To visit other Toastmasters clubs around the world is now as simple as logging on.
Can I visit other Toastmasters clubs?
Have you ever wanted to travel the world? Explore exotic locales and meet the people who live there? Or visit the great cities of the world to broaden your understanding?
I always wanted to see Notre Dame in Paris. I’ve seen Notre Dame in Indiana, so it felt like something I ought to do.
Am I stuck here in Ohio?
No I am not. With Toastmasters, I can travel the world without worrying about airport security, missing my flight or hotel reservations.
I’ve talked a lot about the challenges we are facing in Toastmasters with our respective countries’ policies regard the pandemic. Today, let’s talk about the options we have as a result of them!
Are you interested in improving your communication and leadership skills? Then Toastmasters is for you. We teach public speaking and leadership skills in a safe, fun environment. This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.
Can I visit other Toastmasters clubs?
How many of you are like me? The local attractions that people travel great distances to see… I’ve never bothered. I lived in sight of the Pro Football Hall of Fame – that’s a big deal here in the US – and never visited. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Driven past it countless times, never gone in. Cedar Point, the home of the biggest, greatest roller coasters in the world (or so they tell me) – haven’t been there in decades.
I always invite people to come to Ohio – there’s a lot to do here. I’m proud of my state and glad to show it off to visitors, but I don’t actually go in the big attractions.
Is it the boredom of the familiar that makes me blasé about them? I don’t know – but I do know that I’m not alone in it.
My interest in travel has never been about the big stuff, except maybe Notre Dame or Mount Rushmore. I wanted the glimpse of the more intimate life – to get to know the people and how they live and think. I’ve never known how to do that kind of travel and now that I’ve got the time, we’ve got this little problem that’s keeping me very close to home for the foreseeable future.
But am I stuck in Ohio?
No, I’m not. Neither are all of you Toastmasters. We can visit other Toastmasters clubs from the safety of our homes.
With all clubs now meeting online, we aren’t stuck anywhere.
I’ve heard about a challenge that some Toastmasters have taken up – to travel the Toastmasters world by visiting one club in every district. There’s an additional challenge on top of visiting – to speak or evaluate in every district.
Visit other Toastmasters clubs with a speech
I don’t know about you – but I’m not handing over a speaking slot or an evaluation of one of my members to just anyone. I want to be sure that my member is getting a good evaluator. I don’t want to sit through someone’s speech just because they want to score another club on their records.
If you want to visit my club, you need to get the Zoom ID number. Because there are people who like to cause trouble, we don’t publish that number – you’ve got to contact us.
So if you’re a Toastmaster who wants to visit a new club, the first thing you need to do is find out if you’re welcome – and to prove your worth. The string of letters after your name might serve as an introduction that you know about Toastmasters, but I also happen to know that DTM also stands for Don’t Time Me – it’s a credential but not a proof of value.
- We’ve got guests who may join Toastmasters. Your speech has to demonstrate the best of Toastmasters core values and teaching.
- We’ve got new members who are committed to improving themselves with Toastmasters. You must support that with a good evaluation.
- We’ve got several members who have their DTMs. We know what we want for our club.
Therefore, contact the club before you arrive – at least a day.
Be polite. Introduce yourself with your current education status, sure, but also include any officer roles you currently hold. It gives you credibility and confidence that you’re a current member in good standing. If you’re not an officer, that’s fine, just be sure to say that. Current member in good standing.
Not that we wouldn’t love to see you come in and consider membership in our club if you’re not a current member – just saying. We need members just like every other club. If you’ve ever seen a Toastmaster appliance at Target, we’d still like to have you visit.
Here’s a draft of a letter I would love to see before you visit other Toastmasters clubs
Hi, I’m Todd Taylor, I’m president of Cuyahoga Falls Toastmasters. I would like to visit your club next week. As a DTM, I’m able to serve in any club role you might have open, but I’d really like a speech slot if you have one available.
Now, that’s important to us.
We know our members. We know that we have a wide range of tolerance at Cuyahoga Falls Toastmasters. But in some clubs, there may be some topics they to avoid to keep peace in the club. This isn’t Toastmasters’ policy, but some clubs have history, you know what I mean? You don’t want to come in and give a speech and walk away – and leave a trail of trouble behind you.
I’d wrap up my introduction email with
I’ll take any role you need, or just come in as a visitor. Just to confirm – your club meeting is on Tuesdays at 6:30 eastern time, right? Will you send me the Zoom link today?
That’s a pretty respectful letter and it lays out my interest, my credentials, what I’m asking for, and a willingness to serve in any way possible.
Of course, if you know someone from that club, it makes the introduction a little less formal.
Hey, Kim! I would love to visit your club! Got any open slots for next week?
works just as well for me if I know you.
Evaluations when you visit other Toastmasters clubs
Since some of these travelers to distant clubs are offering to evaluate a speaker, this creates a different scenario for me.
Personally, I have a thick hide and you can evaluate me and I’m okay with pretty much anything you say except to criticize my tiara.
Not – not really. You can criticize my tiara. Yes, I frequently wear one at my meetings. I can’t wear a hat over my headset, you know?
But not everyone is up for a stringent and pointed evaluation. Newbies in particular need a gentler, simpler evaluation style. If you’re volunteering to evaluate, ask the contact person for some insight into the speaker. Are they new? Which pathway? What level?
You can download every evaluation form for Pathways from the Toastmasters website. If you’re able, you can fill it out and email it to them. Personally, I have to print it out and mail my evals – but that’s the drawback to my older computer system.
With Zoom, you can send a private message and ask for specifics that the speaker would like you to focus on.
Toastmasters is fun and it should be a place for us for want to be there! You’re welcome to visit!
The District Challenge
Apparently, there is a challenge out amongst Toastmasters on the Official Toastmasters International Members Group on Facebook. This is not an officially sanctioned challenge as far as I know.
Most of our online clubs last year are international. There was a lot of attention paid to time zones, as I recall. People would join clubs that met at convenient times, regardless of their local times. I don’t know that the gentleman from Australia was in his pajamas, but I seem to recall attending a meeting with him that was very early in the morning for him on the other side of the planet from my 7 pm meeting.
Now that we’re all online, we don’t have to just visit the international clubs. We can visit everyone who has moved to a platform we can access.
How can I visit other Toastmasters clubs?
Logistically, how are they pulling this off? I suspect that the Find a Club option on Toastmasters.org is getting a lot of hits. People are reaching out via social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit. Is your club taking advantage of this world-wide reach?
As we zoom around the world, from Toastmasters meeting to another, consider these things:
- Burnout is a real thing. I don’t want to be the 3 Toastmasters meeting today you’ve visited.
- We’re not here for you to achieve your goal. Please remember, if your goal is to visit clubs in every district, the people in these clubs aren’t there for your pleasure – they’re people with their own goals and plans. Your interaction with them needs to give them value.
- Time zones. Look, I want, I crave, I need an international time standard that we can all adhere to. Yes, we have the Coordinated Universal Time option, but who’s using it? It’s not my fault if you don’t know what time it is in your location when we’re having our meeting. I’ll be at the meeting. If you’re not sure – figure it out. And for clubs who want guests, posting the UTC is probably a good idea.
- Say thanks. Don’t blow it for the next potential guest by being rude or disrespectful. I know Toastmasters aren’t supposed to say thank you at the end of your speech, but do say thank you to the club who has given you a speaking slot. Promote them on your various social media. It does help us spread our reach to other potential members, especially on Facebook and Instagram.
Take Toastmasters with you when you travel
I know a fellow District 10 Toastmaster who makes Toastmasters a part of her vacations. She takes the magazine for a photo shoot. She visited clubs in Asia when she traveled there. Every one of those clubs inspired her and she’s used that to encourage others in their Toastmasters journeys.
I’m probably never going to go to Bali like she did. But I can visit a club there if they’re online.
So can you! Will you take the challenge to visit a club in every district in the world? Why not take the challenge of visiting a new club in your district?
Or, if you’re not a Toastmaster yet, visit a local club online. We’ll be glad to see you there.
Wrap it up, Kim
My thanks to Todd for helping me with today’s podcast.
Our music is from Incompetech.filmmusic.io.
Toastmasters 101 podcast is a production of Toastmasters District 10.
Stay hopeful. Stay healthy – and visit clubs while you stay home!