I gave my first online speech with my International Lunchtime Toastmasters (ILTM) group (1) this week on Zoom. I’ve been a Toastmaster for more than 15 years, so it’s nice to still have first experiences. Today, I’d like to share some of the learnings from this meeting in case you are hosting or participating in one yourself and let’s face it, a lot is going online at the moment. 

There’s a lot of Toastmasters terms here, so just ask if you’re unsure of what it means.

  1. Make the Toastmaster of the Day the Zoom Host of the Meeting. This gives them the right to mute and unmute participants
  1. Mute everyone – otherwise you can hear all the background noise going on in everyone’s household. Only the people that are speaking on “stage” need to be unmuted.
  1. Rename ourselves – Normally, I show up as Selina Man Karlsson on the screen. We right-clicked our window and renamed ourselves so we knew which role each person had – for example: Speaker 2 – Selina Man Karlsson.
  1. Silent Clapping – At Toastmasters, we clap a lot and since we are all muted, we don’t hear the clapping. It’s inefficient to keep muting and unmuting, so we learnt a gesture, where we face our palms towards the camera at the side of our heads and shake them to show clapping.
  1. Green screen – one of the members had a green screen and as she was the Timer, she changed her background to show the time limits reached (i.e. Green, Amber and Red)
  1. Feedback during Speech – Ask to unmute everyone if you want to receive audience feedback– Admittedly, I didn’t do this and since I was giving a Humourous Speech, I didn’t know if people found it funny or not as I could not hear them. This was rather disconcerting as I could see people smiling but since I didn’t hear them, didn’t give them enough time to laugh either. So for my next speech, I will ask to unmute even if I go against point 2).
  1. Google feedback forms – Usually in our offline meetings, we have paper feedback forms, so instead, we used google feedback forms to give our feedback to the speaker. This was very efficient and summarized in a Google sheet for the speaker to review later.

I enjoyed my first online Toastmasters meeting, I benefited from the fact that they had already tried one before so could build upon the experience. I know other clubs are going online too, so if you’ve wanted to experience a Toastmasters meeting, now’s the time to do so in the comfort of your own home. (2)



  1. ILTM Toastmasters
  2. https://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club