Opportunity Knocks, Deck the Halls

Diane pic1Date: November 19th, 2018
Author: Diane Gordon, DTM, District 86 Club Extension Chair 2018-2019

With the holiday season fast approaching, most clubs will be celebrating with a Festive Event. This is a time for team building and comradery as well as to recognize Club successes and celebrate their Club Member’s achievements. It is a perfect occasion to invite guests to share in your celebration and offer a “Taste of Toastmasters”.

January is resolution time. After your guests have had a taste of Toastmasters, I am sure they will be anticipating the main course. This would be a perfect opportunity to follow up with the guests who attended the holiday event, and invite them to your Open House in the New Year.

Open House sessions focus on educating and entertaining interested guests. We demonstrate all levels of skills and achievement that can be obtained through the Toastmasters program.

Diane pic2An open house is fun and informative, while presenting the benefits of the Toastmasters Program in a condensed easy to follow, entertaining meeting format. Featuring a speaker(s) and evaluator(s), along with a strong focus on Table Topics. There are approximately 10 to 13 roles to be filled by fellow Toastmaster Members. The Toastmasters program is a lot to process, don’t overwhelm the guest.

So, let’s plan your Open House!

  1. Set a Date
  2. Choose a centrally located venue with ample parking
  3. Engage your entire Club by organizing a Committee, assigning roles & speakers
  4. Promote the Event - Market heavily through print, websites, social media and word of mouth
  5. Allow for visitation before and after the meeting
  6. Send out thank you notes (guests, Toastmaster volunteers and guest speaker)

Be sure to ask the guests to join or invite them to your next Toastmasters meeting. Thank them with a hand-written note to show your appreciation for their interest in the Toastmasters program.

Open houses are critical to the retention of Club Members and attracting new Club Members. It is optimum to plan for two open houses per year. Remember to keep it fun and entertaining!

Resource Links:


Press releases for media coverage

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President’s Distinguished - Already?

Confidently SpeakingThe Toastmasters Distinguished Club Program is a great barometer to measure if your club is focusing on the right things to ensure a healthy club. It includes 'easy' points for administrative tasks like registering your club officers and getting them trained; and then a series of points for member achievement and new members. It clearly recognizes that without a focus on the members no club can enjoy lasting success.

Club officer training ensures that each officer understands their role - and how they can help the club be successful. The points for membership recognize that there is always attrition in the membership and that success is fleeting if you do not regularly sign up new members. The points for educational awards recognize when members are meeting their goals and enriching their lives. After all - members are only going to stay with the club if they are meeting the life goals they signed up to achieve!

I am very pleased to share that Confidently Speaking Toastmasters has just achieved the 9 points required to become President’s Distinguished for the 2018-2019 Toastmasters year!
Our Area Director, Iona Rodricks asked me to share how we were able to achieve this milestone so quickly. We are happy to share and hope that these thoughts help every club in District 86 to set their sights on President’s Distinguished this year!

Here are some key points that worked for us:

  • Club officers who want to do a great job and help the members succeed
  • Challenging ourselves in our club success plan. Like most clubs, our plan was written at the beginning of the year. As part of our plan we deliberately challenged ourselves to be President's Distinguished by December (and did it by October)!
  • Challenging every member to set goals. A member without a goal is someone that has not found their focus and direction. Members without goals are far more likely to leave the club - because they chose not to challenge themselves. Many who do not set goals will not get the full value out of Toastmasters and will leave.
  • Empowering members to step up for leadership roles even when fairly new, we give room to failing and learning as that is what develops a sense of collective ownership.
  • Setting a theme for the year. Our theme for the year is "Find your Greatness" based on the inspiration of Roger Caesar. We hope that every member takes that concept to heart!
  • Knowing our club’s identity and using that to attract new members. Confidently Speaking has used the slogan "A Culture of Fun and Excellence" on an ongoing basis to preserve and grow the fun supportive atmosphere that we have had for many years. We recognize someone every week for helping to preserve that culture. Guests seem to love the atmosphere and many want to sign up after their first meeting.
  • Recognizing member achievement (yes - I know that's obvious)
  • Committing to pathways. As several have said Pathways is the future of Toastmasters. The clubs that ask members to commit to pathways now are the clubs that will have ongoing success

We are off to a great start -- with lots of energy, new members and many existing members who have set their goals and want our help to achieve those goals.

We are looking forward and hoping that every member will set some kind of goal this year and that Confidently Speaking will help them to find their greatness!

Thanks to our club executive Maher Gamal, Naresh Gurpersaud, Ashok Mistry, Sylvette Mahoney, Amruta Joshi, Aravind Iyengar, Olga Paddubotskaya, Urmil Wadhwa, Tara Sani, Kevin Webb and Hamza Ahmad for all your dedication in reaching our goals so far! And thank you to Iona Rodricks for all your support!

Brian Patton
President - Confidently Speaking Toastmasters

Murder at Collingwood Toastmasters!

CollingwoodTMI'm just as shocked as you are! How could a club be associated with murder! But fear not, everything was alright! You see, a few months back, our club decided we wanted to do something fun and out of the ordinary. One member suggested a murder mystery themed meeting, and others were quite keen on the idea. After a few months, and quite a bit of coordination and planning, we finally held our murder mystery meeting. Those giving prepared speeches played the roles of various suspects, and Table Topics gave everyone a chance to make their case to who did it, and why. Everyone really got in to their characters by dressing up and putting on a good show. Some members even made special treats around the theme! Quite a few guests showed up that night. We even had a former Toastmaster whom is a professional photographer come out and snap some really good pictures of the event. And in the end, we all found out that it was the I.T. consultant who was embezzling money from the company that did it! So I'll pass the question off to you, will your club be the next murder sight?


Speak To Inspire TM Open House Event Sept 26th

Speak to Inspire TM Open House

On Sept 26th Speak to Inspire TM had our second open house of the year. I have to say it was a great success. Although our club is a small group that meets at the education and training Centre In Brampton at noon hour, we ceratinly have a lot of traffic each week. Our guest packages run out on a weekly basis being a newcomer centre and providing employment services for people looking for work. 

Phil Coakley ALB, ACS presented an inspiring keynote speech called "What do we Hear?" Phil has been a long term member of our club and perviously was a long time member of Bolton Banter Toastmasters. He received the Triple Crown award last Year and our Skinny Branches Award in 2017. Phil is in the process of completing his Advanced Communicator Gold. 

Since our open house 2 of our visitors have now joined our club. We are looking forward to watching our membership grow and proving that Open Houses do work. Earlier in the year on Jan 31st we had the pleasure of having Roger Caesar present a speech at our first Open House of the year. Check out the blog from that open house.

If you couldn't come to our open house feel free to come out any wednesday from 12-1pm. Here are the club details:

Speak to Inspire Toastmasters Club
Date: Wednesdays
Time: 12-1 pm
Location: 263 Queen St East | Unit 14 | Brampton (Ruthorford Rd and Queen St in the Tim Hortons plaza)

Contact: Tuula Redditt

A Tool to Use for Building Membership

Do you have this tool in your club’s membership tool kit? Have you used it lately? This tool can….

  • engage those club members who seem to be “stuck” in advancing through their program; perhaps seem a bit lethargic
  • serve as a refresher on the basic principles of communication
  • energize a Toastmasters club by harnessing its wealth of knowledge and leadership skills so it can share with the community
  • enhance meeting attendance and interest among all members
  • if used at least once a year, safeguard your membership levels
  • raise dwindling club funds
  • be the basis to launching a new club

Since the spring of 2018, there have been a number of Toastmasters clubs in District 86 that have applied this tool with great SUCCESS and FUN. Pushing ourselves beyond our comfort boundaries can be uncomfortable and nerve-racking! These clubs faced the obstacles, found the solutions and conducted a successful workshop.

Have you guessed what this tool is? Ahaa! Speechcraft. A program that requires planning & promotion, team collaboration, experienced Toastmaster volunteers and a unified intention from the hosting Toastmaster club. The results can be amazing!

So far this year, the following clubs (that I’m aware of) have hosted a Speechcraft program: Progressive Toastmasters, Waterloo; Brampton Talks, Brampton, London City Hall Toastmasters, London and Cambridge Toastmasters, Cambridge.

Why did these clubs host a Speechcraft Program? There were numerous reasons why the Speechcraft program was conducted; but the common objective was to grow their membership and build public relations in their community. This program also allowed for speaking opportunities for the Toastmasters and raising funds for the club.

What were some of the challenges faced? All these clubs faced this same challenge – getting the member volunteers to support the Speechcraft program. Also, creating an effective publicity campaign to attract non-Toastmasters participants and finding a suitable venue were other common challenges. Once the membership realized that a team effort was needed to make this program a success, these obstacles was defeated.

What are some helpful suggestions to assist other Clubs in holding a successful Speechcraft program? As soon as the Club approves hosting the Speechcraft event, determine dates, time, location AND ORDER the curriculum...aim for 10 participants. Conduct publicity 2 months prior to the start of the program. Have the first 3 Speechcraft speeches follow Level 1 Pathways criteria and keep the same educational presentations. Outline each week’s program agenda prior to the start of the program -- taking note of needed volunteers to be recruited. Get testimonials and photos from all participants and post on your club’s webpage and submit a blog for the District 86 website – why not blow your own horn!

Although the task of co-ordinating a Speechcraft Program seems daunting and exhausting, it can be a wonderful learning experience! Seeing the planning and hard work coming together; the other Toastmasters sharing their knowledge and skills with others and seeing the “glow” from the Participants on graduation night is energizing! They have found their voice, their confidence and their communication skills. All this and having FUN, too!

Let’s share the experience of Toastmasters while building membership – host a Speechcraft Program!!

Margaret Waechter, ACG, ALB
Speechcraft Chair

Timmins 2017/2018 Year

How do you take a club from 4 members to 14 and President’s Distinguished in one year?

It takes will, determination, diversity, enthusiasm and a LOT of team work. The Porcupine Toastmaster’s club did just that in 2017/2018.

The 2016/2017 President took on the role because there was no one else, he had no interest in the role but worked with the area director and found 2 new members who had been with clubs in the past and got them back into Toastmasters. In the summer of 2017 we had 4 members, but we met all summer anyway.

With 4 members we set out to recruit. Having Open houses, attending the “Welcome to Timmins” night a trade show type event for all the service clubs in the Timmins area. We showed up ready to go at every meeting whether there were 2 or all 4 of us in attendance (driving through potholes or winter storms to get there at times). We used the meetings to practice and plan for upcoming events to increase club membership. Determined to get us back on the area and division map one of our members even braved the 4 to 5 hour drive to compete in speech competitions.

In our original 4 members we were already diverse in career, management experience, country or origin, and religious beliefs. We continued that diversity while recruiting new members. We made sure that everyone who attended felt welcome and since we were such a small group we used each of their strengths right away. We had one member take over the electronics so that we could have members attend the meeting via skype. At times we had up to 4 members attending via skype. Now we had diversity in home town as well.

Even with only 4 people at meetings we found a way to keep it interesting. Some nights were all business and planning other nights were all table topics. We did our best to fill the roles but often there were not enough of us to do it, so we doubled up. The new member who helped with technology to bring people into meetings also took on the role of Facebook guru. Even our Area Director brought the enthusiasm. Joining our club for 6 months attended meetings in person and via skype (she lives 4 hours away).

Team Work
No matter what we did everyone took part. Each task was made easier by splitting the work. Each new member was brought into the mix right away, offering to help in whatever way possible. We ended the year with our election for the 2018/2019 season, one member moved to the Area Director’s role and we had multiple people signing up for each positon on the executive. We even had to have a vote for one position.

Step it up at Chez Nous’ Open House – September 15

Back to school… back to Toastmasters!

With many clubs taking it easy over the summer, September is the perfect time to re-invest and re-invigorate!
One way (correction… a great way!) to do this? Attend Chez Nous’ Open House featuring guest speaker Jacques Brunet.

While this Open House (like all Chez Nous meetings) will be hosted in French, the team at Chez Nous welcomes all Toastmasters to join in. Bring a friend or colleague who shares your passion for communications and perhaps ‘la belle langue Française.’

Joignez-vous à notre séance d'information

Le Club Toastmasters Chez Nous vous offre une méthode éprouvée qui vous aide à mieux vous exprimer en français. Découvrez pour vous-même à notre séance d’information.

We look forward to welcoming you.
Le Club Chez Nous c’est pour vous!

Lambs To Lions Toastmasters Club

Lambs To Lions Toastmasters Mississauga Youtube

Watch the above video to know why Lambs to Lions Toastmasters can be best choice for you.
Lambs to Lions is a friendly and culturally diverse volunteer-run club of about 17 members, who is looking to grow its membership.  We offer a fun and streamlined meeting format of 1.5 hours, every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, from 11:30 am to 1 pm at the Mississauga Central Library on Burnamthorpe Road.  It's a great option for folks who are busy weekdays. 
We are a powerhouse of leaders - including the current District Club Growth Director, Area Directors, speech contest winners and mentors.  Evaluations of speeches and meeting roles are honest while being constructive - this is where growth occurs.


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

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