Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways, and we certainly had some painful experiences this past year. All of us are ready to dump yesterday’s junk and start something fresh; reach for something new. Fortunately, we can create a fresh start any moment we choose – we need only take a few steps in the right direction. What is the right direction?
The right direction in Toastmasters always involves attracting new members. Diversity keeps us on our toes, challenges our thinking and enriches our lives. “Why aren’t members joining my Toastmasters Club?” It’s a question I hear a lot, and my initial response is always, “How many people have you invited to visit your club in the last few months?” If you’re not inviting someone to every meeting, it’s time to make a change. Every person you ask will not accept your invitation, but nobody will accept if you don’t ask!
Pique the interest of those around you by sharing the value of your Toastmasters experiences. Talk about a great speech you heard, or the incredible improvements you’ve noticed in a fellow member. Give credit to your Toastmasters experience when someone notices your speaking or leadership skills, your ability to think on your feet or to offer helpful feedback. Have you been complimented on your confidence and self-assuredness? Relate how practice at Toastmasters has helped instill those skills. Don’t just invite someone to a meeting – share your Toastmasters experiences at every opportunity and people will soon start asking you how to get involved.
Thriving clubs attract and retain members by always offering dynamic, professionally-run meetings that feature a variety of participants and lots of FUN! A skilled Toastmaster will plan a creative program, engaging members and guests alike with themes, props, stories and unexpected twists in the agenda. Invite a featured speaker or focus on a specific topic and give word-of-mouth advertising to associates, friends and family so they can enjoy the program, too.
Work together to rediscover that spark and sizzle, that fun and excitement, that exuberant excellence that compelled you towards self- improvement when you first joined. Whether online or in person, energy and laughter are contagious, so make sure your club meetings are full of both.
A fresh start is not a new place, it’s a new mindset!