A Tool to Use for Building Membership
Do you have this tool in your club’s membership tool kit? Have you used it lately? This tool can….
- engage those club members who seem to be “stuck” in advancing through their program; perhaps seem a bit lethargic
- serve as a refresher on the basic principles of communication
- energize a Toastmasters club by harnessing its wealth of knowledge and leadership skills so it can share with the community
- enhance meeting attendance and interest among all members
- if used at least once a year, safeguard your membership levels
- raise dwindling club funds
- be the basis to launching a new club
Since the spring of 2018, there have been a number of Toastmasters clubs in District 86 that have applied this tool with great SUCCESS and FUN. Pushing ourselves beyond our comfort boundaries can be uncomfortable and nerve-racking! These clubs faced the obstacles, found the solutions and conducted a successful workshop.
Have you guessed what this tool is? Ahaa! Speechcraft. A program that requires planning & promotion, team collaboration, experienced Toastmaster volunteers and a unified intention from the hosting Toastmaster club. The results can be amazing!
So far this year, the following clubs (that I’m aware of) have hosted a Speechcraft program: Progressive Toastmasters, Waterloo; Brampton Talks, Brampton, London City Hall Toastmasters, London and Cambridge Toastmasters, Cambridge.
Why did these clubs host a Speechcraft Program? There were numerous reasons why the Speechcraft program was conducted; but the common objective was to grow their membership and build public relations in their community. This program also allowed for speaking opportunities for the Toastmasters and raising funds for the club.
What were some of the challenges faced? All these clubs faced this same challenge – getting the member volunteers to support the Speechcraft program. Also, creating an effective publicity campaign to attract non-Toastmasters participants and finding a suitable venue were other common challenges. Once the membership realized that a team effort was needed to make this program a success, these obstacles was defeated.
What are some helpful suggestions to assist other Clubs in holding a successful Speechcraft program? As soon as the Club approves hosting the Speechcraft event, determine dates, time, location AND ORDER the curriculum...aim for 10 participants. Conduct publicity 2 months prior to the start of the program. Have the first 3 Speechcraft speeches follow Level 1 Pathways criteria and keep the same educational presentations. Outline each week’s program agenda prior to the start of the program -- taking note of needed volunteers to be recruited. Get testimonials and photos from all participants and post on your club’s webpage and submit a blog for the District 86 website – why not blow your own horn!
Although the task of co-ordinating a Speechcraft Program seems daunting and exhausting, it can be a wonderful learning experience! Seeing the planning and hard work coming together; the other Toastmasters sharing their knowledge and skills with others and seeing the “glow” from the Participants on graduation night is energizing! They have found their voice, their confidence and their communication skills. All this and having FUN, too!
Let’s share the experience of Toastmasters while building membership – host a Speechcraft Program!!
Margaret Waechter, ACG, ALB