Summer Days. Report 28th of June 2021

Dear Digital Communicators.

This is the Live Report of our event SUMMER DAYS of the 28th June.

Our President Nik thanked the current board that contributed to the birth of our club, Digital Communicators, and welcomed the new one. He also congratulated our participation in the VTM Convention.
Our TMOD Mahfuzur inspired us to enjoy every minute of the summer.

We welcomed a new member Brian, our 32nd member, who was our Timer and shared with us his speaking and digital skills.
We had prepared speeches that brought a lot of value to our event.

The first prepared speech was given by Colette with the title “The VPE.” She shared with us an inspiring message: “The VPE role is not about me, it’s about serving you.”

The second prepared speech was given by Vincent with the title “The Salt of Every Soup”. His is a leadership story. His speech inspires us to trust and embrace diversity.

The third speech was given by Dec, titled “The Ages of Man and Woman”. He shares with us his story and his successful career with wonderful images. The message is: How the meaning of success changes depending on our age.

The table topics master Andrew led the improvised speeches and shotgun evaluation segments.
We had wonderful improvised speeches: “Summer dancing” by Mar, “What is your summer song?” by Nik, “A guide to your cellar” by Vincent, and “Your happiest summer“ by our guest Lijjou.
In Digital Communicators evaluation is very important.
Our evaluator Azra emphasized the power of questions to connect with the audience.
Julian reminded us how emotions help us to connect.
Our guest Heidi pointed out how images help us to share our stories and how our words add to the embroidery.
Nick congratulated us for the use of the word of the day: equable.
Mar guided the Open Feedback session for additional commendations and recommendations for the prepared speeches.
Pamela closed the evening with the evaluation of the evaluators and a wonderful summary of the event. 
One objective of the video analysis is to dig deeper into the evaluation of the evening, those elements that went unnoticed. In other words, to discover those elements that we are doing well – our best practices, and those elements that still have some room for improvement – our lessons to learn.
Let’s do a sandwich evaluation. Let’s start with the Best Practices.
Kudos to our TMOD for sharing visuals during his presentation. He guided us during the whole event.

The Lesson-to-Learn is to go even further. There are a couple of recommendations here:

1: If we want to share visuals with our audience, we have to practice beforehand. How can we do this? Open a session in Zoom and record yourself.

2: Instead of sharing your whole screen, share only the visuals. Remember, you may have some confidential information on your screen that you don’t wish to share.

3: Once you master the screen sharing, go a step further. Show your visuals on your window.

4: Do not share your screen while others are speaking. This was the case for example in our last event. At minute 35:14 of the video “2021-06-28 – Club Meeting – Speaker View” the TMOD shares his screen while the Live Reporter is still speaking.

Kudos to our Open Feedback TM for introducing the idea that evaluations can also be delivered with the help of Menti in three ways: the website, direct link, and scan the QR code. Brilliant idea!

One additional Lesson-to-Learn is for the TMOD to follow the agenda. The Live Reporter and the Open Feedback go before the prepared speeches and there is a reason for this. Additionally, the TMOD cannot decide to shorten the sessions. In other words, the Open Feedback requires at least 1 minute, and not 30 seconds, and it goes before the prepared speeches because the audience needs to know how to provide their evaluations. This resulted in the fact that the prepared speeches did not get sufficient evaluations.

Last but not least, the best way for the TMOD to manage time is to follow the agenda and adjust the time with the Table Topics session. Example: In our event, the Table Topics session started at 07:06 and ended at 07:26. This time of frame allows us to tell the Table Topics Master that he has time for 6 rounds and one Table Topic (2’ Table Topic + 1’ Shotgun Evaluation = 3’ x round => 20’ / 3’ => 6 rounds + 1 Table Topic). If we start the Table Topic session later than expected, we will have to recalculate the minutes available and inform about the rounds to the Table Topics master. In this way, we avoid asking about the available time to the Timer all the time.

All in all, a very well-guided session, inspiring prepared speeches, creative improvised speeches, and a lot of pioneering ideas in testing new digital tools.

What I did learn by taking this role is that the deeper we go into a subject the more subtleties for improvement we find. We know that one of the TM core values is EXCELLENCE, but on our way to excellence, we have to find a compromise between perfectionism and priorities. Otherwise, we will never achieve another important TM core value = SERVICE.

In Digital Communicators we have fun while we learn new things!

Interaction at its peak at Digital Communicators!

Who would ever have imagined that one day we could get ‘highly interactive’ on a digital platform with people all around the World? Have you?

Last Monday, this is exactly what happened at Digital Communicators the more so the Toastmaster of the Day, our beautiful Colette, set the meeting theme as ‘Let’s get interactive’. And guess what?? She started interacting with all the members days before the session asking what we expect to gain from the meeting, results of which she displayed proudly in her background image on the meeting day.. and she even requested everyone to interact via the chat option of zoom.. That was a first for me seeing the number of messages going through the chat..

In the very beginning portion of the meeting, the President was interacting with our distinguished guest, the Rockstar, Boy Band from many years ago, Singer with the Bachelors, DEC CLUSKEY. Oh yeah.. we do have a lot of surprises and visits to Digital Communicators!! We just wished he could have sung few lines for us.. maybe next time as he did promise to visit us again..

I am sure you will all agree with me that a club is nothing without its members. And the success of the members brings happiness to the club, makes us all happy. Congratulation Pat Caslin for your wonderful achievement – 2nd place in the District 71 International Speech Contest.. We are all PROUD of you!!

3 speeches were lined up. They were a mixture of sharing, inspiration and amazement. Mehfazur talked about his mother being his best coach with the best magical words which he still recalls vividly ‘Everything will be ok’. President Nik, inspiring as ever, raised his voice with the message loud and clear: ‘It’s about stepping up’. Club mission, officer roles and why you should be part of the digital communicators were covered. The challenge that still remains is for us all to get aligned and let’s help each other to grow. And finally, Pamela amazed us by diving us into her triathlon journey and how she managed to get the medal amidst the waves and the sharks

Do you hear the gentle lapping of the waves, feel the soft sands between your toes while you are sitting under the palmtree? In this unprecedented time, Hazel, our Table Topics Master, brought us to a world of vacation and we could literally imagine ourselves on a holiday of our preferred destination, with the person of our choice and doing the activities we so longed for. How great would that be if it could all be true right now!!! Remember to be all ears in this segment as you can be picked up for the shot gun evaluation of one minute.

Evaluation is what keeps members coming in with a view of getting better. Our team of evaluators Pat, Antonia and Mar were fantabulous in commending and recommending our speakers. Watch the recording and you will discover the useful tips which I am sure are useful for you as well!!  And as usual, we could see Antonia with her digital tool where items were popping up on her background as she delivered her evaluation. And of course, Mar, our Prezi master. After all, we are Digital Communicators!!

All our other role players did justice to their roles. Pam our timer, Andrew our interactive grammarian with the word of the day synonym, and of course our innovator and technology savy member Julian who brought another dimension to the open feedback role. I think we speakers are indeed lucky to be part of digital communicators where we get so much of valuable feedback.  And we were blessed to have a guest Andrew who gave us valuable suggestions for improving our session. Thank you Andrew!!

To conclude, a very interactive session where we have witnessed interactions at its peak and also saw how using digital tools enhances our interaction. And remember, this happens only at Digital Communicators.

What are you waiting for?

Join us at all of our sessions and learn more and invite your friends to like us on Facebook, twitter and visit our website.

Digital Communicators and Contests

By Colette Ainscough

‘There’s a first time for everything’ a phrase I have told myself many times, the more so since I joined the advanced online club that is Digital Communicators. Challenges have opened to me that were not even in my Toastmaster psyche before joining this club.  These very challenges have become like ‘food for my soul’.  Oh yes it can be hard but hey if it was easy every single person on this wondrous planet of ours would be able to rise to communication and leadership digital skills.  I do not see that around me, do you?

Opportunity knocks on the Toastmaster door regularly throughout the year in the form of Contests.  Digital Communicators have dual and dual-plus members from Divisions and Districts everywhere.  The club offers encouragement and support as contestants challenge themselves to move through the ranks to competition success.

This coming May 2021 Toastmaster competitions hot up as Pat Caslin (District 71) takes part in the International Speech Contest Semi Finals.  Andrew Bennett is competing in the Table Topics and Evaluation Contest Semi Final (District 91), and Julian Cereceda does the same in the Final of the Spanish Contest (District 34). All the best Digi Comers!  I believe that Pat, Julian and Andrew are experienced, thoughtful, engaging, and inspiring speakers who always strive and challenge themselves for excellence delivering their message just like its ‘food for their souls’.  

At competition level Digital Communicators proved a ‘collective selflessness’ like no other I have witnessed before.  Our Clubs initiative under President Nik Lakhani began running support sessions for its members as they competed for both Digital Communicators and their home clubs across the globe.  Now that is something special!  Really special!

Let me name our other amazing Competition Entrants who challenged themselves since this club chartered.  Rinku Saha (Humorous Contest, Division G), Ishrat Bundhun (3rd Place, International Speech Contest, Division N), Krishn Ramchurn (3rd Place, Evaluation Contest, Division N), Kavita Dulai (International Speech Contest, Division L), Colette Ainscough (International Speech Contest, Division M).  I am proud to be on that list, proud of me but more importantly proud of Pat, Julian, Andrew, Rinku, Ishrat, Krishn, Kavita and every single Digital Communicator member for rising to the competition challenge in one way or another!

‘There is a first time for everything’, its true for me and its true for you as well! Jump right in as a Digital Communicator. Rise to the next competition challenge.  Do it for Digital Communicators Club or your home Club.  Remember we are here to develop skillsets. 

I leave you here having written my very first blog post with a quote by John Schaar.  Read it carefully and read it twice. “Twice”, I hear you say!  Yes, read it twice!  “The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating.  The paths are not to be found but made.  And the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination”.


‘Yes, and…’

Mar Cano writes about Monday´s 23.04.21 meeting.

Last 26th April fellow Toastmasters members from other clubs and guests from different parts joined Digital Communicators to enjoy an exceptional meeting. The Toastmaster of the day Pat guided us with a very adequate theme when working collaboratively and as a community: the power of a ‘Yes, and…’

Meeting in progress at Digital Communicators.

In an advanced club like DCOM, we value everyone’s ideas and we make them grow for the benefit of the whole club. We also embrace our mistakes and support each other to turn them into co-creating learning opportunities and learn from them. Therefore, a ‘Yes, and…’ mindset can make a difference when collaborating in our club projects and beyond.

This topic was reinforced by our Topics Master Colette, who challenged all the audience to answer the questions she posed with the prompt ‘Yes, and…’ This was definitely a great practice for all us to think how to start positively. Also, let’s remember that ‘Yes, and’ is very powerful to acknowledge that in everyone’s idea there may be at least a small % of reason. 

Yes, our Topics Master was very wise to connect the impromptu speaking section with the theme of the day. And it may have been even wiser to choose the participants more carefully. Of course, everyone is eligible to be asked to participate in it. However, what if instead of choosing members who are performing challenging roles, like the producer or the live reporter, other members and guests were called upon for that purpose? Personally, as a live reporter I found that hard to perform my best as an impromptu speaker. But following the Toastmaster spirit, so I did. 

Meeting 23.04.21 at Digital Communicators. Gallery View

Worthy to mention was the creativity of Topics Master, when it comes to ??????? ???????????, by using such a catchy sound! This particular type of evaluations we do during Table Topics is definitely extremely valuable and a great learning opportunity to develop both our active listening and evaluation skills in an impromptu way. In our club, we find value in giving as much feedback as possible, as gifts for all the participants to keep growing in our learning journey as public speakers. Yet, honestly, what if we consider renaming those evaluations using a more peaceful language? 

As for the speeches which were delivered, we had the chance to get to know our fellow Toastmasters a bit deeper. First, Vincent embarked us on a journey to his cultural immersion in London long ago. Second, Mahfuzur took us with him on another type of journey to the “The past, present and future of effective coaching”, and shared the quiddity of his life: active listening. Third, Pam made us dive into a journey of her own sharing her ability to sleep anytime anywhere… A secret which she unveiled openly and humorously in front of us. From now on, we know we don’t need to be offended if she gets asleep in one of our speeches. We learned it’s nothing personal!

In relation to those, speech evaluators Andrew, Sep and Ola did an insightful job by diving deep into and bringing awareness to particular aspects, from which I would highlight: 

  1. Take the audience on a trip with you
  2. Use storytelling for engagement
  3. Use the whole space in your virtual screen

Insightful, cheering and accurate were also the reports given by our General Evaluator Pamela, our timer Hasel and our grammarian Ish. Delving into the grammarian’s report, Ish showed us once again how to play with the language smartly by putting the focus on the use of rhetorical devices, like oxymorons, alliterations, personifications… taking the grammarian’s report to a truly advanced level! 

Meeting26.04.21 at Digital Communicators. Speakers view.

Before we come to an end, we need to thank the cheering role of those who opened the meeting and greeted people with their best smile, both greeters Philip and Adrienne. Yes, and also the members behind the scenes, like our producer Julian. This time he succeeded in recording live! Because practice makes perfect… Or at least progress.

To conclude, let’s remember the wise words our Toastmaster Pat and our General Evaluator Pamela shared with us: the quiddity of a Toastmasters meeting is in evaluations and feedback, and in listening. Yes, and… I would also add that one of the quiddities of eerie Toastmasters meeting is every single person who commits to make it happen! Thank you all for your participation and eagerness to keep growing as a Toastmasters community. 

And… Remember to come back to DCOM, where Digital Communicators are Open to More!

Mar Cano takes up the role of reporter at Digital Communicators and delivers a very visual summary of our latest meeting.

On this short summary Mar Cano engages with us on a very visual summary of our latest meeting.

She truly embraces the idea of having a reporter at our sessions, producing high quality videos very quickly so you can watch it even before the meeting.

If you want to know a more deep analysis do not forget to check her out her blog entry, coming later this week.

Meeting 23.03.21 Report

4 months ago, Digital Communicators was an idea. 3 months ago, Digital Communicators was a plan and 2 months ago the club became a reality.

On this short journey we have seen peaks: Meetings with almost 100 unique attendants and Valleys, with more manageable figures.

Numbers, however, should not be an indicator of the quality of the meeting. As it was pointed out yesterday by several visitors , Digital Communicators has a very solid structure, a great pace and it looks and feels very professional. It has managed to replicate the brick and mortar feeling in the online arena. All that is good, but many clubs around the world have mastered those attributes.

What makes Digital Communicators different then? Judge yourself….

As you can see all the meetings are recorded in speakers view and meeting view so the speakers can watch themselves and see the reaction of their speeches. We aim also to master how to stream professionally the meetings since we believe in future and not far in the future, this will be a very important skills to hone.

Feedback is a paramount at Digital Communicators, and our newest member Richard White showed us how to do it with 2 superb evaluations, one for his shot gun evaluation and then for his speech.

Yes I mentioned Shot Gun Evaluations. This is where you have the evaluations just after the Table Topics speaker has delivered his speech. That makes you be attentive and ready to jump.

There are a few other features as well, you may want to discover by yourself. So make sure you log onto the next meeting and enjoy the show….

Julian Cereceda’s video summary and report of the event on 22.02.21

Watch here what the report for the day from Julian Cereceda who was also handling the twitter account during yesterday’s meeting,

At Digital Communicators the meetings are short but intense. All perfectly timed not to waste any second and while the clock ticks, the transitions flow smoothly.

Turning up into one of their meetings is something different. Visitors are sent to breakout rooms before the show commences. There, greeters take good care of them. I believe this is a useful skills to master on the online arena, where meetings can be quite akward.

The showdown starts with some script that to my ears sounds very American. Nothing wrong there, but clearly you can see their influence of those details. Once the recording button is on, Mr. Nik Lakhani, President of this newly chartered club addresses the audience. Interestingly, on this day he makes sure everybody knows this club wants to become the best Toastmasters club in 5 year time. Those are big words but denote that despite the club is on its 4th meeting, there is a vision behind it.

Then the show rolls in with the Toastmasters of the day. Her name Mar Cano, and you should keep an eye on her because she is on top form showing her digital skills at all the time. Did you know Mentimenter? If you have not used it, please check it out as it can be a useful tool for your online meetings. It is very engaging indeed.

The fact that this an online club and focus heavily on digital tools should not mean all the speeches should incorporate visual aids. Sometimes, standing in front of the camera and delivering your speech as Kavita and Rinku did can be more effective that a tonne of visual aids.

Once the speakers deliver their speeches, which happens at the beginning of the meeting, it is time for Table Topics. This is a brilliant idea, as it gives the evaluators time to prepare their feedback reports.

The Table Topics session includes a nice twist, called Shotgun Evaluations. Here, after every speaker has spoken, the Table Topics Master chooses a random attendant to deliver a one minute evaluation of that speech. While it has to look like a random act of the destiny, I do think the Table Topics Master needs to preselect some attendants.

Firstly, he needs to be sure the people he has already chosen for the Shotgun Evaluations have their cameras on and are paying attention. Explaining the exercise at the beginning and asking the audience to show their thumbs up if they understood can be a good trick to know who is on top of the drill and who is not. Also, bear in mind that if we do not preselect our candidates beforehand, we run the risk to put an inexperience speaker on the spot and crush his confidence for good. Or for bad.

If I was doing this role in any of my clubs to ensure this does not backfire on me, I would attend to the breakout rooms and listen how the people speak, if they command the language and how they portrait themselves. Maybe knowing that someone is a DTM can help you to select him for a Shotgun evaluation, but this is not guarantee the person would be up to the standards. For that reason be mindful of selecting guests.

And while this was an interesting session carried out by Karl Walsh, with quotes displayed on a lovely Power Point, the fact that sharing the screen during each question posed some problems. I truly believe it breaks the flow and not only that, it can take up to a few seconds to load on the audience’s screen and this is something we all should be wary of.

The evaluators at this meeting impressed me greatly, as they gave useful feedback to the speakers. Nothing like the feeling-good evaluations, you see in many clubs around the globe. Compliments were paid were they were due and suggestions shared in those areas where they the evaluators believed the speaker could improved. Interestingly speakers are sent to breakout rooms where the audience can speak with them and given them honest feedback.

I would like to mention the grammarian role, with Andrew Bennet, with a masterful display of what can be done as a grammarian. On the contrary to what many people could think, this is not a minor role.

Finally, I would like to commend Colette our General Evaluator for pointing out an area of improvement by mentioning that maybe wanting the audience to interact with the Twitter account @DCommunicators and the hashtag #DComLive was detracting the audience from the event. What do you think?

The show must go on

Digital Communicators invites you to the “show must go on” live broadcast. Regardless where in this planet your are, tune in on Zoom on Monday 25.01.2021 at 18 hours (London time) and you will watch and participate in an immersive show put together by the crew at Digital Communicators.

From our studios, next to Old Trafford Football Stadium, in Manchester, the emcee of the day will be conducting this action packed show with speakers, evaluators, impromptu speaking, shot gun evaluations, greeters, reporters, broadcasters and much more…

The big stars of the show will be the speakers coming from different countries of the world.

The programme states the first speaker taking the virtual scenario will be Pamela Benjamin, a Distinguished Toastmasters from the United States with an intriguing title “Did he really do that?”

Second speaker coming all the way from sunny Spain, Jose Manuel Tourné, won the speech contest competition at the last Winter Summit in the Iberian District. With the speech tile “Body Language is effective online” you will learn that online speaking can be very engaging too

Our third star is award-winning speaker Kyle Murthag, who from his studio in Scotland will share with  us a competition speech “The Ultimate Decision”. Make sure you give him feedback as he is preparing to take this speech to the incoming International Speech Contest season.

As you know it is not only about the stars, it is about the show. Truth to be told, the stars build the name of the show but the show builds their names too. There are plenty of roles working behind the scenes to bring you this show. Do not miss it as it is going to be an entertaining, educative and memorable experience. Book your FREE seat, do it know here Master Privacy Policy