactive activities and videos, which feature insights from experts such as Darren LaCroix, Toastmasters’ 2002 World Champion of Public Speaking and longtime stand-up comedian Judy Carter, author of The Comedy Bible.
The humor path draws on many of the same concepts highlighted in the Humorously Speaking manual in Toastmasters’ traditional education program. The importance of understanding and developing your own style of humor is a key aspect. So is wringing comedy out of personal stories and anecdotes that will resonate with your audience. Engaging Humor features a Story Collection tool in Base Camp that enables you to gather your own trove of funny stories.
Please share and promote this exciting news to the members of your district as well as your local media. For more information about Pathways, visit www.toastmasters.org/Pathways.
Those clubs (roughly half (55%) of the District) that use the meeting management system Easy Speak now have new tools to help manage Pathways
If you are an easy-Speak user, you can access the new Pathways Chart from the Club Charts option in This Club on the main menu.
Above is a screen capture (anonymised) of a Pathways Chart from my club where the VPE can see progress being made by all members through each of the five levels in a path, at a glance.
This new service makes it super easy to verify completions of actual speech deliveries in your club. The green ticks indicate speeches completed at club meetings, dark green for earlier events and lighter green for more recent events. Each green tick is clickable for tracking back to the actual meeting where that speech was completed. Note: you may need to visit the meeting agenda to see which Pathways project it refers to.
Each member’s enrolled Paths are shown as clickable links in the final column. Each one will display a complete list of speeches and projects completed for that Path, showing titles, dates and Evaluators. Here is a glimpse of one of mine! (Note: I can now mark this Workbook Complete.)
Revised HACKING PATHWAYS for New Members – A guide to Basecamp
By John Kendall DTM
Pathways Learning Experience – has three score projects spread over eleven paths and five levels – accessed via an online system new to most people. Most people are happy with the projects & paths, but some want more options added. First new path added is Engaging Humour [See this issue for more on this path).
On your first log in enter your email address and choose the forgotten password option to set your password
Log in & your name should appear at the top. (If you click on it, it shows your profile and settings)
You now have access to extra things, such as the current issue of our magazine.
Navigate (i.e. find your way) to pathways learning experience – the collection of Toastmaster Projects.
You read, LEARN/DO & then speak, be evaluated & compare your skill levels at the start & finish.
Step 1 you are to choose your path in 3 ways
by answering a score of questions & trusting the algorithm
read the names & descriptions
by looking at the projects required at the highest levels & other research.
If you are less keen on using online learning until you know more, your Vice President of Education can send you the Navigator (the guide to all things toastmasters) as a PDF & first three projects as PDFs. You can then choose your path later, but it must be before you wish to go to Level 2. [PDF – Portable Document Format is a widely used electronic file that can either be printed or viewed on a computer or smart device]
Step 2. Do projects in a level?
Minimum – activate & launch project (expand to full size to see section menu at the bottom!)
Self-score your current skill level & press submit
Go to evaluation section & choose “print” to download a PDF. Leave Basecamp.
Use PDF for source of learning (print if prefer), prepare Speech.
Print the evaluation part of PDF, give speech, keep completed evaluation.
Go to basecamp, relaunch project, go the last section self-score skills & press submit.
You will be invited to evaluate the project – this is not required & gets no reaction, but your feedback helps update our program.
Some projects have educational videos, calculators and resources to use online. The printable PDF version of the project will have their equivalent including answers to the questions.
Step 3. Complete a level
Activate last (completion) project – this sends email to basecamp manager. Leave basecamp
It can help to send your own email to the three basecamp managers (BCM) and ask them to complete the level. In it make explicit, if you wish, that you also want the club to register your completed level Award at Toastmasters International for your official records (in the Club Central portal).
Wait. Remind BCMs, if you need to.
That is all. The rest is unnecessary. This is all you need to know.
You do not need to upload evaluations.
You do not have to give feedback (well you won’t get much from others)
Know how to find editable evaluation forms for others, but it is helpful.
Faster Access to pathways
I usually log in to Toastmasters.org
click on “welcome John” name at the top.
Those chose to go to pathways block & click on go to my transcript.
Find the line with the pile of books Icon = levels & projects & has your pathname
Click on the Curriculum on the Right-Hand Side, to access levels & projects
Home for Evaluation Forms
On the top of Left-Hand-Side (LHS) there is a menu button home.
It takes you to some images without function.
It has one useful button below on Right-Hand-Side (RHS) to take you to English evaluation forms in alphabetical order when you page down. In principle you should email a copy of evaluation form to your evaluator & print it for the meeting.
Also, at top of screen Right-Hand Side is a place to enter information about yourself.
Original Entry route
First blue rectangle is how you purchase a path.
Second is how you change club or switch to be BCM (irrelevant for most)
Note well the third blue rectangle – this navigator has interesting information on Toastmasters.
This is NOT the same as the navigator in Basecamp which is about basecamp.
Club Officer’s tips to Help Starters
Newcomers to toastmasters must learn lots of new stuff compared to just being handed a manual to read. They must learn to log on to TI, get to pathways, choose a path & learn about basecamp. It is unsurprising that many members fail to start quickly, especially as many new officers are completing traditional projects and don’t have a good feel for pathways yet. We need to make it easier.
One solution is to have a local expert – a pathways Champion or Mentor, ideally who has reached level 3 at least… who can spend time with each new starter.
In the meantime, without a champion, another approach is:
Step 1. Give beginners a PDF of Navigator, Projects 1-3 in level 1 (all Paths are identical at this point) to peruse.
Step 2. Have a store at the club of all the evaluation forms at level 1.
Step 3. During their progress through level one gradually take them through the steps of logging on to Toastmasters.org, choosing a path, then finding their way in basecamp.
Then they will be able to stand alone ready to do Level 2 on their own.
Remind them to store their evaluations & feedback somewhere in a format convenient to them.
Explain to them that undertaking all roles – Ah-Counter, Timer, Grammarian, and Evaluators as well as being Toastmaster of the Meeting, gives them opportunities to learn to listen, speak to a live audience and practise leadership skills.
Explain to them that between speeches they are expected to undertake a role.
Tips for Basecamp Managers
If you receive an email from a colleague
Log in & change mode to BCM.
Look for requests to approve a level – & click to approve.
Validation – This can be a challenge as Basecamp doesn’t provide you with evidence so one way is to use your meeting system such as Easyspeak to track progress, but in the limit ask to see the member’s speech evaluations if in any doubt. [The Easyspeak team have used released a Pathways progress chart see subsection in this issue]
Many Officers may miss the Competent Leader (CL) manual as a means of motivating volunteers to take meeting roles and become contest chairs. It is true that Leadership projects arise differently in Pathways. However, the Competent Leader manual was never the decisive argument given how infrequently they were brought to meetings and worked from! Tanya Barad’s advice “I tell people not to look at the check box exercise but to look at the outside life skills, leading a competition, give them the opportunity to speak in a different capacity. Build experience for the club. Someone must do it or everyone in the club loses out. Why do us experienced people still do evaluations after the 100th time? Not for CL but to improve, to get a speaking opportunity and to support the members in the club“] Daniel Sandars
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