Archive for the ‘Toastmasters meeting’ 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.
You have taken up the challenge to drive the next meeting and now is the day to perform THE role of TOASTMASTERS OF THE DAY. Audience is looking forward to a great time. How can you help them? Here are few tips to enchant them
- TIME MANAGEMENT: Help Begin, Carry and Close the meeting on Time.
- Meet, Greet and Shake hands with members and Guests. Connect to make them comfortable and confident.
- GUEST INTRODUCTION: If the guests are not recognized by the presiding officer, take it upon yourself to recognize the guests and give them a brief on what is expected from the meeting. At the end of the meeting ask them for their FEEDBACK.
- TMOD: The best TMOD is the one you don’t remember. He invests energy in making participants look great and feel appreciated.
- THEME: Give a theme to your meeting and be consistent with it from the beginning till the end.
- APPLAUSE: Lead the applause when a speaker comes or leaves the podium.
- LEAD: Lead the charge to making the meeting exciting. Get everyone pumped up and keep them up during the meeting. While the speakers are the stars of the show, you are the lead cheerleader.
- STAY IN TOUCH: Get in touch with every role play and brief him what is expected and find if the role player needs any help or special considerations.
- BACKUP PLAN: Avoid delay in meeting because a role play has not turned up on Time. If a member with a role is late – even if you’re still expecting them – get a backup for the role in case they don’t make it.
- CONTENT: Find interesting facts, quotes, trivia related to the meeting theme to interject throughout the meeting.
- Me Me and Me: Avoid loads of personal anecdotes.
- STARS: Your speakers, evaluators and Table Topics participants are the stars to make the meeting memorable. Your job is to make sure they feel comfortable, confident and connected when come to the podium.
- INTRODUCTION: There are three things you must include in the introduction: Presenter name and TM title, Project manual and name, Title of the speech.
- OBSERVE: Finally strictly observe members and guests before and during the meeting. Identify one good thing or initiative taken up by a new member or guest and recognize him during the meeting. For example if a new member extends a helping hand in setting up the room or a guest helps distribute the agenda.
- FEEDBACK: Finally request written feedback from your audience on your role play. reward every feedback with a small token of appreciation. ( It could be any stationery items such as a pen, stick on or others)
Good Luck for your next TMOD role play
Last month while conversing with a Toastmaster I inquired about a fellow Toastmaster. I was told he had lost his job. In another meeting I was told that another fellow toastmaster had migrated to Canada considering his kids had moved out for higher education. This got me thinking, how well do I know my fellow Toastmasters, how well do I know them beyond the precincts of Toastmasters meetings?
Toastmasters is a community of members working towards excelling in life. Which other fraternity has such a powerful minded community of people? I could think of no other. And then I was promptly reminded of Sales phrases Upsell; Cross Sell; Low hanging fruits and so on.
Low hanging Fruits: Coming from a Sales background I realized that I was connecting with fellow Toastmasters at TM level only i.e. what role they were playing and their Toastmasters journey, nothing beyond that. This networking road map was obvious and did not require extra effort. Rather I was plucking LOW HANGING FRUITS. I was not UP SELLING, I was not connecting at a professional level. I was not Cross selling, I was connecting at a social level.
When I sat down to introspect; we have over 100+ clubs in UAE and considering a membership status of around 20 members per club, the total membership should around 2000 members. People pay premium to attend networking events simply to exchange business cards; whereas at TM club meetings we have an opportunity to connect at a much deeper level.
My message is that networking is a powerful tool, provided we network beyond TM activities. Because networking is not only shaking hands, exchanging cards or chit chat. Networking is finding gold while helping other people succeed. So why pluck the low hanging fruits? Why don’t we CROSS SELL i.e network at a professional level. Why not UPSELL i.e. what stops us networking at the Social level.
The next time you participate in a club meet, arrive 30 minutes early and
- CROSS SELL ie. Network at a professional level. Connect with 5 TM’s at a professional level. Find out what do they do professionally, how did they got into their profession, what skills are required to be in their job and finally how you can help them grow.
- UPSLL i.e Network at a social level. Agree to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee and nurture this relationship into a familyet together. Ask how you can be of help to his family.
Maturing from LOW HANGING FRUITS to CROSS SELL and UPSELL is 360* networking. And remember, UAE has around 2000 Toastmasters whereas globally there are 292,000 members in more than 14,350 clubs spread in 122 countries. POWER; Use it or lose it.
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.
This morning I messaged Vinod Mattamel to forward me Dreams Toastmasters club meeting agenda. And he responded I am emailing it you followed by the message “You would like to do a special role? Or a creative Word Master? What you would like to do?? Or a creative Listener???”
He had responded like a professional; he emailed me the agenda but triggered my curiosity. I was planning to attend half meeting but ended up attending the full meeting. I had the role play of Ah counter and listen master wherein the theme of the day was “BACK TO SCHOOL” and word of the day was “TUTELAGE.” During the course of the meeting I realized I was falling back on my role play so decided to share my tutelage in English language instead. And here follows my tutelage.
Inspired by the quote, I resolved to participate in maximum number of Toastmasters meetings in a day. And observe my emotions. Finally I succeeded in my mission.
- Four Club meetings in a day
- 8 Roles in four club meetings including 3x Education session on two different topics, 1x General Evaluation, 2x Evaluations and 2 Table Topics ( Table Topics is the easiest to duplicate since you can volunteer)
How did I manage; well that is not the objective of the post. But how did I feel Before, During and After is objective of the post.
BEFORE: No matter how prepared you are, your mind spins into an anxiety mode especially when you begin imagining further lineup of role plays till 9:00 in the evening. Probably this feeling creeps in due to four different sets of audience. You move into stress mode in your thought process; your facial expressions and enthusiasm go for a toss. Another challenge is to rush and be on time for the next club meeting; when you begin cursing the traffic and non-availability of parking space.
The attendance was 200%; participation was 100% and the Toastmasters club meeting was a super success. Fast forward 6 months, attendance was 30%, participation? …. 50% role play dropped out in the last 24 hours and the meeting ended on a somber note.
What went wrong? Excom decided to call on the absentees and the following “7” reasons came up for no shows.
- Time: No time
- Place: Meeting place too far away from the office & residence
- Day: Meeting day is not convenient day
- Time: Meeting time is not convenient
- Priority: More pressing priority came up
- Learning: There is no learning in the club meeting
- Ambience: Don’t like the meeting ambience
Club “A” compiled the list of reasons and decided to focus on building NEW members. The exercise is still continuing and results are disaster.
Club “B” decided to probe further and dig out the real reasons of no shows. And they questioned the response further. More number of times the real reason was not the obvious response i.e No time MEANT I have found a better activity to use my time ( I did not understand the real value of TM Program.) There is no learning in the club meeting MEANT poor quality of performances in the club due to non-preparation or on occasions it MEANT not getting enough opportunities to speak. Don’t like the meeting ambience MEANT they did not connect with the members neither Excom made an attempt to connect with them. And when the Excom critically evaluated the NEW found reasons for no shows; they came out with solution and connect with members. The club initiated necessary changes. Sooner the attendance shot up, quality of meeting shot up and so did the quality of participation.
My message is TM is the most attractive program and every one of us wants to become ATTRACTIVE. Hence question why are there NO SHOWS?
Whenever I ask what will enhance your performance? Among many answers I get is “Practice, Practice and Practice.” Having said that some time you participate in a club meeting and you are hit by a bolt of lightning and “wow” why did I not think of that?
Well my answer to the above question would also include “TOUGHER COMPETITION.” And this is no guess but tested and proven response. When you have the TOUGH competition, somehow you perform better than what you had ever dreamt of performing. It’s like you had that reserve presence of mind, reserved stamina or hidden insight that was taken out of closet to resonate your performance many fold.
Next time you want to deliver a PROJECT SPEECH, a TABLE TOPIC or an EVALUATION; think of attracting the best performers for the spot of contest. And then RECORD your performance, I am certain you would be amazed and say “IS THAT ME?”
Last week I participated in Oasis Achievers Toastmasters Club meeting. The meeting started @ 8:00pm and the hall was full. President delivered the message and TMOD took over the mantle. But there was something different in the ambience, audience were fired up. What was happening?
How come a Toastmasters Club is over flowing with participants whereas the next door Toastmasters club is gasping for the participants? This question always comes up in participants mind. So what is the secret ? I would say there is one word that separates the two clubs and that word is ENERGY. Energy differentiates the participation between the two clubs. The energy defines the quality of meetings and participation during the meetings. Now your next questions would be, how do you create energy in the club meetings? I would share my OPINION on the subject.