There is no better way to recruit new Toastmasters members than to consistently deliver a powerful, professional, and fun meeting each and every time. After all, it’s easy to get visitors in the door, but getting them to come back will depend on the quality of your meetings.
In addition, great meetings retain membership. Keep your meetings organized and entertaining and your members will look forward to attending month after month and year after year.
What Makes a Meeting Successful?
Clubs conduct meetings in many different ways; although the Toastmasters concept is universal. There will always be formal speeches, evaluations and table topics. Well, that is, if the participants show up.
It is a proven fact that two things need to occur to have a successful meeting. These include:
- Members must take ownership of their roles
- Meetings must be prepared
Many clubs assign roles to their members while others rely on membes to volunteer for each meeting role.
In either case, it is vital to the success of a meeting that once a role is assigned or selected, the member must take ownership of that role. Consider making it a mandatory rule that each member must find a replacement for their meeting role in the event of an emergency that prevents the scheduled member to be present at the meeting.
The way clubs prepare for meetings differs from one to the next. In some clubs, the VP of Education is responsible for preparing each meeting. In others, the Toastmaster of the Day is responsible for much of the preparatory work.
Which method your club adopts is up to you… but what is important is that meetings are prepared in advance.
Successful Meeting Tips
Here are several meeting ideas for you to try in your club:
- Create a club manual so that everyone knows exactly what each role involves and how they are conducted in your club. Include in the document a sample meeting format and ask that every meeting be conducted the same for a while until your meeting quality has improved.
- Have the VP Education assign roles and produce a monthly schedule in advance. That way you won’t have the same people signing-up for the same roles and avoiding others.
- Contact those who have assigned meeting roles a few days in advance to remind them that they have an important function to perform at their meeting. Many clubs divide this contact between the upcoming Toastmaster and the Chief Evaluator so that the burden is not on the VP Education each week.
- Have the Toastmaster of the Day produce the agenda. Since the Toastmaster is responsible for conducting a fun and energized meeting, why not have him or her be totally in charge of putting it together too? That’s a learning experience in itself!
- At the end of each meeting, announce who will be leading the next meeting and who is scheduled to speak. Your members will already look forward to the next meeting and those who have a role will be more committed to attending.
- In summary, it is very important that you conduct successful meetings. People join clubs that are organized. Existing members stay at clubs that conduct fun but professional meetings. Focus on preparation and establish “role ownership” in your club an your meetings will rise to the next level of effectiveness.