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Ringing in the New Year

It’s a new Toastmasters program year! Take time to reflect and recharge.

By Toastmaster Magazine Staff


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As Toastmasters International turns the page and starts a new chapter for the 2021–2022 program year, it’s important to look back and remember the reason it all began. After all, as Toastmasters founder Dr. Ralph C. Smedley said, “The past prepares us to meet the challenges of the future.”

An article from the 75th anniversary edition of the Toastmaster shines a light on Smedley’s approach to learning—one that continues to resonate in 2021:

The concept of adult education was largely unheard of at the beginning of the 20th century. It took the vision of a scholarly young man, just graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University, to recognize the importance of lifelong learning—not only for adults at that time, but also to future generations. Today … people throughout the world have the chance to pursue their personal and professional goals—even after other avenues of education may be closed.

While we say goodbye to what was an unprecedented year of change and milestones, it is now time to look forward. What will the new program year bring for you and your club? Keep reading for helpful resources to put your club on track, inspiring quotes from members, and tips to get the most out of your meetings this month.





Evaluate Your Club With Ease

We all have ideas on what a perfect Toastmasters club is like. It involves enjoyable meetings, unlimited learning opportunities, friendly members … and what else? This checklist offers you the chance to rate your club’s strengths and weaknesses against the “ideal.” Download the full checklist here, then give it to your Club President, who will discuss the answers with the club’s officers.

Here are a few questions about club meetings to get you thinking:

  • Is your meeting location conveniently located, accessible, and user-friendly?
    Yes   No
  • Are the program and agenda publicized, via email or a club website, in advance?
    Yes   No
  • Do club meetings start and end on time?
    Yes   No
  • Does the meeting follow an agenda?
    Yes   No
  • Are all guests and members
    warmly greeted and welcomed?
    Yes   No

Celebrate in Style

If you’re looking to add some excitement to your club meetings this month, try using the new Toastmasters year as an overall theme. Some ideas include:

  • Ask everyone to dress their best or wear a certain color, put on a funny hat, or show off a ribbon, certificate, or plaque to celebrate the past year’s achievements.
  • Pick a Word of the Day that fits in with talking about the past or future:
    • Ameliorate (v): to make better; improve
    • Auspicious (adj): showing or suggesting that future success is likely
    • Ebullient (adj): having or showing liveliness and enthusiasm
    • Retrospective (adj): concerned with or related to the past
    • Verity (n): truth, fact, reality
  • Provide Table Topics® questions that incorporate the new year theme:
    • What was the best lesson you learned over the last year, and how will you apply it to this year?
    • If you traveled back in time and met Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, how would you describe what online club meetings are like?
    • Tell us about a goal you have for your professional or personal development this year.
  • If you signed up to be the speaker at a meeting, give a speech about something you’re proud of from the last program year, or something you look forward to this year.
  • Take photos with your club to celebrate. You can send them to the Toastmaster at photos@toastmasters.org or post them on your club’s social media pages so others can see how much fun you have.

Made to Order for You

Need an idea, an example, a valuable tool, or peer perspective on how to improve club practices and support members? Here are just a few resources to help energize your new program year.

Find Magazine Articles Faster—Want a quick way to search for magazine articles? Check out this new Helpful Articles section on the Toastmaster magazine webpage! Here you’ll find a drop-down menu of categories to help you easily locate the content you’re looking for. This page also includes Article Indexes from 2003 to 2020. These PDFs will assist you in your search for past articles by topic, title, author, month, or page number.

Speechcraft® – This digital refresh of a time-honored Toastmasters program allows experienced members to teach speaking skills to new audiences who may want to learn more as a new member of your club!

Webinars On-Demand – Created on the cusp of the pandemic, these popular webinars have drawn thousands of general viewers and members. Hear what the experts, including leading Toastmasters, say about the world of public speaking.

Brand Portal – Find all the details and beautiful materials you need to continue sharing the Toastmasters brand with the world.

YouTube Channel – Discover helpful videos on a variety of topics, including Pathways tips, member testimonials, webinars, and more.

New Member Survey – You’ve worked hard to recruit excellent new members. Use this survey to learn about and champion their goals.

Club and District Leader Self-Evaluations – Are you growing as a leader? Gain invaluable perspectives from your club colleagues.

Toastmasters Online Store – Don’t forget to check for products like meeting supplies, recognition gifts, and marketing materials.


New Moves

  • In the 2021–2022 program year, you will see an array of changes to the Speech Contest Rulebook. Rulebook sections that will feature changes include Eligibility, General Procedure, and Video Speech Contest. You can access the new 2021-2022 Speech Contest Rulebook here, and get more information about speech contests in general here.
  • In the new program year, more clubs will benefit from District support: Almost all undistricted in-person clubs (nearly 100) will now be aligned to a nearby District.

Heard on Social Media

Whether your new year’s goals involve your club, District, or just focusing on personal development, Toastmasters around the world can relate to striving to achieve in the 2021–2022 program year. The following members commented on a post in the Official Members Facebook Group asking Toastmasters to share their goals with fellow members.

Hoping to lead my District to Distinguished!
George Marshall, DTMFremont, California

A. Engage every member of the District to contribute to District success.
B. Create a pool of champions who will represent the District at the World Championship of Public Speaking®.
Sagnik Biswas, DTMKolkata, West Bengal, India

Since my club is already President’s Distinguished, I am now focusing on conducting online Speechcraft and preparing for hybrid meetings. Managing club growth could be a challenge. So many people are waiting to join Toastmasters until we do live meetings again.
Ronald CreemersBeek, Netherlands

Implement, as a Distinguished Toastmaster project, a leadership development program in my District, as noted as an initiative in our strategic plan.
Kathy Murray Reynolds, DTMRoanoke, Virginia

Editor’s Note: Share your new year club success with us, all year! Send photos or story ideas. You can also keep the conversation going on social media using #talkingtoastmasters.


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