YouTube Speech Video Sharing Tool

The WordPress for Toastmasters sharing tool for YouTube is designed to assist with the sharing of speech videos, either publicly or for club member’s eyes only. (See also: video demo).

It works with several other features, including:

  • The Members-Only category for blog content. Also useful for publication of content such as meeting minutes intended for distribution within the club, this special category prevents blog content from being displayed except for logged in members.
  • The RSVP Email tool included with RSVPMaker, the events calendar plugin included in WordPress for Toastmasters. This tool allows you to create and format email content using the WordPress editor. You can use it to prepare emails with embedded video content for distribution to members.
  • The ability to tag blogs with the names of members. By doing this consistently, we can more easily look up old emails from our archive.

In clubs where members might like to learn from watching their speech videos, but don’t necessarily want to share them publicly, you can still upload them to YouTube as unlisted videos, then share them to a members-only email list and add them to your blog as members Members Only posts.

Before giving the how-to details, here’s an overview of what using this tool accomplishes.

Club Awesome Toastmasters, the home club of WordPress for Toastmasters developer David F. Carr, has several years worth of Members Only video blog posts in its archives, each tagged with the names of the speakers. They are searchable, allowing members to go back and see all their old speech videos.

Most of these are individual video clips, where each speech was recorded separately, and the blog post includes a roundup of all of them for a week’s meeting.

More recently, the tool has been updated to work better with the posting longer videos that include several speeches, such as the replay of a meeting conducted online using Zoom. These posts can still include tagging of members who spoke, with titles and speech project details pulled from the agenda.

Replay of an online meeting

After each week’s meeting, members also receive an email containing the same content shared to the blog.

When blog posts are tagged Members Only, website visitors who are not logged in see a prompt saying a password is required.

If a website visitor is not logged in, Members Only posts aren’t displayed at all in the main blog listing. We do list them on a sidebar, where public posts aimed at marketing the club show under Club News, separately from Members Only Content.

Some online clubs, including Online Presenters, routinely post replays of their meetings publicly — Online Presenters is an advanced club with very experienced members — but can still use this tool to catalog member speeches.

How to Use the YouTube Speech Video Sharing Tool

Now that you know what you can create, here’s how to to do it. Look for the YouTube Toastmasters option under Media. This utility allows you to create a blog post, an email message to members, or both.

The form is a long one, so we will tackle it in sections.

Top of the form includes speeches listed on the agenda. Check off the ones included in your post. If there are individual YouTube videos for the individual speakers include those here.

Top of the Form

The radio buttons at the top of the page allow you to specify the whether or not a blog post will be created and whether or not an email message should be created based on your input.

Blog posts can be added to the Members Only category, meaning that you must be logged in to see the contents, or they can be public. They can also be created as drafts to be edited further, or they can be published immediately.

The section at the top of the page lists speaker names, speech projects and speech titles, based on whatever was recorded on the agendas of recent meetings. Check the checkbox next to each one that will be included in the blog post and/or email you are creating. If there is an individual email clip associated with that speech, enter it here.

If speeches from the agenda are being published as part of a longer video, such as the recording of an entire meeting conducted online, check off the speeches but leave the YouTube Link field blank. There’s a place to the meeting replay link farther down the page.

Middle Section

Below the speaker and speech listings pulled from the agenda, there is a section where you can enter speaker names and speaker details manually. If a speaker is a member of the club, pick from the Select Member dropdown list. You can also type in the name, for example of a guest speaker. Again, if there is a specific YouTube link associated with that speech, enter it here.

You can also enter a YouTube link that includes several speeches, which is how you might publish the replay of an online meeting. The suggested text for these links is the date of one of your recent meetings, but you can change it to whatever you like.

Use this section for videos that use multiple speeches.

Policy Statement

At the bottom of the form, there is an opportunity to enter a policy statement that will be included in the blog and email content you create with this tool. At Club Awesome, this includes a reminder that these videos are meant to be shared within the club only unless otherwise specified and should only be shared within the club.

Finally, there is a spot for you to state your video sharing policy.

After clicking Save Changes, you will see prompts to view or edit the content you have created.

Sending the Email

Posts created with the RSVP Email tool are displayed in a special email preview template, rather than a regular website template. When viewed by a logged in user with the right to send messages, it includes options at the top of the page for sending messages to various audiences — including all website members. It’s also possible to send a test message to yourself.

If you see errors, click Edit to revise the content. When you are ready to send check the Website members checkbox and click Send Now.

Modifying Categories and Tags

Video blog posts created with this tool are automatically tagged with the names of members whose speeches are automatically tagged with the category Video and, optionally, Members Only.

In WordPress, categories are a more formal taxonomy of posts, while tags are more ad hoc. Both are displayed on posts so you can click on a category to see all the other posts in a category, or click on a tag to see all the similarly tagged posts.

You can manually add or correct these tags using the Documents tab of the sidebar in the WordPress editor.

Archive Tagged by Member Name

After you have been tagging videos in this manner for months or years, you may find it useful to create an index of them by adding this code to one of the pages of your site.

[blogs_by_member_tag]

For example, after several years of consistently tagging member speeches this way, Club Awesome now has a page on its website where members can go back to look up recordings of their old speeches.

Index of Video Blog Posts, Tagged by Member Name

Events Marketing, Registrations, and Payment with RSVPMaker

The most common use of RSVPMaker in WordPress fot Toastmasters is to create and manage events linked to a meeting template. The setup of those events is described in the Agenda Administration section of the knowledge base. However, that is not all RSVPMaker can be used for.

You can use it to:

  • Promote a club open house
  • Promote a TLI, conference, or other event and register people for that event.
  • Collect money online via integration with PayPal and Stripe.
  • Send broadcast email messages based on events or blog posts, using integration with MailChimp.

The RSVP / registration features can also be used in combination with Toastmasters agenda management. For example, Online Presenters Toastmasters uses RSVPMaker to register guests who wish to attend its online meetings. The online meeting sign in link is included with the confirmation message visitors get when they register.

See the RSVPMaker documentation for complete details, but here is the basic event setup process:

When you click the Add New option under RSVP Events, you do not launch straight into the WordPress editor the way you would with a page or post. Before you create an event post, RSVPMaker prompts you to provide basic details such as the event date and whether you will be collecting RSVPs (event registrations).

The box in the upper right hand corner is where you would click if you want to create an event template, or create one or more events based on a template. Otherwise, you should ignore that.

Enter a title and use the controls on this screen to set the date and time of your event, the end time, and a few RSVP and event display options. You can change these settings later.

When you click Save Changes, RSVPMaker will create a draft event based on those settings. Use the WordPress editor to fill in the details about your event and why people should attend.

The process of creating events and event templates is much the same as it would be with meeting event templates — except that instead of making the body of the post a series of Agenda Role and Agenda Note blocks, you include whatever text, images, and other content that will do the best job of marketing your events.

A draft event post, with post content to be added.

The event date, time, and many RSVP and display parameters can be changed through the document sidebar represented by the calendar icon.

To see all the options, including pricing and online payment for events, visit click RSVP / Event Options on the black admin bar at the top of the screen. A complete list of options will be displayed in a separate window.

When you create an event template, the RSVP, pricing, and other parameters are copied to the events generated based on that template.

Online Timer Tool

Timer showing red

A web-based timer is available from the Agenda menu of a Toastmasters meeting agenda and pulls in data from the agenda such as the names and speech timings of speakers or contestants. For online meetings, you can use this tool to show a timing lights effect as a background image. However, that does require the use of additional software such as OBS Studio to select a web page or portion of a web page as a source image, as explained below.

(For an alternative that does not require additional software, see the Blue Sky Apps timer.)

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To use the timer, you choose the name of the speaker from the Speaker/Speech Type list or choose one of the other options, such as Table Topics, or Speech (8-10) for an 8 to 10-minute speech by a speaker who was not added to the agenda on the website.

Click Start to start the timer or Stop to stop it (or to reset everything). You can also click the Green, Yellow, and Red buttons to manually trigger a color change. The Correction drop-down list allows you to make an adjustment, for example if you started the timer a few seconds late (try not to do that).

Support for background images, in addition to colors, was added in Feb. 2021 update.

Timer controls

The green, yellow, and red background colors change automatically as the minimum, midpoint, and maximum times are reached. Instructions for sharing the timing colors in Zoom are included below.

Contest Timer

This video tutorial covers the use of the Timer in the context of a contest (where the controls also include a form for submitting the timer’s report). The contestants are listed, according to the official speaking order, with the timing requirements for the type of contest pre-programmed into the tool.

Even if you don’t use this tool for the actual timing display, you can use the Timer’s report form on the page to submit the times (and any disqualifications) so they will be accounted for on the vote counting dashboard.

Streaming the Timer Video to Zoom

If you want to share screen colors in a Zoom meeting, you will need some sort of webcam or streaming software. I use OBS Studio, which is free, open source software that allows you to mix your webcam video with other video sources. The virtual camera function, which used to require a separate plugin but is built into the latest release of OBS, must be turned on. In Zoom, you will then select OBS Virtual Camera as your video source.

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Click Start Virtual Camera to begin sending output to the virtual camera. In OBS, you will select the timer window or the popup timer as the video source to use as your background.
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Selecting the Virtual Camera in Zoom

Here’s a good tutorial on green screen setup for OBS Studio.

Background Images

Timer Background Image

The branded background images from Toastmasters International are available by default, and it’s also possible to add custom background images (like the Kermit example above, image courtesy of Pixabay).

Choosing a Background Image

Uploading Custom Background Images

A member who is allowed to upload images can upload additional colored images to be used with the timer. The list of images available for this purpose in the Timer tool is limited to those that have the color names (green, yellow, and red) in the file name or the title assigned in the media library.

Uploading Images

If the color name is not in the file name of the image uploaded, you can edit the associated properties through the Media screen of the Toastmasters dashboard (assuming you have editing rights). Add the color name to the title, which by default is based on the filename.

Editing the Image Title

Assigning File Upload Rights

By default, WordPress restricts the right to upload images to Administrators, Editors, and Authors (WordPress for Toastmasters adds the custom role Manager). As the site administrator, you can upgrade a trusted user to Author to allow them file upload rights.

It’s also possible to assign the file upload right to individual members (users) without granting other privileges. You can do that through the Security tab of the Toastmasters screen under Settings on the WordPress dashboard.