The latest update to WordPress for Toastmasters makes it easier to rearrange the order in which we want speakers and evaluators to be listed on the agenda, which might not be the same as the order in which they signed up.
For example, my home club, Club Awesome, follows a tradition of allowing a member giving their Icebreaker to go first — so they can get it over with, if they’re nervous, and relax for the rest of the meeting. Or you might want to accommodate a speaker who needs to arrive late or leave early.
Also, several clubs have requested the ability to have the agenda display which speakers are matched with which evaluators. To make that work, we want to be able to rearrange the order so we can match speakers and evaluators appropriately (for example, to have a member’s mentor be the one who evaluates their icebreaker).
Here is a look at how I plan to support Pathways speech project signups in WordPress for Toastmasters. This should be sufficient to allow a club that has started on Pathways to manage its agenda using the software and for club officers to do some basic tracking of member progress through the program.
Since Pathways is not yet implemented in my district, I took the list of projects from a PDF document that outlines the paths and levels. My understanding is many projects will continue to be 5-7 minute speeches, but in some cases a single project may require multiple speeches (and some may not be speech projects at all).
I set things up so a VPE, or members reviewing their own progress, can see the list of speeches in each path and level and match it against the program guidelines. Eventually, it should be possible to build on this foundation with a better understanding of how the Pathways program works.
I’m looking for feedback on whether this approach makes sense.
The new WordPress for Toastmasters import/export feature allows you to download a spreadsheet of data including member contact information and a summary of achievements within your club. The file downloads in the standard CSV file format, which you can open in Excel and other data management programs.
You can then make corrections and import the data back into the website, or you can use this as a way of transferring your data to another web server (for example, if you move from my toastmost.org service to your own web hosting).
The import feature here is similar to the one I recommend you use to import users into a new WordPress for Toastmasters site, using the member spreadsheet from Club Central on toastmasters.org.
If you are just getting started with your new website, you might start this way:
Import your members using the toastmasters.org spreadsheet.
Download the WordPress for Toastmasters data export. This will give you a spreadsheet that contains the member’s basic contact info and a series of blank columns in the rows representing other data, such as the number of Competent Communication speeches the member has given.
Update the spreadsheet, correcting data such as email addresses and phone numbers, and adding a basic set of information about how far the member has advanced in the Toastmasters program.
Import the spreadsheet into the website to update the member records.
This is intended as a way to “jump start” your website, after which you will start to benefit from the data gathered in the normal course of business as you organize your meetings.
Here is a look at the new tabbed interface for the reports and editor functions related to member performance reporting.
The goal of these changes is to make it easier to navigate between the basic and advanced reports and to go from there to the editing screens (only available to those users to whom you’ve given the right to edit statistics in the system).
One-click editing of to-do items shown on the Competent Leader and Advanced Awards reports, allowing you to quickly check off a requirement that’s showing as TO DO when it should be DONE.
An add speech function for recording a speech that may have occurred outside of the context of a regular meeting.
Some of the latest updates to the software make it possible to plan the time required for different activities on your agenda and set a limit on the amount of time available for speech projects.
These features are optional. The choice of including times on your printable agenda is a setting you change on the administrator’s dashboard. When you turn it on, and additional Agenda Timing option appears on the menus. The Agenda Timing screen lets you change the time allowances for the whole agenda, and see how the time allocations add up, compared to the length of your meeting.
This is all new enough that you may want to consider it “beta” or experimental. Give me your feedback if you would like to see changes in how this works.
While I have created several tutorials on the custom features of WordPress for Toastmasters, often where club officers trying it out seem to get stuck is on the WordPress basics. This video shows how to customize your club home page and add other pages to your site, as well as blog posts, event posts, images, PDFs, and video.
This excerpt from a webinar on Jan. 20, 2016 (full replay here) shows how agenda items are represented in the WordPress editor and how to edit them – for example, to change the number of speaker and evaluator roles at a meeting. It starts out by showing the standard way you edit web pages and blog posts in WordPress before explaining how events meeting role signup works within the same framework.
Note: The process for setting up your standard meeting template is shown starting from the prompt at the top of the screen you would see on a new site. After initial setup, you would find all the event-oriented functions for setting up meetings or other calendar items located under RSVP Events on the administrator’s dashboard. That includes sub-menus for Event Templates and Agenda Setup.
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