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?

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