During one of our exec meeting’s, the executive was facing two challenges. We were looking for ideas on how to grow our membership. We also identified that the current membership was not progressing well on presenting prepared speeches. It was identified that we should offer a Speechcraft program which also included any of our current membership participating. The result exceeded all our expectations.
I called the Speechcraft program “Toastmasters on Steroids”. Not only did we attract new members, our current membership embraced the program and accelerated their own development. In the span of 6 weeks, several of our members presented 3 speeches. Prior to Speechcraft, we were averaging members presenting a speech about every 3 months! Some had been members for some time and had yet to do their Ice Breaker.
One of the issues we had in running the Speechcraft program was that most of our club’s membership base were fairly new. To assist with the mentoring, we brought in mentors from other clubs to assist with the program. Each participant was provided an experienced Toastmaster mentor. These mentors assisted in speech development, evaluations and in providing the education sessions. The result was a very successful Speechcraft program which ended with an Open House/Graduation Night. We had so many guests attend this event that we needed more chairs!
Based on how successful our first Speechcraft program was, it was decided to run a second program starting in January 2019. We promoted this Speechcraft at our Open House Graduation and on social media. We were able to attract a high number of participants, most of which have become members. One of the most impressive parts of Speechcraft was seeing the progression in speech presentations through the program. At the first graduation, we had the participants present a speech on “what they had learned” through the program. It was not intended as a sales pitch, but after hearing the testimonials, we did attract a large interest in our upcoming January Speechcraft.
The first Speechcraft was offered in lieu of our regular meetings. As not to disrupt the club’s normal meetings, the second Speechcraft was offered on alternating weeks. In addition to guests experiencing a normal club meeting, the two-week separation provided our Speechcraft participants time to prepare for their next speech project.
Since conducting Speechcraft, I have found the club fellowship seems stronger and members are more engaged. Our club’s motto was “We May Be Small In Size, But We Are Mighty In Energy”. I think we need to change our slogan as we are not small in size anymore. Speechcraft has assisted our club in growing membership and keeping the current members highly engaged in a warm, friendly and motivating environment.
Our “Small Club That Thinks Big”, is now “A Big Club That Thinks Members Come First”.
Russell Deacon, CC, PI L1
Club President, Waterloo Silver Tongue