by Candi Charlie Durber
As of March 2016, Toastmasters International passed a motion to allow the Online Toastmasters Clubs to charter. What does this mean for you?
To communicate via visual digital means is becoming more common in meetings, job interviews, training and education. Digital visual communication is a skill that needs to be practised for improvement as much as in person communication.
Online clubs increase the scope for TM to engage people. Some people who have recognised they need to improve their communication and leadership skills may be geographically isolated without a club nearby or unable to always attend meetings in person. Online clubs make the skills we practise at our bricks and mortar meetings accessible to everyone, anywhere in the world, with a computer, Internet connection, microphone and camera.
Online Toastmasters clubs are very similar to traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ Toastmasters clubs. You will find all of the traditional Toastmasters roles, including Table Topics master, prepared speaker, evaluator, timekeeper, grammarian etc. and an agenda you will recognise from your local club. Members receive credit for all tasks they complete in the TM Leadership and Communication Education streams. Online clubs participate in the Distinguished Club Program, require 20 members to charter and a majority of members present to vote for a quorum.
However, online clubs give members the opportunity to learn some valuable digital online communication skills which a bricks and mortar club cannot offer. How you come across over video is very different to in-person communication when creating a good impression for landing a big job, coming across with authority when teaching or running efficient digital worldwide business meetings. Also, how you use and how comfortable you are with your technical equipment (i.e. camera, microphone and internet connection) is the difference between exuding confidence or clumsiness.
Plus, online clubs offer a greater variety of member cultures and experiences. Members of online clubs come from all over the world. You will gain some distinct insights and points of view into different communication styles within various cultures. Information dissemination is taken to the next level, just think of all the communication tips and information you could learn and take back to your bricks and mortar club which you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn.
The final difference between an online and bricks and mortar club is that if you attend an online club and the camera is at the right level you don’t even need to get out of your pyjama pants to attend a meeting. You can’t do that at your local club.
The only ‘qualifications’ required for anyone interested in joining an online Toastmaster club are a working camera, microphone, computer, internet connection and desire to join! There are no geographical restrictions, although you may want to check which language they speak at the club and the meeting time before visiting!
A group of enthusiastic online TMs from District 73 have registered a prospective online club Toastmasters without Borders (Prospective Club 5523338, District U, Division V, Area 1) and are looking for people to join the club or to visit as a guest. Toastmasters without Borders are holding their inaugural meeting on the 7th of July, 2016 at 19.30AEST. If you would like to log on to the meeting, email Kim Hahn firstname.lastname@example.org. From there you will have a link sent to you to join the meeting.
If you want to visit or join an online TM club and would like some general information go to https://www.toastmasters.org/Footer/FAQ/Online%20Clubs.
For specific information about Toastmasters without Borders, please see the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/ToastmastersWithoutBorders/ or our Easy-Speak site http://tmwithoutborders.easy-speak.org
Online Toastmasters Clubs are an opportunity for you to join a new club with a variety of cultures, backgrounds and points of view that will enhance your digital and traditional communication skills without having to leave the comfort of your home. A chance for you to speed up your toastmasters learning journey and to practice new skills which you wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to practice. Plus, there is nothing like joining a newly forming club to all learn and laugh together. Give it a go, what have you got to lose? Oh, and make sure you have your best pyjama pants on, just in case!
Candi Charlie Durber, CC, CL,
2015/2016 Area B2 Director
2015/2016 Secretary of Mornington Peninsula Toastmasters
2016/2017 President of Mornington Peninsula Toastmasters
Founding President of Twente Toastmasters