The essence of Toastmasters lies not just in individual growth but shared growth. Each new member joining the fold brings fresh perspectives, varied experiences, and unique stories. The mix of these elements creates a richer learning environment, ultimately fostering an elevated shared experience.
The growth of a club does not only enhance the club’s dynamism but also extends the profound benefits of Toastmasters to more individuals.
In the spirit of such shared growth, Toastmasters International presents the Smedley Award. Named after the founder of Toastmasters, Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, this prestigious award is given to clubs that add five new, reinstated, or dual members during the period from August 1 to September 30.
But the aim is not just to add 5 or 10 members. Let’s bring the benefits of Toastmasters to people. As of now, Area 2 has four clubs and only one has more than 20 members. Do you imagine your clubs having thirty members, each eager to finish their projects? That will be amazing, right?
I have been a member of a club where in some meetings there were 54 people in a room good only for 25 people. I felt the energy and excitement. I want you to feel the same.
Let’s delve into 15 effective strategies to attract new members to our club and work towards this distinguished recognition.
1. Host an Open House
Imagine walking into an environment where there’s laughter, learning, and a spirit of camaraderie. This is what an Open House event can offer.
Here, potential members experience the welcoming and supportive environment of Toastmasters. They observe how a typical session progresses and get a feel of the enriching journey that awaits them.
Consider an Open House as a “taster session.”
A well-structured agenda featuring engaging speeches from seasoned members, evaluations, and a touch of impromptu speaking can provide guests with a glimpse of the value Toastmasters offers.
Following it up with a casual networking mixer can give them an opportunity to ask questions and interact with current members. It’s about giving them a taste that leaves them wanting more!
2. Amplify on Social Media
In the age of digitization, social media can be a powerful ally. The trick is to be genuine and engaging in your outreach.
Begin by creating a digital calendar that includes regular posts about member achievements, club events, or personal transformation stories.
Now, let’s move a notch higher.
How about a “Toastmasters Transformation Challenge” on platforms like Instagram or Twitter?
Members can share short videos or posts about their journey, detailing how they’ve transformed since joining Toastmasters. Don’t forget to use popular hashtags to amplify your reach!
3. Engage Local Businesses
Every business seeks to enhance its employees’ skills, especially communication, and leadership – the core values that Toastmasters emphasizes.
Building relationships with local businesses opens a path to introduce employees to Toastmasters.
Begin with crafting a compelling proposal highlighting the mutual benefits of a Toastmasters-Business collaboration.
Consider organizing a demo session tailored for corporate environments. For instance, a session on “Effective Team Communication” or “Leadership in a Dynamic Workplace” can underline the direct professional value that Toastmasters offers.
4. Reconnect with Alumni
Alumni are the legacy of our club. They are the living testimonials of the transformative power of Toastmasters. By reconnecting with them, we can inspire potential members with real-life success stories.
Host special events where alumni can share their journeys post-Toastmasters, detailing how the skills acquired continue to aid their personal and professional life.
These testimonials can then be shared on various platforms, helping prospective members visualize their own growth trajectory within the club.
5. Organize Skill Workshops
Skill-focused workshops are a powerful draw for enthusiasts. Whether it’s “Powerful Persuasion Techniques” or “Mastering Body Language,” the themes can be as diverse as the skills Toastmasters nurtures.
Promote these workshops within local groups, social media, or community centers. Integrating the principles of Toastmasters into workshop content can subtly expose participants to our club’s value.
For instance, a workshop on storytelling techniques can be an engaging and practical avenue for potential members to experience a key aspect of public speaking.
6. Forge Local Partnerships
Partnering with local community groups or organizations can create a win-win situation. Such collaborations not only increase the club’s visibility but also provide a platform to demonstrate the Toastmasters’ value proposition.
Propose collaborations with synergistic organizations. This could range from co-hosting an event, such as a “Youth Leadership Day,” with a local college to offering “Public Speaking Workshops” at community centers.
These initiatives expose a wider audience to the benefits of Toastmasters.
7. Dangle Incentives
While the intrinsic value of Toastmasters membership is rich, offering tangible incentives can provide that extra nudge. This could be in the form of referral rewards or campaign-specific perks.
Announce a “Smedley Special” where new members joining during the campaign get a small award. Or how about a fun “Raffle Draw” for members who bring in the most guests during this period?
These incentives can add an element of excitement to the membership drive.
8. Be Present at Community Events
Participation in community events, from cultural fairs to charity runs, allows the club to showcase its values.
By engaging the crowd through a Toastmasters booth, interactive activities, or public speaking challenges, we can generate curiosity and interest.
I am not sure if we can do this at UPLB events, but we can try.
Imagine a mini table-topic session during a community carnival where attendees participate and get a taste of impromptu speaking.
Such experiences not only create a buzz around Toastmasters but also leave a lasting impression on the attendees.
9. Personalized Invitations
A direct, heartfelt invitation often creates a deep impact. Encourage club members to personally invite friends, colleagues, or family.
This outreach can include sharing their unique Toastmasters journey and the growth they’ve witnessed.
To make it fun, how about a friendly competition among members to draft the most heartfelt or creative invitation? This creates a sense of enthusiasm among current members and extends a warm, personal touch to prospective ones.
10. Use Creative Materials
A well-designed, eye-catching flyer, banner, or poster can make heads turn.
Focus on creating materials that tell a story – whether it’s about the club’s journey, member success stories, or the transformation members experience.
For example, an infographic detailing a member’s growth trajectory since joining Toastmasters can be compelling. In Los Banos Toastmasters, Vieng has been attracting guest because of her posts about her experience. Imagine how LBTMC can 10x the impact of her posts.
Distribute these materials at local hotspots like coffee shops, libraries, or community centers to spark interest.
11. Host Guest Nights
Creating a dedicated space for guests to observe or participate can be a powerful way to introduce them to the club.
Plan special guest nights with exciting themes or interactive sessions to create a memorable experience.
Consider a “Mystery Theme Night,” where members and guests together decipher clues to unravel the mystery.
Such events are not only fun but also showcase the supportive and energetic environment of a Toastmasters club.
12. Create Virtual Campaigns
The virtual world offers immense opportunities for outreach. By leveraging online platforms, we can tap into a global pool of individuals who might prefer or have easier access to online engagements.
Virtual meet-and-greet sessions, webinars, or online member testimonials can introduce the club to a wider audience.
For example, a webinar on “The Digital Age of Public Speaking” can attract those keen on mastering online communication.
In the Area level, I will provide members that opportunities to share their expertise via the Better Speaker Show. The Show features 12 webinars that equip the audience in public speaking.
13. Engage Educational Institutions
Educational institutions are teeming with young minds eager to enhance their skills. By collaborating with schools and colleges, we can introduce Toastmasters to this demographic.
Consider offering tailored Toastmasters sessions as extracurricular activities. A semester-long “Public Speaking Bootcamp” or a “Leadership Workshop Series” at a university can be a great starting point, highlighting student-specific benefits of Toastmasters membership.
14. Local Media Engagement
Local media, be it newspapers, radio stations, or community TV channels, have a significant reach.
Tapping into this avenue can amplify our message and make more people aware of our club and the benefits it offers.
Initiate a relationship with local media outlets by sending out press releases about significant club achievements or upcoming events.
Organize an interview segment where seasoned members share their transformative experiences with Toastmasters.
For instance, featuring a member who overcame extreme stage fear and went on to win a speech contest can be an inspirational story that resonates with many.
15. Themed Meetings
Our clubs are already doing this. But it is a very good guest magnet, I can’t help but include it.
Injecting novelty and excitement into meetings is a fantastic strategy to attract potential members. Themed meetings create a fun atmosphere, which, combined with the essence of Toastmasters, provides a unique experience.
Organize meetings themed around popular culture, seasons, or international events. In August, we can celebrate Buwan ng Wika. We can use Filipino in promoting Toastmasters. We can speak Filipino in meetings too.
A “Hollywood Night” where members deliver speeches inspired by iconic movie scenes or a “Winter Wonderland” session focusing on storytelling can create buzz and intrigue.
Sharing snippets or photographs from these themed meetings on social media and other platforms can further pique the curiosity of potential members.
At the heart of the Smedley Award lies the spirit of shared growth, shared experiences, and collective advancement.
As we embark on this journey, we must remember that every new member we welcome doesn’t just add to our numbers but enriches our tapestry with its unique threads.
Find one strategy that will work for your club. Bring the power of Toastmasters to more individuals, and truly epitomize the spirit of the Smedley Award.
After all, the Toastmasters journey is more meaningful when walked together!