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Members' Forum August 2020

An open platform for your tips, tactics, comments, and encouragement.

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“Remember that engagement is key to having successful club meetings online.”

—Cassandra R. Lee, DTM

Engagement Is Key

I have appreciated receiving the messages from International President Deepak Menon, DTM, encouraging club officers to conduct their club meetings online. Considering there are still clubs that have not found it easy to conduct online meetings, I think Deepak’s messages are informational enough to help these clubs, and all others, to have successful online meetings.

I encourage club officers to use the Toastmasters online meeting resources Deepak has mentioned and to remember that engagement is the key to having successful club meetings online.

In order to have engagement, focus on longevity, making sure clubs can exist now and after COVID-19—have variety at club meetings, with prepared speeches, Table Topics, speech evaluations, special educational workshops, and Pathways teachings; and offer interactivity by allowing club members and guests to ask questions, give feedback, and use the chat feature during online club meetings.

Officers are instrumental in helping their clubs to function during this time. I encourage them to see their club as a vital resource for the growth and development of their members in order to keep their club functioning online despite COVID-19.

Cassandra R. Lee, DTM

Chicago, Illinois, U.S. • Wrightwood-Ashburn Overcomers (WAO) Toastmasters

Gaining Confidence

Since joining Toastmasters, one of my favorite things has been the inspiration and education I find every month in the Toastmaster magazine. My first club officer role was Sergeant at Arms. I made it my goal to always share something I found in that month’s magazine in my greeting to welcome the club to our meeting. Thank you for providing such a well-written, encouraging magazine.

My husband, Chris, and I joined Toastmasters on a whim two years ago. We were new to the area and I was recovering from high-dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. Looking back on our two years as members, I see how valuable the experience has been. Losing my hair and career really affected my confidence. Now, having stepped up to the stage to speak so many times, I see how my focus has shifted to my delivery, my words, and my connection to the audience.

I encourage people I meet to join our club, as it has been such a great experience. I love that our club has a warm, encouraging spirit that fosters growth and has helped me to feel more confident in myself.

Nicole Forman

Leamington, Ontario, Canada • Erie Shores Toastmasters

Virtual Camaraderie

I would like to recognize members around the world who are adapting to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though fear of the unknown and stress caused by myriad factors are commonplace, I continue to witness members champion the Toastmasters spirit internationally.

My club, Barrie’s Small Business (BSB) Club in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, started hosting online meetings in March. I was proud of the initiative our members took to adapt, troubleshoot, and assist, but I wondered how other clubs were faring. I reached out to clubs around the world and I was touched by the warm welcome I received. I attended four virtual meetings in one week and since then, I’ve been welcomed as a guest by seven clubs in five countries!

Each club has its own unique history and membership, but this experience illuminated the common thread of camaraderie that is sewn through the fabric that unifies all Toastmasters clubs, regardless of country of origin or time zone.

As each nation continues to face its own challenges caused by the pandemic, I’m grateful that Toastmasters International offers some sense of familiarity as we continue to connect and learn together while staying apart.

A heartfelt thanks to Downtown Achievers, Brisbane Sunrise Speakers, Northern Nomads Advanced Toastmasters, Leicester Leaders Speakers’ Club, Wall Street Toastmasters Club, The Order of Smedley, and Nakano Toastmasters Club for your hospitality. I enjoyed being your guest and I look forward to visiting again, perhaps in person one day.

Amber Green

Innisfil, Ontario, Canada • Barrie’s Small Business (BSB) Club

Do you have something to say? Write it in 200 words or fewer. State your name, member number, and home club, and send it to Please note: Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity and may be published in the online edition.

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