Full List of Agenda Blocks

Here are all the agenda blocks, starting with the ones used most frequently.

Role

The Role block appears as a on the signup form for members to sign up or be assigned to a role. The list of roles and assignments is then displayed on the agenda. In the editor, you specify a count for each role (Example: 1 Toastmaster of the Day, 3 Speakers, 3 Evaluators) and, optionally, the time associated with that block of roles (23 minutes for 3 speakers). Time can also be associated with the Note blocks (see below).

Agenda Role block

Agenda Note

An Agenda Note appears only on the agenda (not the signup form) and can have time associated with it. These are the “stage directions” of your meeting. Example: 5-minute break, with Time Allowed set to 5.

Agenda Note block

Editable Note

An Editable Note block appears on the signup form as a placeholder for the meeting organizer to fill in details that change from week to week, such as a meeting Theme.

Editable Note
Editable Note as it’s displayed on the signup form

Signup Form Note

A Signup Form Note only appears on the signup form.

Signup Form Note block

Absences

The Absences block displays an option on the signup form where members can indicate that they will be out of town or unavailable.

Absences block (planned absences)
Planned Absence on the signup form

Hybrid

If you have a hybrid online/offline club, the hybrid block allows you to track members who are planning to attend in person.

Hybrid block (track in-person attendance for hybrid meetings)
Hybrid block on the front end

Agenda Wrapper

Allows you to place standard content blocks such as images, headings, and paragraphs inside a wrapper that selectively displays them in a specific context. In this example, the image will be displayed on the signup form and email version of the agenda but not the printable agenda or other contexts.

Agenda Wrapper block with an image inside it

Milestone

Displays the elapsed time at a given milestone such as the end of the meeting.

Milestone block

How to Delete or Reschedule an Event

Website administrators are often confused about how to delete an event, given that they don’t see a delete button anywhere — that’s partly because the option is labeled “Trash.” Items placed in the trash can be restored if they were placed there accidentally, or they can be deleted permanently.

In the WordPress editor, the Move to trash button is in the sidebar on the right hand side of the screen. If no sidebar is displayed, click the gear icon in the upper right hand corner to reveal it. You also need to select the correct tab to see the properties of the document (in this case, RSVP Event), not the properties of an individual content block (paragraph, heading, image, etc.).

You might miss the Move to trash button because it appears after all the options for setting the event date and time.

Editor sidebar for an event

When you’re editing a web page or blog post, the Move to trash button appears immediately below the author field.

Rescheduling an Event

To reschedule an existing event, change the date displayed in the calendar widget of the sidebar. You can also change the event start time and end time and specify whether the end time should be displayed. Click Update to record your changes.

Trashing Events from the Event Listing

You can also move one or more events to the trash from the listing under RSVP Events on the dashboard. The same basic technique applies to moving pages, blog posts, or other types of content to the trash. When you hover your mouse over the title of an individual event, a menu of options appears where one of the options is Trash.

Trash item on RSVP Events menu

Click Trash to move that event to the trash.

Alternatively, you can check off multiple items you want to delete and choose Move to trash from the drop-down list under Bulk actions. Then click the Apply button to move them to the trash as a batch.

Restore from the Trash or Empty Trash

At the top of the listing of events, you will see a categorized list of events that are published, in draft mode, or in the trash. Click “trash” to display the listing of events in the trash (again, same basic technique applies for pages and posts). From this screen, you can click the Empty Trash button to permanently delete all these posts or click the Restore or Delete permanently links to render your verdict on an individual trashed item.

Options for an event in the trash

Hybrid Attendance Tracker

If your club is hosting hybrid meetings, with a mix of online and in-person attendance, you can add the Toastmasters Hybrid block to your agendas as a way to track who is planning to attend in person. If you are limiting the number of in-person attendees (for example, because of COVID-19 social distancing concerns), this will help you track whether you’ve hit the limit.

On the front end of your site, the tracker looks like this:

It gives you the option to add or remove yourself from the in-person attendees list (by checking or unchecking the “I plan to attend in person” checkbox), and you can also record that intent on behalf of another member. Meeting planners can then see how many people are on the list.

To put this on every agenda, you would add it to your agenda template and then update the events based on the template. Click the + button to add the “Toastmasters Hybrid” block.

Hybrid block placeholder

A placeholder will be displayed in the editor. The properties panel in the right-hand sidebar allows you to enter a limit for the number of in-person attendees that will be displayed on the website.

When this feature is active, an “I plan to attend in person” checkbox will also be displayed when members are signing up for roles, allowing them to register their intent to attend in person (or not) at the same time.

Create/Update Events Based on Template

Event templates are important to how the RSVPMaker program included in WordPress for Toastmasters manages events, particularly meeting events.

Your meeting event template reflects the standard setup of a meeting: number of speakers, number of evaluators, timing for events, and so on. You create copies of the template according to your meeting schedule for the individual meeting events. At any time, you can update the event template and all the events based on the template. However, this is a 2-step process: after updating the template you will get a prompt to Create/Update events based on the latest version of the template.

Create/Update prompts

As of a May 2021 update, RSVPMaker will send a reminder if it detects you have updated a template without updating the events based on the template. People often seem to forget this step, or else they don’t understand why it is necessary.

Create/Update email reminder

Why Isn’t This Automatic?

You might think the software would automatically update the whole series of events. That is often the result you are after when you update the template. However, there are a couple of reasons to keep it as a second step:

  • Finality. The software doesn’t necessarily know when you’re done updating the template. You may have saved your work but still be adding or rearranging elements.
  • Selectivity. The Create/Update routine allows you to check off which existing events you want to update. You can update just a couple while you’re testing. You can update all of them. Or you can update most of them, leaving a few unchecked. Events can be modified independently of the template, and you might not want to overwrite those changes.
Selective updating

The Create/Update screen shows you when an event has been modified independently of the template. Perhaps in the example shown above I’ve made room for an extra speaker at that week’s meeting and don’t want to overwrite those modifications.

The Magic Cookie Cutter

I sometimes compare templates to cookie cutters, which can be used to stamp out individual cookies (events).

Each of the cookies can still be decorated differently. Think of the role signups and speech titles as the sprinkles and frosting. The cookie retains the same basic shape, based on the cookie cutter, but can still be unique.

Occasionally, you might reshape a cookie significantly. For Halloween, you stamp out a gingerbread man but then graft on an extra head and tear off his arm. The Toastmasters meeting equivalent would be dropping a speech and adding more time for Table Topics. Now you’ve got a special cookie that no longer follows the template exactly.

One difference: this is a magic cookie cutter. Each of the individual cookies remains under its spell and can be reshaped at any time to match the new shape of the cookie cutter. The sprinkles on top stay where they are, unless the cookie has been reshaped so significantly that there is no place for them.

To bring it back to events and event templates: each event based on a template retains a link back to the template. When you update the template, you can update all of those events or just some of them. If a member has signed up for a role at a future event, they will still be signed up for that role — unless the role has been eliminated. For example, you want to be careful about changing the number of speakers from three to two if three speakers had previously signed up.

Finding the Template for an Event

If you edit an event that is based on a template, you should see a prompt at the top of the editor screen telling you to edit the template instead if your goal is to edit the whole series of events. (If you want to edit this event separately, you can do that, too.)

Edit Template prompt

The option to edit a template also appears on the dropdown list of options for an event post at the top of the screen.

Or you can find all your events listed on the Event Templates screen, which is a menu item under RSVP Events on the administrator’s dashboard.

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.

Editing the Agenda Layout and Sidebar Content

The default printable agenda layout features the club logo at the top of the page, along with the club name and meeting date. Beneath that, the agenda is divided between a sidebar on the left hand side of the page and the actual agenda listing. You can change the layout by editing an Agenda Layout document, which shows just a placeholder where the actual meeting roles will be displayed.

Here is what that looks like in the editor.

The Agenda Layout document.

You can use the sidebar area to include some content you want to appear on every week’s agenda, such as the club mission and perhaps contact information for key officers. Or you might want to add a promotion for an upcoming district conference or district training and remove that when the date is past.

Optionally, you can include an Agenda Officers Listing block in the sidebar area. This will print the officers listing drawn from what you’ve specified on the Settings -> Toastmasters screen.

Both the logo / title and sidebar / agenda parts of the document are formatted using WordPress columns. It’s possible to change the width of the columns. To do so, click the content in the column you want to change and use the document hierarchy button at the top of the page to navigate up to select the specific column.

Selecting a specific column.

With the column selected, the column width property should be displayed in the editor sidebar. By default, the two main columns take up 33.33% and 66.66% of the page width, respectively, but you can change that to 30% and 70% or whatever proportions you desire.

Column width setting

If you don’t want to use the sidebar layout, you can delete the columns and add the Agenda Main Content block on its own line.

Update Roles & Attendance 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. These records can also serve as the basis for detailed meeting minutes.

Authorized users can do this on the Update Roles & Attendance screen under TM Administration. The dropdown list at the top of the screen allows you to pull up role assignment records for the any recent agenda. Data from the most recent agenda will be displayed by default.

Update Roles & Attendance screen

This screen also allows you to record attendance. Members who held a role during the meeting will be marked as having attended by default, but you can check off the names of other members who were present at the bottom of the screen under the heading Others Attending.

Once you have made changes and additions, you should see a confirmation message at the top of the screen.

Updates confirmed

If you click on the Create Minutes link at the top of the page, you will be able to edit the content further in the WordPress editor. Minutes documents are viewable by logged in only members on the website. You can also print or email them.

See also Create Meeting Minutes.

Under the Hood

Meeting role data is warehoused in a pair of database tables, tm_history and tm_speech_history (note that WordPress prefixes all tables based on a value in the wpconfig.php file). By copying the data to separate tables, meeting records are preserved, even if events are later deleted. As a bonus, this approach also allows user and member records to be shared across clubs.

After a meeting has ended, there is a short window of time during which changes can be made on the meeting agenda on the frontend. Once that time period elapses, users who have the ability to make changes will see a Role Data Archived message, along with a link to the backend utility to Update Roles & Attendance.

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).

One important thing to understand is the difference between a meeting template and a meeting document:

  • Meeting Template: The club meets every Saturday at 4 pm EDT, with 3 speakers and 3 evaluators at each meeting. Does not show up on the calendar of events.
  • Meeting: The club will meet on Saturday June 16, 2022 at 4 pm, following the agenda defined in the template unless an editor has made a change for this specific date. Shows up on the calendar of events, and members can sign up for (or be assigned) roles.

When you update a template, you will be prompted to Create / Update individual events based on the template. In the example above, the template would be used to project a series of Saturday at 4 pm events.

Agenda Content Blocks

In the WordPress editor, different types of content such paragraphs, headings, and images are known as “blocks.” If you click on the block inserter button (the blue + sign) at the top left of the editor screen, you will see a listing of blocks you can add.

You can filter the list by typing a word in the search box. If you type “agenda” you will see the available agenda blocks. The ones you will use the most are Agenda Role, Agenda Note, and Editable Note. Other more specialized blocks you might find uses for include Signup Form Note, Planned Absences, Hybrid Meeting, and Agenda Wrapper (see full list).

The Role block appears as a on the signup form for members to sign up or be assigned to a role. The list of roles and assignments is then displayed on the agenda. In the editor, you specify a count for each role (Example: 1 Toastmaster of the Day, 3 Speakers, 3 Evaluators) and, optionally, the time associated with that block of roles (23 minutes for 3 speakers).

Agenda Role block

An Agenda Note appears only on the agenda (not the signup form) and can have time associated with it. These are the “stage directions” of your meeting. Example: 5-minute break, with Time Allowed set to 5.

Agenda Note block

The Editable Note is similar, except that it’s for something that changes from week to week such as meeting theme. You provide a label for it and allow meeting organizers to easily update it on the signup form without needing to have editing rights on the website.

Time Planning

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, Agenda Note, and Editable 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.

Updating the Template and Related Events

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 (see documentation).
  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

* 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.