If you attended EVV CON 2022, you saw our webinar contest introduced by keynote speaker Mike Carr, 2020 World Champion of Public Speaking. Although there is no EVV CON 2023 in the works so far (because we’re still trying to work out some issues with Toastmasters rules), you have an opportunity to show off your online speaking skills in a webinar contest coming up on June 12 (register to compete or to attend).
Although the June 12 event will be hosted by Online Presenters Toastmasters, all the competitors will be guest speakers, with OP members playing supporting roles. You’re also welcome to attend a May 8 club contest for Online Presenters club members.
A webinar contest speech is a 5-7 minute speech where you’re challenged to demonstrate your mastery of the online stage and show that you can create engagement with the audience. See my blog post about the ideas behind and the history of the contest.
The webinar contest is not an official Toastmasters contest format, but it is an opportunity for members to demonstrate what they have learned about presenting effectively on an online platform. Other clubs and districts who like the concept may want to put on their own event according to our rules or create their own version.
In the absence of an officially blessed online Toastmasters conference on the EVV CON model, a district might be an ideal venue for competitors from multiple clubs to meet on a level playing field.
I hope to see you as a contestant, judge or attendee at one of these events.
Here is an update on the issues that have made EVV CON’s organizers hesitate to put on another event, as communicated to the board’s email alias as well as to President Kinsey.
From: David F. Carr Date: Mon, Apr 17, 2023 at 8:00 AM Subject: Any update on rule changes to allow non-district multi-club events? To: Board Contact, Matt Kinsey
A year ago this month, I was scrambling to reorganize an unofficial Toastmasters event as a non-Toastmasters event after getting a cease and desist letter from your lawyers. The EVV CON event was a success despite all that, but it was a shame that an educational event organized by Toastmasters from Toastmasters had to distance itself from the Toastmasters brand. The organization shouldn’t be going out of its way to discourage initiative.
President Kinsey told me months ago that the issues I’d raised were still under consideration by the board, but I haven’t heard any update. I maintain Toastmasters ought to have some process for allowing collaboration between clubs based on common interests, rather than the traditional geographical organization of districts. The corporate world is going through a somewhat similar process of figuring out how to manage the possibilities created by remote work and distributed workers, versus the virtue of bringing people back together in person. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Toastmasters is finding it as challenging as those companies are, but these issues are important.
The two solutions that make the most sense to me would be to either:
* Establish some official organizational unit that would operate like a corporate Center of Excellence that could host events and promote other activities outside of the boundaries of traditional geographical districts.
* Provide a clearly-defined process Toastmasters leaders can follow to get approval for a multi-club event or activity and pool their resources, including the ability to establish a budget and account for it according to Toastmasters standards.
If you have a better solution, great, but I’d hate to see these issues ignored indefinitely.
I just got out of a “lessons learned” session with members of the EVV CON team. We do want to do the event again (and better), targeting October 2023.
In addition to thinking October would present fewer conflicts with district events than April, we want to allow time for proper planning — including identifying the next group of event leaders and trying to reengage with Toastmasters International.
We would prefer to negotiate some way of running our next event as an official Toastmasters event. After two years of running what used to be called VTM CON as an “unofficial conference for online clubs,” this time around we ran into issues with TI branding and legal that forced us to change the name of the event and restricted our ability to promote it through Toastmasters channels.
If you believe there is a need for an event like this focused on excellence in online speaking, please communicate that to any board or HQ staff contacts you may have. We believe we’ve created something that should be an asset for the Toastmasters brand, not in conflict with it.
If Toastmasters International leadership doesn’t see it that way, there are still enough of us who see the value and will volunteer as individuals (if not as Toastmasters) to put on another event. But we will at least try to patch things up.
Meanwhile, although the conference team discussed a number of things we want to do differently next time, we are proud of what we pulled off. If you haven’t seen the replays from our April 23 event, check them out.
Please write if you would like to be part of the leadership team for next time.
When the pandemic forced the 2020 World Championship of public speaking online, Mike Carr demonstrated how to not just cope with the change but take advantage of the medium. (See his speech, The Librarian and Mrs. Montgomery). In his EVV CON keynote, Mike addresses his passion for continuing to experiment with the possibilities of the virtual stage.
See also Mike’s interview with EVV CON chair David F. Carr in which he discusses the challenges of hybrid online/offline events and the selfie videos he uses to stay in touch with friends and fans between speeches.
This replay of the webinar contest from EVV CON: Elevate the Value of Virtual features an introduction by 2020 World Champion of Public Speaking Mike Carr and the contest speeches by Angela Heath (winner), Julian Cereceda, Andy Colborn, and Paul O’Mahony. The Contest Master was Lou Brown and the Chief Judge was Lillian Cooke.