Bringing Toastmasters into the 21st Century
Teleconferences are routine for many Toastmasters, and online classes are common for graduate coursework. Many of us use Google to find restaurants and subject matter. As the old phrase goes, “the times, they are a’changin.”
A few years ago a mobile phone was a wired device in a high-end car, but it evolved into a brick-sized device that could be carried and used (from some locations) to make telephone calls. Computers were desk-bound devices that performed the duties of word-processors and made running a trial balance easier for bookkeepers.
Now our playing-card sized cell phone has more computing power than the old temperature-controlled “computer room” full of cabinets and blinking lights ever had. And, it takes pictures, records and plays conversations and music. It even makes phone calls!
What about Toastmasters . . . are we 21st Century relevant?
The answer is, we’re on the way! There are phone apps that cover Timer’s duties* and videos that introduce TM meetings and skills.** We have an evolving Educational system (in Beta testing) that emphasizes individually-designed programs Leadership instead of “everybody completes these ten projects.” It focuses on (highlights mine):
Learning paths tailored to personal and professional goals and relevant to an evolving global marketplace
A clearer path toward Toastmasters recognition and achievement awards
New technological resources to improve speeches and support meeting roles
Mobile access to educational materials (smartphones and tablets)
Expanded video and digital content to facilitate learning among our global community of members
Recently TMI authorized virtual attendance at meetings, at club discretion.
Protocol 2.0, F.3 (A)
Virtual Attendance at Club Meetings. Virtual attendance is . . . participating and interacting in a club meeting through the use of live audio and video conferencing tools utilizing an online platform.
Changes are coming whether we embrace and use them – or not. The changes are starting in Founders District: at least one club will be featuring its virtual attendance option during their March Open House.
What about you . . . have YOU accessed the TMI website or online information about TM speeches, evaluations or meeting-roles this month? Is your Toastmasters experience on the leading edge . . . or is it “being dragged kicking and protesting” into the 21st Century?
* Toastmasters timer app for Android and iTunes, with both paid and free versions: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vivek.toastmastertimer&hl=en