Meeting on TV

With the advances in technology, Toastmasters have an incredible opportunity to raise the bar and conquer the greatest challenge they will ever face – appearing on television!

Over the past year, my club has allowed me to video-record our meetings. Each week I use a simple program to edit the speeches, evaluations and Table Topics portions into little segments that I later upload to our club’s Web site.

These video clips were always placed in the members-only side of our site as a means to help our members see themselves and grow. Then the proverbial light bulb popped! Why not make a TV show?

With gentle arm twisting, I convinced the members that a TV show would not only draw in new members, but it would really encourage us to put on our “A-Game” in future meetings.

As a result, our membership is thriving and we’ve considered compiling a DVD titled: Best of Noontime Toastmasters; Season 1.

Now, the show appears on our local public access channel at no charge to us – absolutely free! It airs three times every Thursday and is even listed in the TV guide line-up as Talking Toastmasters.

Additionally, our club meeting information appears in our local newspaper each Sunday as part of the Business Meetings Calendar, and this listing now includes the name of that week’s featured speaker.

While producing a show may seem complicated and time consuming, here are a few of my shortcuts to help your club succeed should you want to follow our example:

To begin with, I use a video camera that will transfer the contents to my computer using the Windows Movie Maker application. This program came preloaded on my computer. Check your computer or computer store for a copy. Once I’ve imported the video from the meeting, I simply use the Movie Maker program to edit the content into a great-looking 30- minute TV show. The program has the ability to add text, so each person is visually identified during his or her appearance. For longer speeches, people are identified several times while they appear on camera.

“Best of Noontime Toastmasters appears on our local public access TV channel three times a week – absolutely free!”

Then I make sure there are always 1½ minutes available at the end so that I can add some promotional content and a fun song similar to movie credits.

In these credits, viewers read about our meeting times, Web site information, contact numbers and general facts about how Toastmasters membership can help them both personally and professionally.

The show is then burned to a DVD that is delivered to the TV station, which is then copied to a master file ready to run three times each week, for free.

I signed up to serve as the vice president of public relations to carry on the responsibility of producing our TV show. Moreover, producing the TV show has prompted me to create a training program for our club that focuses on how to appear on television. (Which works well in conjunction with Toastmasters’ advanced communication manual on the same topic).

This provides members with the proper etiquette for knowing where to stand and the camera range (floor stage) of where they can move. Our club banner is properly displayed in the background so the name Noontime Toastmasters is always visible.

The Table Topics portion of our meetings requires each person to come up to the lectern so that he or she will also appear on TV, if time permits.

We now have several meetings filmed that we use as demonstrations when talking with organizations interested in chartering a new club. Currently the organization we are in discussions with has a committee of 15 people. It would be virtually impossible to have all of them attend our regular meeting. Now, rather than trying to get 10 club members together to put on a live demonstration meeting, all I had to do was schedule a time with the committee and bring the video along. If needed, I could leave a copy with them for future viewings.

Using the technology of the 21st century has proven to be a wise investment. And as a financial planner, I know a good investment when I see one. We have added several new members and are in the process of chartering a new club. In addition, we have discovered skills and talents like never before!

David Lisnek ACS, is an author, financial expert and member of Noontime Toastmasters club in Springfield, Illinois. Reach him at Click here to send an email.

Editor’s Note: If you are considering using video to record your club meetings, please first review the following points before posting anything to your club’s Web site:

Make sure to guard your members’ privacy by:

  1. Getting signed release forms from each member appearing in the video, and
  2. Placing the video on the Members Only section of your Web site.

Also, if your club wants to use this video for marketing purposes, be sure it is of professional quality and doesn’t embarrass the speakers or the organization. To help you in your marketing efforts, Toastmasters International has just produced a new DVD called Welcome to Toastmasters that will be available for a nominal fee in mid-August. This video is perfect for sharing with friends and colleagues. Be sure to take advantage of it when looking for new members and clubs!

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