District Director Message – Sep 2020

Two months of the term 2020-2021 have passed. Many events have occurred during this period.

District Leaders, District officers and Club officers have attended their online trainings. The first Virtual 2020 Annual Convention was just over last week. I hope you have attended some or all of the sessions and benefited from the trainings by the world class speakers.

How long will the Covid-19 pandemic last remain an uncertainty. In view of this, on 24 August 2020, Toastmasters International Headquarters announced the Board of Directors’ decision in allowing Districts to have the option to conduct both the Annual District Conference and Council meetings online through June 30, 2021. Also announced is that effective immediately, all Speech Contests at the Area- Division-, and District-levels must be conducted online.

During the first District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting on 27 June 2020, I proposed and the DEC has approved to have three speech contests at the District level for this term. These contests are International Speech, Humorous Speech and Table Topics contest. The reason for having only three contests at the District level is time constraint. As District contests must be held during the Annual Conference, which was anticipated to be an in-person conference at that time, having more than 3 contests will leave little time for education segments during the Annual Conference. With the new requirement from TI HQ that all Speech Contests at the Area, Division, and District levels must be conducted online, time will no longer be a constraint as the contests can be conducted over different days. Hence, during the coming second DEC meeting on 5 September 2020, I will propose to include the Evaluation
Contest at the District level for the approval by the DEC.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, recruitment and membership retention are major challenges faced by all Districts around the world. As of 28 Aug 2020, membership payments in District 80 is 612. For the same period on 28 August 2019, membership payment in District 80 was 926. This is a 34% drop this term as compared to last term. The semiannual membership renewal is due end Sep 2020. Please renew your membership as this is a crucial time for you to continue the Toastmasters training to get yourself ready for new working condition after the pandemic. If you have
been working from home in the past few months and your job can be done from home, your boss will likely notice that. The question your boss will likely ask is: If this job can be done from home, why not hire someone to work from home in a country where the wages are lower? Put it bluntly, your job could be at risk. The new job that you will get could be with a company in another country, which you work from home. Hence, communicating online effectively is a skill that you will need to master and Toastmasters is the place where you get feedback to improve on this new required skill. Please also introduce the Toastmasters program to people you know and let them benefit from it too.

Bad times will not last forever. I hope that the pandemic will be over soon. Meanwhile, let’s remain upbeat, face the challenges ahead boldly and tackle them as they come. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive.

Yours faithfully
Ng Cher Khim, DTM
District Director 2020-2021
District 80

9127 South Jamaica Street, Suite 400 | Englewood, CO 80112 | Phone: +1 720-439-5050 | http://www.toastmasters.org