Updates & Posts

Do you remember David and Carmen?

Let’s see how they are getting on. Carmen thoroughly enjoyed her first meeting at Club X. She did a table topic and signed up that day! David did almost slip through the cracks, however as the committee of the club did a full audit of the club tools, his email was found and the VP Public Relations of that club followed up with him and invited him as a guest to their next meeting. Because their VP Membership followed up appropriately with him thereafter, he too has since signed up.

When times are tough or disruption occurs, it helps to be reminded about our ‘WHY’ and core reason for being. Sometimes all it takes it a return to some fundamental, often basic processes to get things back on track again. District 91 now launches the ‘Lead to Achieve’ initiative -mainly focusing on those who are trying to contact us via toastmasters.org but giving us all the opportunity to review and ensure that we are doing the ‘hygiene’ things that make our club successful.

The way we do things may be reviewed and changed and some clubs have adapted very to being able to bring members on board in this new environment. At the time of writing, 6 clubs have achieved the covered Smedley Award.

You can hear from the President of one of those clubs, Dan Magill – Society Speakers about their ‘how’.

Our 80/20 challenge for the October 2020 renewal period is on. At the time of writing, 16 clubs have so far retained 20+ members and I’ll be calculating those with 80%+ at the end of the period. We recognise that some of our members may move on at this time for a host of reasons. It’s important for us to understand why and that our doors or virtual platforms remain open to those that want to return when they are ready.

I’d like to conclude this month by remembering our organisational mission:

‘We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.’

We’ll explore leadership a little more next month along with seeing how a returner to toastmasters is getting on after a breakaway as well as David and Carmen.

The types of communication channels we have are numerous and ever-changing and every now and again it doesn’t hurt to take stock of what they are. I hope you’ll continue to utilise your Toastmasters journey to flex and refine your communication skills.

Rupa Datta – District 91 Club Growth Director 2020-2021

Contest season is upon us

This year, it is all online. Time to keep calm and compete!

To assist with your preparations, our District Chief Judge, Neil Coleman delivered a fantastic webinar on the rules and regulations and shared tips to help you all. The webinar is available on the District 91 website for you all to review, along with support documentation. There are complimentary Zoom training sessions which Divisions have created to support you to, do seek these out. Good luck to all.

The District Conference in May 2021 will now be a virtual event, in line with Toastmasters International guidance, that all contests at Area, Division and District level, have to be online in this Toastmasters year. As a District, we have the experience of delivering a fantastic virtual conference, so let’s build on this. To head up the conference team, we require a Conference Director. In performing this role myself in 2018, this served as my HPL project and was one of the most stretching, rewarding and fun roles I had undertaken within Toastmasters. This opportunity would definitely fit someone with great organisational skills, that can build a team to support them, combat challenges and be a Zoomin human. If you are interested in becoming our next Conference Director, or simply looking to volunteer to be part of the May 2021 conference team, contact me

Education and Training

The education achievements are flowing in thick and fast with close to 350 awards so far.  Over 140 members have received their Level 1 award, through to 16 members completing their chosen path, 3 members completing the Pathway Mentoring Program and 11 members attaining Distinguished Toastmaster. Congratulations to you all.

The District webinar series is now well underway, with a full programme scheduled for your all on Sunday’s evenings, through to the end of November. There’s a blend of personal development and Toastmasters specific webinar opportunities for you to join. The details are also linked through the District Calendar.

To support the webinar series, the planned relaunch of the Trainers Bureau is now scheduled for the autumn. This will provide those members seeking to step away from purely delivering speeches to develop and enhance their training skills.

A date for your diary!

Save the date for a quiz evening on Friday 4 December from the Program Quality Team.  

Back to school for Toastmasters

Back to school is a usual September activity for many whether a parent, student or a Club member! September is a time for new challenges and opportunities.

When was the last time you brought a friend to a meeting? When was the last time you entered a Speech Contest? When was the last time you took on a Club project?

As a Club officer myself (Sergeant At Arms) I had a busy summer, from running a Zoom course for my members who were tempted to take the leap and be the Zoom Master of a meeting, to proposing a fully costed plan for running a hybrid meeting when it becomes possible.

Witnessing the start of our Club Contest is always inspiring and an experience one will never forget. If your Club still needs to run its Autumn contest, jump in and experience it, you will not regret it!

I remember fondly when at school, university or starting a new job, the exhilaration of doing something new, meeting new people, creating new friendships. As a Club member, we get to do all of this, at every meeting! So why not invite a friend, colleague or other-half to the next meeting and share with them why you are a member!

Now that we are primarily meeting online, being local is no longer a restriction, and I took advantage of visiting other Clubs around the globe from the Middle East to the Americas. And every time, I gained a new idea, better understood cultural identities, and got energised from the experience.

As a member, I love that we have been able to recruit members in my Clubs from other continents and bring this once in a lifetime opportunity to all my Club members, this is enriching and this is what brings us all together. 

Ending an extraordinary year

Time flies and it’s hard to believe that we’re already in the middle of June with the end of the 2019-20 Toastmasters year just a fortnight away. The least I can say is that this year was a very interesting year for the District and a very successful one on so many levels.

We started very strong with brand new initiatives like our District 91 boardgame and shooting the first round of incentives and #MyWhy videos with a professional camera crew. Thanks to your efforts we quickly became the best District in Europe and soared to become the best District in the world for clubs with 20+ members. Not a small achievement for a small District that only represents 1% of Toastmasters worldwide!

The 2019-20 Toastmasters year will always be remembered as the year when COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic. I never knew that I would be District Director during a pandemic and the challenge certainly provided me with a lot of development opportunities. I have said a few times already and I’ll say it again. When national chains and brands like McDonald’s shut down their operations. Our Toastmasters clubs, your Toastmasters club continued to meet online during these challenging times. I’ll never forget the enthusiasm of club leaders during the initial heady days during which we moved online. COVID-19 was the greatest challenge that we ever faced in our history, yet we rose to it.

Thank you for going the extra mile and moving online.

Thank you for attending our largest ever Conference with 800 attendees.

Thank you for continuing to grow our organisation in exceptional circumstances.

In the final two weeks of the year let’s finish the year with a bang and continue to grow our clubs. Now is the time to reach out to past members and invite them back. Why? Because we are Toastmasters, a brilliant bunch of people that can achieve extraordinary things!

It’s a great time to finalise

Dear members,

In just two weeks, the Toastmasters year will be over; now is a great time to finalise and deliver that last speech to get this elusive educational award or get that coveted Triple Crown (3+ educational award in a year).

Reach out to your VP Education to confirm all your awards have been registered on Club Central this side of the Toastmasters year.

Did you know that at the time of writing this note, 149 of you have already achieved a Triple Crown? Join this exclusive group and receive a pin recognising this achievement.

Despite the last 3 months of challenges, opportunities and new practices, we have over 100 Clubs that have already achieved the Distinguished status, with over 20 Clubs on track to become Distinguished simply by renewing 1/2 members, or register 1 Educational Award!

Together we have managed to keep meeting, deliver speeches and close out on projects, you have made a significant impact on your personal growth but also that of fellow members.

Over the coming weeks, I will be attending both my Club meetings and help celebrate the achievements of our members on their anniversaries. I encourage you all to look at ways to recognise the achievements of the year, a special meeting, an award ceremony or simply an extended recognition segment at the next Club meeting.

Let’s keep focus on achieving and recognising our achievements!

Looking forward to hearing your success stories!

Arnaud