Posting Meeting Minutes to the Website

You can record meeting minutes on the website to make them part of the permanent records of your club. Minutes documents can only be viewed by a logged in member of your club. To create a new minutes document for a board meeting or any other purpose, click Add New on the menu in this section.

If your club creates detailed minutes for each meeting, including speeches given and members present or absent, you can use the Minutes from Meeting Records function to simplify that process. This works in tandem with the Update Roles & Attendance tool, which you use to make corrections and additions to the data gathered from the agenda.

Minutes from Meeting Records screen

The meeting listing can be viewed on the public website, and a link to the listing of all the minutes is at the top of the members dashboard. Optionally, you can add this link to the public menus of your website. However, website visitors who are not logged in or not members of the club will not see the contents of the minutes documents, only the headlines, followed by a login prompt.

A link to the section of the website where members can view the minutes documents has been added to the top of the members dashboard. Members of the general public who find their way to that section of the website will only see the headlines and a prompt to log in.

Viewing a minutes document
What a non-member (or a member who has not logged in) sees
View, Print, and Email links

In addition to website editors being able to edit this content in the WordPress editor, any logged in member can access versions of the documents that can be printed or emails from the black menu bar at the top of the screen. These functions work similarly to the print and email functions for the agenda.

Email minutes tool

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.

Adding YouTube video to WordPress blogs is pretty easy to begin with, but this tool helps you organize videos associated with member speeches and archive them tagged with the member names.

Here is a 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 Mailer 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. Or use the New option on the black menu bar at the top of the screen and select the YouTube option. This utility allows you to create a blog post, an email message to members, or both.

The top of the form lists speech signup information drawn from the agendas of the most recent meetings. If the speech assignments and titles are accurate, you can just check them off to have them included in the blog post and/or email message you are creating.

If someone else not on the agenda gave a speech, you can also add their name from the dropdown list and fill in the details.

If you’ve posted separate video clips for individual speakers to YouTube, you can add the video links next to the speaker names. Or if you are sharing a video that includes multiple speeches (and perhaps other elements such as Table Topics or a workshop), put the link in the Wrapup YouTube Link field.

Entering speech videos

When you get to the bottom of the form, you will see the subject line and the message that the tool has constructed for you, based on your selections. You can make a few edits if you like, for example to add a note up top or insert the name of a guest speaker in the relevant section. Or you can make your edits later, in the WordPress editor.

Message preview

Choose whether you want to create a blog post (either a draft or a post that will be published immediately) and whether the blog post should be public or visible to members only. For “Create email message” the choices are Yes or No.

There is also a section for spelling out your policy for sharing and publishing videos. For example, Club Awesome has a policy of only sharing videos with members and not making them public without the speaker’s permission. Online Presenters, in contrast, makes speech videos public by default. In both cases, it’s important to spell out the policy clearly so members know what to expect.

Once you have made your edits and selections, click Save Changes. The confirmation message will include links to where you can view or edit the blog post and email message that has been created. If you’re ready to send out the email version, click Preview/send email.

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, the option that is checked by default. It’s also possible to send a test message to yourself.

If you see errors, click Edit at the top of the screen to revise the content. When you are ready to send, make sure the Website members checkbox is checked and click Send Now.

Email preview

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.

* 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.