How does an average fortnightly club become a best performing club in D17?
In the past 6 months Bunbury Toastmasters has gained 9 DCP points- 6 CC’s, 8 CL’s, 2 ALB’s, 2 ACB’s, 2 triples, and more to come. That’s not possible? This club must be taking short cuts, I hear you say.
It is possible, as our achievements and increased membership show. By thinking outside the box Bunbury now provides more opportunities for members- it’s as simple as that!
With an increase of younger members keen to participate and move through their projects we needed to increase speaking opportunities from the “normal” 3 per fortnight. As speechfests are normally one off we wanted something more permanent, that would provide ongoing benefits, for a maximum number of members.
That Bunbury was a fortnightly club was our major advantage. The gap week became the obvious time to conduct “our project”. We also wanted something more structured than speechfest that included the disciplines of a speechcraft course. We arrived at a formula that has now stood us well and is the foundation of club achievements.
The gap week meeting is classified as a “Special Meeting” called Fast Track. Fast Track is defined as 6 sessions with a co-ordinator appointed (CL) to set the agenda and promote the meetings. There is no defined number of speakers (more than 8 is too lengthy). All speakers evaluate. Speakers and evaluators are paired off in the agenda. There are 2 speaking slots and 4 evaluation slots on the CL that a member can achieve. If the speaking number is around 4-6 one of the older heads jump in with an educational which in turn goes toward another CC, again helping the club towards its DCP. Speaker times are according to the manuals the speakers are using. Formal roles are Toastmaster, GE and timer (CL).
After the initial Fast Track 6 sessions members voted overwhelmingly to continue so it is now a permanent feature.
Benefits are absolutely positive. Members have a club of two dimensions where they progress at their speed, slow or blitz. Fast Track has rekindled the flame of achievement in our older members.
Venue proved very important. We wanted a more social environment. Originally in a private house and now held at the Bayview Tavern we found members developing closer bonds. The buzz is loud at all our meetings. Our members have the best of two training worlds- the disciple of a club meetings and the relaxed atmosphere of Fast Track.
For Bunbury Toastmasters Fast Track is a winner. Now that our secret is out of the box you too can have a go. For smart clubs and Area Directors looking for a way to boost morale, membership, and speaking opportunities, this strategy has been well and truly proven and could well be part of your clubs success formula.
For any additional information or agenda, call 0418 111 309 or email me on email@example.com.Olaf Schubert President Bunbury Toastmasters and Club Coach Mandjar Toastmasters. (At the time of this post)
What makes for a strong club?
That is a question that is asked regularly and one we all ask ourselves as club leaders. We have a successful club and when asked what makes it so I point out that the club follows the guidelines set out according to the TMI club constitution along with following the principles of good Toastmastering.
I was told the other day that this reason even though true was too clinical and there was something else that has not been written down something that needs to be identified and talked about. This paper hopefully goes someway to identifying the magic ingredient in the formula of success.
When you walk into a club there is a feel. For the first time visitor it is whether the members are warm and welcoming for the recurring visitor it is whether there is an energy, a buzz between the members not just toward the visitor, that is expected and whether the club meetings are the mechanical same old same old or fun and vibrant.
I am a terrible member. The first thing I ask for is a copy of a clubs constitution from committee members. Some of the reactions I received are from “What’s that or get that off the net from TMI or there you go”. The “there you go” is what you hope for. That question sounds like an unimportant and totally irrelevant to public speaking but it goes a long way to tell you if the committee understands the basics of conducting the business of a successful club. A TMI Club constitution represents nearly 100 years of Toastmastering. It is the main operational document- I suggest, that it is the blue print for a clubs success.
All this is written – In this I am looking for the unwritten. Those things that cause the Buzz between members, that makes the member want to attend meetings, want the member to complete their current project, achieve their next level and when a social event is called for – attend to simply enjoy each other’s company.
How to find it? Let us define an average struggling club and consider what steps it would take to shape it into a club worthy of Charter and carry the Toastmasters name in our search for the non- written words.
Our theoretical club has 14 members. The executive are long serving members. Meeting numbers hover around 10. The members are aged from middle to senior. Meetings are fortnightly and generally the same with a low guest conversion.
What needs to happen is a no brainer. The club needs to get to charter strength.
The use of the term “charter” is interesting and in my opinion the above answer is worded incorrectly. The answer should be that the club needs to get to charter. A chartered club has 20 minimum members and the club’s founding executive on behalf of all 20 members have signed an agreement with Toastmasters International that it will abide by the TMI Club constitution. The constitution is a formula of Toastmasters success from which our theoretical club has strayed.
So our first step is to get our theoretical Club to look at compliance and how that impacts on present and future members.
Let us assume that our executive re-discover the constitution and do the following:
I hear a call why not concentrate on getting in new members – the short answer is that the club could go that way but if you want to achieve both getting new members and retaining them, then our theoretical club will wait a little longer. But it is encouraged to spend the time to get the club web site as slick and up to date as possible before considering the next two important issues.
Firstly the club needs to look at the current agenda. The club agrees on a meeting of 4 speaking opportunities without a business session and one with 3 speaking opportunities and a business session. To achieve this the members have elected to extend club meeting time by 15 minutes. The opportunity to conduct varying styles of meeting is still available with the executive focus on creating more speaking opportunities for members.
The interesting thing that our theoretical club executive will notice is that the club has a different feel. Members are starting to feel more empowered. The banter has picked up, the roles are easier to fill and there is a faint buzz. The other thing that becomes obvious is that conversion of guests has gone up.
The second consideration the executive have is to attract younger members. Old heads have old ideas young heads have new ideas and with only old heads a club has a limited future. The challenge with our theoretical club is that we only have middle and older aged members which will attract middle and older type guests to convert to members even though there are younger guests they do not stick around. The reason we cannot convert the younger guest is simple, because we do not have young members. The solution, is more difficult. The club needs to come up with an answer to attract young members. What to do? If the club is relatively close to another club and they have younger members arrange for 3 consecutive demo meetings inviting the younger members from the other club as speakers and role players. Promote the demo meetings at learning institutes, and larger organisations hoping to attract the 20-40 year olds.
If the theoretical club is too far away to obtain help to use the demo meeting tactic then the club could consider an in-house speechcraft course. Do whatever works to convert your first young guest to a member.
Converting a guest. Every club or VPM has a different approach:
The conventional. Sit the guest with a member who can explain the process of a meeting and then ask them what they thought, present them with a guest kit. Send them a follow up email thanking them for attending and reminding them of the clubs next meeting.
The Inclusive technique. Ask the guest if they would read the toastmasters pledge or offer them the opportunity to answer a table topic. Even get them to pick a table topic from the list. A great technique is for a guest to be interviewed. Just keep in mind a guest has come to the club because of their fear of public speaking, their inability to stand at the feared lectern. If you can coax them up at the lectern for a minor role, they will go home moon walking. I would be more certain on this type of guest returning next meeting than when a conventional approach is taken. To me this is qualifying a guest quickly and would encourage to complete a membership form the next meeting. Of course you still sit them with a member and provide them a guest kit then follow up email but those things are not the reason their chests are out-they have achieved, they have stepped out of their comfort zone – all done in front of strangers, friendly, but still strangers-WOW.
Maybe in our hunt for the hidden word is the “WOW I did that” factor or perhaps it simply resonates the “INCLUSION” word, they felt they were part of the meeting and they should be part of the club.
The new member. They have very special needs that in our busy world we tend to overlook. They are eager to progress through their projects. Hold on! In our theoretical club the question was raised why isn’t every member eager to progress. Shouldn’t every member be treated in a way that fosters their advancement?
Through their record keeping the President and the VPE have the opportunity to light the flames of the older members and maintain the flame of the new members. They know the status of each member goal. Through informed programing, challenging members, cajoling members, subtly pushing members they will see members advance to their first achievements, followed by the next and so on. The club executive pushing a little lights member’s fires and then watch as the flames spread throughout all members. A leader will always carry matches to ensure the fire never dies. The hidden word here is setting a “FIRE”. Rekindling the learning/achieving passion that resides within. The reason for joining.
To retain members especially those where the fire has been lit the executive need to create more speaking opportunities. Why? The more members your club has the longer for your members to attain their speaking goals as there are only 3-4 speaking opportunities every fortnight. The more younger members the club has the more competition over the limited speaking slots. So the executive have to think outside the box. The theoretical club meets every second week so there is a gap week. It was decided to use this to commence a special meeting called fast track. Instead of a maximum of 4 speakers this was increased to 8 speakers, 8 evaluators, 1 toastmaster, 1 GE and a timer. It was also decided that this would be recognised as a special 6 week event with a co-ordinator appointed. With Fast Track the theoretical club has the best of 2 speaking worlds. The disciplines of a formal Toastmasters meeting and the alternate special meeting in a social setting where guests are also encouraged to attend and given the opportunity to be inclusive in our now successful Toastmasters club.
The DCP is a great way for TMI and District to monitor the performance of a club and a club to rate itself against all other clubs via the Dash Board (when it catches up). For some of our older heads in our theoretical club the DCP is the be all and end all whilst chasing a goal. For example when 4 CC’s were met it was suggested that it was not necessary to promote those other members hoping to finish their CC’s as we had already met the maximum points for the DCP. Wiser heads prevailed and pointed out that by balking any member from achieving their goal it was pouring water on flames and it would be hard to rekindle something that wet. Let a fire burn – where possible throw extra fuel on it and watch the club bask in the glow.
So what makes a successful Club? In summary a successful club is one that:
To all those that suffered this text please remember– wishing never made anything happen – doing it did.
A Compliant Club is a Strong Club
The TMI Club Constitution has evolved over nearly 100 years to provide a framework of education, governance and leadership for every Toastmasters club throughout the world. Successful clubs understand and follow their Charter, whilst others choose to ignore it or worst still, do not know it exits.
To the readers of this blog unaware of the wisdom of the TMI Club Constitution, let us highlight some of the articles/sections that influence decision making, as a club coach and/or club officer.
I recommend that a current copy of the Toastmasters International Club Constitution be at hand when reading this blog entry. This is freely available from the toastmaster International. Put "TMI Club Constitution" into your search engine and the document will be found.
As a club officer we not only have an obligation to teach better listening, thinking and speaking but also meeting procedures. “Where Leaders are made” is the TMI logo advertised to the world.
If we are to encourage members toward leadership, we as club officers need to teach the “rules.” What are their obligations and rights as individuals, what is the Constitution and what are standing orders? How can these “rules” benefit them as members and ultimately their club? What is the difference between an alliance to District and an allegiance to TMI WHQ?
The more comfortable members become at understanding where they stand as members, club officers and within their respective District, the more club and District roles are sought after and filled.
This relates to membership. The Constitution states every club is a private association inviting membership through prospective members completing a Club Application Form. Members are required to be voted in.
This inspires respect in becoming a Toastmasters club member. In addition it can be argued, when a member is voted in, they can be voted out if they are found to breach of the TMI Code of behaviour.
Formal inductions is an experience to new members. It is a sign of professionalism and discipline looked for in any organisation.
Formality does not scare those who are seeking professionalism and the discipline to improve their own development. These members are usually the ones that contribute the most to a clubs success.
l members are equally responsible to ensure the club complies with the TMI Club Constitution as well as having an educational program in which they contribute and participate. As a club officer your responsibilities do not change but are enhanced by the role you have been elected to perform.
In a significant number of clubs, member rights and responsibilities are not included in the education program nor in District and or through Club Officer Training (COT).
Without ongoing reminders of the TMI Club Constitution and the benefits of following these tested rules, clubs will do what they have inherited to do – some have never been taught the “rules!” Constitutional training appears to be a club responsibility as Districts may not acknowledge there is an issue, nor does it appear to be a TMI requirement on District.
“Remember the member” is a catch phrase used consistently in the District COT. Regretfully this philosophy does not appear to be applied universally across our organisation.
The most overlooked role of importance is that of the secretary, more specifically it is the recording of minutes of club business and the maintenance of accurate records. Not every club records and files a set of signed minutes yet this is the only legally accept transcript of club business. Some argue that agenda provide proof, this is not so. An agenda is the intention of what is to occur whilst a set of minutes is what did occur. When signed by the chairman of the business session they are deemed to be true and correct and acceptable in a court of law.
How does the member benefit from accurate records?
To be elected onto the committee as a member you acknowledge you have a role to fulfil for a nominated period (6 or 12 months). You also know the decisions, direction or recommendations made by the executive are required to be approved by the members (ratified) as they (the members) share and are ultimately responsible for all decisions made.
The question has been raised how do you ratify a set of executive minutes?
Ratification consists of the following steps:
The constitution recognises the authority of individual members by Section 7. All members share an equal responsibility in running a club and it is the individual executive members who help steer the club in the direction the members wish to travel. The executive do not dictate what is to happen, do not hide mail or information or ideas that members may need to decide on or may benefit the members. Where there is evidence of an officer working outside the Constitution members may remove that member from office. The authority given the members by the Constitution is very powerful, as it allows any officer to be removed by vote of the members for any or no reason.
Leaders in successful clubs teach this authority to their members as a tool to ensure individual officers do not follow individual agendas.
The rotation of club officers is promoted by TMI. The organisation recognises more members performing club officer roles leads to more respect for the roles and offers an opportunity to “new blood” to taste the leadership path, test old ideas and put new ideas forward. If the same members continually perform the same club officer roles, a club stagnates into a social club without drive, direction, and real opportunities which is what young members look for. The end result is new members are hard to come by and retain.
Old clubs with old (aged) members find it difficult to attract young (aged) new members, as these new potential members do not see the dynamics that they are looking for.
The club President is one club officer position that must change. Unfortunately clubs who are not aware of Section 9, have presidents who are either ignorant of the Constitution by remaining in the President role year after year, or blatantly ignore the requirement, because of self-interest or that they are comfortable in the role and claim “no other member can do it better”.
A successful club promotes new members into officer roles as it provides an opportunity to broaden the perspective of the officer and brings a new dynamic to the club with new ideas thus keeping a club vibrant and fresh.
Standing orders (rules of meeting procedures) used by a club should be according to the recognised authority of the country you are in. For example if your club was in China you would be using the Chinese recognised authority. If our club was in America it would be Roberts Rules, however as we are in Australia it is Renton. This authority is recorded in the clubs Addendum.
A club teaching meeting procedures by conducting business sessions including training motions is not only fun but another tool to encourage and teach leadership. It does not turn members away, which is the usual excuse in fact it, encourages members and provides leadership confidence to stand for those roles outside Toastmasters benefiting the community, their club and District. In some cases clubs gain members simply because they teach meeting procedures.
If we combine speaking and knowledge of meeting procedure we have a member who has the tools to be a leader. If we only provide good speaking skills, we are only half a Toastmaster. If we relate this situation to 2 football clubs - one teaches great ball, running and kicking skills but never wins a game because their players are fouled out for not knowing or playing within the rules, versus the second team who also teaches the basic skills but ensures their players know all the rules, It may not win all the time but it does most of the time.
The TMI Club constitution was the document your club founding members signed to form the club. If you interpret this document and your club remains compliant to the document then the club is working within a framework of success. It is true to say that every club needs members but equally, every member needs a club. The constitution provides one and if a club erodes away this framework by non compliance that club is dismantling the formula of success.
If you look at any hugely successful franchise operation you ask yourself what gives them the ability to continually grow? The answer has to be that they have developed a formula for success that they are able to rubber stamp into every store/restaurant opened.
How do they do that? Over time with experience, trial and error and man management a system of protocols, best recipes and management rules had been developed that worked to provide maximum return in customer satisfaction and income. This was transcribed a into franchise agreement.
If you went along to the golden arches food chain and agreed to purchase a store you also need to agree to operate the business using their defined strict protocols, prepare the food in a specific manner and provide customer service with more than a smile. So the franchise agreement is signed which provides for all these things and it is all these things that constitute the formula for your business success and ultimately the Golden arches head office success. You switch on the light to the golden arches above your new store and the customers walk in.
What would happen if the owner of a Golden arches Franchise decided to play around with the agreed protocols by removing a beef Pattie from a burger or reduce the volume of chips. I suggest that customers start walking out and if disgruntled enough they will complain to the Golden arches HQ. An inspector from the Golden Arches HQ would make an impromptu visit and as they leave turn the light to the golden arches off that sits above the store advising the owner that they have breached the franchise agreement. They have just turned out the lights on their whole business.
What has the Golden Arches Franchise got to do with opening and running a Toastmaster Club? In principle the same business rules apply.
Toastmasters is an international organisation with clubs around the world. Every club is an individual entity with a signed franchise directly with world headquarters. That franchise is a contract to which all members of the club agree to abide as it provides the framework for education, conduct, operation and governance, thus licensing the club to call its self a Toastmasters club. That franchise (club charter) is the club’s formula for success.
Regretfully over time, a significant number of clubs simply lose focus of the Charter document (franchise agreement), bury the document beneath a layer of ignorance due to poor training, expedience or self-interest. Their members do not understand what a club charter is, what it represents or the responsibilities and member rights it carries.
This is a major contributing factor to defining levels of success. It’s the level of commitment to the charter that controls club dynamics, member commitment and volume of buzz.
If your club does not have a copy of your original charter you can obtain a copy, any club officer may requesting one by emailing Toastmasters International firstname.lastname@example.org Club Quality and Service Officer.
Your club may have been chartered many years ago however regardless of when the original charter was signed the club is required to follow the current Toastmaster International Club Constitution. The document that needs to be reviewed by the club executive at least annually or if changes are made to meeting location and/or meeting dates and times is the Addendum which is used by TMI to update the club meeting and location information on the International web site.
If your club is in breach of the charter, like the Golden Arches Franchise agreement whose lights can be turned off, the title of "Toastmasters" may also be lost to a club.
The question then arises can your club exist without the word "Toastmasters" in it's name.
In my travels all Toastmaster clubs share the same goals and generally have the same issues. There are however obvious differences in the nature and culture of clubs that influence their levels of success.
I identify Toastmaster Clubs in 3 levels.
These are the most successful clubs. Membership is maintained with a steady intake of new members replacing those of natural loss but gaining in overall numbers. These clubs respect member’s goals through individual programing, creating opportunities for members to progress speaking and leadership wise. They offer education on speaking, meeting procedures; Toastmasters club organisation and the responsibilities associated with being a TMI member. These are the strongest clubs, as they foster a depth in leadership from which the club is able to draw and nurture quality club executives. These are the clubs that consistently achieve Presidents Distinguished status and provide officers to all levels of District.
These clubs appear successful. They have a speaking program, which follows a set agenda and occasionally meetings are slightly varied to introduce something different, but basically it’s the “same old, same old.” These clubs are generally laid back and comfortably predictable. Members are only encouraged to advance when they want to, if they want to. This type of club ticks the boxes for an Area Directors visit, but its level of achievement at best, is Select Distinguished.
This level of club generally has the same executive team playing “musical chairs” at club officer election time. The club still gains members but will also lose members, in particular younger members, as the club tends not to provide challenges and foster or encourage leadership, new ideas or promote opportunities outside of their standard agenda. These clubs hover around the same level of members with member loss equal to member gains.
These are clubs on the brink of folding. Clubs where membership is 12 members or less with poor meeting attendance. Generally with “multi hatted and revolving door” executives nearing burn out in will and enthusiasm. Without spirit, drive and enthusiasm they fail to convert guests as there is no member buzz to attract new members.
This type of club desperately needs a club coach and an injection of new ideas and enthusiasm, without which they will continue a downward spiral.
The basic difference between the three club levels described, is a decision by club members on what type of club they want theirs to be. That is, they decide whether to be a Toastmasters club that follows the TMI Charter, or a club that only follows those protocols which make everyone feel good. In essence, a social club with a Toastmaster banner.
Level 2 type clubs need to be aware, it only takes one incident or leadership failure to cause membership bleed which may send the club into a Level 3 type situation. Upon reaching this stage it takes a lot of work to return it to a Level 1 club.
Every downward spiraling club can be restored. This requires planning, direction and will. In most cases, enabling this process needs to come from outside of the club, as the energy within the club has diminished or dissipated.
This is generally in the form of a club Coach/Mentor.
Read the articles in Rebuilding and strengthening a club in this Blog.
Determine your club status with honesty
A club with a membership below 12 is generally a club in trouble. Club officers are wearing more than one hat and meetings are such that members are performing multiple roles. After a period of time the situation spirals downward with officer burn out and member retention disintegration, as the club fails to provide what individuals were looking for. It seems regardless of what the remaining members try nothing is attracting new members. Regretfully it is too often at this point individual emotions by those left “at the helm” boil to the surface, exacerbating an already poor situation.
It is time that a club in this situation needs to stop, think, plan then act!
All the members (not just the executive) need to realise that a Club Coach is required. A coach is generally an outsider with no emotional or political attachments to the club. Their role would be to analyse the club status, its members and the general demographics. Based on member attitude, capacity and demographics they would derive a plan to rebuild the club back to charter.
If your club is in a city area, you would request a meeting with and brief your Area Director on your club situation. The Area Director would then make a request to District for a Club Coach.
There is a Toastmaster manual on club rebuilding as well as additional document by Roger Denno, “A Guide to Rebuilding a Club.” Both documents are worthwhile reading and they give great support information that needs to be understood. However, on occasion more practical solutions need to be provided, particularly to those clubs where a Club Coach and/or club mentor is not available.
This blog is designed for clubs where a club coach is unavailable but may provide a strategy a coach may choose to apply.
Toastmasters International advocates the “Moments of Truth” process. This form of analysis is designed to strengthen a club. This blog is directed at the club beyond a “Moments of Truth” analysis. The moment of truth has arrived where the members know to save the club they need to adopt a recovery strategy and an injection of new members.
For a meeting re a clubs status, the Area Director should be present, as they may have access to resources that the club is unaware of. If an Area Director is unavailable the club should not use this as an excuse not to take independent steps. All clubs need to be reminded that they are independent entities with an allegiance to Toastmasters International. They have a signed agreement to conform to the Toastmaster International Club Constitution by charter so initially they have a responsibility to heal themselves. They however, have an alliance with their District whose role it is to provide training and support. For some clubs due to logistics, this support is unavailable.
Firstly your club needs to be brutally honest in its self-assessment.
It needs to consider:
OPEN HOUSE (Demonstration Meetings)
IN-HOUSE SPEECHCRAFT COURSE
Not so Traditional Speechcraft:
Non Traditional Speechcraft course:
For those clubs interested in using any of the above strategies and require guidance or a course templates, contact me on 0418 111 309 or email email@example.com
Speechcraft is a tool gifted to every individual toastmaster club by Toastmaster International. If used correctly a speechcraft course will generate revenue and increase a clubs membership. Speechcraft can vary in design and application. It may be used by a struggling club to bolster membership or a healthy club to earn additional revenue but the trick is knowing how to define the appropriate Speechcraft course to fill your specific requirement.
Over the years I have applied speechcraft in three differing ways:
c) Non Traditional
IN-HOUSE SPEECHCRAFT COURSE
This is an excellent strategy for geographically isolated and struggling clubs, that is, clubs that do not have other clubs close by to help in rebuilding using techniques such as Demonstration meetings . A Speechcraft course not only provides new members, but also capital funds for the club.
“In-House Speechcraft Course” description:
This is a recognised Speechcraft course, conducted over 6 weeks, with the venue being your club premises and conducted on the same day as your regular club meeting (but instead of). The impact to your club and members is:
Over the 6 weeks, Speechcrafters will have been conditioned to attend your Toastmasters club meeting on your premises and with your current members. You will find if your members have offered a positive and welcoming environment plus provided good educationals conversion of Speechcrafters will exceed the minimum retention of 50%..
Costing considerations for an internal Speechcraft course:
Profit is never great. This is generated by those attending the course and those electing to not to join the club. Their inbuilt joining fee is your clubs gain.
Do not accept more than 12 applications. It becomes a planning nightmare to run the course. Experience shows if you accept 12 applications, 2 will pull out before the start of the course or early in the course.
For those clubs interested in using this strategy and require guidance or a course template and educational handouts contact me on 0418 111 309 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gaining additional members to strengthen your club (and generate revenue).
Outside of the traditional sources of recruiting, a club may wish to consider strategies to generate additional revenue and in doing so attract new members or at the very least seriously attract new members and generate some revenue. To do this a clubs only strategy is a traditional speechcraft course.
Conduct a Speechcraft course in the traditional way. Determine a venue the dates of running the course for 6 consecutive weeks, promote etc.
The result will be revenue for the club between $1000-$2000 for the 6 weeks effort, plus a possible 10-15% conversion rate to new members. Predominately a traditional Speechcraft course will raise revenue as it seen by the Speechcrafters as a quick fix to their public speaking requirements however do not count on a great member gain.
Not so Traditional Speechcraft:
Before the revenue type of Speechcraft course you need to be up front and include 6 months membership of the club. This allows the Speechcrafters the option to continue to practice the skills they have acquired through the course. Ensure the course is stacked with enthusiastic members to perform the roles of mentors, timers and trainers. Thus building a bond between current members and future members.
Non Traditional Speechcraft course:
In 2008 a need arose for a weekend Speechcraft Course.
A Speechcraft course consists of 12 hours of training, where the Speechcrafters perform in the traditional way of preparing speeches over the week and delivering them the following. A weekend course is a more intense environment where speeches are written, delivered and evaluated during the course. Graduation is by way of a Sunday evening session of speeches and Table Topics conducted by the Speechcrafters, with an audience of family and friends. Be warned, the Table Topic targets are usually the trainers! The presentation of certificates closes the evening.
What benefits are there to a Toastmasters club for running a weekend Speechcraft Course?
This type of speechcraft originated by flying in on a Friday. The course conducted Saturday and half day Sunday with a BBQ on Sunday evening a final session conducted by the speechcrafter’s, presentation of their certificates and Fly out Monday.
For those clubs interested in using this strategy and require guidance or a course template and educational handouts contact me on 0418 111 309, or email email@example.com
Strengthening your club by increasing speaking opportunities:
We live in a “blip” society. In particular our younger member’s wants need to be realized as fast as possible. During a regular Toastmasters meeting which allows for the usual roles, there are 3 speaking opportunities. When you have a strong membership this is perhaps not enough for those wishing to advance their speaking projects. Occasionally a member leaves feeling progress is to slow. DCP is affected by unattained member goals.
What strategies are there to create more speaking opportunities?
One way is to actively seek roles for members outside the club such as acting as MC or Chairman for other community organisations events, AGM’s etc. These may be classified as a “club special event” and be recognised in the members CL or pathway. Note: A Toastmaster member must be present to evaluate the Toastmaster conducting this type of role in the community.
This is the most common method used by clubs to “catch up” in an effort to get members over the line close to end of year.
Speechfest Description: This is usually an event organised in a social setting (backyard/Park/lounge room). Everyone is invited to speak and evaluations are usually written evaluations only.
Consider varying the usual Speechfest agenda to include verbal evaluations and roles. The event should be classified as a “special club meeting” where minutes are recorded. A Toastmaster, Timer and a GE may be appointed. All roles can be CL applied including verbal evaluations.
Something new to consider. Pioneered by Bunbury TM, and been running for since May 2017 and continues to be very well supported by all members. Ideally suited to clubs that meet fortnightly with a gap week.
The concept: In design, Bunbury TM plagiarised the agenda of a normal Speechcraft Course and mixed in a Speechfest concept, then modified the meeting content in the following way:
Members have realised the potential of this type of session and have voted to maintain FastTrack as a “special meeting” conducted every second week. The members elected to call it a “special meeting” as the agenda does not conform to a regular Toastmasters meeting. This type of meeting also allows for Toastmaster, GE and Timer roles to be recorded to help members toward their CL.
Note: Originally Fast track was to be held in a suburban community centre however the venue was changed to a private house to reduce rental cost but provided an interesting benefit. By conducting Fast Track in this environment it was discovered at each Fast Track session the members tended to socialise more and linger after the event. The members were comfortable, relaxed and build a genuine camaraderie. If your club is considering conducting a FastTrack session, you should consider holding it in a cosy (more social) environment away from the formality of a meeting room. You will still need a lectern and a set of timing lights. If not a private house a venue where the formality of a toastmasters meeting does not appear.
Fast Track was originally designed to be a multi club activity. The original venue was central to the clubs to accommodate members from different clubs. This is a great concept and goes a long way to cross pollinate good will amongst clubs. If using Fast Track in this environment then watch your speaking numbers. Any more than 8 is a real time challenge.
The Bunbury Fast rack meetings have proved very successful and on occasion with more members attending a Fast Track meeting than a regular meeting. Originally we believed they should not include Ice breakers as these should be reserved for club meetings but it was soon discovered that most members attending Fast Track also attended regular meetings with numbers to match so Ice breakers and every other type of presentation is now included.
For those clubs interested in using this strategy and require guidance or a course template, contact me on 0418 111 309 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
OPEN HOUSE (Demonstration Meetings)
A club of 12 members or less requiring to build up members has a real challenge. In most cases members recognise that an “open house” also known as a “Demonstration Meeting” is one proven way to attract new members. So examine the possibly of using this strategy.
“Open House” description: This is a specifically conducted meeting to showcase a Toastmaster meeting. It is a meeting with invited Toastmasters from neighbouring club/s to fulfil as many roles as possible in an effort to create a dynamic and interesting meeting, thus encouraging guest’s interest in joining. Open House meeting generally follow the format of a regular meeting (without a business session) with the Toastmaster explaining the roles and the reasons for them.
A successful Open House meeting:
The Open House strategy tends to work well in a populated centre, where there is at least another club within a reasonable distance, willing to provide your club with the supporting manpower over the three weeks.
If your club is the only club in a regional centre, then the Open House strategy may not be the correct strategy instead, consider an in house Speechcraft course.