Toastmasters are hungry. Their hunger for knowledge is what burns them from inside. Their expectation are like the Burj Khalifa, you take them to the observation deck at the 124th floor and they would demand to go to the 160th floor. Having praised the Toastmasters, this is not my topic today. My subject this Friday morning is why some meetings are full of energy and others need energy. Or rather, how do you turbo charge a TM club meeting?
After completing 9 years in the toastmasters program, the one thing that is for certain is that your audience expects value out of the meetings and many a times it requires a TM to tell them where the value points are. And that person in a Toastmasters meeting is the TMOD. The TMOD is like the pilot of a Boeing 747 who ensures that the plane takes off and lands on time and at the right destination. And if there is any turbulence, the pilot ensures that passengers still enjoy a smooth flight.
So what can a TMOD do to turbo charge a meeting? My first suggestion to a TMOD would be “don’t entertain mediocrity, ensure that each project speaker has practiced and been mentored by a senior TM.” And subsequently I would reiterate that Toastmasters are hungry and if you give them an hour of an educational session they would demand a 2nd hour, so give them the interesting mix of content. However, let me now share the most important trait of a TM and that is “TMs want to be engaged”
Hence, it’s a challenge for a TMOD to explore and find new channels of TM engagement during a meeting. The club meeting Success formula is “the more engaged the TM’s are…….. The better charged your meetings will be.” Let me share a few tips on turbo charging your club meetings.
- Ensure that other than your role players, maximum number of TM’s get an opportunity to participate and this could be visual – eye contact, voice or through body language that is, even a simple nod would contribute.
- Make your meetings more visual – entertaining and learning. Stick posters or share information on PPT.
- Challenge TM’s during the meeting; ask them impromptu questions on the content delivered by project speakers.
- Request for their feedback and opinion on topics such as the theme of the day or the topics covered by the project speakers.
- Share and recognize the simple achievements of the members during the meetings and time permitting give them 60 seconds to share their experience.
- Recognize guests participating by applause and gift them a TM magazine old or new to read.
- Time permitting make teams to discuss and arrive at a unanimous decision on a topic.
- And always have a backup plan of activities to squeeze in when time permits or when the energy is going down.
I would conclude by saying that you are “the pilot” and once turbulence shakes up your meetings, do not hesitate to experiment. After all “variety is the spice of meetings.”