Thursday, March 01, 2007

Fwd: Talk up Toastmasters! with an Open House

From: Roger Brown, D53 Webmaster
Date: Feb 23, 2007 12:16 AM
Subject: Talk up Toastmasters! with an Open House

During the months of February and March we are asked to
Talk up Toastmasters!

"Talk Up Toastmasters!" is an annual membership contest and marketing event that encourages Toastmaster members to invite as many guests as possible to their club meetings. We want to help our guests discover the benefits of Toastmasters and at the same time, increase our club's membership.

As club leaders, we are asked to consider conducting an Open House (guest meeting) as a means to increase Club membership. Let's explore the concepts or activities that are part of successful Open House.

An Open House meeting is a regular Toastmaster meeting where:

  • the meeting theme is the communication and leadership benefits of Toastmasters;
  • the prepared speakers "Talk Up Toastmasters!" and demonstrate the objectives and benefits of manual speeches (from Ice Breaker to any Advanced speech project);
  • the evaluators demonstrate the values of verbal evaluation and written feedback;
  • the Toastmaster and Table Topic Master specifically discuss the benefits Toastmasters members receive as they participate in the prepared or impromptu program (as timer, grammarian, wordmaster, invocator, quizmaster, etc); and
  • the General Evaluator (or the Club President) leads a brief Q&A session at the end of the meeting to handle any questions from the guests.

An Open House meeting doesn't "just happen." An Open House meeting requires planning and preparations before the doors are opened. Encourage every member to get involved in the Open House in some way, perhaps you can ask each member to join at least one committee (for this special Club event).

The Educational Program Committee , chaired by the VP Education, plans the Open House or "show case" meeting program. The committee focuses on the content of the meeting, what is going to happen from gavel to gavel. For example:

  • select the speakers (balance your speaker selection from basic to advanced speakers);
  • select experienced evaluators;
  • select the Table Topic Master and select TT questions that fit the theme and lend to the demonstration or testimony of the value of the Toastmasters program;
  • select Toastmaster and General Evaluator;
  • set and print the "timed" agenda, promote the theme; and
  • discuss the motivation and theme of the Open House meeting with all participants.

The Membership or Public Relations Committee , co-chaired by the VP Membership and VP Public Relations, fills the room with guests. The committee focuses on pre-event advertising or promotion of the Club's Open House event. Some possible tasks include:

  • create bulletin board flyers or announcemnts;
  • update club web page with event information;
  • prepare and distribute press releases, public service or calendar event;
    Use the
    Sample Press Release for Club Open House [
    word.doc acrobat.pdf ]
  • encourage all to invite their colleagues, friends, and neighbors; and
  • send a written invitation to guests who have visited in the past, yet have not joined.

The Social and Reception Committee , chaired by the Sgt. At Arms, assures that all guests feel welcomed and comfortable with the Toastmasters Club meeting environment. Tasks include:

  • create guest information packets, something the guest can take home;
  • provide name tags for guests (members should wear their CC, AC or DTM recognition badge or plain name tag);
  • display guestbook and collect contact information from each attending guest;
  • pair each guest with a Toastmaster member (Assist Sgt. At Arms);
  • provide refreshments; and
  • smile.

New members are the lifeblood of every club and without sufficient members your club has difficulty fulfilling its mission ... "to provide a mutually positive and supportive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to pursue communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self confidence and personal growth."

Membership building is a challenging yet rewarding task. By adding new members to your club you add new perspectives, personalities, and potential club officers/leaders. Can you use free resources for a membership building program? Check out the D53 On-line File Cabinet.

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