Archive for the ‘Clubs’ Category
Dec. 13, 2016 – I attended club officers training for Division B, J, F, P – District 20 @ Emirates Auditorium. During the panel Q&A session numerous questions were put forward including – How to ….. increase membership in advance Club, raise funds, Increase membership, INCREASE PARTICIPATION, practice of using photo copy of manuals and DCP points.
Sustained participation of members caught my attention which is a perennial problem in the clubs. Clubs may have 30 – 60 members but participation is limited to 15 – 28 members in most of the club meetings. Declining participation is a trigger that it is time to bring in a change. Question is what can you do to prevent drop in member’s participation in the club meetings?
Everything is in the mind and am sharing “10” practical hooks to increase DNA (Do not Attend) members participation in the club meetings
- REMOVE PHYSICAL IRRITANTS: Choose professional premises for your meetings. It must have necessary equipment for speakers such clip mic, flip chart, white board, LCD projector, pen, pad and table to write. Chose a place that is conveniently located and has adequate free parking slots.
- LEADERS PARTICIPATION: Club members have elected you to lead. You have taken the onus to lead the club hence encourage every Excom member to performs their duties diligently and participate. Half the battle is won when Excom is active. To involve more club members, nominate an assistant to every Excom role play.
- “FUTURE LOCK IN” : Plan your meetings 3 months/ 6 months in advance and nominate TMOD. People think differently for DISTANT FUTURE and NEAR FUTURE event. Near future is evaluated in terms of concrete ideas whereas distant future are evaluated on abstract terms. Hence it’s easier to get a commit for DISTANT FUTURE event.
- COMMITMENT & CONSISTENCY: Request written commitment such as role player’s introduction, project details or activity commitment (such as ordering food, arranging room, bring in two guest, role play and others) for the meeting day in advance of meeting date. Once they have committed in writing; the probability of last minute drop-out reduces considerably.
- SIGNATURE MEETING: Every meeting should be a signature meeting of respective TMOD. When meetings are routine members go into sleep mode and when meetings have variety they move into participatory mode.
- VALUE: WIIFM (what’s in it for members) Think from members perspective. Are they getting value out of the meeting? Brainstorm and include perceived value in every club meet.
- THINK TANK: Your members are your think tank. Every head count is a bucket-full of ideas. Tap into it and regularly capture their suggestions on an online platform.
- COLLABORATION TOOL: We are in a connected digital world. Use a collaboration tool for member’s communication. Email or WhatsApp can be aid whereas collaboration tool can be the primary tool that will retain threads of communications on a single platform. Use collaboration tool to include meeting’s agenda, meetings feedback/suggestions and new ideas, DCP points, finance and others. Evaluate collaboration tools such as Slack, Basecamp, Taskworld and others.
- NETWORK TIME: Allocate 30 minutes before meet for networking. Probably define how members can benefit from 30 minutes of network time. Club may also utilize this time for most feared activity i.e. Table topics practice session.
- BROADCAST YOUR MEETING: Get internet connectivity and broadcast your meetings to the world outside. This is a powerful tool that can impact at four levels. (1) Marketing of club activities (2) An opportunity to learn technology (3) Absent members can view the meet (4) it will bring seriousness in the quality of meetings.
The above are simple suggestions that may help club to increase (DNA) member’s participation.
Toastmasters International is a wonderful platform of progressive professionals that has changed many lives. People who swore to have no talent for public speaking are delivering keynotes and motivational speeches. People who thought it was a waste of time have morphed into DTM’s and persuaded hundreds of others to join the forum and people who believed in “I, me and mine”, are mentoring and helping others to succeed. What can you expect to learn from Toastmasters Program? Let me share my SEVEN STAR learning. Read the rest of this entry »
Medical science says that human body produces 4 types of happy hormones/neurotransmitters. And when our body is under producing or not producing those hormones; medical practitioners prescribe external drugs to supplements those happy hormones. They are
- ENDORPHINS: These are strain, pain and fear masking hormones or neuro-transmitters. When a marathon runner is competing Endorphins masks the pain creating a high to complete the run. That’s why runners feel the pain next day or after some hours of completing the run.
- DOPAMINE: Dopamine controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move towards them. Such as when we complete the marathon.
- SEROTONIN: You feel the surge of Serotonin when you receive applause for your achievements. The good thing is that the receiver and provider both feel the surge of Serotonin when applause takes place. Serotonin is a mood enhancing neurotransmitter/hormone.
- OXYTOCIN: This hormone/neurotransmitter is responsible for creating bond between friends, family and loved ones. You feel surge of Oxytocin when you are among the loved one.
In the past 10 days have visited few Toastmasters clubs which led me to rewind a decade earlier and explore what has changed over the decade. And I observed ………
- There were fewer clubs but more participation.
- There was less awareness but more enthusiasm.
- There was no Facebook page but serious communication.
- There were fewer connections but more connected.
Toastmasters Club Contests are an absorbing activity for every Club Excom. They are a necessary evil that must be organized to encourage competition, take the speakers to the next level and perhaps give them a jump start. In other words contest is paramount in Toastmasters program; they are a shortcut to faster and bigger improvements.
If contests are paramount why there are no identified structured training programs for Excom, to conduct contests? Rather the contests are organized with little experience gathered from past experiences. Organizing club contest attracts challenges of different colors such as
- Finding Contestants.
- Contestants training and awareness.
- Judges: Finding judges; qualified and numbers.
- Role players: Trained role players.
- Resources: Venue, Documentation; Trophies; Certificates and Awards
Having said that I believe that any contest phobia can be overcome by “five “activities and they are
- Planning: No sooner Excom is installed; the team should meet to decide on the most important date i.e contest dates and make an announcement to the club members and Area Governor. Then identify various activities for the contest.
- Timeline: Set timeline to complete identified activities.
- Delegation: Delegate identified activities such as TM1 for getting role plays ; TM2 for getting Judges; TM3 getting the resources; TM for getting contestants; TM4 for organizing the venue and others.
- Collaboration: Get Excom of “3” clubs involved and enter into an exchange program for Judges and role plays.
- Feedback: Set a feedback mechanism; monthly to start with and thereafter weekly, 60 days closer to the contest.
Once you complete Planning, Timeline; Delegation and Collaboration within first 15 days of the new term; half the battle is won. Now you can focus your attention on ensuring that you have a District Champion speaker.
Past International President Helen Blanchard once said “If you get out of Toastmasters all that there is to get out of Toastmasters, you will never get out of the Toastmasters”
Toastmasters’ program is a brilliant program that has benefited millions of members across the globe. It’s tailored to your lifestyle; progress as you want to progress. Having said that I would like to share “8” tips on getting the most out of Toastmasters Program..
- Read your manuals: Read your manuals; your CC, CL and other manuals received as joining kit. Underline and highlight content and draw your plan for the TM journey.
- Ask for a mentor: Request for a mentor, spend time to understand the program. Craft your projects and get your mentor guidance to improve and practice. For the senior members; create Smart group of 2 to 4 mentors and meet periodically to discuss your progress and feedback. And finally thank your mentor with a token of appreciation; coffee or a meal for every success. Let your mentor feel rewarded and make this a valuable experience for him. [we know TM is a non-profit organization but human sentiments prevail]
- Order complete set of manuals: Toastmasters is a wonderful program; every manual is treasure house. Order a complete set of “15” manuals, HPL manuals and craft your journey.
- Audit your stage time: The more quality time on the lectern, faster are the improvements. Hence audit your time on the lectern and explore areas that will allow you more time on the lectern. Maintain a log book.
- Feedback: Request feedback from key members on your deliveries and every role play. Winners feed on feedback.
- Retain written feedback and pin it to the respective project: Retain written feedback pinned to your project manuals and reference them often.
- Take up Excom role: Take up Excom role play specially President and Sergeant At Arms because they get time on the lectern in every meeting. Or take up other role plays to connect and learn to run team.
- Connect: TM forum has members from dfferent professional domain; business men, doctors, sales people, CEO, Managers and others. Connect and grow your network.
In conclusion I would reiterate; time is a scare commodity but your clever choices can double the impact of your time.
Running a full house in Toastmasters Club has become challenge but with right strategy and best practices you can run a successful Toastmasters club creating value and experience for the members. I am sharing “5” tips on getting the house full at Toastmasters club.
- Maintain records: Maintain records for the members to review at the meeting hall.
- Attendance register
- Role players list for the past meeting and role players list for the future four meetings.
- Minutes of the meetings
- Recognition: Recognize member’s achievements [Toastmasters, Professional and Personnel Achievements] and their special days during the meeting.
- Invite the key influencers: If you want to get a gathering of 50 people it’s not important that that you talk to 100 people and invite them to your club. Identify key “10” key influencers who have a serious larger circle of influence, to influence serious “50” other members. Give them the reasons why they should take up role play in your club or how their participation will help them. Then use their Klout to get houseful. Event managers are familiar with this methodology, hence they use this methodology effectively by getting key influencers to participate and attract the larger audience for events.
- Phone: It’s important to keep in touch with your members and likely prospect through email, social media but periodically pick up the phone and call. The good old way of talking to key members helps to retain participation and increase membership. This has many fold advantage such as
- Get verbal commitment to attend and participate.
- Make members feel important and special
- Get members feedback
- Proactively address any (-ve) feedback and concerns.
- Toastmasters Process: Getting members to attend and participate regularly in the club meeting is a science. And with religious practice of process defined by the Toastmasters helps to achieve the objective. Hence read, practice and conduct educational session on increasing participation and getting new members.
Enjoy practicing and reading………
Sharjah Toastmasters Humorous speech club contest was held on Dec. 21, 2011. The contest reflected energy ,passion and the desire to stretch and strut.
- The participation in the humours contest was 100% more than the standard club meetings. Why ? I cannot comprehend the reason, still looking for the motivation.
- There were 9 humorous contestants and many to applaud their endeavors.
- The contest participation was overwhelming and contestants flexed their humour muscle stepping out of their comfort zone.
- The deliveries had creative topics and am sharing the “9” titles.
ii) Tom and Jerry
iii) Seek leave, Sick leave
iv) How and why TM came into my life
v) Mr Perplex
vi) Happily Married
vii) Living with Time Bomb
viii) End of the beginning
ix) Health & Time
My salute & hearty congratulations to the first time participants.
Enjoy watching contestants sail through.
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There is so much happening in Toastmasters activities in UAE that sometime you feel overwhelmed . I believe around 80 clubs spread out in seven Emirates; every day there is an event and every event is unique. If you become the member of Toastmasters fraternity in UAE; you immediately connect with around 2000 toastmasters members in UAE.
Enjoy watching photos from various clubs a Unity in diversity.
After we set up the new Information Technology Company, it was easier to convert prospective leads to business but the biggest hurdle was to find new prospective leads FIRST. Hence to address the gap we defined our Marketing and Sales strategy. We
- Hired a tele-marketing who would call the industry and deliver the scripted massage.
- Created a business email with a link to benefits of technology and sent a marketing mail shot.
- Requested for referrals from our contacts.
- Put in free advertisements in the free online newspapers.
- Opened and activated a Facebook and Twitter account.
- Created buzz on our business wins on the Social media and free industry online newspapers.
- Set Sales targets, incentives and measurement process.
And subsequently we started getting trickle load of leads that started maturing into customers. Due to the continued measurable efforts business and cash flow improved.
In Toastmasters Club, New members are like the Cash flow and inducting them for your club follows a similar formula; an effective Marketing and Sales strategy. Hence follow the said steps
- Open up Facebook group account.
- Create a buzz about the past and the upcoming meetings.
- Open Twitter account and create a buzz about the upcoming meeting.
- Video record good meetings, educational session and events. And share it on Youtube. Send the LINK to prospective Toastmasters.
- Financials permitting; set up a www.meetup.com account else negotiate with www.meetup.com for special rates.
Human Resource Executive:
- Get in touch with HR executives of the organizations and invite them. Sell them the benefits of TM for their employees. After all one of the HR Executives KPI is to build up value for the employees.
- Ensure that club meetings are attractive because attractive people attract attention. So how do you make your meetings attractive ? I would say by adding value. Personally evaluate your meetings; what clicks and what could be chipped off. Note, planned meetings attract participation.
- Plan your meetings at least 6 meetings in advance and announce the TMOD providing enough time for the role players to deliver quality performance
- All project deliveries should be mentored.
- Respect time: start and end on time for the meetings and every role play.
- Special themes, Educational session and special role plays should spice up the meetings.
- Recognize members and guests. Make them feel important because people don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.
Set down policy and targets:
- Script process who will be your face to the guests and how will you convert guest to members.
- Set new membership targets and who will be responsible?
- Set incentive and recognition plan for getting new members.
- Set a yard stick to measure your progress.
- Don’t lose focus on retaining existing members and their participation.
And in conclusion, I would PARAPHRASE words of Past International President Helen Blanchard, “If your members and guests get out of Toastmasters all that there is to get out of Toastmasters, they will never get out of the Toastmasters”