Hall of Fame Awards 2018-2019

Congratulations 2018-2019 Hall of Fame Awardees…

Your contribution played a significant role in District 47 celebrating Distinguished status for the year 2018-2019.

Thank You!!!

Download the program to see the list of names and club winners. Please share it with all your club members. The Bahamas’ prestigious Hall of Fame event took place in October on the island. Many pictures are available in our District Facebook page.

Thank you all for your committed work. We look forward to more success this year.

District Conference 2020: Early Bird Registration, Advertising and Call for Workshop Presenters

The early bird registration and links for sponsor advertising and workshop presenter applications are now open.

Outstanding Member Campaign 2019

Click to Download Flyer

There are Toastmasters in District 47 who have served relentlessly in their clubs and have made a huge difference. Dedication, Hard work, Commitment and selfless sacrifice should be rewarded in our District. To this end the District seeks to launch the Outstanding Member Campaign to seek out and identify one of these such members in ever club in the District.

Every Club in District 47 is eligible!!! Presentations of awards will begin in October to coincide with Toastmasters Month and will be presented to recipients during their respective area contests by the Area/ Division Director.

What is the Criteria

  1. The Toastmaster must be a member in Good Standing with Toastmasters international
  2. The member must have served the club as a club officer (current or in the past)
  3. Contributed to the growth and development of their respective club
  4. Mentored other toastmasters in their club
  5. Provided service outside their club to their community and other clubs
  6. Demonstrate commitment to the Core Values of Toastmasters – Integrity, Respect, Service, and Excellence.

How will Candidates Be Selected

  • The Club President and executive team will present the information to the club and allow the members to choose (vote if necessary) in democratic fashion to select a winner.
  • Once a winner is chosen the club will provide a two paragraph write up on the member and why they were selected.
  • The submission will be forwarded to the clubs Area Director, who will ensure the Division Director receives the information.

How will the candidates be awarded?

  • Each recipient of the Outstanding Member award will receive the coveted outstanding member award pin from Toastmasters International, provided by the district.
  • Awards will be presented at the respective Area Humorous Speech & Evaluations Contest.
  • The Area Director will inform the clubs under their remit of the due date for the submissions which should be before the respective Area Contest and not exceeding the October 31st deadline.
  • The winners photograph and biography should also be highlighted on the Clubs, Area, and Division social media platforms.
  • As the outstanding member for their club they will serve as District Ambassadors for the remainder of the toastmaster’s year.
  • The awardees will be recognized at the Spring Conference 2020
  • The awardees photo will also be showcased in the District Conference booklet May 2020

Give the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program a shot – the kids and your members will love it

When the kids arrive for the first session of Davie Toastmasters’ Youth Leadership Program, many are extremely shy — getting them to speak loud enough to be heard and for more than 30 seconds is a struggle.

Seven weeks later, these same children get up in front of their parents and give five-minute speeches or breeze through a Table Topic. For the Davie Toastmasters who have spent two months working with them, there is no prouder moment.

For the last eight summers, Davie has been running a YLP for the children of Kerala Samajam, an Indian-American social club. And while it takes a bit of work and the members who take part have to give up some summer Saturday afternoons, the club looks forward to it each year and it is a chance to do community service. It also exposes some highly motivated and intelligent young people to Toastmasters, which can only help our club and the overall organization in the future as they move into adulthood.

“The opportunity to watch the kids grow in skills and confidence, as well as the opportunity (for members) to practice both prepared and impromptu speaking skills” is what the club gets out of it, Davie President Marijke Adams said. Vice President of Education Jo Sesodia added, “Sometimes we overlook assessing the audience’s needs before giving a presentation. The Youth Leadership Program offers Toastmasters an opportunity to communicate with a much younger audience. As most of us do not work with children, the program helps us develop skills in targeting messages to diverse groups.” 

And for the kids, they learn a skill that will benefit them as they move through school and into adulthood — putting aside the fear of public speaking at a young age is immeasurably advantageous.

 “Expressing myself in front of people was not very comfortable and made me very nervous,” said Alisha Jithesh, who started at 11 and participated for three years. “Attending Toastmasters really helped me break that shell and seeing my mentors and peers confidently speaking inspired me to do the same. Because public speaking is something we have to often, I am glad I was able to get that exposure at a young age and even today, as a sophomore in high school, that experience is helping me a lot.”

Davie started its program in 2012. Like many clubs, Davie talked for years about running a YLP but it never went anywhere until a new member who was president of Kerala Samajam suggested we work with his club’s children, ages 8 to 14. We weren’t sure how it would go, but the program from the start has been extremely popular, reaching the 25-child limit most years with no problem. Usually, there is a waiting list.

To start a YLP, the club needs to purchase coordinator and student manuals from Toastmasters International — for 25 kids, the cost is about $100. We then appoint a volunteer coordinator and a couple assistants for the year, but they aren’t expected to do all the work. Each week, the manual lays out one or two skills the children are exposed to — vocal variety, body language and parliamentary procedure, for example. We often get other members to cover those topics. We try to get a good mix of male and female presenters so the kids will see people they relate to.

If your club is interested in starting a club, some tips we have learned over the years:

  • Our first year we tried to run the program in the evening after work with two sessions per week. Big mistake. First, getting all of the presenters there after work was difficult and many times the kids were antsy and hungry. Second, two sessions per week overwhelmed the children — they didn’t get as much out of it. After that, we went to one, two-hour session per week on Saturday afternoons. It has worked much smoother and the kids have fun without being stressed.
  • Work with a school, religious group, club or other organization. First, the other group can provide the children, saving you from recruitment. Kerala Samajam also arranges and pays for the community room where we hold the classes, provides snacks and water for the children and, most importantly, sends at least one adult to each class to handle any discipline problems. It also provides a level of trust for the parents. Remember, we are strangers to them and we don’t want any misunderstandings or problems, real or imagined.
  • Emphasize again and again that the best speeches are stories. Like with Toastmasters, the kids start out giving an Icebreaker — theirs are 3 to 4 minutes. Many of them will want to recite facts, not give a speech — “My name is Mary. I was born on Sept. 27, 2010. I live in Davie. I go to Davie Elementary School……” You will never kill this entirely, but if you make it a point every session and gently call out violators during evaluations, it eventually gets through to most of them.
  • Make sure every kid gets a Table Topic each week — it helps them get over their fear of speaking before an audience. Make them simple and open ended: “Who is your favorite teacher and why?” “What animal would you want to be and why?” “Why do you like your favorite TV show?”
  • Make a big deal of the graduation ceremony. Give them diplomas. Take photos. Make sure their parents know this is for them and they should attend. As mentioned, we break the kids into two groups — half give prepared speeches and the other half get a Table Topic. We cheat a bit on the latter, giving the children a list of 20 the week before so they can think about each. That way we don’t get any kids who freeze in front of their folks. We tell the children to dress nicely — the girls will, but there will always be a few boys showing up in shorts. Don’t sweat it — some of the sloppiest hit a homer with their speech.
  • After you have been doing it a few years, invite back some of the kids who have aged out to act as tutors and examples for the younger children. Ours arrive a half-hour early to work with the kids who are speaking that day and want help.

It sounds like a lot of work — and it is, though not as much as it appears. But trust us — it will be worth every minute and then some.

Video: District 47 Evaluation Contest Winners, 2019

Here are the evaluation contest winners, along with the test speech they were reacting to from Domenic Caliola.

Maritza Coscarelli
1st Place

Luiz Bravim
2nd Place

John Schneyer
3rd place

Each of the contestants had already won contests at increasing levels of competition — club, area, and division — before getting the district level. The district’s 2019 annual conference also featured contests for Humorous SpeechTable Topics (impromptu speaking) and the International Speech Contest.

Speech evaluations are one of the most important parts of the Toastmasters program, giving speakers immediate feedback on what they did well and what they could have done better. The evaluation contest recognizes skill of giving productive feedback that even experienced speakers can benefit from.

Execution of a Speech Contest ~ How to Handle the “Day of” Challenges (Webinar Replay)

This webinar was conducted on August 19, 2019 by Lois Margolin, District Contest Chair, Florida, and Patricia Hamilton, District Contest Chair, Bahamas.

You can find more resources, including the replay of an earlier webinar on planning a contest at https://toastmastersd47.org/contests/

How to Blog on the District Website (and Why You Might Want To)

District officers and Toastmasters from throughout District 47 are invited to submit articles for the blog on the district website. Division Directors and Area Directors are also being offered the opportunity to share items of local interest on separate division blogs (so far, only Division I is taking advantage).

The video below is a replay of a webinar in which I detailed what exactly a blog is (basically, just an easy way of posting timely information) and how to create posts using WordPress (the software that now powers the district website).

Things that would be appropriate to post to the district blog:

  • Leadership lessons learned in Toastmasters
  • Programs that one particular club created, or participates in, that other clubs can learn from. For example, at some point I will probably share a blog about how my home club, Club Awesome, uses video as both an educational and promotional tool. But to avoid being too much of a self promoter, I would like other clubs to share their great ideas first
  • Program information on upcoming events, such as TLIs. I would argue: Don’t wait until every detail of the schedule is nailed down. Think about answering the most important questions in all of marketing: “Why should I care?” and “What’s in it for me?” The sooner you share details about the great speakers, programs, and activities at your next event, the more likely you are to hit your registration and attendance targets
  • Additional resources shared as the follow up to a presentation at a TLI, such as the slides from the presentation and links to organizations mentioned in your presentation. Maybe a list of additional or related topics you didn’t get a chance to cover within a limited time
  • Outstanding or educational speech videos. As shown in the tutorial, you can easily add video that has been uploaded to YouTube to the body of a blog post or web page manged by WordPress. (Also works with video from Facebook and many other video sharing websites)

I don’t recommend posting the exact same content to a blog article that you would post to social media. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to use blogging as a way of expanding on your ideas and social media as a marketing tool for getting people to come to the blog. If you look at a Twitter feed, it largely consists of people sharing links to articles along with their own commentary. See also my article on the use of (and the mistakes I frequently see with) images as the content of blogs and social posts.

There are also topics that would be more appropriate to post on LinkedIn or some other personal, professional, or political website than on a Toastmasters website.

Articles will be reviewed for appropriateness and conformance to Toastmasters branding guidelines prior to publication. It’s possible we will decline to publish some articles, but if so I will coach you on other places you can share what you would like to share — and believe me when I say I would much rather say “yes” than “no” to your contributions.

Adding a blog post

If you would like to contribute articles to the District 47 blog, write to . Division Directors, Area Directors and other district leaders should have already received an email notification inviting them to set a password for the website.

Blogging for the district is one way you can work toward the “Create a Compelling Blog” Pathways project and teaches skills you can also use to promote a podcast or an online course or your own small business or your favorite cause.

District Training: New Clubs, Pathways, Area & Division Success, Budgets, PR and Branding

The videos below cover several of the presentations from the recent District Training Event. See also Kristina Kihlberg’s Guide to the District Recognition Program. Several other presentations either weren’t recorded or the resulting video wasn’t usable.

See below for:

  • Andrew Bern: Establish and Support New Clubs
  • Brandon Kinsey: Pathways Made Easy
  • Jeanine Kinsey: Area and Division Success Plans
  • Barbara Strasdas: Financial Protocols and Event Budgets
  • Andre Kelly: Public Relations and Branding