We tried and continue to try many ways to market and promote our Toastmasters Club. We have handouts, brochures, and posters. We maintain a Web site and accounts on Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, EventBrite, and Facebook.
All these are great ways to let people know about your Toastmasters Club, but nothing compares to a very simple, free, repeatable technique shared with us by Ron Edma.
When he said it, I jumped up and yelled, "That's genius! I NEVER thought of that before!"
Although we can be knowledgeable and experienced, none of us knows everything. We need to meet other people, gather new ideas and meld those new ideas with our old ideas to create even newer, better ideas.
Several years ago, I coached Ron a little. He was very shy at the time. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was delivering a District-level workshop on promoting membership in Toastmasters clubs so that more people could benefit from the public speaking and leadership training program. I decided to attend to reconnect, see what he was up to, and see whether he improved his presentation skills since we last met. I wanted to show my support.
The workshop contained a lot of material I heard many times, and a few new tips with the advent of social media, now mainstream. Along the way, he quietly suggested that we invite friends and colleagues to come hear us when we are delivering a speech. "Hey Sam, I am doing a presentation next week and wondered if you would like to come hear it, maybe get some feedback from you?"
After Ron suggested this, he continued talking as if what he said had no more significance than announcing tomorrow's weather forecast, but my brain started churning with the beautiful simplicity of just asking someone to come hear me speak. Don't invite them to my club; just invite them to come hear me speak.
Just invite someone to come hear your speech!
Don't sell it.
Don't tell it.
Just invite them to hear you speak!
I love this addition from Susan Cheng in Chicago: "I would just add that a member should ask a friend to come not only to hear him speak but to be there for support. It never hurts to have a friendly face in the room. The friend is more likely to attend if he knows that he is needed."
Who would refuse? Who could refuse?
When they hear you speak, get their feedback and just share how you benefit from the program, then shut up. Don't offer a membership form. Don't TRY to get them to join and they might join.