Does your club have a guest packet for guests to help them decide to join?
What persuaded you to join Toastmasters?
Everyone has their own reasons. We could boil it down to a statistic: 98% of members joined because they want to learn public speaking.
So all our guest packets should only address that, right?
No. Not right.
On today’s podcast, I’m going to look at what one club put together for an electronic guest booklet, and a couple of ideas I wonder about – do you think they might work?
Do you want to develop your public speaking skills? Do you need to find the leader inside you? Then Toastmasters is for you. We provide public speaking training and opportunities to develop your leadership skills at every meeting in a safe and fun environment. This is Toastmasters 101, and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.
Distinguished Club Program Membership Goals
This week has been one for the books. This year has been one for the books. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to help our members transition to the online meeting format – so much that we may have lost our focus on bringing in new members into our clubs.
Toastmasters has a metric to determine how successful a club is – it’s the Distinguished Club Program. I’ll be talking more about that next week – but this week, I wanted to focus on building up your club’s membership. It’s part of the DCP – bringing in 8 members over the course of the Toastmasters year.
Toastmasters says that the ideal club membership is 20. They also say that the average turnover in one year is 40% of the membership. What’s 40% of 20? If you said 8, you’re right. Bringing in 8 new members is going to cover those members who have achieved their goals, moved to a new job or location, or left the club for their own reasons.
Guest Packets for the Online Guest
I saw a post on Facebook about creating a guest packet for the electronic guest. And suddenly, it seemed like everyone was talking about it – like a string of lightbulbs went on over everyone’s head – yeah, we need this.
I wrote to the first person I saw who wrote about this and asked for her club’s guest packet. Donna Stolz sent it to me right away. Thanks, Donna!
Let’s unpack what the Digital Transformation Toastmasters Club has in theirs.
Toastmasters Membership Application
The first thing is a PDF of the membership application, with appropriate club information already filled in. Nice touch – get the club name up there from the start.
The guest packet has 9 pages – the first three are the application. That means that ⅓ of the material is application – 6 pages of sales pitch.
And I mean it. I think that whatever we put into a membership packet needs to sell Toastmasters.
Persuasive and Personal Guest Packets Contents
Because we are not physically present with our guests, we need to be extremely persuasive in the material we put in their hands. We don’t have the personal touch in the same way right now, and for the electronic guest, we need to make this personal and persuasive.
Handouts from Toastmasters International
The next thing in Donna’s kit is some information about Pathways from Toastmasters: the Paths and Core Competencies handout about the 11 paths and the 5 core competencies. Then we have a Features, Benefits and Value handout from TI. I haven’t seen this before – it lays out information in a very logical way – but I’m on the fence about giving this to a potential member. Yes, it does provide an extraordinary amount of information and it’s logically laid out – but it’s really more of a marketer’s schematic more than a sales document. It’s what I would create to lay out the points I want to make in a marketing plan.
I understand why Donna included it. It is clean and clear and lays out the points. Is it persuasive? Is it personal?
I’d be curious to know what feedback Donna gets about this part of the packet.
10 Myths Why People Don’t Need Toastmasters
The next thing is perfect gold to me. I don’t know where she got it, but it’s a lovely handout with the 10 myths of why people think they don’t need Toastmasters. These two pages present the reasons why people don’t come – and the answers of why Toastmasters is worth the time, the money and the effort.
I love this part of the kit. I think it’s utterly brilliant. It doesn’t look like a Toastmasters prepared document – it’s clearly someone’s work who loves and values Toastmasters.
Showing that we understand the reasons why not to join Toastmasters and that we have an answer to those objections, shows that we understand the price a membership can cost, not just in dollars. These aren’t excuses why not to join – these can be valid reasons. We understand them – many of us deal with the same issues. When we have this information available, we can respond in a kind and appropriate manner. Usually, this is done in person. To have it in a handout makes it slightly less interactive. I often find myself sharing personal stories that illustrate my points and build a relationship with the guest when I answer these objections.
(I’m going to come back to that in a minute.)
Meeting Roles and Club Information
The last 2 pages are the TI prepared handout of the club meeting roles. It looks like it came from The Navigator. All 9 usual meeting roles are explained concisely, if in an odd order… why is Ah Counter the first role listed – they’re not in alphabetical order! Nice pictures on this – a virtue in the electronic handout – we get to use strong images to reinforce our message. Yes, they could be in the paper version, but printing color images can get expensive.
The last page is an introduction to Digital Transformations Toastmasters. Nice graphic – it lays out what the club is, where the club meets in person and when, as wells as when the club meets online. The dues schedule is included with a recommendation that if you join too close to the TI dues cycle deadlines in April or October, that the new member just buy the next 6 months membership at the same time. We say that in our clubs too.
Nice use of the space to indicate how payments can be made – they use Paypal, Venmo, and Zelle as well as cash, credit cards or checks.
I’m growing to appreciate that too. We need to find better ways to accept dues – especially in an electronic meeting format.
Extra links to the club’s social media presence – Facebook, MeetUp and their own website with a good URL – it’s the name of the club, not just the club number for a Free Toast Host page. It does go to their Free Toast Host page, but it’s a website address that clearly identifies where it’s going. I like that a lot.
Thank you, Donna, for sharing your club’s electronic guest packet. I think you’ve got some great material in there. It inspired me to think about what I think should be in my clubs’ packets.
Community Club Guest Packets Contents
I belong to a community club and an advanced Toastmasters club – so what I think I’d put in those packets is different.
For a community club, I think that having the application in the packet is vital. I also like having some strong value-driven content as well as the reasoned responses to the objections.
I think I would want to keep this simple. Since the Membership Application is 3 pages alone, I might create a packet with 2 different PDFs. One would be the application itself – and I’m willing to be persuaded that it should be all together in one – but I’m thinking that it’s a good stand-alone.
Because we’re in an electronic setting, I think we can capitalize on it.
I mentioned before that the color images are nice in the PDF – but printing color is expensive. The pictures aren’t as nice in grey-scale. Here, in the PDF, we can use color! But more – we have options that we don’t have on paper. We can create live links to video!
What if – and this is something I may bring to our club in July with the new officers – what if we start to create a curated Youtube playlist with videos from our club? Speeches can be recorded with Zoom and uploaded. Interviews with members telling their stories – why they joined Toastmasters, what they’ve gotten from their experiences – maybe a 2 minute recording of an answer to an objection? That way, we could include our stories to build that emotional resonance and relationship with our potential member!
demonstrate of each of the club roles and explain their purpose
explain the benefits of membership
talk about Pathways in a personal application – not core and competencies, but personal benefits.
I see video as a viable option in these electronic guest packets.
Advanced Toastmasters Clubs Guest Packets
For the advanced Toastmaster club, I always see the problem of the dual membership, especially in a club that maybe only meets once a month. This electronic packet should have the membership application, but the objections are different. We’d need different materials and demonstrations of the value of an advanced club. Most people don’t want more Toastmasters in their lives – they want what Toastmasters gives them. What does the advanced club provide?
Better, longer, more intense evaluations.
More opportunities for longer presentations.
Mentorship for leadership opportunities and the Distinguished Toastmaster award.
This is not your usual community club sales pitch. Give this pitch to someone who’s looking to overcome fear of public speaking and you’ll scare them away.
What do you want to give a guest?
Crafting an exceptional and effective electronic guest packet will take some thoughtful considerations. While we can’t ignore that percentage of how many join for public speaking training, we need to consider several factors in our guest packets.
How do you want to present your club? What message do you want to give them? In what ways do you want to counter objections?
If you’re looking for a High Performance Leadership project for a Level 5 project, this could be it.
Let me know what you think. Go to the Toastmasters 101 podcast Facebook page and leave me a note – what’s your club using right now? What do you think you need to improve or include? Does your club already use video? I’d love to hear from you and share all of our ideas with the rest of the Toastmasters world.
Wrap it up, Kim
My thanks to Donna Stolz of Digital Transformation Toastmasters of Kirkland, Washington, for sharing their excellent electronic guest packet with me.
Toastmasters 101 is a podcast production of Toastmasters District 10. Our music is from incompetech.filmmusic.io. Next week, we talk about the new goals in the Distinguished Club program. I have opinions.
Toastmasters is about communication and leadership. We teach public speaking skills. We teach leadership. We teach listening.
This week, I’ve thought frequently about two quotations. The first is “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them proportionately.” The second is attributed to Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see.”
Toastmasters helps us do both. If you want to see change in the world, may we help you develop the skills to do that? You’re always welcome to visit a meeting to discover the voice inside you and the leader you can become.