In addition to the standard Pathways project prompts, speakers may request — or evaluators may add — four optional prompts to an evaluation form that provide feedback to non-native speakers.
Members may request this feedback as a preference attached to their user profile, which can be set either from the Profile screen of the WordPress dashboard or from the agenda signup screen.
If the member has set this user preference, these prompts will always be displayed on the digital evaluation form. Otherwise, they can be added by the evaluator clicking on a checkbox at the bottom of the evaluation form.
The new and more interactive role signup and agenda management functions introduced in 2023 revolve around 4 interaction modes, which you can switch between using a control panel at the bottom of the screen.
Sign Up – Sign up for roles as an individual.
Edit – Assign other members to roles and edit the notes that appear on your agenda (“stage directions” and elements like meeting theme).
Suggest – Nominate another member to take an open role. The member will get an email notification including your personal note and can accept with one click (no password required).
Organize – Add, remove, and reorganize roles and notes on the agenda and adjust the timing of activities.
Template/Settings – Used by club leaders to adjust the standard meeting template and options.
By default, Sign Up, Edit, and Suggest are available to everyone, but an administrator can narrow that to Sign Up and Suggest or allow regular members access to the Organize screen.
Here is a video demo of the new features, current as of early February 2023.
On the edit screen, you can choose to assign a role to any member on the list recorded on your website, or you can enter a name of a guest who will be joining you. You can also enter path, project, speech title, and speech introduction details on behalf of another member.
Buttons to rearrange assignments
Buttons to allow you to rearrange the order of speakers, evaluators, and other roles assigned to multiple people appear on both the Edit screen and the Organize screen.
The buttons are Move to Top and Move Up (beneath all but the first assignment in a series), Move Down (beneath all but the last assignment for a role), and Close Gaps (when there is a gap such as in the example below where the Speaker #1 slot is open but others farther down the list are filled).
Reorganize your meeting or meeting template
The re-organize screen allows you to change the order of roles as they appear on your agenda, either for an individual week’s meeting or your standard meeting template.
Change your mind about whether Speeches or Table Topics should come first? Drag-and-drop to reorder them by “grabbing” the title bar of the role you want to move. Or use the up/down arrow buttons for more precise control.
You can also insert and delete items. The agenda items you can add are a Role, an Agenda Note (stage directions), an Editable Note (something that changes from week to week like a meeting theme), or a Signup Note (instructions for signing up).
The advantage to editing your agenda this way, as opposed to in the WordPress editor, is that you are only presented with options relevant to a Toastmasters meeting agenda — as opposed to those more appropriate for a blog or a web page.
Template / Settings
This screen is where you switch from editing an individual meeting to editing the template that governs all your meetings. Alternatively, if you like the organization of an individual week’s meeting, you can make that your new standard template. Or you can update the organization of a given week’s meeting to match a different template than you ordinarily use, such as a contest template.
If you have administrative rights on the website, you can also adjust the access to agenda editing features allowed to all members. I recommend allowing access to all functions other than the administrator-only ones, but club leaders who prefer to limit access can do so.
The Vote Counter’s Tool assists with counting votes at regular weekly meetings. It’s a simpler version of the digital ballot for contests. The idea is that you share a link in the meeting chat for Zoom or your meeting platform of choice, which members click on to cast their votes on a ballot that looks like this.
If you are the vote counter, you set this up by logging in and choosing “Vote Counter’s Tool” from the Agenda menu for the meeting.
If you were signed up on the agenda as the vote counter, the system will recognize you. If no one had signed up, or the person who did is not present, you may need to click the button that says “Make Yourself Vote Counter.”
Once you have claimed the role, you will see a series of ballot setup forms for Speaker, Evaluator, Table Topics Speaker, and custom ballots you can create.
For Speaker and Evaluator, the names of the members who signed up in advance will already be on the form for you to confirm.
You can also type in names, and an autocomplete effect will match the first few letters you type against the membership list. This helps you put in the names, spelled correctly.
Once you have set up the ballots, you will be presented with the option to share links to ballots for each contest, and then to start checking for votes.
The fields containing the links are set up so that content will automatically be copied to your computer clipboard when you click on the link. You would then paste it into the chat for Zoom or your meeting platform of choice.
As votes start rolling in, the screen will update every 30 seconds with results. You can also click the Check now link to reload the page and show the current results.
The results screen shows the apparent winner in each contest, followed by the ranking. You will also see if there is a tie.
Adding Votes Manually
In a hybrid meeting where some people are in the room with you, you may receive some votes by paper ballot that you need to add to the total. Or perhaps some members send their votes by private chat or text.
The Add votes link at the top of the screen …
… will take you to a form at the bottom of the screen where you can add votes to the tally.
Switching Vote Counter Duties to Another Member
In a situation where you need to leave early, or the person who signed up as vote counter arrives late, you can hand off vote counter duties to another member. That option is at the very bottom of the Vote Counter’s Tool screen.
This is a demo of the new Agenda Time Planner tool (basics covered in the first 7 minutes of the video below). The Agenda Time Planner makes it easier to make routine adjustments, for example to change the number of speakers or time allowed for a speeches. It allows meeting leaders who may not have website admin or editing rights to alter the timeline for a meeting, for example when a member wants to give a longer speech or a visiting district officer has asked for time on the agenda.
The second part of the demo covers the fundamentals of how to edit WordPress content in general and a Toastmasters agenda content in general. Club leaders can create more flexibility for themselves and others with how they structure the underlying agenda document.
Instead of assigning roles for one meeting at a time, a club organizer such as the VP of Education can plug in assignments for multiple meetings at a time using the Edit Signups (Multiple Weeks) option under Signup Sheet. After passing the printable signup sheet around at a meeting, you can plug in the role choices using this tool.
In addition, the multi-week editor makes it easy to see who has not taken a role and might be available to fill an opening.
Club and meeting leaders can use the email version of the meeting agenda to fill open roles, sending it out with a link that invites members to sign up online with a couple of clicks.
You do that by selecting the Email option under the Agenda menu, like this:
This tool allows you to add custom message that will be included at the top of the email.
You can also change the default subject line of the email, for example to emphasize one particular opportunity to volunteer. For example, if I just got word that a speaker who had signed up previously has just backed out of speaking at tomorrow’s meeting, I would want to let them know. So the default “Agenda for Monday May 14” becomes “Speaker opening + 2 other open roles for Monday May 14.”
This is meant to be an easy way to send the current agenda, plus your volunteer needs, out to the whole member list via email.
* This software is offered "for Toastmasters" but not is provided by or endorsed by Toastmasters International. The use of Toastmasters brand assets (with proper disclaimers) in website designs has been reviewed by the Toastmasters International brand compliance team.