Paris Grand Toastmasters Open House March 9, 2017 - Big Success, new members signing up!
Paris Grand Toastmasters had their first very well-attended Open House on March 9, 2017 at Tigercat's business boardroom, 160 Consolidated Drive, in Paris, ON.
The club was excited to welcome many Toastmasters and guests, as well as Mayor of Brant County, Ron Eddy and Councillor Ward 1, Dr. Will Bouma.
The Open House showed guests a typical meeting with Table Topics run by Randy Moore, a motivating speech, “I Can" by Steve Bredschneider and helpful evaluation from Peter Wright, past president of Woodstock Toastmasters.
Toastmaster for the evening, Murray Smith, introduced keynote speaker, Tony Bratschitsch, Past District 86 Governor. Through his keynote: 'A Better Way’, Tony shared numerous examples of success stories of fellow Valley Town Toastmaster members.
Nate Friedman, Grammarian chose “befriend” as the Word of the Day. Guests and members had the opportunity to network and befriend each other over refreshments. Paris Grand Toastmasters is a prospective club looking for 20 members, to charter soon in the growing community of Paris, ON.
Top left: Club Officers Murray Smith, Jason Smale, Janice McDonald, Club Growth Director, Glynis D’souza, Councillor Ward 1 Dr. Will Bouma, and Karen Dunn
Top Right: Club Growth Director, Glynis D’souza, Brant County Mayor Ron Eddy and Janice McDonald, Immediate Past District 86 District Director
Bottom: Paris Grand Toastmasters Open House Guests & Toastmasters
OPEN HOUSE on March 21 – CHEZ NOUS Toastmasters Club !
Join us to connect with other French-speaking professionals and enjoy the fun and camaraderie of a Toastmasters meeting!
Featuring Bilingual Corporate Trainer and Keynote Speaker, Jocelyne Vezina.
Free event – DOOR PRIZES - refreshments will be served – doors open at 6:45 pm
Joignez-vous à nous pour la rencontre avec d'autres professionnels francophones et profitez du plaisir et de la camaraderie d'une réunion Toastmasters!
Mettant en vedette la conférencière certifiée, de classe mondiale, Jocelyne Vezina.
Événement gratuit – PRIX DE PRÉSENCE - des rafraîchissements seront fournis - arrivez dès 18h45.
Date: March 21, 2017
Time: from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: École Jeunes sans frontières - Salle 152 - (Entrée à l'arrière du bâtiment)
7585 Financial Dr. Brampton, ON L6Y 5P4, Room 152 (Entrance at the back of the building)
“How did you do it?” ask my fellow Club Officers, our Club President, even Toastmasters International. My initial reply “I don’t know…it just happened!” The inquiries continue “How did you sponsor 6 members during your first month as the new VP of Membership?” I reflect on recent club activities and adjust my response to, “It has been a journey, a customer journey.”
A customer journey enables you to improve your customer experience, through the customer’s perspective. It documents the customer experience (how they may think, feel, act) to understand their needs and adapt when the needs change. Similar to how cell phone have adapted from flip phone, to touch screen and hands free technology to suit the customer need.
When I joined Chosen Voices TM Club April 2016, I was terrified of conducting speeches even though I facilitate meetings for a living. My past failures left a mark on my confidence, so much so, I had defined speeches as a dreaded experience where you and you alone must force yourself to recite material. Very quickly I learned that speeches were more emotional and powerful than scripted words. My fellow club members were invested in my success as well as their own. The encouragement and support enabled me to build trust in this room filled with strangers, fellow Toastmasters I now call friends.
Last year, I knew very little about membership building contests, awards and incentives. What I observed was nagging question we asked first time or returning guests “What did you think of today’s meeting? Do you want to join?”. I was confused why we asked this question. We can’t assume guests know what the Toastmaster program is all about, nor can we expect them to join after attending a 60 minute meeting.
I struggled with this approach and soon learned of the continuous pressures to build and retain members. It dawned on me, we were asking people to join from a position of anxiousness. There had to be a better way to approach this dilemma? During a club meeting discussing building membership, I was biting my tongue to hold back my opinion, as a newly inducted member. Then suddenly I exclaimed, “Why are we acting like teenagers, waiting by the phone because our crush said they might call? We are approaching guests the wrong way. We sound desperate.” Soon after in similar discussions with a Club Officer I inquired, “Why are we investing more time with prospects and guests, while our fully committed members are not receiving our support?” “It feels like we are a cell phone conglomerate offering new features and specials to new customers, while existing customers don’t have decent cell phone reception.”
At that point, I knew…I knew I wanted to develop a new approach and share it with my Club. The universe has a funny way of providing just the opportunity I was looking for. In January, Ramadam Almeida moved from VP Membership to VP Education , leaving an opening for volunteers for VPM. On Feb 1st, 2017 with limited knowledge of the regular tasks of VPM, I jumped at the opportunity to improve the approach and became the new VPM!
My first order of business, learn from my predecessor. Ramadam and I discussed what was working, not working and what new ideas we had for the roles of VPM and VPE. We inspired each other, brainstormed how to involve all members, without overwhelming them. At that point, it hit me! I needed to create a customer journey map!
A customer journey map includes many stages. A customer’s interest and motivation changes at each stage, as their knowledge of the Toastmasters program increases:
- Prospects may be curious, yet lack information, are not invested in our Club goals at this stage
- Guests may be confused or intrigued of what they observed during a Club meeting and want more information
- Newly inducted members are excited and motivated! They can’t wait to explore the different manuals and meeting roles
- Active Members are proud of their own accomplishments as they grow. They can’t wait to tell their friends, colleagues, neighbors about their experiences
- Renewing Members have experienced the value first hand and want more!
Quickly, I realized the information or expectations we had of Prospects/Guests didn’t match their interest & motivation levels. I consolidated all the information, templates, communications we collectively provide to individuals that interact with our Club. I created a manual for Guest & Member Services outlining the appropriate information to provide at each stage (Prospect, Guest and Member). I shared my mission statement with the Club Officers, "The folks that join, will join because they see the value in Toastmasters and they can’t imagine themselves not being a member of Chosen Voices!"
The club atmosphere shifted in the short month of February
- Our club installed 4 new Club Officers: Ramila Mudarth as Sargent at Arms, Rehanna Khan as VP Public Relations, Ramadam Almeida as VP Education and myself as VP Membership
- All 4 new Club Officers attended Officer Training with our President Nagwa Hanna. We were excited to shared our experiences, what we learned and what new ideas we wanted to promote
- We added a flare of excitement when inducting new members, with party store hand clappers, banners and photo opportunities
- We started emailing Meeting Highlights; including pictures, quotes, inspirational moments and upcoming events. Guests on blind copy to share in the excitement, yet not the reply all that may follow
We sent each guest a survey with a twist. One or two questions for meeting feedback. The remaining questions focused on them, asking the customer, “How can Chosen Voices support you to achieve your goals!”
You could feel the energy shift in meetings instantly!
- We had 5 members competing in the Area 32 Evaluation & Speech Contest on Mar 1st, from a club roaster of 15 members
- Active members are completing new roles and more speeches
- Meeting attendance has increased as members are carving out time in their busy day (we are a corporate club conducting Club meetings during our lunch hour)
- Prospects are receiving just enough information to understand the agenda and what to expect prior to attending their first meeting
- Guests are asking more specific questions about the program at the end of the meeting. Our latest member joined minutes after her first meeting!
My journey stated with the thought of a no pressure approach to membership. It suddenly turned into a belief of a customer journey I shared with my club. Which unexpectedly erupted into a vision which transformed our Club’s approach to prospects, guests and members alike. I strongly believe this is how the entire club collectively, attracted 6 new members to join Chosen Voices in only 3 weeks’ time. As of March 1st 2017, we are now 21 members strong and enjoying every minute of it!
CHOSEN VOICES member since April 2016
Guest & Member Services
Vice President Membership
Speech Craft The Hidden Gem by Veronica Hislop, DTM
Speech Craft is a hidden gem within the Toastmasters program. It is an underrated, undervalued resource that is underutilized throughout the district.
With this in mind a Speech Craft Survey was distributed in the latter part of 2016 to get a better sense of how District 86 could expand Speech Craft awareness and increase the number of Programs being conducted.
Here are some best practice ideas gleamed from the survey.
Take advantage of technology and all it has to offer. Use Google Drive, and set up folders where presenters and mentors can easily access the information they need.
Set up a planning meeting, and use it to train and educate your team members who are technologically challenged so they know how to find and locate the planning and organizing information they need.
Share your Speech Craft success stories publically. Provide a case study for the newsletter or blog, or create a mini 1-minute video presentation on Facebook Live.
Think outside the box when it comes to club success. Consider the concept of cross pollination. Strong clubs can connect with weaker clubs and assist with providing mentors and speakers to aid the weaker club in marketing and delivering a Speech Craft Program as a way to increase membership.
Do you have an organizing template or best practice idea that you use to facilitate and coordinate your Speech Craft processes? Be kind and share. Forward it to the Speech Craft chair(s) and we will add it to the Speech Craft Tool Kit of resources currently being created.
Thank you to those who took the time to complete the Speech Craft survey it has provided some useful information. As Speech Craft chairpersons, we hear your feedback and have already started to implement some of the most valuable suggestions.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Our lives are so busy, it’s hard to decide what to participate in and what to leave out. There’s always a reason not to do something, but here’s 3 Reasons to Join CW Toastmasters.
- You get to practice speaking with people who have the same interest / goal as you.
Everyone in Toastmasters wants to become more confident and tip-top while speaking. Whether it’s speaking to a crowd or a potential customer, we all have the same goal – to be better!
- You always get positive encouragement and constructive feedback.
Toastmasters International values the following: Integrity, Respect, Service, and Excellence. The group encourages each other to prepare speeches and to participate in Table Topics (impromptu speaking). You will receive a manual, which outlines different speech types and how to complete one successfully. There’s help and guidance the whole way!
- You don’t have to drive to the “city,” it’s located in Elora!
C.W. Toastmasters is located in the Quarry Commons office space across from the Elora swimming quarry. You don’t have to worry about driving too far to find a club, we’ve got you covered! Also, Elora is one of the most beautiful towns in Ontario!
At this point, you may be asking “How do I get involved?”
First, I should mention that CW Toastmasters meets every Wednesday from 12-1pm.
- Join in on a meeting to get a feel for what it is like – people come and check us out all the time!
- Attend our club contests – they consistently promise an entertaining way to spend a Wednesday noon hour.
- Come to an open house! Open houses typically consist of food, fun, and of course, a speech.
*Check out our Facebook page (Centre Wellington Toastmasters) to see our upcoming open houses and contests coming up in February and March!
For those of you who might be interested in creating your own club newsletter here is a link to ours. Check it out!
VP Public Relations
Court of Blarney Toastmasters
Club # 5591
Welcome to 2017! The new year is such an exciting time - it always feels like the perfect time to renew commitments to ourselves and others, to take on new challenges to meet our goals for the year and to reflect on what worked and didn’t work in the past 365 days.
At Lincoln Road Toastmasters, we’ve had a great year. Our club changed locations in June, which was a bit of an undertaking. But we are now nicely settled into our new home at 170 Erb Street West in Waterloo, ON, and very happy with our location. We meet on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm and would love for you to visit if you are in town.
Through the fall season, we had a number of our members away from the club for extended periods of time for work projects. Our club president, Kelley McIntyre, who was working over several months in New Brunswick, joined our meeting every week via skype! This was a challenging undertaking for us, leading to much experimentation with the available technology. Plus this was quite a commitment for her, as the time difference meant she was up later than us every Tuesday night.
The technology was a bit iffy at times but by the end of her time away, we had it all worked out and it was an interesting project for our group. We are now ready to go if we ever have members that need to be away for extended time periods but want to keep on attending our weekly meetings.
That said, we are very glad Kelley and the other members are all back on Waterloo soil (for now) and are able to attend meetings in person. It is definitely more enjoyable for them to attend in person.
To start out the new year on a high note, our club is hosting a Speechcraft program from January 24 - February 28th. We hope to bring a taste of Toastmasters to some new members in our community and potentially entice them to join us for the rest of the year, once they have completed their first 3 speeches in the program.
If someone you know is looking for a Speechcraft program in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, be sure to send them our way. Here is the link to sign up!
We are looking forward to a great year at Lincoln Road Toastmasters and we wish the same for you and your club in 2017!
Saugeen Toastmasters is Celebrating its 10th Anniversary This Fall
To mark this celebration, thanks to our VP of Public Relations and Area 65 Director, Tammy Hunt, the Town of Hanover, the Municipality of Brockton and the Municipality of West Grey have proclaimed the month of October Toastmasters Month.
The Hanover Post, a weekly community newspaper, contacted Tammy for an interview for an article outlining our role in the community for the past 10 years.
We also wrote a letter to the editor of the Walkerton Times, another weekly edition, thanking the Municipality of Brockton for their recognition. The headline for the letter proclaimed Toastmasters Month.
The articles sparked interest in our club and we have had a number of guests and inquiries.
Saugeen Toastmasters has achieved much in 10 years. We have held several Speechcraft workshops and Youth Leadership Programs. We have hosted Officer Training and Area Contests.
Over the past 10 years we have had 5 Area Governors from our club and we have had members volunteer at the Division and District levels.
In fact our community club has 4 members who achieved the highest award in Toastmasters. Diane O’Brien, Dianna Snowden, Gemma Mendez Smith and Gregory C.N. Smith have all been awarded the Distinguished Toastmaster designation.
Thank you to Mount Forest Motivators for sponsoring our club 10 years ago. Marge and Caroline, remember when the first meetings were held in the home of our Charter President, Diane O’Brien? We were crowded around a dining room table but that didn’t deter us from running effective meetings.
Much has changed since that first crucial year, members and meeting places, but we always have fun and we always encourage each other.
President and Charter Member