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.

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.

Video: Humorous Speech Contest Winners for 2019

The winners of the recent contest for Humorous Speech, held at the District 47 Annual Conference, were:

  • Missy Monikian, 1st Place
  • Brajesh Singh, 2nd Place
  • Leah Von Salvo, 3rd Place

To get to this level, each of them had won contests at the level of their club, area, and division.

Missy Monokian, 1st Place
Brajesh Singh, 2nd Place
Leah Von Salvo, 3rd Place

2019-2020 Contest Materials

See the contests resources page for the most current information.

All Contests

Role Item Item
Number
All
Participants
Speech Contest Rulebook 1171
Chief
judge
Notification of Contest Winner Results Form 1182
Voting and
tiebreaking judges
Judge’s Certification of Eligibility and
Code of Ethics
1170
Counters Counter’s Tally Sheet 1176
Timers Speech Contest Time Record Sheet and Instructions
for Timers
1175
Contestants Speakers Certification of Eligibility and
Originality
1183
  Speech Contestant Profile 1189

International Speech Contest

Role Item Item
Number
Voting
judges
International Speech Contest  Judge’s
Guide and Ballot
1172
Tiebreaking
judges
International Speech Contest 
Tiebreaking Judge’s Guide and Ballot
1188
Contestants Region Quarterfinal Video Release Form 1193

Evaluation Contest

Role Item Item
Number
Voting
judges
Evaluation
Contest  Judge’s Guide and Ballot
1179
Tiebreaking
judges
Evaluation
Contest  Tiebreaking Judge’s Guide and
Ballot
1179A
Contestants Evaluation
Contestant Notes
1177
     

Humorous Speech Contest

Role Item Item
Number
Voting
judges
Humorous
Speech Contest  Judge’s Guide and
Ballot
1191
Tiebreaking
judges
Humorous
Speech Contest  Tiebreaking Judge’s
Guide and Ballot
1191A

Table Topics

Role Item Item
Number
Voting
judges
Table
Topics Speech Contest  Judge’s Guide
and Ballot
1180
Tiebreaking
judges
Table
Topics Speech Contest  Tiebreaking
Judge’s Guide and Ballot
1180A

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

Victories and Challenges of a New Corporate Club

By Linda Chapman, DTM

Simply as a distraction after my dad’s passing, I joined The Palm Beach Toastmasters Club in August 2016. But Toastmasters became so much more—confidence in communication, leveraged leadership, and relevant relationships. I wanted to share the benefits by letting more people know about this well-kept secret that I discovered in a random google search. Where better to start than in my office at the Clerk & Comptroller, Palm Beach County? As Supervisor, Operations Technical Training, I am closely connected with over 500 new hires and tenured staff. All new hires are trained by my training team and tenured staff often attend training for new system rollouts or remedial initiatives.

What I did not anticipate was the cultural change a new Toastmasters club would represent for the organization. It took months of research, several presentations to the Executive team, providing proof that other government agencies had vibrant clubs as part of their organization, and demonstrating the benefits that accrued to these organizations and their staff to shift mindsets. Eventually, it was agreed that the concept aligned with the Clerk’s organizational vision, mission, and values. The projected educational benefits were sufficient that the HR department would fund the semiannual TI dues, but staff would bear the $20 initiation fee. But here’s the catch: the accounting department is only willing to process payments twice a year allowing only two opportunities for members to join: September and March. So many rules! In fact, a rule book is provided to each member. To be eligible, the staff member has to be off probation. The club started with 27 brand new members on April 30 2018. Only two had ever heard about Toastmasters before. A meeting facility was provided and employees meet during their lunch break.

Next up, how is a Toastmasters club fun with no finances? No club fees were assessed since the goal was to make it comfortable and easy for any employee to join. No supplies were provided by the organization and the officers who were mostly exempt staff dug into their own pockets for basic supplies. A member constructed an ahm-box and 25 cents per “Ahm” as assessed at each club meeting. For the first membership drive in September, officers purchased pizza with their own funds and gained 15 leads, which ultimately converted to 10 members. During the winter contests, another $50 dollars was raised when at the last moment, I pulled together a 50/50 raffle. The treasurer used some of those funds to host an ice-cream sale and netted $209. In early December, the deputy treasurer hosted a Hidden Treasure Sale which netted $790. Some team members participated in the Marathon of the Palm Beaches “Wacky Water Station” contest one Sunday morning. This involved arriving at the assigned location at 5 AM, dressing in wacky costumes, motivating runners, and passing out water and Gatorade, but it earned 1st place and $250 for the club. #clerkspeaksquad is “rich” now with over $1000 in the bank. Members are all in and it has been humbling to see their engagement and growth as communicators and leaders. The gains in their confidence is beyond expectations. They report more confidence in job interviews, interacting with customers and at various external organizations. A member placed second in the area contest and another won a humor contest at an advanced club.

Every year, #clerkspeaksquad is only allowed four fundraisers. Yes that is another rule, so the club must be strategic with plans for 2019. Any ideas that worked for your club that might help our ”corporate” club are welcomed, and if you’d like details of any of our fundraisers, feel free to reach out. If you don’t have a club at your office, start the conversation about one. Stay tuned for D47PR public outreach campaign starting this month!

Linda Chapman is Founder and President of #clerkspeaksquad Toastmasters located in West Palm Beach Florida. She is also Public Relations Manager for District 47 south Florida and the Bahamas.