Christmas is Coming

Christmas is Coming - Steve Vear

Time has this amazing thing of just escaping without you even realising it. I love Christmas and cannot wait for the end of December to be here when we’re celebrating with our friends and family.

Steve Vear, DTM
Program Quality Director 2023-24

PS – We have started the process of separating our external and internal communications on YouTube to enable us to benefit from YouTube’s algorithms to promote our external content and enable potential members to find us. You may find our channels here.

Program Quality Newsletter – October 2023

By the time you will be reading this article, we will be well into contest season as clubs around our District are taking part in the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests. Contests offer us an important variation to our club agenda – one of the runners up in the International Speech Contest recently reflected that the only way to really improve is to compete and to stand alongside other contestants to learn from them and to strive to do better.

It is true that this is one of the ways that we can improve – but the truth is that Toastmasters is a personal journey. Some people join to develop public speaking skills, some join to develop leadership skills, some join to try and win contests, and sometimes people just join for a new social network.

I want to tell you about my personal trainer Joe. Joe is a really capable and confident guy in the gym environment. He is at home around the gym, he knows how every machine and bit of equipment works. He works with clients like me all the time and helps them achieve their goals. But Joe decided that he wanted to become a better speaker. Not just because he had listened to me ‘talk up Toastmasters’ in many of my sessions with him, and not just because he was getting married soon but because he wanted to improve.

When Joe visited the club, he would soon join, he was met with warmth, encouragement and soon saw for himself what the Toastmasters program could offer him. We recently had a conversation about how the Pathways program has supported him and how it feels genuine excitement about planning his next speech. Joe is also competitive and does not mind the odd bit of recognition and has said he wants to achieve a Triple Crown.

Why did I tell you about Joe?

It is because just using one member as an example, he visited because a Toastmaster member encouraged him to try it. He joined because of the quality of experience that his club offered him, and he enrolled on Pathways and discovered what a fantastic journey it really can be.

Have a think about who you can encourage to visit your club, how you can contribute to the quality of your club – and do check whether you or members of your club has correctly enrolled on Pathways – 800 of our members are still missing out!

For those club or district officers that are responsible for putting on contests this time of year, first of all thank you for your efforts in this important area, but please don’t forget to check the latest edition of the speech contest rulebook to ensure we don’t have any problems along the way.

If you do have any questions about contests – please do not hesitate to get into contact!

Best of luck to all contestants and I look forward to seeing the Area winners at a Division contest soon!

Steve Vear DTM

Program Quality Director

Distinguished Clubs, Educational Awards, Contests

Nearly Distinguished, Membership Recognition and Contests

Nearly Distinguished

Publication deadlines mean that I am drafting this article on the 30th April, rather than in May. It also means that as District we are “nearly Distinguished,” with 66 clubs having already passed the Distinguished milestone, we need two more to become a Distinguished district. When I look at the Toastmasters International dashboard, I also see that many other clubs are working hard to reach this goal and are tantalizingly close. I know from my three years serving as a club officer how difficult and how much hard work and planning is needed for a club to reach Distinguished or higher status. It is a great achievement and leading a Distinguished Club helps officers’ point to successfully running a team on their CV, to their employer or LinkedIn profile, hopefully meaning that members gain an economic benefit outside of Toastmasters. Please also remember that a member of the D91 Pathways Champion team can help club officers with data cleansing to ensure that clubs have claimed all or their DCP (Distinguished Club) points, just get in touch with me if you need this additional support.

Membership Recognition

On the City of London Toastmasters LinkedIn page, they recently wrote “receiving awards and recognition for our performance serves as a powerful motivator, inspiring us to continuously improve as speakers and leaders”. The text was accompanied by a video showing members having a great time being applauded by their fellow members as they received Pathways certificates from the Club President. This is one of the reasons why we ask clubs to register members on Pathways and to track their progress.

If you are a new member, don’t miss this great learning opportunity. Please do log-in to the Toastmasters website ( and using the profile button to register on a Pathway. Choose anyone from the 11 on offer. If you need help deciding which one to choose, then to take the online quiz which matches your interests with a path. Registering and following the guidance in Basecamp will help you become a better speaker quicker than if you create everything yourself from a “blank page”.  I know when I am thinking about a design/communication problem I find it much easier to be creative when I have a brief to work to and it is the same for many other creative people. Using the training materials available in Basecamp will save a lot of time and effort, with the added benefit of making you a better speaker quicker.

Several clubs have said that they are concentrating on membership recruitment this year and not on Pathways recruitment. Unfortunately, this does not help clubs in the long term. An analysis of the last set of renewals shows that clubs with a high percentage of non-active Pathways members, are the clubs who lose most members when it comes to renewals. The help build membership clubs should have members who are fully engaged with Pathways and celibate their success in the same way City of London Toastmasters club do as its help with membership retention. If you are a new member, then please do ask your Vice President of Education or Membership to take you through the process of registering.

Contest Finals

The District 91 contest finals will be taking place during the annual conference between 12th and 14th May. We have 32 outstanding speakers competing all marshalled by four fantastic conference chairs. If you have not already done so, please purchase a ticket and support your Divisional finalist. Several past district finalists have said how they gain a great deal of confidence when they see familiar faces in the audience. To support your divisional champion either in person or online, please purchase your ticket at the D91 Conference website at

Diane Richardson,

Program Quality Director, 2022-2023

Distinguished Clubs, Educational Awards, Contests


Congratulations to the 47 clubs who have already renewed 20 or more members until September and have 5 or more Distinguished Club Points (DCP points) already. These 47 clubs are the first of many to gain Distinguished Club status. Another 16 clubs are close already to achieved distinguished status, they need just one or two more members to renew or one additional educational award.

Educational Awards

Unfortunately, 53 clubs have yet to record a single education award, yet I know from having visited some of these clubs that members are doing speeches and completing Pathways Levels. Please ask your Club President, VPE or Club Secretary to record your level completion after you have completed it. If you are unsure on how to complete a project, we will be continuing to run the new member drop in over the next few weeks, which will give both new and longstanding members who are unsure about how Pathways works. The next session with experienced Toastmaster Craig Moss will be at 5:00 pm on Sunday 23rd April, you can register via the link here:

Contests – A quick reminder

A quick reminder that if you are competing in any of the contests that you need to ensure that your club has paid the membership fee to Toastmasters International, otherwise you may not be eligible to compete in the Contest as officially you are not a member of Toastmasters even if you have paid your club. Again, with the International Speech contest your level 1 & 2 Pathways certificates must be registered with Toastmasters international.

1-21-100 – Trifecta

You may have seen some of the PR around the 1-21-100 incentive. Trifecta is another name that we are giving to the aim of 100%, 21 and 1 since it is like a sporting event with three elements to it. Debbie Williams our Club Growth Director is explaining in this blog post what the 21 means, but it is worth explaining why we have 100% and 1 as our two award criteria.

Why 100%, Why 1?

The aim at Toastmasters is to offer a great experiential learning experience using Pathways. This is why aim for 100% Pathways enrolment as it will help you strengthen your communication and leadership skills as you grow toward personal and professional success—all while having fun with others in the process! I often find that working withing a loose set of boundaries helps me to be more creative when developing ideas or writing speeches, rather than having unlimited options. Which is why we want all members to enroll in pathways.

The easiest way to demonstrate to others that you “the member” is benefiting from membership of Toastmasters is for you to show your progress by showing your educational certificate award, especially in corporate clubs where it may be an individual’s KPI. One award per member also encourages members to take a full an active role in each meeting they attend, rather than be a passive spectator, as it helps create fun and energetic meetings and brings about a faster learning experience .

Diane Richardson,

Program Quality Director, 2022-2023

COTs, the May Conference, Contest Eligibility and Club Elections

COTs are Back!

We are already had 25% of the second round of Club Officer Training period done! A few Division and Area Directors have already started to plan their events in December and into January next year. In the first round 126 clubs had four or more officers trained which means they are still eligible for a DCP point to count towards Distinguished status if four or more club officers are also trained in the second round of training. Once again, the district is offering incentives if all 7 officers attend training! If a club has already won a set of club officer pins, they will receive a £60 voucher from the district, if a club achieves this for the first time, then we will reward the club with a set of club officer pins. As with the first time to encourage as many members as possible to accept leadership positions the seven roles must be filled by at least six individuals. The second COT training round ends on 28th February. If you do attend training in another district, then you need to let the organiser know that they need to contact me and confirm that their training session last for three or more hours.

The Corporate lunch time COT sessions have already started. Each session is between 12 and 1 pm, every day this week the last session is a Q&A session this coming Monday 12th December. To gain a training credit a club officer needs to attend 3 or more sessions. We are also running a Corporate Club officer Training session on the 16th December starting at 7:00 am.

Conference Date 13th & 14 May 2023

Please note that due to the coronation of King Charles iii on Saturday 6th May we have had to change the date of the D91 conference to 13th & 14th May 2023. We also have had to change the venue, but we are in final discussions with three Central London locations and should announce the venue next week.

International Speech Contest – Eligibility Rules

A quick reminder for everyone that the eligibility rules to compete in the International Speech Contest have changed this year. To enter the contest a member must have either a DTM including a “legacy” DTM or have Level 1 and 2 Certificates in pathways. The old qualification of 6 or more speeches from the Competent Communicator manual has been removed for contestants in this year’s rule book. When the PQD team did a survey in July we estimated that about two members per club would be affected.

Club Elections

A quick reminder to the few clubs in D91 who elect officers every 6 months that you must submit your new officer list by 31st December. Great to see that two have already done so but there are five clubs still to submit their list to Toastmasters International.

Area Director Visits – Thank You

A huge thank you to all Club Officers who helped their Area Director’s complete their visit reports. The trio reads each report, and it is encouraging to read that so many clubs are holding great meetings. In the first round of visits 161 reports were submitted. Please do take note of what you do well and keep doing that. Thanks, should also go to the Area Directors who took the time and trouble to write the reports.

Seasons Greetings

Finally with Christmas just around the corner I would like to wish every member season’s greeting and a relaxing time off and a happy new year. I look forward to collaborating with you all again in 2023.

Diane Richardson,

Program Quality Director, 2022-2023