Archives for September 2016
The challenging thing about long term online communication is building trust, it is harder to do remotely than in person.
— Silvana Wasitova, Netizens
Let’s take a journey into the new world of online Toastmaster clubs. We began with a study group four years ago and the emergence of a new tribe called Netizens.
About two years ago this tribe became two tribes and the Firebirds Collective emerged. In March 2016, both clubs chartered and a new community of onliners began. Our experiences in club and meeting management grew exponentially as each explored the use of web conferencing platforms to hold global meetings in real time. In 2015, Carole McCulloch took on the role of VP Education for Firebirds. Ian Murray became the President.
Firebird champions practiced the art of public speaking on the international stage, in front of web cameras; polished their skills in scheduling, facilitating and recording their meetings in GoToMeeting; and shared their learning experiences with Toastmaster tribes across the world, through social media.
A rich tapestry of multicultural connectivity began to grow. New friendships spanning time zones emerged. Weekly meetings, skillfully managed by the VPE team using Easy-Speak, were soon filled with speeches and role takers.
The Firebirds Experience
We run effective online meetings, in two different time zones, alternating each week. These are preceded by setup sessions enabling visitors, guests and members to check their audio and video. The Logistics Manager, a new online meeting role, manages this process and builds new facilitation skills. The Front Runner checks for messages from those who are stranded and need help in accessing the room.
Speakers request speeches using Easy-Speak. The speeches are scheduled according to date preferences and available spaces in agendas. Each speaker switches on their webcam and joins the Toastmaster of the Day and Timer on screen for the viewing enjoyment of their audience. Timing devices vary and entertain as the Timers become more creative and efficient. The Listener remains on screen to provide an audience for the speakers and the Chat Monitor watches for questions in text chat.
Evaluators download copies of the evaluation guides from repositories in the cloud, sending completed forms to the speaker via email. Evaluators give their verbal feedback to the speakers, on screen, and are in turn evaluated by the General Evaluator later in the agenda.
Table Topics Masters select impromptu speakers from the attendee list and the Grammarian and Ah Counter take on new challenges as they perform their traditional roles innovatively on screen. The Video Monitor provides feedback on their screen presence, commenting on appearance, lighting and background.
The first time experience of an online Toastmasters meeting is exciting and empowering.
New prospective online clubs are now emerging in multiple time zones across the world. They are forming communities in Facebook groups, forging club infrastructure in Easy-Speak and building new leadership opportunities. They are taking flight – like a magic carpet moving beyond borders across the digital landscape – overcoming the barriers of time, distance and isolation.
The Toastmaster online club leader gains real practice in managing conflict of cultures, ideas, time and personalities by opening communication lines and building trust and respect within a global virtual space. It is these club leaders who will empower a new generation of skilled communicators and leaders – weaving themselves effectively into our global world today.
— Lorraine Taylor, Firebirds Collective
Prospective Online Clubs
Toastmasters Without Borders gathers members from GMT plus time zones – its central core emanating from Australia and New Zealand.
As an inaugural Toastmaster visitor, what a delight to have participated in the recent online meeting! Efficient, entertaining, engaging with fellow TM’s all over the world – fantastic!
— Marina Bertolino, recent visitor to Toastmasters Without Borders.
Supported by experienced toastmasters, comprehensive resources and user friendly technology – I have gone to Toastmaster Heaven! The most challenging lesson – – getting used to GoToMeeting and Easy Speak – sharing those concerns and discoveries with leaders prepare me to assist others.
— Moses Cherrington, Toastmasters Without Borders
Great White North Online reaches out to members in the GMT minus time zone – its central core emanates from Northern USA and Canada.
The online Toastmasters experience is full of wonderful surprises – special synergies that reach well beyond the meetings themselves. Together we engage in creative problem-solving … being online is a real treasure for me.
— Susan Ellsworth, Great White North Online
Witty Storytellers harvest their storytellers in the GMT time zone – its central core emanating from United Kingdom and Europe.
As an e-learning specialist, an online language coach, a budding blogger and entrepreneur, I need to polish my online presence and video identity. Online TM clubs provide me with new opportunities to move forward.
— Svetlana Rakhimova, Witty Storytellers
VPE and resident storyteller, Julie Kertesz, reminds us of the benefits of online clubs for those who are isolated or incapacitated as well as those who are global nomads.
Online clubs provide the space for Toastmasters to participate from their own location and from any mobile device. They can form new friendships online in an up close and personal experience.
— Julie Kertesz, Witty Storytellers
Fuji Discovery, a club with its central core in Japan, is in a preparation stage. Its founder, Akira Sasaki, is hopeful of new opportunities afforded by online clubs.
I firmly believe Online Clubs will open a new horizon to Toastmasters who live in remote areas and beyond the Districts.
— Akira Sasaki, Fuji Discovery
As we weave our tapestry of tribal Toastmasters, we embrace our cultural diversity and take time to think globally, communicate collaboratively and act collectively. We urge you, the digital Toastmasters of the world to connect, collaborate and share your stories of global experiences.
Online club meeting schedule summary available in the Online Toastmasters Facebook Group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlinetoastmasters/
Join us soon – together we can make Toastmaster history!
Each month, a Training and Education session is run in both Victoria and South Australia. Presenters range from being very experienced to those who would like to take a step into the unknown and develop their skills further.
Last month’s presenter in the Victorian workshop was the 2016 District Humorous Competition winner, Ha Du. Ha wanted to give back to the Toastmasters community in two ways, which were:
- Share her insights with others, and
- Raise money for the 2017 District Convention to enable one participant to be sponsored to attend the Convention through money raised.
With each participant contributing $20 to attend “The Power of the Unspoken” workshop, Ha raised $420. This enabled one contestant, who was drawn at the conclusion of the workshop to be sponsored to attend the 2017 Convention. The lucky participant is Fiona Swee Lin Price from Williamstown TM.
Ha’s workshop was interactive requiring participants to be open and willing to listen, learn and participate. Attendees came prepared with material that could be utilised and enhanced with tips and techniques gained from “The Power of the Unspoken” workshop. Participants felt that they came away with an enhanced understanding of the unspoken techniques.
Ha will be presenting one of the techniques from “The Power of the Unspoken” workshop at the 2016 Semi-Annual Convention in November. It will include additional content that was not covered in The Power of the Unspoken workshop.
Thank you Ha, I look forward to attending your next event.
Workshops continue in Victoria and South Australia each month. Please contact Russell Moore in Victoria and Fiona Stopp in Adelaide for further details. For a list of all district officers see the list of District Officers and Co-ordinators.
Dr Gary Wohlman – Be the Change, by changing yourself first
In this dynamic, interactive session, presentation skills coach Dr Gary Wohlman will show us ways to “Be the change” we all long for. He will give us tangible tools to “change your beingness” that will enhance the impact and effectiveness of reaching people with your intended message.
Nikki Casey – What to wear when you’re presenting
Can what you wear make a difference to how the audience perceives your message? Can you set the stage for your message by what you wear? Image Consultant, Niki Casey will answer these and more questions to empower you to look and feel your best on stage.
Henk van den Bergen – Speak Up
Are microphones your friend or foe? In this interactive workshop, Henk van den Bergen will teach you the core skills required to use handheld microphones effectively.
Ha Du – Be the Face Changer
2016 Humorous Contest Champion, Ha Du will present an engaging workshop on the power of facial expressions. Participants will learn how to use their expressions to create a more powerful message and evoke feelings in their audience. Ha will show participants how to reach out to and engage with their audience on a personal level, using different aspects of their face.
Sally Bruen – Doing the Monster Mash
A workshop to identify the ‘monsters and scary creatures’ who occupy the hidden spaces and stop us from making positive changes in our lives. Mash up your monsters so you can move forward with new vigour and purpose to achieve the changes that will lead to living a purposeful life.
Louise Riseley – Kickstart your Creativity
This highly interactive workshop will help you reconnect with your innate creativity. Living more creatively helps turn obstacles into opportunities and problems into solutions. Each participant will leave the workshop with a personal action plan for living a more creative life.
Sue Anderson – Ethical Authenticity – Be the Change you want to see
This workshop provides participants with insight into how a culture of integrity and ethicality are intricately linked to authentic leadership.
Deliah Onorato & Fiona Stopp – It’s time to deconstruct the negative!
We aren’t always aware of the negative aspects of our everyday communication. In this workshop Deliah and Fiona will highlight these negative aspects and provide useable tools to shift your communication into the positive.
Fiona Price – Turning any topic into an engaging speech
Can you write an engaging speech on a boring topic? In this workshop Fiona Price will demonstrate how to draw an engaging theme from any speech topic and provide participants the opportunity to put their new skills into practice.
Julie Wacker – How to prepare & use Mind Maps every day
In this hands on workshop, Julie Wacker will demonstrate how effectively Mind Maps can change your life for the better – from your shopping list to constructing your next contest speech.
Five famous people are in a hot air balloon – but the balloon is losing height dangerously. Four people will have to be thrown over – but whom? And who will be the lucky survivor?
Williamstown Toastmasters had a special meeting on 23 August 2016 celebrating its 20th anniversary. As part of the entertainment, we organised the Great Balloon Debate where five brave members and guests climbed aboard the virtual gondola.
The passengers were allowed to choose their own personas. We thought they would choose the great and good from Jesus Christ to Steve Jobs, but we had a really eclectic group. Each had three minutes to convince the audience of the absolute imperative of their staying aboard.
First was Christal Augustin who channelled Kim Kardashian. “If you throw me out, you won’t have the satisfaction of seeing me grow old” was Kim’s compelling argument. Then Luba Bradford was Oprah Winfrey for the doomed journey. From a dirt-poor beginning to a billionaire media personality – Oprah mounted a good argument that she was a survivor and should be saved.
Ray Ingwersen was a hard passenger to beat – Orville Wright. “I can actually fly this balloon that’s why I should be saved.” Julie Wacker then appealed to everyone’s sweet tooth. She was Willy Wonka, the chocolatier from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Lastly, Dick Wilkie brought out the big guns – or actually a big knife. He was Crocodile Dundee. Cunning Dick had hidden the cake knife in the lectern and menaced the audience with it. “Dirty Trick” said Oprah. But Crocodile Dundee swayed the audience by pointing out he was the only Australian on board.
All passengers then had a minute each to rebut the others’ argument. It was now up to the audience to decide: who will be saved and who will be tossed to their peril?
Everyone in the audience had a balloon which they presented to their preferred passenger. It was a close-run thing but Crocodile Dundee won the debate and stayed in the gondola. The others passengers were tossed out to their doom on the rocks below. Splat!
If you are looking for a fun event for your club meetings, consider a Great Balloon Debate. But warning: hide all knives!