Building an online community for your Toastmasters club members has always been a great strategy for keeping everyone informed and connected. When you are preparing to take your club meetings online, having an established online community will be invaluable.
There are many established online club communities who are ready to share their expertise. You can connect with them in either of their social media spaces on Facebook Groups and at the Online Alliance
Some time ago a group of Online Club leaders participated in a Panel Discussion hosted by the Online Presenters in Zoom. This session called ‘How to start an online Toastmasters club‘ provides you with inside information from advanced and community club leaders.
Engage in open discussions in social media
Social Media offers a unique method of engaging in open discussions where you can be assured of swift responses and meaningful comments. You might start a Poll in a Facebook Group; or Send an inquiry post in LinkedIn; or create a Twitter conversation with a specific hashtag for collecting.
Provide a consistent presence in your select social media tool(s) and aim to make the best use of the shared advice and opinions from your posts and polls. Follow up on those who are seeking further information and invite those who wish to share leadership skills in your domain.
Identify and share the skills of being online
When building community for your online club it is essential to identify the skills required. Best to keep your community informed on how to use digital skills to their advantage.
Ensure that you provide up-to-date and meaningful information about the online Toastmasters experiences with lists of benefits; and pre-requisite essential skills required. These should be communicated to your potential members well in advance of moving your meetings online. They should specifically explain the types of equipment required and how best to use the video and audio aspects of being online.
Encourage Members to Be Connected
Here in Australia we have the Be Connected program for self-managed learning about digital skills. Their lessons include simple introductions to such topics as:
- The absolute basics: computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones and internet
- Getting to know your device: using keyboard, mouse, touch screen and computer
- Getting started online: using internet, online forms, email and search engines
- More online skills: socialising online, using Facebook, watching and listening online
Are you ready to help others be comfortable online?
Manage your online community
Once you have a critical mass of members communicating with you online, then create an online community in which you can communicate, collaborate and support the club members as they move their meetings online. You may choose a Facebook Group or LinkedIn Group or a Twitter hashtag or a WordPress page or a Googlesite. You may prefer a What’s App group, or a Messenger group or a We Chat group. There are many options available.
Put into action a plan for managing and moderating your online community! This will require some dedicated time to check for replies or posts and to keep it fresh with new information on a regular basis.
Explore how one Advanced Online Club community is managed in Facebook.
- Global Trainers Online (GTO): https://www.facebook.com/groups/globaltrainersonline/