Life beyond the CC Manual

226HMany clubs find that members drag their feet going through the CC manual, or they have members leave right after they finish it. One of the things I have pinpointed in talking to clubs, and also talking to successful clubs in other divisions around the globe, is we tend to not “pitch” the fact that there are lots and lots of projects beyond the CC manual. 15 advanced manuals and 45 additional advanced projects that members can work on, get credit for and even more importantly, develop and learn new skills that are very applicable to the business world.

Some of you may have heard about Pathways, the new educational program being rolled out by Toastmasters. It is scheduled to take effect in our district the last quarter of 2018. Why, some people ask, should we bother to work on advanced manuals if the program is changing?

Working on the manuals should be less about getting the credit for it, and more about bettering both your communications skills, your leadership skills and learning new things that you can apply, whether you are business owner or you work for someone else, in a business setting.

While you may not get something from every single project in the advanced manuals, I can guarantee that you will get some. So far I have worked my way through 9 of the advanced manuals, and I can give you some examples of things I have learned that I would not otherwise have.

Here are some examples from three of the manuals:

Technical Presentations Advanced Manual

#1 The Technical Briefing-Objectives: Using a systematic approach, organize technical material into a concise presentation. Tailor the presentation to the audience’s needs, interests, and knowledge levels-Skills Learned: How to organize information into specifics into a short time frame to present.

#2 The Proposal-Objectives: To prepare a technical presentation advocating a product, service, idea, or course of action. To present your viewpoint logically and convincingly, using an inverted pyramid approach. To effectively use Microsoft PowerPoint with a laptop computer to illustrate your message. To effectively handle a question and answer -Skills Learned: How to propose an idea to a group with key points to back it up.

#3 The Nontechnical Audience-Objectives: Understand the principles of communicating complex information to nontechnical listeners. Build and deliver an interesting talk based on these principles. Answer audience questions that arise during the presentation. Use overhead transparencies to illustrate your message-Skills Learned: Honing talking at the layman’s level

Humorously Speaking Advanced Manual

#2 Leave Them With a Smile-Objectives: Prepare a serious speech that opens and closes with humorous stories. Prepare a closing story that reemphasizes the speech’s main point. Deliver the stories smoothly and effectively-Skills Learned: How to purposefully integrate humor into a speech

#3 Make Them Laugh-Objectives: Prepare a speech that opens and closes with humorous stories. Include jokes in the speech body to illustrate points or maintain audience interest. Deliver the jokes and stories smoothly and effectively-Skills Learned: How to integrate jokes into a speech and make it flow

#4 Keep Them Laughing-Objectives: Prepare a speech that opens with a self-deprecating joke. String together two or three related jokes in the speech body. Close the speech with a humorous story-Skills Learned: How to poke fun at myself

Public Relations Advanced Manual

#2 The Radio Talk Show-Present a positive image of you and your company or organization on a simulated radio talk show. Prepare a talk designed to build goodwill toward an organization by presenting factual information. Understand the dynamics of a successful radio talk show. Prepare for the questions that may be asked of you during the radio interview-Skills Learned: How to enhance others image in a positive light

#3 The Persuasive Approach-Objectives: Direct a persuasive appeal to the audience’s self-interests using a combination of fact and emotion in a speech delivered in such a manner that it appears extemporaneous. Persuade the audience to adopt your viewpoint by the use of standard persuasive techniques. Use at least one visual aid to enhance the audience’s understanding-Skills Learned: Honing convincing others “why” to do something

#5 The Crisis Management Speech-Objectives: Learn strategies for communicating to the media about a company crisis. Prepare a speech for the media about a company crisis that builds and maintains a positive image for the company. Answer questions from the media in a manner that reflects positively on the company-Skills Learned: How to “spin” something

All of these are skills that as a public speaker, a Toastmaster and a business owner are invaluable to me and are things that I would not have otherwise practiced, experienced and learned from.  I’d highly encourage you to educate your members about the advanced projects available to them, and tell your new members when they join, that the CC manual is the appetizer to a main course of projects that offers so much more beyond the basics.

If you visit these links, you can download a list in Microsoft Word of all the advanced projects that are available:

Advanced Manuals with Speech Descriptions (the 15 Manuals):

Additional Manual Projects (the 42 additional projects):


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Membership Building and PR ideas for Toastmasters Corporate Clubs


  • Ask Human Resources to include a flyer about the club in the new employee orientation packet.
  • Ask Human Resources to insert a flyer about the club with the payroll checks.
  • Ask Human Resources for an appointment to give a 20-minute presentation on the benefits of Toastmasters and how it can help the company’s training efforts.
  • Inquire about the possibility of club members earning continuing education credit.
  • Place an ad in your company newsletter.
  • Post a notice on your company’s electronic bulletin board.
  • Notify communications department about upcoming events: contests, award presentations, etc.
  • Host an Open House
  • Contact Past Members, do a survey/ask questions: Why did they leave? What would give them an incentive to come back?
  • Have a few meetings where all members practice their elevator speeches/30 second commercials about “Why Join Toastmasters”
  • Reach out to managers with a drafted letter, why THEY should join Toastmasters.
  • Have interesting membership packets to “show” guests, but have Toastmasters magazine with a label and a few sheets in the magazine with contact info and why join to give to guests to take with them.
  • Have a Toastmaster of the meeting award, it should rotate amongst members, be branded and unique and be encouraged to be prominently displayed on the member’s desk at work between meetings. An interactive toy with a sign around it’s neck saying Toastmasters or the club name could be used.
  • Use a Toastmasters mug at work
  • Make meetings FUN, focus on making the Table Topics section of the meeting as innovative as possible, Guests won’t return if people are not smiling and having a good time.
  • Make sure Members get rewarded, new member certificates, ½ CC/CL, Toastmaster for the first time. Try to if possible use the meetings where you have guests attending to give them awards. Recognition of members helps the members and looks good to guests.
  • Have table tents for names (or name badges but they can get left at home or in the office frequently).
  • Write articles for the company newsletters.
  • Have Holiday themed meetings and invite EVERYONE
  • Table in cafeteria with flyers and members sitting together, every lunch/meal period have members invite a friend or coworker
  • Visit other open clubs with a group of members to gain ideas and see how other clubs run.
  • Wear your Toastmasters pins or “Ask Us About Toastmasters” buttons outside of the club meeting.



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Running a Webinar for Toastmasters using GotoWebinar

A great blog post from Marketo about how to promote your webinar

Manual Checklist for GotoWebinar

Schedule a test call with your co-presenters before your live event. (at least one, if the co-presenter is having difficulties or seems very uncomfortable, make sure you schedule at least a second one closer to the event as well)

Schedule your webinar meeting, pass along the webinar registration link to anyone that’s going to be advertising it and/or have it available where you are going to advertise it, i.e. website, social media, etc. as far in advance as possible.

Add any co-presenters as panelists and/co-organizers, anyone can be made a presenter, including attendees while the webinar is running, so if you forget to invite someone they can login using the registration links for regular attendees.

Add any polls ahead of time (choice of one choice, or multiple choice polls) ask the co-presenters in advance if they are going to run polls, and coordinate when during the webinar they will be run.

Ask for any handouts ahead of time and pre-load them in (up to 5 files) once the webinar is in session you can’t add them, but can add them in the webinar toolbar but it’s occasionally glitchy.

Prior to the webinar, turn off or unplug any phones, neighboring computers you might get feedback from, and make sure your “space” to going to be quiet. Free the rooms from potentially barking dogs and other distractions. Don’t have anything in the oven that can potentially set the smoke alarm off even if you have someone in the house, you can’t rely on them to take care of it.

Start early before you go live to give yourself time to get logged into everything and quickly fix any issues or restart/reload any windows/applications, check video/sound, etc.) At least 15 minutes prior to the webinar, ½ hour is much better, make sure any co-presenters login in AT LEAST 15 minutes prior if not before, recommend ½ hour pre-login as well. Logging in right before the webinar starts one always runs into a technical glitch.

Make sure you have your introduction ready for your co-presenter and have rehearsed walking through it. Check for name pronunciations prior to the webinar.

Until you hit start broadcast, you and the other presenters and/or panelists can speak with each other and technically attendees can’t listen in until you hit the start broadcast button (do not rely on this as it has glitched) ie don’t discuss anything confidential or personal.

When you are ready and the co-presenter is all set to go, switch control to them, hit start broadcast and then don’t forget to hit record before giving your introduction.

As part of your introduction, I always mention we will be doing some housekeeping before our presenter starts, ie. Mention the webinar is being recorded, it will be available ……………………………………….. Everyone by default all the attendees are muted. If you have questions, please ask them to the right in the question bar to your right and mention that its best to ask the questions as they occur to them. You will answer questions at the end of the presentation.

The runner of the webinar should ask questions, have the co-presenter answer them instead of having the co-presenter read and answer (frequently they will forget to read aloud the questions and just verbalize the answers leaving attendees in the dark as to what they are talking about). It’s best to have to motive/move questions put together ahead of time in case there is a lag in questions or in some cases people may not have any but some general Q&A can spark discussion. It’s best to stick with questions being typed instead of unmuting people.

When the webinar Q&A is done, thank the presenter, mention that if there are questions that occur to attendees after the webinar is over please feel to email and it will be passed along. Mention again the webinar was recorded it will be available……………………

Thank everyone for attending, have a great night/morning afternoon and stop the webinar by going to the X at the top of the right hand side by box.

As soon as you close the webinar a box will come up and Convert recording into a viewable file.

Running the Webinar Tips

  • Be connected to the Internet via Ethernet/Hardwired connection. Wireless connections will work, but your audio and video quality will suffer and you may have playback issues if you are recording.
  • If you plan to use music, videos, or images, remember to use only what you have permission to use. YouTube can and will remove all sound from a video with copyrighted music.
  • Wear a headset if possible, it cuts down on external noise and audio and mics are easier to hear and have a better sound quality then having someone call in on their phone.
  • Have at least several cups of water handy and remind your co-presenter to as well.
  • Turn off any program or device that will compete for your bandwidth. This includes things like Google Drive and Dropbox that automatically update.
  • Make sure any popups, ie. antivirus reminders are not going to pop up during your presentation, pass that along to the other presenter as well.
  • When screen sharing be aware that everything can be seen, including bottom taskbars and if you are using the internet, bookmarks as well as open tabs on a browser. Remind the co-presenter of this as well including right before starting a live broadcast.
  • Recommend having two computers if you are running and moderating the webinar, one to be the presenter/moderator, the other to be logged in as an attendee (make sure and mute the sound from this one) This helps for two reasons, one there is sometimes a small time lag and if you are speaking you want to make sure the slides you are speaking to are consistent to what the other attendees are seeing. If you haven’t run a lot of webinars speaking “to” the extra computer screen to the right or left of the main screen is sometimes easier to speak to if talking conversationally then addressing the computer right in front.
  • Don’t depend on the internet, so if displaying things on webpages, better to do screenshots and pull up the net “live” if time at the end.
  • Be prepared for interruptions, door bells ringing, dogs barking, kids etc.
  • Be prepared for things NOT to work, the presenter can’t get on, they don’t have audio or visual, etc.
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Virtual Meetings and Toastmasters


Photo courtesy of DodgertonSkillhause

In August 2015, Toastmasters International approved clubs having a virtual meeting attendance, ( and with some stipulations about use, i.e. for clubs:

  • Vote to approve the allowance.
  • Update their Addendum of Standard Club Options to reflect the club’s decision.
  • Determine the platform to be used and purchase necessary equipment at the club’s expense.
  • Ensure that all members and prospective club members are aware of the option.

Toastmasters has not given much guidance as of yet in terms of what platforms are the best to use, leaving the heavy lifting for clubs to experiment with what works and what doesn’t, they did provide a handy FAQs page that does give some additional information at though.

Our Cromwell CT Toastmasters club has been discussing the option as well as experimenting with software and the hardware needed in order to let members virtually attend.

Some of the things in discussion to be put into our bylaws were limiting virtual attendees to members only during the first (trial) year and have members from other TM clubs be able to attend only after the trial was over. Guests were not able to attend as virtual visitors. We had to form a committee to see what would work and also decide who would be in charge of the equipment needed to take down, set up and store it. Discussion was had about how many speeches or functionary roles a member could give in a calendar year. Also that members would be bound to not record a meeting and that they must be in good standing to participate in virtual attendance. The by-laws have not yet been formalized for this and I’ll post an update when they are.

The first meeting we did a trial run prior to the meeting using Google+ Hangouts, because the connection at the town hall that we meet at was not the best, we had a severe time lag in term of the video feed and several disconnects. The problem was apparently solved by activating my smart phones hotspot, but we did not at this time get a chance to further experiment with it, as the meeting was called to order. Google+ Hangouts in my opinion is not the most user-friendly (and I have used personally multiple times before) as you need a Google+ account, it does disconnect and the sound and video do tend to glitch quite a bit, especially if someone has a slower connection. I decided to start with that one in lieu of not having a lot of time prior to research other good free options (which for clubs research platforms you need to set aside quite a bit of time to research this).

Since our last meeting, in search of some alternatives to try for the next upcoming meeting, I have tried several dozen other free conference/meeting alternatives, concentrating on the free ones as most TM clubs may not have the budgets for the paid ones, some of which can be quite pricey. The following ones I’ve now experimented with in several places with friends as guinea pigs in areas using slow, mid-range and faster connections.

Here’s my list with some comments baring actual in meeting trials (coming next week).

#1 GotoMeeting Free (easiest to use)

  • Up to three people on video
  • No application installation needed 
  • Has screen sharing capabilities
  • Works on Chrome books
  • You just share the link to login by email to the other users
  • No account sign up necessary
  • Phone app is only available for the paid version

Tie for second place #2 Anymeeting Free

  • You need to download the application for the host and for attendees
  • Up to 4 attendees
  • Phone app is not very good (tested)
  • You have to invite people by email
  • You can do screen sharing,
  • The video squares for attendees are smaller than Gotomeeting as is the screensharing box
  • Works on Chrome books.
  • You have to sign up for an account

Tie for second place #2 Skype

  • You need to download the application for the host and for attendees
  • You have to sign up for an account
  • Phone app is not very good (tested)
  • Group video up to 10 people, the more people on the video seems to it all slow down, we tested with 4 people several times and it was a snoozer
  • Video boxes are small
  • I had issues using it on my Chrome book (it disconnected more than a regular PC or Mac) as its a web based application instead of an installed application

Some of the other applications tested and discarded for reasons such as not being user-friendly, sign up process for attendees is cumbersome, video boxes are very very small, connection issues with anything below a superfast connection and potential privacy issues.

These were some other possibilities tested but not overly happy with them:

  • Google Hangouts (if you have a super fast connection this may work for you) no installation needed but does require a Google+ account.
  • Oovoo (if you use be careful of installing the “add ons”), requires an application installation and email sign-up.
  •, requires an application installation and email sign-up. Video circles for attendees were very small.

These were some additional ones I tried and didn’t make it in the running at all as suggestions/options: (these were actually recommendations from several business meeting oriented sites interestingly enough).

  • Hipchat
  • TinyChat
  • Meeting Burner
  • Yugma
  • Zoho

There are also dozens of other video sharing sites and applications out there, I checked out and researched a bunch more, all of which were discarded from even doing a trial run with because some installed adware or in a couple of cases malware (for ones that required installation) or others let users login to and view someone else’s meeting without the main attendees knowing.

There are plenty of Paid applications that would work for a virtual meeting but unless we find that we don’t find a free application that will do the job we probably will not pursue that route. More next week!

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Using Slideshare to Help Promote Your Toastmasters Club

For those not familiar with Slideshare, it’s a free online venue for uploading Powerpoints. You can also integrate Slideshare with your personal Linkedin account.

Some of the presentations that members give for manuals focuses on Powerpoints. Technical Presentations is one of the advanced manuals that focuses on the use, as well as project #8, Get Comfortable with Visual Aids from the CC Manual, encourages the use of Powerpoint. Members may also be using their speeches (and Powerpoints) to practice for presentations that they may need to give at their businesses or to potential clients.

Because Slideshare lets you upload multiple Powerpoints under one account and put a substantial amount of information including links back to both a Toastmasters club website and their social media links, uploading your club’s Powerpoints to a Slideshare account can help your Search Engine Optimization and help your club get found online by a considerable amount.

Slideshare accounts are cool because you then have the ability to embed them in blog posts and in your website. Get creative, have a page on your club site or a blog post with a write-up of a member’s speech and embed their Powerpoint (via Slideshare) into it.

Slideshare also gives member statistics of how many views, like and comments you might get on a presentation.

I would caution members who have done Powerpoint presentations that they want to share online, be cognizant of the fact that if it’s business information you are sharing, it must not be confidential information, and while using copyrighted images in Powerpoints (especially for teaching purposes) is very much a gray area legally, I would make sure you know the providence of any photos or images your using. Just because the image came from a free photo site, you don’t know where it came from originally. Buy your images legally from an inexpensive stock photo source like or take them yourself.

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Leveraging Past Issues of Toastmasters Magazine to help market your Toastmasters Club


Did you know you can use all those past issues of TM magazine that you keep and can’t bear to throw out, but may probably never reread, to help advertise your club?

Ask all of your members to donate any past issues to the club cause that they can spare, you will end up with quite a stack. Visit Staples or any other office supply store and find those large stick on printable labels. Avery Labels, 6 to a sheet work quite well. Print the labels out including club name, website, when and where it meets and if room, a quote about Toastmasters. Aiming it towards business professionals is always helpful, i.e. “Come to Toastmasters, learning to be a better evaluator can help you become a better manager and leader”. You may want to stay away from putting contact information (except for the website) unless you have a group gmail account, as officers change yearly.

Think of all the places locally that are always happy to get new (and free) good quality reading materials that will help you reach your target audience (potential new members). Go out and distribute.

  • Car Dealerships and Auto Repair Shops, don’t forget to include the quick oil change places
  • Dentist, Optometrists and Doctors Offices
  • Libraries
  • Banks
  • Tire Sales and Installation
  • Laundromats
  • Hairdressers and Beauty Salons
  • Tax Preparation Agencies
  • Employment Agencies and Social Services
  • Insurance Agencies
  • Independent Coffee Shops
  • Retirement and Independent Living Facilities (they always have waiting rooms for friends and family)


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District 53 Toastmasters Leadership Institute VPPR Training 2014





*note correction (10.24 minutes) any clubs that were previously chartered prior to the switch over to FTH2 from FTH1 have a FTH2 website, new clubs chartered after that period, may have a site created already, but some may not, and may have to request one from (scroll down the main page for the site request form.)
For the question that was asking regarding converting a Facebook personal profile over to a Facebook Club page (30.56 minutes) please see for help to transition over.


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Facebook Personal Pages or Business Pages for Toastmasters Clubs?

I’ve been seeing this quite a bit, a personal Facebook profile set up for a Toastmasters club. For new clubs that are thinking about doing this, be aware that technically using a personal profile to promote something is against their terms of service and having a “club” page promoting the club, even if you’re not selling a product or service, falls into that category.

Even if using a personal profile wasn’t against Facebook’s T.O.S. it’s not helping your club at all promote itself to the general public.

Image one is what a club page should look like, notice it says “Likes” in the image banner. This page is always viewable, ALL of it, including posts and pictures to anyone not logged in to Facebook, and is also viewable to people who don’t have Facebook accounts.

Image two is what a page looks like set up as a personal profile.

Image three is what that personal profile looks like to someone not logged into Facebook, i.e the general public. Note the lack of information and not being able to view the posts from the page?

Image 4 is what many personal accounts look like when not logged in to Facebook. Which is pretty much nothing.




TM fb1


tm fb2


tm fb4  Image #3 has some privacy settings set to public, but that’s all the settings will allow.

So in order for clubs to maximize Facebook use, make sure your Club page is set up as a Business account. You do need the personal account to maintain the business/fan/club page but you can also assign multiple people to administrate the page.

If your club has set the account up using a personal profile, you can transition it to being a “page”. Just be aware that not everything is transferred. You can migrate the personal profile to a public business/club page here:

Please read this first in advance of doing the profile to page migration.

From Facebook: Will all of the content on my Timeline be transferred when I convert my personal account to a Page?

  • When you convert your personal account to a Page, we’ll automatically transfer certain info to your Page:
  • All of your friends and followers will be converted to people who like your new Page
  • Your current profile picture will become your Page’s profile picture
  • Your username will become your Page’s username
  • You’ll keep your role on any Pages that you help manage
  • Other content (ex: personal info, posts, photos) won’t be transferred to your Page. You can download your Facebook info before you begin this process. Also, you’ll lose your admin status for any groups or apps you manage from your personal account, so be sure to add new admins before converting.

Information about downloading your information can be found here:

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Starting a Toastmasters Facebook Club Page

Go to to start a Club page.

Banner Image size 851 W X 315 H Pixels (That translates to 11.819 inches X 4.375 inches)

Free photo editors – lets you edit all your photos online, from one easy place. If you don’t have a desktop photo editor these are great.

If you would like to feed your Facebook posts to Twitter:

How to email/text to Facebook: Facebook Fan Page: go to your Fan page, at the top right go to “edit page”, then on the left to “mobile”, near the top it will say “With Mobile Email” to the right of that click “learn more” At the screen that pops up ” Send the upload email for my page to me now.” Click on “Okay” this will email you an email address that you can post updates to Facebook by mobile text or directly by email.

If you have set up Club page up as a personal account, converting it to Club/Business page.

IMPORTANT: before converting your profile, read ALL the background documentation on it first!

If you need some ideas to get started with for posts, please check out:

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Why Toastmasters is invaluable for Managers


I had someone ask me something interesting yesterday while visiting my husband for lunch at the company he works at. The gentleman had asked why I was up in the area, and I explained we had done a Toastmasters demo meeting at UMASS Amherst.

He said he had heard about Toastmasters and was interested in it, but wanted to know more about how specifically it was applicable to business leadership and communication.

I explained that while in Toastmasters, you give speeches, take leadership roles and also fill assorted roles, like timer, grammarian and ah counter, you also have the opportunity to give speech evaluations.

From the perspective of management and learning to be a better manager and give constructive, encouraging and motivational feedback; learning to give a good speech evaluation is extremely useful, because then you can learn how to give better feedback to employees, without coming across as being overly negative or critical.

A few examples.

“You shouldn’t have dealt with that client that way! You should do it this way next time!”

Can become:

“Perhaps we could have dealt with this differently and in the future lets take a look at how we can change this into a positive outcome.”


“Your appearance is disgraceful and unprofessional in the client’s eyes.”

Can become:

“I try to make a point of coming to work in a suit and tie everyday, not because the job demands it, but because I feel more professional and productive when I am dressed well, and clients treat me as equals.”


“You didn’t finish your deadline on time!”

Can become:

“Lets work together on making sure you have all of the information and tools you need to accomplish this in a more timely manner.


“You didn’t explain our goals very well to the client and they don’t understand what we are trying to do!

Can become:

“I have found that when I am talking people outside of our field, I try to do away with a lot of the technical jargon we use all the time, because most people don’t understand it, it helps to sometimes put things in layman’s terms.”

A good part of learning how to give a good evaluation, is learning to do away with the “You should” and replace with the “we” (as in teamwork) and “I could” or “I think” in a more positive way.

It replaces pointing fingers with a less direct but very to the point way of putting something.

From a management perspective, people leave when they are criticized repeatedly and/or they become unproductive and unhappy. Constructive criticism, which Toastmasters evaluations teach you to do, better leads to happier and more productive employees.

Evaluations in my opinion, are far harder than giving a speech, but so is being and becoming a good manager.

Check out a Toastmasters club in your area.

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