Toastmasters Need to “RESET”

As part of Awesome April, on Thursday evening April 21st Dr. Fred L. Johnson III gave an inspiring presentation to District 62. With the theme, “It’s Time for a RESET”, Dr. Johnson recounted how the Covid-19 global pandemic caused people and organization to re-imagine concepts like family, friendship, work and public speaking.

Rising to the Challenge

Fred noted that many Toastmasters rose to the challenge. Clubs inspired audiences through creative uses of technology. Speakers learned techniques for delivering powerful messages through the camera. Many created video content through discovery of talents that might have gone unnoticed.

There were many lessons learned during the pandemic; however, Dr. Johnson noted that some of the “magic” that made Toastmasters gatherings so special was diminished or disappeared.


As part of his proposed RESET, Dr. Johnson noted that we as Toastmasters need to pay attention to four things:

1. We need each other; relationally, socially, spiritually

2. We need to actively listen; “Not just listen so we can reply, but listen so we can understand”

3. We need to meet in-person, to acquire and retain social connection

4. We need to build bridges so that more can understand, contribute and participate

For example, “What if we actually invested time, energy and resources in failed clubs,” he suggested. “If you hang around folks that are going someplace, you will either go with them or get there faster on your own.”


Fred noted several inspiring stories in his presentation, including the following:

Diana Nyad and her swim from Cuba to Key West

Elie Weisel’s “Night” Memoir

Dananjaya Hettiarachi – World Champion of Public Speaking 2014

Finally, to assist Toastmasters with “upping their on-line game”, Dr. Johnson recommended reviewing and upgrading our Zoom backgrounds. He cited the book, “How to Zoom Your Room” as well as the Room Rater blog.

Visit Dr. Fred Johnson’s web site for more information.

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Author: Lock Lyon

Lock Lyon has been a Toastmaster for over 10 years, and is a prolific author and blogger specializing in information technology issues. In 2021, Lock was designated an Information Champion by IBM Corporation. He currently spends his time writing and speaking from his home in central Michigan.

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