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Learn the 'Art of Zoom' with Coquitlam Toastmasters

The Downtown Coquitlam Toastmasters will host a virtual open house on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. to draw more members.
Valerie Watt-toastmasters
Valerie Watt is the president of the Downtown Coquitlam Toastmasters club.

If your lack of communication skills became evident during Zoom meetings in 2020, you may want to think about polishing your presentation in the new year.

The global pandemic forced most meetings and gatherings to go online, with employers and groups pivoting to the new platform to get business done.

Among the Tri-City organizations that had to learn the “Art of Zoom” last year was the Downtown Coquitlam Toastmasters Club, a 25-member branch that — before COVID-19 — met weekly at the Coquitlam campus of Douglas College.

Club president Valerie Watt said she doesn’t anticipate seeing her peers in person until September, when the physical distancing orders are expected to end.

Adjusting to online “was difficult at first for everybody,” she told the Tri-City News. “How do you deliver a speech when you’re used to standing? We had a lot of cut-off heads so we had to get used to sitting, and learn where to look on the computer.”

Jan. 13, the club will host its first-ever virtual open house with the aim to attract more members and talk about how to gain confidence when speaking in public.

District 96 director Carole Murphy will also speak about the club’s international roots while Watt will outline what happens for each weekly session: preparing speeches, chatting about a chosen topic, chairing meetings and learning new words.

To register for the open house at 7 p.m., visit For more details about the club, go to