What a pulchritudinous audience today at Digital Communicators! In today’s brief account, I summarise the highlights of the meeting.
If you want to develop multiple skills, both oral and written communication, both impromptu and prepared speeches, social media engaging skills, and digital skills to support and reinforce your message accordingly, the live reporter is the ROLE!
In the coming days, you will also be able to learn more in a deeper analysis which I am going to share in a blog entry. Coming soon…
‘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!
‘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”.
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…’.
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.
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:
Take the audience on a trip with you
Use storytelling for engagement
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!
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!
”It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”- Joseph Joubert
In the toastmasters passionate style, we will be having two #toastmasters clubs based in #Manchester competing in a #debate which is likely to be the first time ever in UK & Europe that a debate is staged between two great clubs via #zoom
It is an honour to be the #debate Chair of this meeting with application of Chatham House Rule on the topic “Are Social Media Companies Undermining Democracy?”
Remember, Debating is a skill that enhances our critical thinking, persuasive skills and helps us make better judgments.
If you are interested and want to improve your debating skills,look no further.
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….
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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