Video Demo: Agenda Time Planner and Agenda Editing

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.

Print the Signup Sheet

Signup Sheet is one of the options you will see on the menu at the top of every signup form. Click there to generate a printable signup sheet reflecting the open roles for future meetings.

Signup Sheet option

This can be used in combination with Edit Signups (Multiple Weeks) to record the paper sheet signups to the online system.

A website administrator can change the number of future meetings to be shown on the signup sheet on the Settings -> Toastmasters screen of the WordPress dashboard.

Edit Signups for Multiple Meetings

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.

Edit Signups (Multiple Weeks)

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.

For a video demo, see the blog post: A Faster Way to Fill a Toastmasters Meeting Agenda

Edit Signups

The menu at the top of each agenda includes an Edit Signups menu. Click on the link at the top, Edit Signups, to enter Edit Signups mode. (If you do not see that option when logged in, it may not be enabled for your account.)

Switching to Edit Signups mode

In this mode, you can assign roles to members other than yourself or edit speech project details on behalf of another member.

Assigning a role to another member

The dropdown list for other members of the club includes information about when each member last filled that role (according to past agendas) and whether the member has indicated they will be absent.

Alternatively, you may type in the name of a Guest, a nonmember who will be filling a role.

Edit Signups mode also allows you to change the role count and time reserved on the agenda and to change the content of any Toastmasters Editable Note blocks (such as often used to record a meeting theme or word of the day). If a Toastmasters Absences block has been included on the agenda, Edit Signups allows you to record planned absences on behalf of other members.

Changes to role assignments are recorded automatically, but some other details such as speech project details and the content of Editable Note fields may not be.

After making all your edits, scroll down to the very bottom of the form and click Save Changes. The page will refresh, reflecting your changes.

Editing a Single Role Assignment

You can also edit a single role by clicking the Edit link that appears below it.

Edit signups link
Edit Signups link for an individual role

Click Edit to reveal an editor form you can use to change the member assigned to that role or, in the case of a speaking role, the details associated with that speech project.

Editing an individual role

When done, click Submit, and you should see a message confirming that your changes have been recorded.

Edit Signups Versus Editing an Agenda Document or Template

Edit Signups can be enabled for members who do not have the authority to edit the underlying event documents, which define the basic structure and organization of a meeting. (See: Agenda Organization).

Typically, a club defines an event template for the typical structure of its meetings, and each meeting is a separate event based on that model. These event documents specify the order and number of roles, but this data is generic. The specific information about which members will fill which roles at each meeting comes from members signing up and meeting organizers editing the agenda, using the process described above.

Change the Number of Speakers and Evaluators. Change the Time Allowed for Any Role

A meeting organizer viewing the agenda in Edit Signups mode can change the number of assignment participants allowed for any role and also the time allowed for that role.

A common example is changing the number of Speakers allowed for a meeting, which means the number of evaluators should also change. This may be because one member is giving a longer speech (say, up to 15 minutes, rather than 7) or to make room for a guest speaker or other special event.

Tweak Timing function

When you check the Tweak Timing checkbox, these options will appear:

  • Minutes: The basic time allowed
  • Padding: Extra time allowed after each member completes their role in this block (optional)
  • Count: The number of participants

Example: A club that routinely has 3 speakers at each meeting would want to allow at least 21 minutes (3 x 7) and probably a little more to allow room for the occasional 8 or 10 minute speech. So Minutes might be 24. Setting Padding to 1 minute provides some slack for the transitions between speakers. Count is 3. For evaluators, we use Minutes: 9, Padding: 0, Count: 3. Typically, for all the other roles, Count: 1.

When you change the number of Speakers — for example, from 3 to 2 — a checkbox appears asking if you want to change the number of Evaluators as well.

Click Save to record your changes. The page will reload, and the elapsed time estimates in the margin will be updated. Make further adjustments as needed until you are confident that you can fit everything in and still have your meeting end on time.

This technique is an alternative to editing the underlying meeting document or template, which requires user account privileges the meeting organizer may not possess.

Sign Up for a Role

Assuming your club allows members to sign up for roles (rather than relying on a club officer to assign them), logging into the club website will allow you to sign up for any open role.

For most roles, volunteering is as simple as clicking the Take Role button.

When you are signing up to speak, you are also asked to enter details about your speech project, including its title and an introduction.

When you select a Pathways path or a Toastmasters manual, listing of projects that you can choose from changes. When you pick a specific project, the speech timing is inserted automatically. The time can also be edited manually (for example, if you are requesting more than the standard time for your speech).

Signing up for a Speaker role

After signing up for a role, you can return to this page and withdraw yourself from the agenda by clicking Remove Me. In the case of a speech project, you have the option of editing the speech project details and clicking Update to record your changes.

Print or Show the Agenda

To print the agenda, click on either the top menu item on the Agenda menu or the one immediately below it labeled Print. The printable version of the agenda will be displayed in a new browser tab, and your computer will display a printer dialog.

Print and Show agenda options

The Show item, a little farther down the agenda, does almost the same thing, except that it does not automatically launch your computer’s printer dialog. Use this variation to view the same content on screen.