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club and district leaders

5 Tips for Planning a Successful Speech Contest

Learn About Important Organizational Updates

The Board of Directors met on August 10-11. As part of the discussions, they approved a two-phased approach for integrating virtual clubs into the Toastmasters experience. Phase 1, which is effective immediately, allows for virtual attendance. In Phase 2, which is expected to begin by mid-2016, clubs may charter as virtual (online only) clubs. In addition, many changes were made to policies and protocols. Find out which changes impact you and your club.

Find Yourself and Your Friends in the Convention Photos

VPPRs and PRMs: How to Gain Media Attention with News Releases

A news release is one of the best tools for getting publicity for your club or district. Use sample news releases from the Public Relations section of to spotlight a member or promote an event.


Extended Dues Deadline

Your club can still earn Distinguished Club credit if you submit renewal dues by October 10 via Club Central. Please follow these steps: Click your club name and number. Under Conduct Club Business, click "Pay dues." Select "in the future" and click "Submit." All orders with a future membership end date will appear. To submit payments, select the appropriate members and follow the prompts.

Promote Your Club to Prospective Members with New Fliers

Learn Beyond Your Club, Attend a District Conference

Network with like-minded peers and gain valuable tips for your personal and professional development. The next round of conferences are held in October or November. Visit your
district’s website for details.

District Leaders 

Finance Managers: The Quarter 1 Profit & Loss Statement Is Due October 31

To meet this deadline, please complete these steps: (1) Enter all financial transactions through September 30 into the district accounting system; (2) reconcile bank accounts for each month through September 30; (3) notify World Headquarters to close the books; and (4) email the completed Monthly Narratives and Certification spreadsheet.

Area Directors: Why Club Visits Are Important

Help your clubs grow and maintain quality by visiting them. The guide Serving Clubs through Visits can help you navigate the varied environments you'll encounter. If you submit reports through District Central by November 30, your area will earn credit toward the Distinguished Area Program.

Resources to the Rescue

The Resource Library provides links to valuable information, such as key forms and manuals, that district leaders need throughout the year. They range from the District Leadership Handbook to the District Nominations Schedule.

How New Clubs Can Earn Credit for DCP

Clubs that charter between September 1 and November 30 can earn credit toward Distinguished Club Program goals for the first training session. Four club officers must be trained in-person by an authorized district representative. Program Quality Directors can email the following information outside of the standard submission dates: the club number, member names and corresponding officer position.

Is Your District on Track to Distinguished Recognition?

Check the status of your district’s progress in the District Recognition Program by checking the dashboard and Reporting Requirements


5 Tips for Planning a Successful Speech Contest

Become an expert speech contest planner with advice from Stephanie Hooper, DTM, of Washington state, and Ban Seng Chew, DTM, PDG, of Singapore. They both have extensive contest experience and Chew served as a judge for the International Speech Contest Semifinals in 2013. Here’s what they say:

Read the Rulebook
Hooper: Your most important step is to read the Speech Contest Rulebook. If you don’t, you will frustrate yourself and contestants.
Chew: Be aware of the
latest rulebook changes noted by diamond-shaped marks in the left margins.

Recruit Well
Hooper: Recruit your team as soon as possible to secure qualified team members, particularly judges. The higher the contest level, the more difficult it is to find judges who are eligible and still available.
Chew: Appointing a qualified chief judge is crucial. The chief judge is responsible for recruiting additional judges, counters and timers. Also, consider having the contest chair also serve as the contest Toastmaster to avoid an extra layer of communication.

Be Organized
Hooper: Create a comprehensive checklist of tasks and team players. The rulebook has three checklists, but I recommend adding to them, including the names of judges, timers and counters. Nothing is more reassuring on contest day than checking off players and tasks on a list.

Check Your Contestants
Chew: Ask for the contestant list well in advance and check each participant’s eligibility. If the contest is held at the area level or higher, contact the chief judge from the previous level to get the complete list of winners and all rankings, including disqualifications. If one of your participants cancels, only a contestant who has placed previously (even in the last position), may replace him or her. Disqualified contestants cannot fill vacancies.

Make It Fun
Hooper: Refreshments make for happy attendees. Recruit a hospitality host so you can tend to other details. Be creative. My motto is “We take what we do seriously, but not so seriously that we can’t have fun in the process.” Include door prizes. At one contest, I used a cardboard cutout of the Queen of England to remind attendees they are a “royal pain” when they leave their cell phones on. Use your imagination and brighten the day—your reward is a Toastmaster smiling back at you.

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