As members of Toastmasters, we recognize how much Toastmasters has to offer and we want to make that available to others. How do we build membership?
First, we need to check with the members in our club to make sure that their needs are being met. If they are, great. If they are not, we need to take the steps needed for supporting the members we already have before we move on to adding members.
Improve the quality of the meeting. Make sure everyone is on board with making the meetings more accessible to visitors. What needs to be done to make that happen? Brainstorm on these together and put them into practice.
Some things that might need to change to make the meetings visitor friendly
-acronyms used without explanation (CC, CL, DTM)
-interruptions of the speakers
Some things to improve or add
-encouraging jokes and comments
Second, we need to make sure that our club supports adding new members. Officers need to understand and support developing membership.
Then the officers can present to the club their reasons for wanting to add new members and their vision for creating an even better club with new members.
Third, we need to make sure that members know how to introduce Toastmasters to others. One of the manual speeches can be used for this or the officers can add a short skit to the agenda.
Ideas for how to get people talking about Toastmasters in regular conversations include
-wearing your Toastmasters name tag when name tags are needed
-purchasing and wearing a Toastmasters lanyard
-wearing a Toastmasters pin–ordered from Toastmasters, an officer pin, or award pins like It’s Your Journey or the bling from the Journey Awards
-put your Toastmasters magazine out on your desk or coffee table
-watch for opportunities to talk about Toastmasters–such as when someone says they have a speech to give or they are nervous about answering questions
Ideas for how to introduce people to Toastmasters when you aren’t there include
-putting a sticker with the club’s information over your address on Toastmasters magazine and setting those out at your doctor’s, dentist’s, or library (with permission)
-sending photographs of events your club has to the local paper, with a short description
-posting a link to the club website on social media, with a note about the meeting the day before and/or morning of meetings
Have events that make people want to attend: an Open House with refreshments, a Successful Communication or Successful Leadership module, a Youth Leadership program, or a speaker’s forum.
Most people come to Toastmasters because they have been invited. Both personal and generic invitations can be extended.
Have flyers with complete information (where, when, what, price, who can come).
Put the flyers in places where people regularly come in and out (library, restaurant, school).
Make business cards for your club. Hand those out to people you know along with an invitation to the meeting or event.
Make sure the people who visit get a response from the club.
Send immediate emails or regular mail saying how much they were appreciated. Write a person-specific positive, if there is one. (Thank you for participating in Table Topics. Your description of your cat’s computer skills made me laugh.) Invite them to return.
A week or two later, send a second follow-up making sure to invite them to return.