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