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Author robchaw  Date 03 Jul 10, 22:26  Views 2461
Description by Robin Chawner, founder of Solent Speakers
Category Starting a New Club  Type Information

Starting a Club - Tips

by Robin Chawner, founder of Solent Speakers.

1. Lots of help available via District 71 (abbreviated henceforward to D71):

* Use the Process for starting a new club and New club material pages on this website.

* Use the D71 email network; plenty of motivated and experienced people.

* Talk to the Division and Area Governor covering your territory.

* Talk to the D71 Lt Governor Marketing (LGM) and Public Relations Officer (PRO).

2. Contact current Presidents, VPs Membership from clubs chartered within the last two years. They have a fund of practical and personal experience.

3. Contact the other founders of pre-chartered clubs; the District LGM can identify who they are. They’re in the same boat as you!

And, so, to my own personal experience.

4. BEFORE you get to deciding the date of your ‘demonstration meeting’, make sure you’ve identified your (proposed) regular club meeting venue. This is important because
(1) your would be-members will want to know at the demo meeting
(2) it will need to feature on all your publicity materials
(3) your local media contacts will want to know and could include this in any write-up they do (media = local newspapers, local radio/TV stations)

5. LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED IN TERMS OF YOUR PRE-LAUNCH PUBLICITY. It’s the source of your guests and future members.

6. Ideally, have a clear idea of the meeting nights you’re targeted on, eg 1st & 3rd, 2nd & 4th xxxdays. This should also go on your ‘launch publicity’.

7. Design some simple flyers, A5 is a good size, make sure it has phone and email contact info on it – IN BOLD

8. Network with as many people as you can: family members, friends, business contacts, work colleagues, local libraries, church, civic, local companies to tell them about your plans and ask them to spread the word. Give them flyers.

9. Contact your local council, chamber of commerce, college/university. They may even be able to offer you a meeting room at low/no cost. You may capture some on-site passing traffic.

10. See if you can get a short interview (or even just a broadcast mention) with your local radio station.

11. YOUR DEMONSTRATION MEETING – plan it carefully. It’s your marketing showcase. Make sure that your Area Governor and Presidents of ‘neighbouring’ other clubs know the date and invite them along. Advertise the date, the venue and the start/finish time to all your possible external contacts. Aim, if you can, to have half a dozen Toastmasters along. The more you have, the more there will be to chat with your guests.

12. ABSOLUTELY PARAMOUNT – have a rock-solid way of capturing the contact data of all your guests, would-be members. Make it ‘polite’ and non-intrusive re data retention. Tell them you would like to keep in touch with them re future meetings and promise (and deliver on the promise) that you will not give their data to any other organisation.

13. Have blank badges that you can ask guests to put their name on. That way you will know who they are, so will other guests.

14. Have badges with a coloured spot for the Toastmasters hosts. That way guests know who are the ‘people in the know’.

15. Your demo meeting programme. Ideally, a short, sharp pitch by a TM guest, a speech slot for someone from a neighbouring club, doing their ice-breaker, a table topics session, a long refreshment interval, evaluation of the ice-breaker (you need a really experienced TM to do this well a Q&A after your break (minimum 15 minutes), followed by one or two TM’s giving a testimonial.
Above all, don’t have too many ‘accomplished TM’s giving speeches, it may be a turn off for the timid who think they could never reach that stage. Invite a newspaper reporter along. Even if they don’t accept or turn up, have someone do a write-up and someone else take photographs, so that you can issue a post-meeting news release.

16. Handouts and publicity materials. Have materials from Toastmasters International, eg some recent Toastmaster magazines, a 'Toastmaster wears many hats’ booklet, a Competent Communicator speech manual (more than one if you can obtain them).

17. Closing the sale. Have a senior TM help you with this. Emphasise all the benefits, no time like the present, Have membership sign up forms and ways of accepting people’s money (cheques and cash). Make sure they get a receipt.

18. OK, SO THE DEMO MEETING’S OVER. NOW ANOTHER BATCH OF HARD WORK, AS YOU AIM TO BUILD THE CLUB FROM BEGINNINGS.

19. Don’t try and do it all yourself. Get people to help. This will develop them; they could turn out to be your initial club officers.

20 Keep up the publicity. Stay focused, be prepared for some set-backs, but, above all, foster the enthusiasm and play the benefits at every opportunity. Good luck!

    
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