Sitting at the Toastmasters International Convention, I watched as a friend of mine went to the stage to receive an award on behalf of her district. They were being recognized for having the most clubs with 20 or more members, over 80% in their case. I was looking at the statistics and there are quite a few districts, like ours in Kansas and Western Missouri, that have closer to 50% of their clubs with 20 or more members.
What’s the difference? I think that it is a decision that the club makes. Either A, you choose to treat 20 as a finish line (i.e. “we just need to get to 20 in June to make distinguished”), or B, you treat 20 as a minimum for having a successful club all of the time.
What are the pros and cons? Well, in option A you trade doing less work marketing for doing more work running club meetings and other functions. You may have an easier time getting speaking slots, but fewer folks are getting experience and the pool of great evaluators is small. If a few people miss a meeting, your speaking to a small audience and probably doing double (or triple) duty.
In option B, you do more work publicizing and marketing the club, and also a little more work scheduling. More members means more speakers, more evaluators, and more people having fun. It’s surprising how contagious that can be.
So how do you get from A –> B? There’s a simple (but not easy) process:
1. Decide to do it – it seems to take about four dedicated members to get the group on board.
2. Make a plan – how will you market your club? Website, Company paper, Library bulletin board, etc.)
3. Set the example – give manual speeches and invite guests
4. Hold your members accountable – don’t be harsh, but ask how they are approaching others, and how they are doing on their goals
5. Have fun!
Getting to 20 isn’t the finish line. Treat it like your minimum and you’ll see just how successful and FUN your club can really be!