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Archive for the ‘choices’ Category


TM-SMMany a time I receive a request from a prospective member “which club should I join? ”    And the question cycle begins where do you stay, what is your profession and what is your objective?   Many a time Toastmasters come back after a long SABBATICAL and request is for a similar advice.  The recommendations could be wrong or right but presumably coloured by the glasses you are wearing. 

What if we could automate this process?  Automation is not about reflecting where the club exists or the contact details.  What if we use the power of SOCIAL MEDIA and going forward request every member who is joining to concur to share or not to share his LinkedIn or Facebook profile? 

And I am positive 90% of the members would not hesitate to concur.  Based on the trend mobile application can be developed that is interfaced with LinkedIn and Facebook to pick up relevant data. And this Mobile app can be made available to Toastmasters on subscription model wherein if members can search members with relevant skill, qualifications, Title, industry and all those criteria that are available on LinkedIn and Facebook platform. 

I see tremendous benefit in the application. Imagine I am visiting Turkey and want to visit club with members from IT sales professionals, Imagine I am visiting Malaysia and would like to visit members from Finance background?    Imagine club membership is going down or shooting up – the membership profile can intelligently predict why?

Please share your comments.


Year 1924,  there lived a farmer who owned acres of barren land.  He desired to be the biggest corn farmer in Town.  One day he was talking to his friend and his friend asked did you buy the seeds?  Next day farmer bought corn seeds and stacked up in his barn.  Couples of weeks later he met his friend again and proudly said I have sacks full of seeds in my barn.   Friend asked did you plant them ?  The farmer promptly returned and planted seeds and waited for the corn to grow.  But nothing happened, few seeds sprouted but died sooner.  He was extremely upset with his friend’s advice because he had invested his life saving and his desire to be the biggest corn farmer had died down too.  During the Christmas he made a visit to his friend’s house and chastised his friend for the horrible advice.  The friend asked did you till the land? Did you mix fertilizers before sowing? Did you water the land after planting? Did you protect the shoots when they sprouted?

Fellow toastmasters many a time we join TM club with a deep intent to become a BETTER SPEAKER but don’t participate.  When you don’t participate regularly you are like the seeds in the barn.  When you don’t practice, you are like the farmer who did not till the land.  When you don’t take up mentoring you are no better than the  famer who did not fertilize the land.  And when you don’t learn from the feedback you are like the farmer who did not water the land.  And when you don’t use the feedback judiciously you are like the farmer who did not build barn around his farm.



March 4, 2012: Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization engaged in developing public speaking and leadership skills amongst its members.  The organization is for the members, by the members and of the members.  And one of the objective of the program is to spread the benefit by inducting new  members.

Every club has the mandate to induct new members and the new member’s effort is reflected in the club’s DCP points. On the flip side, District officer’s performances are measured by different criteria, including number of new clubs being set up. To achieve the milestone you must sell the programs benefit to new members to join the clubs and corporate communities to set up new clubs.

The simple process includes selling the benefits of toastmasters program and it’s a natural progression that takes its natural time period.  But what if you can hasten the process by influencing their mindsets and help members devote extra time on improving club activities and performance.

I believe you can hasten the process by influencing guest’s decision. And here I would share “6” pillars of influence identified by guru of persuasion Dr. Robert B. Cialdini and they are

  1. Reciprocation
  2. Consensus and Commitment
  3. Social power
  4. Scarcity
  5. Like
  6. Authority

RECIPROCATION: We are programmed to pay back a favor and it’s in our DNA.  Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said “Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill”. 

TIP :When you invite guests, give them the Toastmasters magazine and or guest kits to take back and read.  Make them comfortable and let a senior Ex-Com member explain the program to him.  Ask him if he needs any other clarifications.  Treat the guest as you would a friend and if required arrange to drop him back at his residence.

CONSENSUS AND COMMITMENT: We as humans have an excessive desire to be consistent with what we have already done or said.

TIP :Get feedback from your guests at the end of the meeting  and let them fill out a feedback form that will also ask for them to write down what they liked about the program.

SOCIAL PROOF: If everyone is doing it, it is correct.

TIP : Share with your guests the Toastmasters activities in your territory and globally; there are 96 Clubs in UAE and 110,000 clubs worldwide in over 90 plus countries.  Invite them to Area contests, Divisions contests and let them observe the powers of participation and performance.

SCARCITY:  Hard  to get things are perceived to be better than easy to get things.

TIP : Make your guest comfortable, and introduce the program clarifying all the doubts. Invite them to join but make them aware that since this is members club, the membership is subject to concurrence by all the members.

AUTHORITY: People tend to obey authoritative figures.

TIP : Introduce your guests to the Club president, VP Education, ACM, DTM and let them do the selling.  If you have an important guest visiting, invite your Area Governor or Division Governor and introduce your guest to them.  A pitch coming in from an authority figure influences.

LIKE: People say yes to people they like or know.  People also like people that have something in common with them.

TIP : Find something in common with your guests and start your conversation with this as your basis;  it could be school, college, place of residence or anything that becomes an ice breaker.

Getting new members and setting up new clubs are part of the leadership development and the more effectively you perform this activity, the better leader you emerge.  Use the powers of the six pillars of influence to maximize the positive outcome.  Reciprocate; commitment and consensuses; Authority; Scarcity; Like and use the Social proof.

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