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.

Video: International Speech Contest Winners, 2019

The Toastmasters featured below were judged the best speakers from across South Florida and The Bahamas in the contest at the Toastmasters District 47 annual conference for 2019.

Contest Winners Trevor Lockhart, Colton Stollenmaier (1st Place, Center),
and Annaya Holmes with 2018-2019 District Director (right) and
2019-2020 District Director Leonardo Burrows (left)

The winners were:

  • Colton Stollenmaier, 1st Place
  • Trevor Lockhart, 2nd Place
  • Annaya Holmes, 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 International Speech Contest tests the ability of Toastmasters to deliver a serious or inspirational message (although these speeches often contain an element of humor as well). The International Speech contest ultimately leads to the crowning of a World Champion of Public Speaking when competitors from across the world meet at the Toastmasters International Convention.

District 47 also held contests for Humorous Speech, Table Topics (impromptu speaking) and Evaluation (video replay coming soon).

Colton Stollenmaier, 1st Place
Trevor Lockhart, 2nd Place
Annaya Holmes, 3rd Place

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

Video: District Table Topics Impromptu Speaking Contest, 2019

Among the most important skills we learn in Toastmasters are “thinking on your feet” skills, tested in the Table Topics impromptu speaking contest by having competitors led into the room one at a time to respond to the same prompt (without the opportunity to hear how others had answered it).

This video includes speeches from all the competitors in the Toastmasters District 47 contest for South Florida and The Bahamas, ending with the winners chosen by the judges:

Dorrette Keen, 1st Place
Missy Monokian, 2nd Place
Evelyn Flores, 3rd Place

Each of these competitors had aready won at the level of their club, area, and division contests.

2019-2020 Contest Materials

All Contests

RoleItemItem
Number
All ParticipantsSpeech Contest Rulebook1171
Chief judgeNotification of Contest Winner Results Form1182
Voting and
tiebreaking judges
Judge’s Certification of Eligibility and
Code of Ethics
1170
CountersCounter’s Tally Sheet1176
TimersSpeech Contest Time Record Sheet and Instructions for Timers1175
ContestantsSpeakers Certification of Eligibility and Originality1183
 Speech Contestant Profile1189

International Speech Contest

RoleItemItem
Number
Voting judgesInternational Speech Contest  Judge’s
Guide and Ballot
1172
Tiebreaking judgesInternational Speech Contest 
Tiebreaking Judge’s Guide and Ballot
1188
ContestantsRegion Quarterfinal Video Release Form1193

Evaluation Contest

RoleItemItem
Number
Voting judgesEvaluation Contest  Judge’s Guide and Ballot1179
Tiebreaking judgesEvaluation Contest  Tiebreaking Judge’s Guide and Ballot1179A
ContestantsEvaluation Contestant Notes1177

Humorous Speech Contest

RoleItemItem
Number
Voting judgesHumorous Speech Contest  Judge’s Guide and Ballot1191
Tiebreaking judgesHumorous Speech Contest  Tiebreaking Judge’s Guide and Ballot1191A

Table Topics

RoleItemItem
Number
Voting judgesTable Topics Speech Contest  Judge’s Guide and Ballot1180
Tiebreaking judgesTable Topics Speech Contest  Tiebreaking Judge’s Guide and Ballot1180A

Compiled by District Contest Chairs:

  • Patricia Hamilton – Bahamas ()
  • Lois Margolin – Florida ( )

Also available for download as a PDF:

Finish Strong

Dear Fellow Toastmasters of District 47,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime, the opportunity to serve as your District Director. Thus far, it has been an outstanding year, and I appreciate the opportunity to interact and work with so many different teams.

The hard work over the past months is bearing dividends: we have 101 clubs that are already distinguished or better. In that category, the district is Smedley Distinguished. Congratulations on contributing to that achievement. Additionally, we have another 41 clubs that are almost distinguished. The data shows that for many of these clubs, the challenge is member payments, which means the district still has some work to do in that category as well as in paid clubs.

As we approach the end of the program year, I offer sincere congratulations to those clubs who actively seek to provide a quality experience for their members. I urge you to finish strong. While the club may have met the set goals, look out for that member who has not renewed, or that member who needs some encouragement to reach for the next designation. Let us leave no one behind.

District 47 stands on the cusp of something big. For the past 5 years, we have missed the Distinguished status, sometimes by very little. This year, it is within our reach. We just need to push a little harder to achieve our individual goals. If individual members are reaching their goals, then clubs, areas, divisions and districts will also achieve their goals.

Can we achieve it? I firmly believe we can. District 47 has shown its resilience and we are already winners for staying the course. Let us keep working, and end the year on a high.

Maurice Fuller