The VTM CON Webinar Contest: How to Create Engagement

The VTM CON Webinar Contest: How to Create Engagement

VTM CON, the unofficial conference for undistricted online Toastmasters clubs, will feature a webinar contest you don’t want to miss. One central challenge for contestants will be to create audience engagement within the constraints of the online format.

Although this is the first inter-club contest, here are excerpts from winning webinar presentations in past contests at Online Presenters, which pioneered this contest format.

RSVP Now! to see how contestants from seven undistricted online Toastmasters clubs demonstrate their mastery of online engagement at VTM CON, June 26-27, 2021.

Complete contest rules are at here. The webinar contest is not an official Toastmasters International contest (at least, not yet) but aims to test skills specific to speaking and presenting online.

While audience engagement is an important component of every good speech, achieving it online can be particularly challenging — which is why we speakers are awarded points if they can get feedback through Zoom chat or in some other way (like asking people to give a thumbs up if they agree with a statement). Contestants can get as creative as they would like, and the judges will figure out whose method was most effective.

The contest scoring also includes traditional metrics for Toastmasters speeches, such as speech development and vocal variety.

The seven clubs sending contestants are: Buddies, Great White North Online, One Country One World, Online Presenters, Plateau Toastmasters Club, Toastmasters Without Borders, and Witty Birds. Participation was limited to online clubs that operate outside of a district structure for official conferences and contests. The VTM CON Webinar Contest: How to Create Engagement.

Toastmasters Across Timezones: See the Schedule Adjusted for Wherever You Are in the World

VTM CON is a global online event, organized by leaders from online Toastmasters around the world. That is why the schedule is staggered with different start and end times for the two days of the event to make it possible for Toastmasters based anywhere to attend at least part of the event.Register today at vtm.toastmost.org and view the preliminary schedule at vtm.toastmost.org/schedule/ VTMCON Toastmasters Conference Timezones

VTMCON Toastmasters Conference Timezones

If you view the schedule on the website, you should see the time for each event translated into your own timezone if you are not in the U.S. Eastern timezone. The schedule is subject to change, but will give you a good idea of what we have planned.

VTMCON Toastmasters Conference Timezones

Mark Brown, Darren LaCroix, and Patricia Fripp to Headline VTM CON 2021

Three of the best known professional speakers to emerge from the Toastmasters world have agreed to keynote at VTM CON 2021, June 26-27. VTM CON the virtual, unofficial conference organized by leaders of undistricted online Toastmasters clubs.

VTM CON 2021
Mark Brown, Patricia Fripp, and Darren LaCroix

Darren LaCroix and Mark Brown are both former winners of the World Championship of Public Speaking. Brown, who won in 1995, actually helped coach LaCroix to his win in 2001. Fripp used Toastmasters as a stepping stone during her transformation from hairdresser to keynote speaker — and happened to be keynoting at the Toastmasters International Convention (for the second time) the year of LaCroix’s win.

Separately and together, the three have led many training and coaching programs for speakers seeking to improve themselves. LaCroix teaches business leaders and speakers of all sorts how to create engagement with humor and founded Stage Time University. Brown speaks widely on organizational excellence, and his PBS Special, “Words Count – with Mark Brown,” was nominated for an Emmy Award. Fripp is an expert on powerful presentations, including virtual presentations, and how to make them translate into sales and business success.

For more about each of them and their VTM CON programs, see:

Early registration for the conference is open now.

The conference theme is “Make YOUR Audience Remember YOU!” and workshop presentation proposals are still being accepted. VTM CON will also feature a webinar contest, a chance for Toastmasters to demonstrate their skill at presenting in the online medium. To provide opportunities for networking “in the hallways,” the event will include breakout room opportunities to meet with the keynote speakers and the sponsoring clubs.

The first VTM CON event in December 2020 was a huge success, drawing Toastmasters from around the world. “This was WITHOUT QUESTION the best Virtual Event of the YEAR. That’s how it’s Done!” said Linda-Marie Miller, one of the presenters and runner up from the 2020 World Championship of Public Speaking.

Online clubs are a relatively new phenomenon in the Toastmasters world, and most of the best known contests operate outside of the traditional district structure, meaning they have no official district conferences or district contests. They also draw from an international membership. In recognition of the global nature of online Toastmasters, VTM 2021 features spread across two days with events scheduled so Toastmasters from any timezone can attend at least part some of them.

VTM CON 2021 is being sponsored by 12 online clubs — Bhinneka Online Toastmasters, Buddies Online, Digital Communicators, Global Trainers Online, Great White North Online, Netizens, One Country One World, Online Presenters, Plateau Toastmasters Club, Toastmasters Without Borders, Virtual Professional Speakers, and Witty Birds. All except Bhinneka and Digital Communicators operated outside of a district, so this is their opportunity to have an unofficial conference.

The co-chairs for VTM CON 2021 are Krishn Ramchurn and Pamela Benjamin, both members of multiple online clubs.

“We are thrilled to see three big names recognizing the leadership role online Toastmasters are playing in this era,” said Pamela Benjamin, who is leading the Talent recruiting team. “From the beginning, our team has been focused on encouraging the growth of online skills for the online Toastmasters’ community. The speakers selected for the VTM Conferences are chosen to encourage. Our theme, Make YOUR audience remember YOU! is the goal.”

“The growth in participation by online Toastmasters clubs is equally important,” added Krishn Ramchurn, who was also an advisor to the chairs of the December 2020 event. “We always had the ambition of making this an event for all the online Toastmasters clubs but hustled together our successful first event with a relatively small core team. With more clubs involved, VTM CON 2021 is on track to be bigger and better.”

The conference organizers can be reached at vtmcon@gmail.com. For more details and early registration, see vtm.toastmost.org. On Facebook, “like” facebook.com/vtmcon/ for ongoing updates.

Replay: “Make Your Mark – Creativity in a Time of Uncertainty” with Derrick Trimble

Whether or not you think of yourself as creative, Derrick Trimble says there is creativity within everyone, waiting to be unlocked. He delivered this workshop at VTM CON 2020.

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Replay: “Be Your Speech — Change the World” with Linda-Marie Miller

Are you ready to step up and Change the World with your Public Speaking? Linda-Marie Miller tells you how in this workshop presentation from VTM CON 2020.

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Replay: “Design Engagement into Virtual Presentations” with Roger Courville

Roger Courville gave this workshop on how to get attention in a noisy world at VTM CON 2020.

Roger’s key points

  • Think of attention in three categories: sensory, cognitive, social
  • Use a complete thought in the slide title
  • Enagage with “back of room” font sizes
  • Think skill before tool
  • Bridge transactional distance with “analyze, map, adapt”
  • Tap into “picture superiority effect”
  • Think beyond the slide
  • Think beyond the device
  • Study Hollywood’s attention tactics
  • (Re)claim attention with “pattern interrupts”

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Replay: “Seal the Deal” by Fursey Gotuaco

Learn to add some drama to your speeches with help from Fursey Gotuaco. From VTM CON 2020, a virtual Toastmasters conference.

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Replay: “Discover Your Zoom Speaker Brand” with Marquesa Pettway

Discover your Zoom Speaker Brand to grow your mission, business, company or career in this workshop from VTM CON 2020.

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Replay: Evaluation Contest, December 2020

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