SpeechLab 2.0

Pilot: February 2021-June 2021

ARE YOU STUCK? Do you have trouble making time to study in your path? Do you plan to give a speech “next week” … every week?  

You know that your fellow BTM members are here for each other on Tuesdays, but most of the work you do for Toastmasters takes place off the stage. How can we support each other in the time between meetings?

To help you finish the year strong, we’re piloting a new program with our friends at Focusmate: SpeechLab 2.0. Now through June, Boston Toastmasters will host a private virtual coworking group. Join us and you can:

  • Meet with your mentor
  • Run your speech idea by another member
  • Bang out that speech conclusion you’ve been meaning to write.

What is virtual coworking? 

A deceptively simple principle, virtual coworking uses 5 behavioral triggers to get you to a “flow state.” How simple is it? It’s 1-2-3-simple:



First, you set a 50-minute “appointment” with your work buddy.
You can book a timeslot that works for you, set up a recurring series (say, Thursday at 7 pm every week), or find a BTM Member you’d like to work with on the calendar.

If you book your own time, the system will match you with a fellow BTM member. If none is available, it will fall back on the global network of productive people on Focusmate. Should another BTM member later request the same time as you, you’ll automatically be re-matched with that person.

You can also share a Personal Booking Link with your protégé or mentor to meet up.

Everyone gets 3 sessions per week included. Upgrades are available (keep reading).



You check in at the start of the session, state your goal(s), and get to work.

Declaring your goals at the start of the session helps you pin down what you want to do. A timer counts down the time you have left. At the end, a gentle chime lets you know it’s time to check out.



Spend a few seconds reviewing your progress with your buddy—and bask in the power of human accountability!  

If you both want to keep going, it’s easy to book another 50-minute slot.

Scheduling is designed to give you a 10-minute break each hour—perfect for stretching and resting your eyes!


Sample emails showing encouraging messages, helpful tips, performance reports. The highlight of the image reads "What would happen to your productivity if you scheduled 10-20 sessions right now?"

They are short, coach-y, and thoughtful. If you don’t like them, it’s easy to turn them off. In addition to the encouragement, Focusmate handles matching you with a partner, calendaring sessions, establishing the actual session video link, and community management.


As part of the pilot, we are offering a limited number of premium upgrades to let you schedule as many sessions as you like.

Contact Jesse at [email protected] to get started.

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The Fine Print:

  • This program is a limited, 5-month pilot designed to build our community and to encourage and support BTM members as they do the “90% perspiration” that comes with studying and composing their speeches.
  • Joining is not required and does not guarantee that you will always be able to work with a BTM member (but the more members join, the more likely this is!)
  • The system will attempt to match you with another BTM member if you ask it to, but there will be times when another club member is not available. In that case, you will be matched with a non-BTM member from the global Focusmate community.
  • If you are planning to rehearse your speech aloud or otherwise collaborate, we strongly recommend inviting your mentor using a personal booking link or otherwise coordinating with the other member, as other randomly-matched members will most likely prefer to work silently.
  • The program has specific guidelines meant to ensure productivity: Arrive on time (you can arrive up to 10 minutes early), minimize chatting to 1 minute at the beginning and end of each session, no selling or “networking”. A camera is required to use the service.
  • Focusmate is not affiliated with BTM, but we do think the service they provide fills a need in our organization. If you like it, feel free to use it for non-TM work as well.
  • Joining the group does require you to create a Focusmate account. This is free, but please read any terms and conditions presented to you, since our privacy policies may differ. Your account is independent of any logins you may have with BTM and if the club declines to sponsor the BTM private group after June 30th 2021, you will still be able to use the Focusmate service independently.
  • Preliminary testing has been positive, but we cannot guarantee a total absence of bad actors. The system does have tools to report offensive users, and is committed to providing a safe place to work. (As an example, the company recently added a feature to allow people to request a work partner of the same gender identity).
  • In May, incoming and outgoing officers will evaluate the pilot using your feedback, so we need you to give it a try! If it’s a good fit for the club, we will extend it to the 2021-22 year.
  • Focusmate is a freemium service. The free tier includes three 50-minute sessions a week. That’s about 3 hours a week to write your speech, meet with a mentor, study in Base Camp, or whatever else is helpful to you. If you would like more time, you can purchase a “Turbo” membership for $5 a month. To encourage use of the program, we have also acquired a limited number of 100%-off coupons for all 5 months of the pilot. Please see an officer if you would like one of these.