Mastering Communication: Why Your Toastmasters Email Matters

Many of us joined Toastmasters in an effort to become comfortable with public speaking. Along our journeys, we learn that Toastmasters helps us become better communicators overall. Today, we are confronted with many modes of communication, and one of the tried and true methods over the past couple of decades is email. Email is the primary mode of communication between Toastmasters International and you, District 53 and you, and many clubs and their members. An email address also serves as half of your Toastmasters International account credentials. This is particularly crucial for accessing associated websites.

Losing access to an email address can quickly disrupt communication, making it challenging to be notified of opportunities and restricting your access to your Toastmasters education records. In this post, I would like to encourage you to consider changing to a personal email address for your Toastmasters email if you are using a work-assigned address. Additionally, I encourage you to check your spam/junk folders to ensure that communication from Toastmasters International, District 53, and your club are not getting trapped in those folders.

Now, let’s explore several benefits of using a personal email address for your Toastmasters correspondence.

1. This safeguards your ability to access education records, even if you no longer have a connection with the company providing your email account. Having a network of other Toastmasters may help you land another opportunity or at the very least help you continue to prepare for future interviews.

2. Using a personal email address ensures you have privacy over your professional development from an employer. A corporate account is company-owned and may be reviewed by management.

3. It can offer you personal branding by choosing a vanity domain address, or how your username and signature are displayed. This can set you apart and show others your involvement with Toastmasters and commitment to personal growth.

4. It ensures that you have control over accessing news from Toastmasters International and District 53. Both sources provide many opportunities to continue your growth such as news of upcoming training, or interesting articles with valuable insights.

We’ve noticed when sending out District 53 news that some company accounts are completely blocking our newsletters. It may be difficult to convince IT departments to adjust firewall settings to allow newsletters to flow in. Many personal address providers such as Gmail allow all subscribed information to flow in but may filter to promotion or spam folders. In these scenarios, a simple search will enable access to the email, and it can then be marked ‘safe’ for inbox delivery in the future.

Uninterrupted access to this information is helpful to you, and your club, which benefits each of the members, “you”.

As you continue your Toastmasters journey, consider the power of a personal email address — a gateway to uninterrupted education, a shield of privacy, personal branding, and a key to unlocking Toastmasters communications. Take control, update your Toastmasters profiles, and share the wisdom with your Toastmasters friends and peers.

Stay Cyber Safe

Dear Members of District 53 Toastmasters,

We heavily rely on emails for communication, especially within our Toastmasters family. Cyber threats plague us everywhere from Social Media hacks that overtake profiles and various tried and true promises of inheriting wealth from foreign princes. Various email scams are referred to as phishing, these are attempts to gain access to financial resources. Such as asking for Bank Account numbers and other personal information or requests to make purchases. Regrettably, the latter recently occurred in our community. I would like to use this space to help you be diligent within your Toastmasters correspondence and elsewhere.

Our recent incident was a phishing attempt that began with an innocent email asking the recipient for a favor or a few minutes of time. A reply then progressed into requests for the purchase of gift cards. Toastmasters officers will never request the purchase of gift cards via email. Furthermore, in compliance with our bylaws, the purchase of non-Toastmasters’ gift cards is strictly prohibited. This same phishing attempt has been deployed all over the world in each Toastmasters district.

How to Identifying Potential Phishing Attempts

Here are best practices for identifying potential phishing attempts:

  1. Check the Sender’s Email Address: Examine the sender’s email address closely. Beware of addresses that appear suspicious or mismatched. Do you have the sender in your contacts, or a previous email which can be compared to the recently received message?
  2. Examine the Content: Phishing emails often contain spelling or grammatical errors, an urgent tone, or vague requests for personal information or financial transactions.
  3. Verify Links and Attachments: Hover over any links before clicking on them. Ensure they lead to legitimate websites. Do not download attachments unless you are certain of the sender’s authenticity. Do not click on any suspicious links.
  4. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off about an email, trust your instincts. If you suspect a message is a phishing attempt, take precautions. Reach out to the recipient with a new email, or better alternatives such as text and phone calls.

What to Do When You Encounter Phishing Attempts

In the event, you identify a potential phishing email:

  1. Do Not Respond: Avoid responding to the email or clicking on any links within it.
  2. Report the Incident: Notify your club officers immediately. If necessary, escalate the issue following the chain of command – Area Director, Division Director, and finally, District Officers.
  3. Educate Fellow Toastmasters: Share your experience with your fellow club members, encouraging them to remain vigilant.

External Resources for Further Information

For more information on recognizing and combating phishing attempts, review these sources:

  1. Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC offers guidance on recognizing and reporting phishing scams on their website: FTC Phishing Scams.
  2. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): CISA provides valuable insights into protecting against phishing attacks: CISA’s Phishing and Spoofing.

In Conclusion

By familiarizing yourself with these best practices, you can protect yourself and your fellow members from phishing attempts.

Stay safe and informed.

My Goals as D53 Public Relations Manager

Hi everyone, my name is Zachary Fisk and I’m the new Toastmasters District Public Relations Manager for District 53. I’m excited to be a part of this organization and I’m committed to helping us achieve our goals.

As the District Public Relations Manager, my goals are to:

  • Increase awareness of Toastmasters in our district and beyond
  • Promote the benefits of Toastmasters to potential members
  • Generate positive publicity for Toastmasters
  • Build relationships with the media and other community organizations

I believe that Toastmasters is an amazing organization that can help people improve their communication and leadership skills. I’m committed to using my skills and experience to help us reach more people and make a positive impact in our community.

Some of the specific strategies I plan to use to achieve my goals include:

  • Having a Public Relations page on the District website.
  • Creating and distributing press releases about Toastmasters events and activities
  • Writing articles and blog posts about the benefits of Toastmasters
  • Using our Facebook pages more effectively.
  • Developing social media content that highlights the work of our members
  • Partnering with local businesses and organizations to promote Toastmasters
  • Attending community events to represent Toastmasters

I’m confident that with the support of our members, we can achieve our goals.

If you have any ideas on how I can achieve my goals, please don’t hesitate to contact me at prm@d53tm.org. I’m always looking for ways to improve and I appreciate your feedback.

I also ask:

I’m excited to get started on my new role as Toastmasters District Public Relations Manager. I’m committed to helping us achieve our goals.

Thank you for your time.