Get answers to frequently asked questions.
Business Meetings and District Conferences
Officers and Leaders
» General QuestionsBack to Top
1. My club can no longer meet in person due to travel restrictions. What should we do?
We encourage all clubs that cannot continue holding club meetings in person to meet online. For help transitioning your club to meet online, visit this webpage.
2. Will the International Convention still take place this year?
The Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 Toastmasters International Convention that was to be held in Paris, France. While the convention has been cancelled, there are several events that will still be conducted. We are currently working on alternative methods to conduct District Leader Training, Candidates’ Showcase, the Annual Business Meeting, and the World Championship of Public Speaking®. The Board has voted to hold the 2021 International Convention in Paris, France, thereby moving the 2022 International Convention to Nashville, Tennessee.
3. What is being done to support members during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Board of Directors has extended the April dues renewal to April 30, 2020. Area, Division, and District events need to be cancelled, moved to an online format, or altered to conform to local policies. We will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate if further changes are necessary.
4. When will I lose access to Base Camp?
Members who have not paid by April 1 and are concerned that they will lose access to Base Camp, please know that your access will continue until April 30. Please note that members are not receiving a free month of membership, but rather an option to delay payment of their six-month renewal dues until the end of April without an interruption of benefits.
» Online MeetingsBack to Top
1. Will Toastmasters create a training for how to conduct an online meeting and online contest?
Yes, more information on how to conduct online elections and the District-level speech contest will be forthcoming. On the Virtual Meeting and Vote page of the Toastmasters website, there is information related to conducting the District council meeting online.
2. Can club sponsors, mentors, and coaches stay remote after we return to normal operation?
It is not required for sponsors, mentors, or coaches to attend the club meetings in person, so they are welcome to continue assisting the clubs in the format that is best for all.
» Business Meetings and District ConferencesBack to Top
1. Why is it a requirement to be conduct the annual District Council meeting and International Speech contest on or prior to June 1? According to the by-laws, the Business Meeting has to be done prior to June 1, but there is nothing for the Contests. Is that not the case?
The purpose of the District conference is to hold the annual District Council Meeting and for the International Speech Contest. Therefore, both events need to be conducted on or prior to June 1. This is also extremely important because of region quarterfinals; this will give judges enough time to review the speeches.
2. Our conference is so close to the June 1st date. If possible, can we still go ahead and have the conference in-person as scheduled?
At this time, no. The Board established the date, and we must abide by it. Also, due to the ever-changing environment, if things do not get better, there will not be any time left to conduct the meeting and contest. The business meeting is the only required event; the contest may be decided by the DEC if it should continue or not.
3. How is quorum calculated for the business meeting?
This will be similar to the first District council meeting that was held online. It will be based on the members of the District Council, and how many members register and/or attend the meeting.
4. Are proxies allowed?
Like the first council meeting, proxies are not allowed.
5. How do we handle secret ballots for voting during an online contest?
Both ElectionBuddy and Election Runner have the option to keep voters anonymous. If you like, you can find more information here on virtual meeting and voting.
6. Have the rules reference voting at the Business meeting (max 3 votes per individual and definition of a quorum) changed as a result of the District choosing to conduct the meeting online?
No. When the voting process is conducted online, no proxies will be permitted. Each District Council member must cast their own vote. District Executive Committee members are entitled to one (1) vote and may cast up to two (2) additional votes as a Club President or Vice President Education. All other members of the District Council shall be limited to a maximum of two (2) votes.
» Club OfficersBack to Top
1. My club has stopped meeting. What should we do?
All clubs should continue to hold meetings, but should do so online to protect the health and well-being of its members. If your club is not currently meeting, gather your fellow club officers and discuss what can be done to continue holding club meetings. If you feel you need extra help, reach out to your Area Director.
2. When will my club lose access to Club Central?
With the Board’s decision to extend the dues renewal deadline to April 30, 2020, all clubs will retain access to Club Central until April 30.
3. If my club submits payments after April 1 but before April 30, will we receive Distinguished Club Program credit?
Yes. Any club who meets the renewal requirement by April 30 will receive their Distinguished Club Program credit.
» District LeadersBack to Top
1. The current situation with COVID-19 will have an effect on the District results on the District Success Plan. Will the current criteria in the District Recognition Program be changed to take the new situation in consideration?
The District Recognition Program is being reviewed to determine if and how modifications can be made to accommodate the impact of the coronavirus disease has had on our members and clubs.
2. Is it possible that Districts in the future will get a Zoom account from Toastmasters International, or get a discounted rate as being part of Toastmasters International?
Thank you for this suggestion. This is something we can explore with Zoom and will keep you posted on the outcome.
3. Can District contests be completed in person after June 1?
District speech contests must be held online on, or prior to, June 1, 2020. Districts are responsible to inform World Headquarters as to whether they will be conducting or canceling their contest, and the date on which their contest will be held. Districts who conduct speech contests must submit video of their International Speech Contest winner within one week of their contest date.
4. Is there a “magic number” of Districts saying they are not going to host contests that will cancel them altogether?
No, there is no number being used to cancel contests altogether.
» Area Director and Area CouncilBack to Top
1. Are Area Director visits still being completed?
Yes, Area Director visits are still occurring, but will need to be conducted online.
2. Will round two of Area Directors visit report be extended?
At this time, Area Director visit reports are still due May 31.
3. Since clubs are either not meeting or have switched to meeting online, should Area Directors still conduct their visits?
Yes, Area Directors should still conduct their visits, now more than ever, but should do so online. If clubs are not meeting, it is a good opportunity for the Area director to extend their support. Area Directors can get an understanding of why the club is not meeting, as well as the rest of the information required for Area Director reports. The Area Director can also help facilitate the club meeting online.
4. In some Districts, the incoming Area Director will be elected by the Area council. Is it allowed to have an online Area Council meeting to elect the new Area Director?
Yes, Area Council meeting may be conducted online, and the election for Area Director may also be conducted online.
» Online Contest ProceduresBack to Top
1. If the first-place winner chooses not to compete in an online contest, can the second-place winner compete instead?
2. How should we go about obtaining signatures for speech contest forms?
The Judge’s Certification of Eligibility and Code of Ethics and the Speaker’s Certification of Eligibility and Originality must be completed and returned to the chief judge. This can be a digital signature directly on the fillable form or a scan or photo of the printed and completed form.
3. What should we do if technology fails while a speaker is delivering their speech?
If technology fails and the chief judge determines that the contest needs to be paused, the contestant speaking will be allowed 30 seconds extra overtime and should resume their speech at the point at which the technology failed. If the technology repeatedly fails, the chief judge has the right to make the decision to reconvene the contest at a later date or time, if they feel that the contest can no longer continue.
4. What should we do if technology fails for a judge while a contestant is delivering a speech?
It is up to the chief judge to determine if technology failure on the part of one judge should pause the contest. Some Districts may choose to appoint extra voting judges in the event of a technology failure on the part of a voting judge.
5. Can a contestant ask for audience members to turn their webcams on so they can interact with the audience?
The timer should leave their camera on through the entire contest and remain visible to all contestants. All other audience members should keep their webcams off. Webcams can slow down internet traffic and distract from a clear view of contestants.
» JudgingBack to Top
1. What are the rules for an online contest? Will the judging criteria change in any way?
The judging criteria remains the same, but judges will be instructed not to judge contestants on the quality of their video but rather to judge based on the judging items outlined in the judge’s guide and ballot (e.g., content, delivery, language for the International Speech Contest). Should technology issues occur to a degree that hinders the contest, the chief judge can make the decision to stop the contest and resume when the issues are resolved.
2. How should a judge grade the "Effectiveness, Achievement of Purpose, Interest, Reception" for a speech?
While observing audience member reactions is one way of determining how to score a contestant for Effectiveness (which includes achievement of purpose, interest, and reception), it is not the only indicator that should be considered. First, judges can consider their own reaction to the speech as an audience member. Additional questions to keep in mind when rating effectiveness include: Was the subject relevant to the audience? Was the subject presented clearly? What was the speech purpose? Did the speaker achieve their purpose?
» Region Quarterfinal Video SubmissionsBack to Top
1.Will Toastmasters International create specific guidelines for the recording of the online international speech contest?
We are currently working on guidelines and best practices for conducting the online International Speech Contest, including how to set up your recording effectively. The region quarterfinals chief judge will take into consideration the online speech contest exception and limitations of this environment when reviewing videos. The rules regarding video recordings will not change but there will be some leniency around the how the rules are enforced. Make every effort to ensure that your contestants can be easily seen and heard. Please refer to the guidelines here.
» Base Camp Access ExtensionBack to Top
1. Why is Base Camp access extended until June 30, 2020 for unpaid members?
- An extension of Base Camp access allows club members, in areas more impacted by the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and who are not currently able to pay dues, the ability to continue participating in the education program.
- In addition, members, whose home clubs are not able to meet and are not collecting dues at this time, may look into participating at another club temporarily, while still maintaining access to their materials.
- Lastly, the extension provides more options to clubs and members currently facing difficulties collecting dues, but the extension does not override the rights of a club to restrict participation to paid members only.
2. Is this an extension of a member or club’s good standing?
- No. The deadline to submit dues for the April–September 2020 period was April 30, 2020.
- Clubs that have not submitted the minimum renewal requirement for April–September period will return to good standing once dues are received for a minimum of eight members, at least three of whom were members of the club during the previous renewal period.
- Members who have not submitted their April–September 2020 dues are not members in good standing until their dues are submitted to a club in good standing.
3. Which member benefits are not included when a member or club is not in good standing?
- Members are ineligible from participating in speech contests, serving in a club officer role, voting in club business matters, receiving education awards, and do not count in quorum.
- Clubs not in good standing are ineligible to cast a vote at District council meetings, the Annual Business Meeting, and are not included in quorum. Any paid members of a club not in good standing are not in good standing unless they hold dual membership in a good standing club.
- A club is within its rights to restrict participation in club meetings to members in good standing only.
4. I am a club officer of a good standing club and most members have paid their dues. How do I address a member who has not paid their dues but continues to attend meetings?
It is our recommendation that only members in good standing fill speaking and meeting roles in club meetings; however, it is up to your club to offer additional considerations at this time, such as allowing unpaid members to deliver speeches or hold meeting roles.
5. Who does the extended Base Camp access apply to?
- All members who submitted dues to a good standing club for the October 2019–March 2020 renewal period but who have not submitted their April 2020 renewal dues are offered the extended access.
- Those with a lapse in their paid membership since September 2019 or earlier will not have access.
- Members of clubs, that did not submit the minimum renewal requirement for the October 2019–March 2020 renewal period and which are currently suspended, will not have access.
6. Why do unpaid members show up on my roster paid until June 30, 2020?
- This is a technical side effect of the Base Camp extension.
- Unpaid members will be listed in Club Central – Submit Payment.
- The paid member count on the Club Roster may be inaccurate at this time.
- The Distinguished Club Program Performance Dashboards will accurately reflect the paid members of the club, in the Membership to Date box.
- To confirm the paid members of your club, you may also contact email@example.com.
7. What happens if I do not pay my dues by June 30, 2020?
You will no longer have access to Base Camp.
8. When I am ready to renew my membership, will my dues be prorated?
- If your club has been meeting and you have been attending, you should pay your full semiannual dues of 45 USD.
- If your club has not been meeting and you have not been using Base Camp, you can request your membership be reinstated with the club instead, only paying prorated dues, from the month you rejoin.
- Please note that a club must have at least three members who are renewed for the full term at 45 USD per member.
9. What is the difference between a reinstating and renewing member?
- A renewing member has no break in membership or attendance at club meetings but may not pay dues on time. Unpaid renewal dues orders remain in Club Central for five months after the due date. When a delinquent renewal dues order is paid, it is considered a late payment and not a reinstatement.
- A reinstating member is a member with lapse in their paid membership, and who has had a break in attendance at club meetings. The member and the club may decide whether the member will pay their delinquent renewal dues order, if they want to reflect continuous membership, or whether the member will reapply to join the club (reinstate).
10. I accidentally cancelled the outstanding renewal dues orders in Submit Payment, what do I do?
Please contact Club and Member Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.