MICROTRAINING: ONLINE CONNECTIVISM FOR TOASTMASTERS

My passion is for designing effective online training for learners. Over the last decade I have participated in many projects that have collaboratively designed, developed and facilitated online learning programs for elearners in adult education facilities in Australia.

During my 15 years in Toastmasters I have seen the need for online training that would provide a choice for those club officers who are regionally based and remote from capital cities in their countries. They need online opportunities to build their skills, work on projects to enhance their clubs, and network with others who perform similar roles; using structured training methods.

In 2016, when online clubs for Toastmasters emerged, my plans turned towards methods for designing, developing and facilitating online training for their club officers. During my six months as mentor for one such online club, I focused on providing online training for them. This was a High Performance Leadership project with the vision of trialling  Club Officer Training Online an online ‘self-paced course’ accompanied by a series of online workshops.

Lessons learned from that project included possible solutions to the following set of questions:

  1. How can you design and tailor training for club officers in an online club?
  2. How can you develop effective training activities for an online club?
  3. How can you provide any time networking opportunities for participants?
  4. How can effective real time sessions be scheduled for online clubs?
  5. How can you motivate the club officers to undertake the training?

The process used for this HPL project involved three elements:

  • Base Camp – a self-paced suite of modules accessible at any time in Moodlecloud
  • Communication Channel – a closed social media group in Facebook
  • Workshops – a series of real time one hour events using web conferencing tools

infrastructure

The MoodleCloud learning management system was selected as I was already skilled in building courses in this environment and had many years of experience in being a facilitator. However the use of a ‘gated online space’ requiring password entrance was not familiar to participants and was not used in the way it was anticipated.

The Facebook group T.O.A.S.T. (Training Online for Advanced Strategic Toastmasters) was created to enable conversations, notifications and follow up recordings. The group enabled the creation of Events with automatic reminders to the participants.

Click Meeting was selected initially, then discarded as it did not measure up to the quality of audio and video required for the online sessions. GoToMeeting was preferred by participants.

The COTO online workshop experience was scheduled during June/July and featured a series of real time workshops; one per week for six weeks. However, not every officer could attend at the time selected or for all of the sessions.

Lessons Learned: select an online space that does not require any logins for the content and use online social media spaces and web conferencing tools that are familiar to the participants. Most importantly design the learning experiences to fit with the time zone and time availability of the participants.

Club Officer Training Online: Influences

During the next couple of weeks I plan to develop and explore alternative online Microlearning training experiences that would be appropriate for club officers in land based clubs. I acknowledge that frequently, the biggest ‘barriers’ to effective training is the time required to devote to it, including the travel time to attend f2f events. Toastmasters are busy people and effective training will need to fit within their available time OR it will NOT be given a priority rating. Advanced Toastmasters will also NOT be engaged with regurgitated learning that is irrelevant to them. They want timely, relevant, effective and engaging training in small, easily digested chunks.

Toastmaster training for busy club officers could benefit from a Microlearning approach.

Microlearning is the method of breaking up longer courses into their core ideas and delivering them in bite-sized, digestible pieces. Each module consists of just one snackable idea and learners can chow through as many modules as they have time for in each sitting – then return to where they left off the next time they have five minutes to spare.

Source: CourseGenius Blog

A Microlearning approach that takes into consideration the needs and time availability of the learners, would suit Toastmasters.

Club Officer Training Online: Recommendations

I plan to blend the theories of Microtraining and Connectivism when designing the online experiences for busy Toastmaster club officers.

Microtraining

Effective MicroTraining that will fit into the two training months of the year, February and August, would suit the club officers of any Toastmasters club.

The Microtraining method is an approach aimed at supporting informal learning processes in organizations and companies. Learning in this sense means that an active process of knowledge creation is taking place within social interactions, but outside of formal learning environments or training facilities. This process can be facilitated by well-designed and structured systems and by supporting ways of communication and collaboration, like the Microtraining method does. A Microtraining arrangement comprises a time span of 15–20 minutes for each learning session, which can activate and maintain learning processes for a longer period if bundled into series. A Microtraining session can be held face-to-face, online or embedded in an e-learning scenario.

Source: Wikipedia

Connectivism

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories.

Source: Connectivism by George Siemens

For Toastmasters, connectivism is the effective networking between people that capitalises on the existing relationships and communications between club officers and clubs in Areas, Divisions and Districts.

connectivism

Stage One: Preparation

I will be guided by these steps in preparing effective training experiences:

  1. research the needs of the club officers as online learners
  2. network with other districts who provide online training
  3. collaborate with a team of trainers who are skilled and experienced in designing effective online experiences for Toastmasters

Stage Two: Design and development

The team will be guided by these steps in designing effective training experiences:

  1. create an online space in which the design of the training can take place
  2. design the elements of an effective Club Officer Training Online program
  3. develop the elements as Microlearning components and real time online Microtraining workshops

Stage Three: Trial and facilitate

The team will be guided by these steps in facilitating effective training experiences:

  1. promote and invite participation from officers in regional and remote land based clubs in Australia
  2. schedule and facilitate a series of 3 real time online workshops to fit the time availability of participants
  3. tailor the program to include any time access to the Microlearning components

At the conclusion of the trial, report on the lessons learned and improvements to be incorporated.

This is the beginning of an innovative approach to Club Officer Training Online!

microtraining

 

Online Alliance

Placeholder Image

The Online Club phenomenon is travelling at the speed of light! In just nine months Toastmasters has birthed seven new online clubs; while two more pre-charter clubs are gestating. There was a great deal of celebration during those months as online leadership groups began to emerge in social media and online club hopping became a trend. Online executive teams developed new ways of club management online and online club membership grew exponentially. We now have an overall membership in chartered online clubs of 160+ with several dual memberships of two or more online clubs. Online clubs are developing teams of executives – including those who fulfil an assistant role.

division-0-area-1-26-november-2016

Now we are getting somewhere! Perhaps in 2017 we will reach ‘critical mass’ and have a stronger presence among the 119 clubs in District U.

Teams of online club executives are meeting together to discuss the dynamic nature of Toastmaster Online Club experiences. The Online Alliance emerges!

PURPOSE OF ONLINE ALLIANCE!
Collaborative support team for inter-club communication, education and strategic planning for Online Toastmasters Clubs

A social media presence was established and key players were invited in to share ideas and advice on all things ‘online club officers’ should know. This group has now grown to 40+ members.

ALLIANCE ISSUES

The first Online Alliance Council meeting was held on November 20/21 in the GoToMeeting space hosted by the Firebirds Collective. Club officers and leaders began the process of forming a new community and shaping the future of their alliance. Several agenda items were discussed and among them these significant issues emerged.

  • INTER-CLUB ONLINE CONTESTS
  • ONLINE TRAINING
  • PATHWAYS FOR ONLINE CLUBS
  • ONLINE ALLIANCE VISION, MISSION AND WEB PRESENCE

We are moving ahead on the idea of Online Contests and this has sparked some interesting debate about the type of contests, how to host, chair and judge them. The first inter-club contest is being planned for February 2017 and will be hosted by the Witty Storytellers Online.

We are keen to design, host and facilitate a series of Online Training opportunities for Online Club Officers and that is where our next main focus will be for the new teams of online club officers in 2017. The Alliance is currently supporting teams of resource developers who are focused on specific aspects of such online training.

The new Pathways program, due for release in 2017, will have significant impact and importance for online clubs and their members. The Alliance includes several members who are current Ambassadors who will form a small team to discuss what Online Clubs will need from the Pathways Guides.

We continue to discuss the vision and mission for the Online Alliance in our social media group and small teams of Technology Managers are now emerging to consider how and where the Alliance should have a web presence.

The next Online Alliance meeting is being planned for a 15/16 January 2017 schedule and will be hosted by the Great White North Online.

If you are a club officer or assistant club officer for an online club, please contact Carole McCulloch for access to the current Online Alliance social media group.

… in the galaxy U, far, far away …

 

star-wars-with-text-v2

The Firebirds burst onto the scene, resplendent in their Phoenix Rising colours. They are known as the Firebirds Collective.

firebirds-logo-transparent

Firebirds leaders completed Jedi Master training, secretly, under the guidance of their Jedi Mentors and advanced their skills as polished speakers and moderators online. Their training back then was all done in situ; in every meeting there was was something new to learn. The Firebirds became well known for flying into the fire and re-emerging from the ashes; their best learning was born out of adversity and challenge.

The collective of Firebirds leaders are now well known for their particular skills and each one has contributed to the emergence of this new force, the Onliner Alliance.

  • Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (Susan Ellsworth) – fearless leader and Jedi Master, defied the Empire and provided the drive for the Firebirds to ‘strike back’
  • Han Solo (Ian Murray) – thought leader and Jedi Master, provided the guidance for the team leaders; giving us wings to fly in the Millenium Falcon (better known as the Firebirds Google Site)
  • Princess Leia (Carole McCulloch) – coach, mentor and Jedi Master with attitude, managed the easy-Speak infrastructure for the Firebirds and inspired them to ‘become one with the force’ by training online.
  • Chewbacca (Brian Dodd) – fearless Wooki Jedi Master who speaks many languages of the Order, ensured that the Firebirds reached the final destination,  Planet Charter, with Empirical Data in tact.
  • Luke Skywalker (Darryl Heron) – Force-sensitive human male Jedi Master, was instrumental in navigating our presence online; well known for podcasts with members of the Order.
  • Yoda (Julie Kertesz) – renowned within the Order for her wisdom,  a legendary Jedi Master and stronger than most in her connection with the Force (`Away put your weapon!’). She trained us all in the power of storytelling.
  • C-3PO (Manhal Shukayr) – Jedi Master and Technician provided comic relief throughout the journey of the Firebirds, and managed their own Rebel Base on the Ice Planet GoToMeeting.
  • R2-D2 (Mathilde Fischer) – Jedi Master and skilled in the art of data storage;  consistently recorded the minutes of meetings and stored them deep within the Firebirds archives.
  • Lando Calrissian (Kim Hahn) – rebel Jedi Master who has remained strong with the Force, has now developed a new team of Jedi Knights Down Under; and they rejoin the Alliance with renewed strength.

Together the Firebirds have forged new practices, new pathways and new opportunities for the Rebels of the Onliner Alliance. They reached the Planet Charter in March 2016, and formed new visions and missions for the future. New Jedi Knight Teams from across the Alliance have now emerged – ‘strong with the force’ – as leaders of the Firebirds.

  • Rey  (Lorraine Taylor) new Jedi Master and visionary, is now leading the new Jedi Knights with missions far beyond the dreams of the Order.
  • Finn (Samir Malak) is steering the Star Program for Firebirds as the leader of Jedi Knights Education team. This new team includes Martie Ogborn and Lorraine Taylor.
  • Chewbacca (Brian Dodd) leads the team of Jedi Knights of Membership to maintain and build our membership strength. This team includes Peter Kangas and Dienebe Deme.
  • Poe Dameron (Krishn Ramchurn) stepped up – as a new Jedi Knight and talented squadron leader –  to support his team leader Darryl Heron and ensure that Firebirds online presence remains strong with the Force.
  • BB-8 (Belinda Kent) Jedi Master of the Bitcoin and keeper of the purse has been instrumental in streamlining the process of funding the Firebirds initiative.

They are collaboratively building further Firebirds infrastructure on the Planet Trello – their task board for the Force!

Julie Kertesz and her team of Witty Storytellers lead the way in bringing their Jedi Knights from the Planet Witty, to the Planet Charter in September 2016. This new online club, under the command of squadron leader Svetlana Rakhimova, is strengthening the Alliance. Their skilled Jedi Knights include Michelle Alba-Lim, Mathilde Fischer, Brian Dodd and Manhal Shukayr.

Susan Ellsworth and her team of Great White North Onliners from the Planet GWNO followed that lead and quickly brought another tribe to the Planet Charter in October 2016. Their skilled Jedi Knights include Suzette Leeming, Moses Cherrington, Steve Davis, Alicia Choi Darcy, Michelle Rich, Phyllis Harmon, and Ashwani Kumar Sinha.

Kim Hahn and her skilled Jedi Knights from the Planet TWB, are following close behind and will reach the Planet Charter very soon. This team from Down Under is still developing and includes: Carole McCulloch, Moses Cherrington, Elise Lonsdale, Charlie Durber and Phiona Rhodes.

Akira Sasaki has his Jedi Knights poised and ready to join the Alliance as he develops a small group of early adopters from the Planet Fuji. Members of the Alliance are rushing to his aid as we speak.

Small gatherings of these tribes are now occurring in separate parts of the Planet, celebrating their victories. Soon all tribes of the Onliner Alliance will meet at the mass gathering to be held on the Star Ship Alliance Zero One in November 2016.

All members of the Onliner Alliance have been consistently winning the battles with the Storm Troopers (the Toastmasters Empire) and the impact of Darth Vader (and the influence of the Dark Side) is beginning to fade.

There is a new awakening, can you feel it?

Cue the music:

Cue the references:

Star Wars Official Website and the Star Wars Storyline at Wikipedia and  The Star Wars Wiki at Wookipedia

LOOK FOR THE SPECIAL STAR WARS EVENT FOR THE FIREBIRDS COLLECTIVE ON 13 NOVEMBER 2016 AT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

Participate in the fun by joining us online. You can be a visitor by creating a user account in easy-Speak and self-selecting to attend the meetings at: http://firebirds.easy-speak.org

Harvesting Online Training Resources: Contests

Club Contests

  • How do you prepare for land based Club or Area Contests, as a Club Officer?
  • What resources would you recommend to assist in the training of Contest Chairs, Contest Judges and Area Director teams?
  • How would you plan, schedule and facilitate contests for Online Clubs?

During September I have been searching for useful sites and resources to recommend to club officers in Toastmasters clubs, especially during times when the focus is on Contests. The following websites from our Australian and New Zealand districts may be useful for you.

District 17 Western Australia site lists club officer resources including information on all seven executive roles for traditional land based clubs. One collection you may find really useful at this time of the year is the page for Contests, thank you David Nicholas, webmaster.

District 69 Queensland pages required a little more digging to get to their nuggets of information, however there are some very useful resources for Area Directors. I was especially pleased to find a collection of these that could be used for Area Director teams.

area-director-collection-of-resources

District 70 New South Wales and Canberra has a great set of web-based Contest Chair Checklists and an excellent set of templates, scripts and running sheets in the repository of Contest Files.

District 72 New Zealand provided a list of video tutorials and many more useful resources for my research into Contests. Some of these are part of the Toastmasters International site, but were not known to me before today. In particular I liked the Contest Tutorials: an overview of The Contest and Roles, instructions about When You’re the Judge and guidance in completing the Judges Guide and Ballot – I will be sending these to my team of Judges.

District 73 Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania resource pages include a great set of Frequently Asked Questions about the Contest Rules.

District 90 New South Wales, District and Club Officer resources pages provide very useful downloadable templates and documents for your Contests. For example this Contest Budget Template or this spreadsheet for your Area Contest. From their website you can link directly to the websites of other Australian and New Zealand Toastmaster Districts.

Finally, you would be wise to join the Resources for Toastmasters Facebook Group where you will find shared resources and great discussions about them.

Online Contests

  • Online Club Contests, is this possible?
  • How can we run contests online for the global online clubs?
  • Online Area Contests, is that really a potential?
  • What would we need to get those happening?

The Firebirds Collective recently conducted a successful Club Contest for Humorous Speeches. Three of our advanced members stepped up to compete and prepared their 5-7 minute humorous speeches. The event was scheduled in easy-Speak using a special Contest template where speakers, judges, and other roles could be self-selected.

The speaking part was easy; the judging part was a little more complex. Prior to the contest date, speakers were asked to complete their eligibility forms and send to the Contest Chair, and all judges were asked to complete their eligibility forms and send to the Chief Judge. All participants and audience met in our GoToMeeting room and we used the Online Club Contest process as a ‘lesson’ for all Firebirds.

The Contest Chair briefed the speakers on screen prior to the contest start, and used an innovative method of selecting their speaking order. The Chief Judge briefed the judges on screen in the segment prior to start time and all agreed on a simple process for submitting their votes privately to the counter, off screen. (Clever use of technology in the background.)

Contest Chair, listeners and timers were present on screen as the Speakers were introduced and then each speaker delivered their speech in the order selected. The usual minute of silence was used in between to allow the judges to deliberate.

Speakers were interviewed whilst we awaited the vote count and the results to be delivered by the Chief Judge offline. All contestants (Svetlana Rakhimova UK, Isabel Carter NZ, and Brian Dodd CA) were shown their Contest Participant certificates and the first and second place winners were shown their certificates, on screen. The two winners were able to announce their success in social media.

I can envisage how any online club might do the International Speech contest in a similar way, and I am sure they can successfully run a fair Evaluation contest online. However, I am now looking for innovative ideas now on how to run a fair Table Topics contest online. Post your ideas here or in the Online Training for Toastmasters Facebook group.

Then, of course, the next question is, can we schedule an online Area Contest for Division O, Area 1?

I am working on that! This will be one agenda item for the current leaders of the ‘onliners’ in the first ever Online Area Council meeting in November!

 

 

 

Change of Focus: Online Training

As I move into the realm of online training for Toastmasters, I will change the focus of the next few posts to the needs of Club Officers! Wherever you may be.

I want to focus on the importance of Online Training and how this can overcome many of the perceived barriers to successful Club Officer Training.

As Officers in Clubs, across the world, you have been attending specialised training sessions for being effective members of your club’s executive team. You have faced ‘Moments of Truth‘; you have collaborated on ‘Club Success Plans‘; you have unpacked the ‘Club Officer Handbook‘ and you have networked with other club officers in your area.

If you were strategically located, you will have been able to travel to a venue near to your club for this one-day training. Groups of club officers from your area were able to exchange their views, experiences and goals for carrying out the tasks associated with their roles, in a face-to-face setting. In the space of 2-3 hours you may have interacted with a number of new Toastmaster friends and learned some new ways of being a club officer. All good! But what do you do with that? Where do you go next for further training?

If you were regionally isolated, you would have faced the challenge of a long journey there and back again. If you were not available on that day you would not have been able to capture the learning that took place, even after the event. Regional Toastmasters are disadvantaged.

The face-to-face one-day club officer training does not meet the needs of ALL executive teams!

Now consider the content and impact of the club officer training events and ask yourselves these questions:

  • What were your learning expectations of the events?
  • What if the training sessions did not meet your needs?
  • Did the training experiences justify your attendance?
  • What were the takeaways you gathered from your training event?
  • Are you satisfied that you can now fulfil your club officer role with confidence?
  • How will you continue to communicate with the trainers and other clubs in your area?

How can the Club Officers’ ongoing learning experiences be improved? 

In my world as a connected educator I know that one-day training does not ’empower’ or ‘train’ – it simply sets the scene for your own enquiry based learning. Were your questions answered?

As adult learners we do expect to bring our prior experiences to the training table and have our opinions and ideas valued. Did your one-day training do that for you?

As Toastmasters and Club Officers we need to be able to work together as a team to manage our clubs. Do you now have the team collaboration skills that you need?

My suggestions for improving our current Club Officer Training are based on my experiences as a learner, as a teacher/trainer and as an experienced Club Officer.

Change the Focus: from trainer led training one off sessions, to a series of learner focused workshops!

Districts are mandated to schedule Club Leadership Training (CLT)  sessions in August and February and we know that in order to earn an extra point in the Distinguished Club Program, at least four officers must attend.  Most clubs manage to do that faithfully every year, even though they may have experienced that same learning each time. Some clubs do not manage to send their officers for CLT and often those that do, may miss out on DCP points simply because their membership base has been reduced. This is a huge discouragement for those clubs, especially in regional areas, where numbers are small.

There must be a better way of motivating club officers to attend training!

What if you could access some of your Club Officer Leadership Training from Home? Let me explore the possibilities here with you!

  • We have the technology – a plethora of web conferencing tools to choose from
  • We have the motivation – most Toastmasters are used to ongoing training
  • We need the skills – Toastmasters are often required to participate or present in webinars
  • We need the convenience – many regionally isolated Toastmasters need access online
  • We can train the trainers – our Toastmasters skill base includes skilled online trainers
  • We can support the officers – District officers can provide a value added CLT experience

Toastmaster teams in some Districts are currently working on improvements for their CLT programs; District 21 and 73 to name two. We can learn much from those who have already explored the value of Online Training. A small team of enthusiasts are exploring a solution to the need for ongoing training opportunities for club officers online.

One Solution!

District 73 Initiative: Regional Toastmasters: Club Officer Series

slide image for flyer

COTO workshop 1 flyer final

More details here

Online Club Leaders take a leap of faith!

As I write my blog post for this week, I have been reflecting on the many hurdles that we need to overcome in order to get our newest global online clubs across the line. The biggest hurdle has  been the lack of any District support … that’s because they are Undistricted. So a few onliners are taking a leap of faith in filling the gap – supporting where we can.

Think about the support currently in place for starting up new clubs of the ‘bricks and mortar’ variety; first you have the guidelines provided by Toastmasters International; second you have a New Clubs team at WHQ from whom you can ask questions; third you have a Club Extension Chair and a Club Growth Director in your District – to name a few. This is NOT yet in place for the new global online clubs. Instead the process is being supported by leaders from existing global online clubs, especially the Firebirds Collective. We look forward to the day when more support from TI emerges, especially as the number of Chartered Clubs in Division O, Area 1 begin to grow during the latter half of this year.

Note: we are likely to have 7-8 global online clubs by the end of 2016. We need District support for online clubs!

Second big hurdle is to gain potential membership using only online tools. Social Media has been the big player in this arena, as the new clubs form communities of practice in Facebook groups first. This is an important first step to ensure that there is a critical mass of potential charter members who are willing to make the financial and attendance commitments. Three of the five prospective clubs are visible and active in social media and time will enable them to grow in confidence and make their presence known. There are two other prospective clubs who are just emerging now and we are trying to reach them to offer support.  The onliners need to be a community before they becomes a club!

Third big hurdle is for the club leaders to determine which online web conferencing tool to use for their online meetings. There seem to be two preferred tools for the clubs I know; GoToMeeting or Zoom. You can find reviews on the functionality of each of these from Review.com.  If you are looking for video tutorials, GoToMeeting is well supported with their video tutorials in their YouTube channel. Take a look at my post called Select and Trial Online Meetings Spaces for further information. Online Clubs need a robust meeting space with easy to use: web cam and audio options; recording functions; and scheduling facilities!

An associated hurdle is the issue of paying for the selected service. Currently the GoToMeeting cost of approximately $400 US per year, is prohibitive for clubs of small numbers. Those clubs with a critical mass of 35-40 will be able to spread the cost over their membership more easily. I think it would be strategic and beneficial if TI could provide a shared meeting platform to save the expenses being faced by every online club investing in an account with GoToMeeting for example. Online Clubs need an affordable meeting platform?

Fourth big hurdle is for the club to work through the paperwork required for chartering and streamline the process to fit with their online status. This will usually take longer as club leaders discuss with their potential members how to send their signed application forms and make electronic payments. With members located in different time zones there are usually delays in this process. The club Treasurer will need to ensure that they have a suitable budget that includes the cost of TI fees and the upfront cost of their selected web conferencing tool. Online Club fees need to be $35 US or less!

The fifth hurdle for the online club leader, is to determine a workable communication plan and get buy-in from each club officer. The amount of electronic communication between members of online clubs and their executive teams are likely to be greater than those of land-based clubs and systems need to be established to manage that communication process. Some clubs make use of social media posts only; others make use of task management tools such as Trello; and most will use club management tools such as easy-Speak. Online Clubs need a SMART online communication plan!

A final hurdle has emerged – especially in the Facebook groups – the voices of those who are against the formation of online clubs. For some of the leaders, this has become distracting and distasteful. All of these online clubs are being initiated and managed by enthusiastic volunteers from several different countries. My view is that they each deserve some respect for what they are doing and would benefit from greater support rather than an onslaught of negativity in social media. Online Clubs need your support!

Come and join the Online Toastmasters Facebook group  (already supported by over 1300 members) and find out when and where the newest online clubs meet. Download the latest file called Online Club Meeting Details?

Club Promotions with easy-Speak

  • Did you know that the front Home page of your site is the first landing page for visitors?
  • Do you know how to add pizzazz to the Home page and invite your visitors in?
  • How will you make use of the Membership tools for promoting your club?
  • Are you the Web Master, VPE, VPM or VPPR for your club?

Then this article is for you! Let’s visit the King Arthur’s Playground easy-test site and see how the team are managing their club promotions.

Step 1: Manage the Home Page

new home page 2 aug 16

Home Page Essentials

First we need a welcome message; bright colorful imagery; correct  meeting information; and a link to being a guest. In my opinion Peter Pan (IT Support) is providing all of these clearly on the home page of King Arthur’s, shown above. Some of these web parts are automatically in place for you once you have completed the Club Setup. For instance the Meeting dates and times; locations and Club Affiliations. You don’t have to do anything more to those! How easy is that!

Next we want to consider what further information our visitors will need and add those web parts to the Home page. Background story for the club, advice to participants and a list of future meetings. See our King Arthur’s example below where a couple of extra web parts have been added: Toastmasters Mission, Toasty-Tip and a link to Facebook. This is what you see when you scroll further down the Home page.

new home page 2 aug second half member view

My recommendation is that you choose the web parts carefully to help in the promotion process. I also advocate that one member of the team should be the one to update frequently and add extra notifications of upcoming special events in one or two lines.

For example:

“King Arthur’s Club has scheduled their Club Contests during August – come and see how they shape up to represent us in the Area Contests this year.”

Step 2: Manage Member Status

Minnie Mouse (VPE) at King Arthur’s, is now planning to ensure that any visitors to the club, enticed by the information on the home page, will be able to receive email notifications about future meetings.

minnie edits member status in control panel

She needs to open the Control Panel for this and enter the Member Status screen. Above is what she sees when selecting the Member status of Guest! Minnie ensures that the options for receiving Meeting emails is selected as Yes. (Note: if she is editing here, she must click the Save icon at the bottom of this screen to action that change for all Guests.)

After receiving information from a Guest who has visited the home page and now wants to be a Guest at the next meeting, but is not sure of how to do that, Minnie can now add the new person to site as a User with status of Guest.

adding new guest

This new user with Guest status will receive the Meeting email reminders that are sent out by Minnie when the Agenda is ready.

Step 3: Manage Prospective Members

Whilst Minnie is checking the User List, she finds that there are a few prospective members who need following up. She sends that list to the VPM Gandalf the Wizard.

User list of guestsGandalf can now enter the User List and select each one of the Prospective Members and then select the email icon to send a standard message to them both.

For instance:

“Thanks for being a Guest at King Arthur’s, we valued your attendance. If you are considering joining the club please do contact me by reply email.”

Gandalf could also followup on the Guests who have visited the clubs and change their status to Prospective Member if required.

By using the easy-Speak Member Management tools the Club Executive Officers can all work together to promote, recruit and sign up new members!

Some of these steps will be featured in the upcoming Webinar Series from the easy-Speak Help Desk! Details of these are located here for promoting to your easy-Speak colleagues.

You will need to RSVP and register for these by joining the easy-speak Toastmasters Community.