In my position at a municipal center, working with customers and keeping them happy is the cornerstone towards our event and program success.
In the Toastmaster context, the customer is the member. The actionable steps below – applied on a regular basis – have been modified for the Toastmasters perspective and can easily work for your club.
1) Who are your Members
The number one action you can do to attract guests to figure out your target market. There’s a misconception that everyone is a potential customer and therefore everyone is included in a club’s target market strategy. But saying that everyone is in your target market implies that your club appeals to no one in particular.
If your club officers are unsure of who your target audience is, reach out to your members. Have one-on-one conversations. Find out why they initially joined and why they chose to stay. Learn more about their why.
Once you’ve listed everyone’s sentiments, analyze your notes, and highlight commonalities and trends. Then adjust your club’s promotional avenues to reflect your target audience.
Your target audience are the people more likely to show up to a club meeting. By defining your target market to only include guests who are more likely to convert into leads, you’ll be able to focus your resources where it counts.
If you’re not bringing in the guests, you will constantly be fighting an uphill battle.
2) Create an Onboarding Event
Compared to your new member, you’re the Toastmasters expert. Not every new member will quickly pick up on the nuances to your club meetings or understand the “why” behind why things are being done a certain way.
This is where an effective new member onboarding practise can pay off. Most organizations that have a membership offer a process to familiarize new members with their purchase. Clubs should do the same. Rather than expecting new members to adapt on their own, walk them through the best way to use their Toastmaster product, and point out the resources available with their membership. This will save your executive and your new member time during the early stages of their journey. Prevent potential roadblocks by getting new members on a path to success.
3) Survey Members at Every Stage of their Journey
As your new member progresses through their speech projects and heavier meeting roles, the executive needs to keep connected with the individual members to maintain member satisfaction. Prioritize getting feedback regularly in all areas of the member experience by having a review process in place.
For example, New Member Experience Survey https://www.toastmasters.org/resources/new-member-experience-survey is given to new members 30 days after they join your club. The Member Interest Survey https://www.toastmasters.org/resources/member-interest-survey can help to plan club programs around member needs and interests.
After the initial onboarding, the VPE or club mentor chair can touch base to determine if additional onboarding is needed. Some clubs have a monthly onboarding event that all members are invited to attend.
The more you do to gather information about member satisfaction, the better your executive will be able to understand and help the membership, and retain more members in the future.
4) Ask for Testimonials
Your members are the best people to represent their feelings about your club. Don’t just compile this feedback for your club’s PR efforts to share externally. Share the latest testimonial at your next club meeting. Ask the member to expand on their benefit for the good of the membership. This feel-good moment generates camaraderie and helps to encourage additional member testimonials to come in.
5) Provide Resources
It’s important for your members to get quick, simple answers to their questions.
An easy way to help your member is to answer their question, and then show them where you found the information. This empowers your member to help others if another member has a similar question.
Not knowing what to do or where to get that information can be a common member roadblock. If you and your officers find the same type of question coming up again and again, offer this as an educational session at your next meeting, and add it as a downloadable resource on your club’s website.
Toastmasters International has many resources that not all members may be aware of. The Toastmasters website offers Frequently Asked Questions, slide presentations and how-to guides, speaking tips and articles, quick videos, and webinars. If you notice something new on the website, bring it to the members’ attention so they may explore at their leisure.
6) Communicate the Club’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
The dashboard tracks your club’s KPIs. By regularly sharing with your membership the Distinguished Club Program goals, where your club sits with its goals, and the actionable items to move the needle forward, members stay informed of common goals.
When communicating the metrics, also communicate qualitative feedback. Qualitative feedback is more in-depth insight on what the numbers mean and how to improve them.
Your report should also include things like member survey results or club survey results such as Moments of Truth. This helps everyone stay committed to club success by keeping a pulse on what’s happening, and what can be done to help.
7) Share Opportunities for Accelerated Growth Experiences
Members that are involved in a District committee or event outside of their club will have a greater sense of they fit and where their club fits. But for the most part, new members rarely know or see how this can be their opportunity for accelerated growth experience.
Member may know that club officers are going to training, or that its contest season, or a conference is happening, because it was shared in the business portion of the meeting by the club President, but the information is useless if members don’t have an understanding of why these events are important – not just for the club or the organization, but for their individual progress too.
Don’t just mention Toastmasters events and move on. Club officers can highlight the benefits to getting involved. One year, my entire club membership showed up to a Division contest. This is still a point of pride for us, and allowed our new members to see how much larger the organization is beyond the scope of their club.
If members are aware of additional opportunities beyond the confines of their club, those who choose to compete in contests, become a conference presenter, or take on a leadership role at the Area or beyond will be stronger for it. And your club will be stronger too.
- Target Audience
- Create an Onboarding Event
- Survey Members at Every Stage
- Ask for Testimonials
- Provide Resources
- Communicate Key Performance Indicators
- Share Opportunities
Created by Nancy Movrin, DTM, Program Quality Director 2022-2023