It seems counterintuitive, but throughout District 22 we are having a membership crisis at a time when people need communication, leadership, and networking skills the most. More than 75% of the clubs in our district are below 20 active members. Many are well below 20, and more than a third are below 13 active members. Chances are you already knew that, especially if your club is one of the low member clubs.
First, what can you do to help your own club? Strong clubs make members more succesful, and great members make their clubs strong. That’s right…the chicken and the egg were both Toastmasters. Here are some ideas you can start implementing this year, to get you moving forward in the coming year!
1. Verbal Business Card: “We help individuals improve their communication, leadership, and networking skills.” This is what you say when someone asks you “What is Toastmasters?”
2. Publicity: Make sure your whole company knows about Toastmasters! Where, when, how to get there, “Guests are welcome”, etc. Use the company paper, periodic e-mail blasts, and even bulletin boards.
3. Special meetings: Hold “featured speaker” meetings once a month, and publicize it. The name of the speaker is not critical at all, but the topic should be something that would attract guests. Some examples include, “Professional use of online social media”, “Impress your boss: how to give a status report in 2 minutes or less”, “10 crazy interview questions and how to answer them”, “How to handle your next performance appraisal”, or anything that would resonate with your current and prospective corporate or community audience. The trick here is that your club already has folks that can give these presentations, they just need the encouragement (or maybe just the opportunity). Also, it doesn’t have to be a solo effort. The social media topic could have three 5-7 minute speakers, one for Facebook, one for LinkedIn, and one for Blogging. Endless Possibilities! Leave me a comment with your ideas!
4. 2,000 members in our district, and you’re only letting 20 of them speak at your club? Invite members from other clubs to be a “featured speaker” (as described above). Adopt a sister club and trade featured speakers once a quarter. Get out and network, and help others network too.
5. Speak outside the club! Once you’ve given that social media speech in your club, you can tweak it and offer it up to the local Rotary Club, or other organization.
So, you’ve been helping your own club, but your still struggling. What can you do? What can we do? One of the things the District can help with is the Club Coaching program. Basically, any member can serve as a coach for another club. The coach can help with specific membership campaigns, general club support, and also working with the district for continued/specific support.
To be a coach, you need to meet these criteria:
1. Be a Toastmaster (duh)
2. Be interested in helping others
3. Be available to attend another club’s regular meetings and executive council meetings
4. Be willing to tell the LGM (me) that you are interested, and what your availability is (i.e. Topeka or Salina after work hours)
To have a coach appointed, you have to meet these criteria:
1. Have 12 or fewer active members
2. E-mail the LGM (me) and say “Our club requests a club coach”
Other important notes (clearing up misconceptions)
1. You can volunteer as a coach without knowing if a club currently needs you
2. You can ask for a coach for your club without having a volunteer in mind
3. You can pre-coordinate with each other if you want
4. Club Coaches get credit toward their ALS, and some free materials from TI to help them and the clubs be successful
5. We’re going to have some nifty training early next year for our club coaches…stay tuned!
6. Do not join the club before the appointment is official – otherwise it won’t count toward ALS credit
7. To be successful and get the ALS credit, the club has to finish this year (or next) as Distinguished or better
Our team has the potential to be the best in the world. We have the players, we have the playbooks, and we have the talent. I hope that each of you will consider the opportunities that club coaching can bring to you and your clubs, and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer as a coach, or request one for your club. By working together, you can unleash your possibilities for you and your fellow members!