Building Membership in Spring

If you visit your local garden store this month, you will see a variety of seeds that you can purchase.   Flowers, vegetables, fruits are available, and flowers to attract bees and hummingbirds.   Plant your membership seeds in March and April; watch your garden bloom in the weeks to come.

Are you planting seeds for your Toastmasters club?

This is the season when many people are looking to join a Toastmasters program.   Perhaps the seeker is interested in new skills, is tired of being sequestered in a health “bubble,” or wants to make new friends and contacts.   One man told me yesterday that he expects to give a eulogy later this year (“Does Toastmasters help with that?”)  Parents want their children to gain the skills of public speaking.   Businesses realize that public speaking skills are more important than ever.   Club officers have been getting a swell of new calls.

It is time to add membership.   They are coming to us.   Are you ready?

Don’t wait – plant some seeds.   Plant flower seeds this week, see garden color next month.  Seeds in the ground sprout, emerge into the sun, and show off the color of the flowers.  Plant some Toastmasters seeds, and you’ll have some guests show up, ask for a seat at the table, and eventually you will hear new icebreaker speeches. Guests will follow a pathway; and they may tell a friend or two.  If you have “prepared the soil” right, you may start seeing guests regularly again.

Seeds take some time to sprout and bloom.  You may think that nothing is happening.   Be patient – you may be surprised by the coming growth in your club.

Here are some ways to plant Membership seeds for your Toastmasters club:

Take another look at your website.

Make sure all the information is current.   Is there a phone number or email with an active club officer who will respond to queries?  Perhaps you can freshen up your website with a short video inviting guests to join you.

Plan a special event meeting.

Tell guests that they are welcome anytime, but “this meeting is for you.” Make guests feel special.  Post social media announcements and contact past guests by email.  Get all your members involved in creating a wave of interest – challenge everybody to invite three or more guests.

Keep the channel of communication open with guests.

Do a quick review with your officers.   How is guest contact information saved?   Is someone responding (in a gentle way, not an annoying onslaught) encouraging the guest to come back again?

Start a Youth Leadership program.

I am leading two “Toastmasters classrooms” at a North Phoenix high school this season.   The students are learning practical business skills along with their public speaking experience.  They are having fun too – the teacher reports that this unit is one of the highest rated in their school year.  At some time in the near future, when these students reach age 18, they may want to go further and join a Toastmasters club.

Remember that our guests have complicated, dynamic lives, just like you do.  They may not join Toastmasters when they first visit your club.   The guest may be moving to San Antonio next month.   Encourage the guest to visit a club elsewhere – do this gladly.  There may be a Toastmaster club in San Antonio that sends a guest to you!   This too is planting a seed.

Have confidence that growth comes in seasons – and this will be a growth season!   Plant the seeds for your club and see the results follow.


Steve Broe DTM, DTM Chair

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