Straw Man Agenda #2 – Split Schedule

One of the ideas for VTM CON 2022 that came out of a November 17 planning session was to spit the schedule up, with an extended intermission, so that the second half of the program at least would be more accessible to Toastmasters in Australia (one of the centers of online cub activity). The tradeoff would be a later night for our friends in Europe and farther East.

My original thought was that it might be better to support a second event timed to appeal to Australia / Asia / Pacific Toastmasters, organized by someone from that region with people like me staying up late or getting up early to attend. But I think the split schedule idea has merit as a way of accommodating the greatest number of Toastmasters and is worthy of further discussion.

I’m still thinking the content to fit within this schedule would include:

  • 3 featured speakers
  • Webinar contest – our unique, unofficial contest format
  • Tech Tips – a series of short talks on presentation tech and other software for speakers and leaders
  • Short 15 minute breakout sessions between the other events

Important: All these ideas are still just ideas. We’re at the brainstorming stage, still working to identify the online Toastmasters leaders who will step forward to make this event happen, who will make the ultimate decisions.

That said, here are a few more preliminary ideas for discussion.

The Date – April 9?

Based on feedback that the first dates I proposed didn’t leave enough time for planning, I’m thinking of moving the event to Saturday April 9 (April 10 for the Australians). That’s a week after Easter and before the beginning of Passover. Any other significant conflicts?

I’m proposing that we would also hold some webinar contest semifinals events in late March, narrowing the number of potential contestants to 5 or 6 who would face off at VTM CON 2022.

Possible Split Schedule Structure

The schedule outlined below shows the event broken into two three-hour blocks, with a 3-hour intermission in between. That leaves time for a meal or a nap and makes for shorter stints in front of a computer. Again, this is only a proposal for discussion purposes.

Block 1 would start at 15:00 UTC / 4 pm London (BST), 11 am US East Coast (EDT), 8 am US West Coast (PDT), and 1 am Sydney (AEST). That’s Sunday rather than Saturday for Australia.

Block 2 would start at 21:00 UTC / 10 am London, 5 pm US East Coast (EDT) , 2 pm US West Coast (PDT), and 7 am Sydney (AEST). I’d propose that scheduling the webinar contest.

Program Block 1 – Start (15:00 UTC)

London, United Kingdom*
BST (UTC +1)
4:00 pm

Boca Raton, FL, USA*
EDT (UTC -4)
11:00 am

Los Angeles, CA, USA*
PDT (UTC -7)
Sat, Apr 10, 2021
8:00 am

Sydney, Australia
AEST (UTC +10)
Sun, Apr 11, 2021
1:00 am

Program Block 1 – End

London, United Kingdom*
BST (UTC +1)
7:00 pm

Boca Raton, FL, USA*
EDT (UTC -4)
2:00 pm

Los Angeles, CA, USA*
PDT (UTC -7)
11:00 am

Sydney, Australia
AEST (UTC +10)
4:00 am

3 Hour Intermission

Program Block 2 – Start (21:00 UTC)

London, United Kingdom*
BST (UTC +1)
10:00 pm

Boca Raton, FL, USA*
EDT (UTC -4)
5:00 pm

Los Angeles, CA, USA*
PDT (UTC -7)
2:00 pm

Sydney, Australia
AEST (UTC +10)
7:00 am

Program Block 2 – End

London, United Kingdom*
BST (UTC +1)
Sun, Apr 10, 2021
1:00 am

Boca Raton, FL, USA*
EDT (UTC -4)
8:00 pm

Los Angeles, CA, USA*
PDT (UTC -7)
5:00 pm

Sydney, Australia
AEST (UTC +10)
10:00 am

Straw Man Plan for VTM CON 2022

See update: Straw Man Agenda #2 – Split Schedule with a proposed date of April 10, 2022.


None of what you read below is final, or anywhere close to it. This is the chair’s concept, subject to further discussion in our initial planning sessions (Nov. 17 and Nov. 21) and by the conference committees still to be formed. These dates may or may not be realistic, largely depending on volunteer commitments.

January 8 – Deadline for Commitments By Sponsor Clubs

To qualify as a sponsor and be invited to participate in the Webinar Contest, a club must provide one or more volunteers for the organizing and event day activities. They will also be asked for a token monetary contribution (probably $10 to $15 USD). Proposed: Both districted and undistricted online clubs will be welcome. Previously only members of undistricted clubs were invited to participate in the contest.

Saturday February 26 – Webinar Contest Semi-Finals

2 weeks prior to the main event, contestants from competing clubs meet to demonstrate their digital presentation expertise. All online clubs who participate as sponsors are eligible to put forth a champion (ideally chosen by a contest held within the club). The top 5 contestants will go on to compete at VTM CON.

Saturday March 12 – VTM CON 2022

  • 1 day, not 2
  • 3 Featured / Keynote Speakers
  • Tech Tips Session – follow the model from VTM CON June 2021
  • Webinar Contest – would like this to be conducted live (we showed a recording last time because of time constraints and the number of contestants)
  • Breakout rooms to meet with speakers / clubs but less time allowed / emphasis than the June 2021 event
  • After Party

Here’s a potential schedule (times in US Eastern Time)

StartActivityTime Allowed
9:00Opening0:10
9:10Featured Speaker 10:50
10:0015 minute break – speaker / club breakout rooms0:15
10:15Tech Tips1:00
11:1515-Minute Break0:15
11:30Featured Speaker 20:50
12:2015-minute break – speaker / club breakout rooms0:15
12:35Webinar Contest1:00
13:3515-minute break – breakout room for contest winner0:15
13:50Additional 15 minutes break / intermission0:15
14:05Featured Speaker 30:50
14:5515-minute break – speaker / club breakout rooms0:15
15:10Closing Ceremony0:10
15:20After Party?
Potential Schedule

This is about 6 and a half hours of programming — about the most I’d want to pack into one day. Times equate to 4 pm to 8:20 pm in London, 8 am to 12:20 pm US Pacific Time, and 8 pm to a little past midnight for past co-chair Krishn Ramchurn in Mauritius.

Decisions and Turning Points

  • Do the dates work? Initial feedback was that the date I initially named, February 26, might not allow enough time for planning, so now thinking of that as a contest semifinals date, leading to the main VTM CON event on March 12. We may run into some conflicts with district contests and other events. Showstoppers?
  • Who will step forward to make this event happen? We can expect some repeat participation from the past 2 events but will also need new faces volunteering to lead and participate in committees. Whether we get committee leaders in place within the next few weeks will also determine whether the dates outlined above are realistic.
  • Expenses: Do we plan to spend some money on advertising? Honorarium for speakers? Zoom upgrade?
  • Potential Revenue Sources: Charge each participating club $10 to $15 USD. Also consider charging for admission, maybe $10 USD, to raise money but also to get more of a commitment from those who register that they will actually attend.
  • Participation boundaries: Can we agree the following? To broaden participation to both districted and undistricted online clubs for event leadership and participation in the webinar contest? Members of hybrid clubs and traditional community clubs would be welcome to attend, but our target audience and the clubs invited to participate would be 100% online clubs.

Volunteer Needs

Based on past practice, we will need leaders / members for these committees. Final list may change.

  • Talent – recruiting and working with featured speakers
  • PR/Marketing
  • Liaison – staying in touch with participating clubs
  • Contest – organizing our webinar contest focused on online presentation skills
  • Zoom team – managing the Zoom environment for the best experience
  • Program Book
  • Breakout Rooms
  • Video recording / editing

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