Update History – Edit Role Assignment Records After the Meeting

If you want your club records and reporting to accurately reflect who filled roles at each meeting, you should go back and update the agenda after the meeting is over to reflect who didn’t show up and who stepped in at the last minute.

Authorized users can do this on the Update History screen under TM Administration.

Update History screen

The basic process for gathering information and making it as accurate as possible for reporting is described in this blog post: How to Fill a Toastmasters Meeting Agenda (some screen shots in this post are outdated).

Toastmasters Meeting Templates and Meeting Events

The WordPress for Toastmasters agenda management system is defined around a system of event templates and individual event posts, or documents, that define the structure of your meetings. Members can then sign up for roles (or meeting organizers can assign them).

The event documents are organized using the RSVPMaker WordPress plugin. The WordPress for Toastmasters system uses a separate plugin (RSVPMaker for Toastmasters) to add agenda management features. Within the WordPress editor, you use Agenda Role and Agenda Note content blocks to structure your agenda. Other available content blocks include Editable Note and Toastmasters Absences.

Agenda Role block
Agenda Note block

You can plan the time associated with different events on your agenda using the Time Allowed fields that appear in the sidebar of both Agenda Role and Agenda Note blocks. Agenda Role blocks also allow you to set a Count — which, for example, is how you you would change the number of speaker openings that appear on the agenda and the signup form.

The process of organizing and publishing meeting events goes like this:

  1. Add or edit an RSVPMaker Template document for your meetings. A default Toastmasters Meeting template is provided, along with a sample template for contests.
  2. Define the schedule associated with the template: For example, first Tuesday at 7 pm.
  3. Follow the Create / Update Link to generate a series of event posts, based on the template.
  4. (Optional) Alter any of the individual event posts, as necessary, to reflect a different meeting structure (for example, moving Table Topics from the beginning of the meeting to the end and adding an explanation about a special workshop).
  5. Members sign up for roles and meeting organizers make assignments using the tools available on the front end of the website (no WordPress editing rights required).
Adding events based on the schedule set in a template

If you need to change the standard structure of your meetings, go back to Step 1 and update the template. You can then update all the events based on that template. You will see a warning if a specific meeting has been updated independently and can choose not to overwrite it.

Updating event posts based on a template

Editable Note Blocks

A Toastmasters Editable Note is a placeholder for content that changes from meeting to meeting, such as the meeting theme or word of the day. It can be edited in the same “Edit Signups” mode that the Toastmasters of the Day or VP of Education might use to enter role assignments on the agenda.

Editable agenda note.

In contrast a Toastmasters Agenda Note block is meant for boilerplate content that is typically the same from week to week. Editing the content of an Agenda Note requires that a user has been assigned editing privileges for event posts on the club website — typically an officer or a webmaster.

In contrast, the content of an Editable Note can be changed by any member with the authority to Edit Signups. However, first someone with rights to editing event post content must make an editable note available on the agenda.

Add an Editable Note

Do one of the following:

  • Use the block inserter (+ button) to select Toastmasters Editable Note from the available blocks.
  • Begin typing /editable on a blank line, and Toastmasters Editable Note will appear as one of the options you can select.
How it appears in the editor.

Enter a headline in the Editable Note Title field. Save the event post and view the result.

Track Planned Absences Through The Agenda

The Planned Absences block provides an easy way for members to signal that they will miss a specific meeting. Here is how that is displayed to a logged in member.

Planned Absences button and listing on the signup form.

How to Add a Toastmasters Absences Block

Do one of the following:

  • Use the block inserter (+ button) to select and insert the Toastmasters Absences block
  • Begin typing /absences on a blank line, and Toastmasters Absences will appear as one of the blocks you can select to insert.

There is only one option to set: whether the absences block should appear only on the signup form (the default) or also on the agenda.

How the Absences Block Works

If you place this widget at the bottom of your signup page, members can let the club know they plan to miss the meeting in question by clicking the Planned Absence button. Planned Absences that have been recorded are listed right above the button, along with any “Away Messages.” This information is only displayed to logged in members.

Away Messages allow you to signal that you will be missing meetings for some extended period of time (weeks or months) — it’s a message with an expiration date.

Clicking the Planned Absence button works better if I know I’m going to miss, not the next meeting, but the one after that. It’s more precise.

The absence / away message information also shows up in a few other contexts, such as the drop down list you use to assign members to roles.

Absences indicated in the dropdown list for assigning roles.

Add an Agenda Note

A Toastmasters Agenda Note block presents “stage directions” for your meeting. This is information that should only appear on the agenda (not the signup form) and that is not tied to a role members sign up for on a per-meeting basis (for example, a round of self-introductions led by the presiding officer).

A WordPress for Toastmasters agenda consists of content blocks representing roles that members can sign up for (or be assigned to) and supporting notes about the organization of the meeting. See Add WordPress Blocks (Different Types of Content). Several other agenda-specific content blocks are available, including Signup Note (which only appears on the signup form, not the agenda), Editable Note, and Planned Absence.

Agenda Note blocks

To add an Agenda Note, do one of the following:

  • Use the block inserter (+ button) to select the Toastmasters Agenda Note block.
  • Begin typing /agenda or /note on a blank line. Choose Toastmasters Agenda Note from the list of available blocks to insert.

Next, enter a paragraph’s worth of content. You can use the same formatting controls for bold and italic that you would within any other paragraph.

Optionally, add the time in minutes for the activity described in your note. If you display the times on your agenda, this will be used to create a chronology of the time consumed by each Agenda Note and Agenda Role. The idea is to help you plan your meetings and keep them on schedule.

Add or Edit an Agenda Role

WordPress for Toastmasters represents roles that appear on your agenda and signup page as WordPress blocks. See Add WordPress Blocks (Different Types of Content). Several other agenda-specific content blocks are available, including Agenda Note, Editable Note, and Planned Absence.

The Toastmasters Agenda role block is displayed as a signup form on your website, when viewed by a logged in and authorized member. On the versions of the agenda that can be printed or emailed, the same block is displayed with the name of the person who has signed up for the role or with “Open” if the role has not yet been filled.

The block for speaker roles displays additional information related to specific speech projects on the signup form and the agenda views.

Adding a role to the agenda

To add a role block, do one of the following:

  • Click the add block button (the + sign) at the top of the screen or adjacent to the point in the agenda where you want the new block to appear. Select Toastmasters Agenda Role from the list (or use the search field to find it).
  • Begin typing /role and Toastmasters Agenda Role should appear as one of the items you can select.

When you insert a new role or click on the placeholder for an existing role block, the options you can set are displayed within the block as well as in the sidebar on the right hand side of the editor (if the sidebar is not visible, click the gear icon at the top right of the editor screen to display it).

Role options

The options you can set include:

  • Role: choose one of the roles from the list or “custom” for a role that is unique to your club
  • Custom Role: Enter the label if this is a custom role. Otherwise, leave blank
  • Count: If more than one should appear on the agenda, set the number here. Example: 3 speakers
  • Time Allowed: The total time allowed for those who sign up for this role. For three speakers, you would set this to 21 at a minimum (3 7-minute speeches) but might want to go to 24 or 26 to allow for some longer speeches. If too many members sign up for long speeches that would exceed this limit, a warning will be shown. 
  • Padding Time: This was intended for use in combination with speech roles. In addition to the time allowed for speakers, you can build in another minute or two for introductions and set up between speeches.
  • Agenda Note: You can enter an additional explanatory note that will be displayed on your agenda, beneath the role.

It’s possible to change the Minutes, Padding, and Count parameters on the front end of the website in Edit Signups mode. See Change the Number of Speakers and Evaluators. Change the Time Allowed for Any Role.