New Virtual Open Houses & Events
Toastmasters clubs in District 86 and around the world were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that they needed to adapt to the new normal, such as holding online meetings. Sadly, this new normal has not convinced many members to renew their memberships because they prefer the traditional experience of conducting in-person meetings that they embraced for years.
In today’s fast-growing digital age, businesses today adopted the idea of having online meetings as professionals interact virtually around the globe. Many of you are wondering what does this have to do with Toastmasters?
Our new and potential members are looking for ways to improve their communication and leadership skills, as well as grow their professional development and self–confidence in our competitive digital marketplace. While we are dealing with this pandemic of job loss and economic turmoil, this is a chance for all members, including us long-time members, to set an example and educate one another of conducting successful online meetings.
Most interestingly, I witnessed two clubs that already embraced the concept of having virtual events that attracted all members.
As part of my HPL project, I worked with my guidance committee from my club at Mississauga Sales and Marketing towards rebuilding our membership. On May 8th, we hosted our 1st Virtual Open House by inviting a keynote speaker and other members outside of our club to take on our meeting roles. I was delighted to say that 27 attendees had fun with their meeting roles and in Table Topics. The best part of our event was two of our attendees participated from India.
The following event that I attended got more interesting. On May 9th, Hershaw Toastmasters hosted its 30th anniversary online. I had the privilege to hear speeches from the founder of the club, Isabel Hershaw, DTM, and the Past Club President of the club and Past District 86 Director, Vitaliy Fursov, DTM. Along with my fellow District 86 executive officers, as Public Relations Manager, I was invited to share my remarks to help them mark this milestone. Overall, I loved how they reimagined the ambiance of this online event, such as encouraging all 77 attendees to dress up and toast with their favorite drink.
We should not let this new-normal stop us from conducting fun meetings and hosting other Toastmaster special events. While counting the days of physical self-isolation, we can still embrace the traditions of our Toastmasters meeting experience, given that we have the technological means to do so online. All clubs in District 86 should consider organizing virtual social meetings, just like Mississauga Sales and Marketing and Hershaw Toastmasters did, as they promoted all members to connect, engage, communicate and celebrate in the SAFETY of their own home.
Samaa El Sayed, ACG, ALB
Public Relations Manager, District 86