Friday, February 27, 2009

Toastmasters at Bridgeport (CT) Business Expo

A number of Toastmasters, led by Peggy Jean, President of Greater Bridgeport Toastmasters, worked at a Toastmasters booth at the Bridgeport Business Expo today (Feb.27th, 2009).

The event was well attended and plenty of potential Toastmasters stopped by the booth to learn more about what we do.
What really surprised me was the GREAT response we got at the Bridgeport Business Expo. It is hard to tell how many of the people we spoke with will become members, but it was definitely worth the time and effort.

The Toastmasters who worked at the booth got a chance to stretch their communication skills in many new ways since working a tradeshow booth requires many different types of communication.
You have to 1) be able to "break the ice" with someone walking by ("Have you heard of Toastmasters?" worked pretty well for me), 2) be able to explain Toastmasters quickly to someone who may not be interested (yet) and finally, 3) find out how Toastmasters can help them (through questions and your own knowledge of & experience with TM).
This type of interaction is not something that happens every day and certainly not in the volume that we saw in Bridgeport. Overall, it was an excellent experience and I would encourage other Toastmasters to try it themselves... just be sure to wear good shoes (the concrete floors are tough on the feet).

Some booths offered prizes to entice visitors to stop at their booths but we really did not have anything to offer in Bridgeport (not even candy) but we did pretty well even so. I've done many tradeshows and I think it does not hurt to have a prize.
On the other hand, you have to be careful not to rely on the prize to get people's contact information... it is better to actually talk to them and generate real interest. If you rely on the prize to get names, you end up with leads that are less likely to turn into guests and could end up wasting someone's time following up.
Peggy Jean (behind the Bridgeport Mayor's Lecturn)

2nd from Top:
Mayor Bill Finch drew a good crowd for his brief (encouraging) comments.
3rd from Top:
District 53 Governor, Karin von Kaenel along with Peggy Jean at the Toastmasters booth. (This was before the expo got started since the crowds made it difficult to move after a while.)
4th from top:
Dave Wheeler, D53 Lt.Gov.-Marketing, at the Mayor's Lectern... which just only goes to prove that if you set up a microphone and a lecturn... a Toastmaster will find it !

The representative of CT's Governor reads the announcement from the governor. D53's former PRO, De Boone, also was helping out the organizers of the event and is seen in the white shirt to the right side of the lecturn !
D53 Toastmasters are EVERYWHERE !

1 comment:

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