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Taking Care of Guests

Tips on making sure your guest comes back.

People join Toastmasters in order to achieve a specific goal or purpose. They might want to improve their public speaking skills so that they’re more comfortable speaking in front of an audience. Others, such as business professionals, might want to develop their leadership skills to better manage and motivate their staff. They will stay in Toastmasters unless they feel that the people they deal with are indifferent to their needs. Keep people in Toastmasters by actively helping them achieve their goals.

The best place to start is at the beginning. Look at how you treat guests in your club. If you make sure that guests are treated well, they’ll return as members. Here are some tips on how to help turn visitors into members:

Set up a comfortable environment for your guests. The meeting room should be clearly marked and easy to find. If you’ve changed locations since your last meeting, make sure guests can find you. Keep your club website up-to-date and accurate, with any location changes posted clearly. Take good care of your banner so that it always looks its best, and display it proudly. Keep the meeting room neat and clean, with agendas, manuals and other materials well organized.

Welcome guests to your club meeting. Greet him or her with a smile. Have the sergeant at arms introduce herself as soon as a guest walks in. Provide the guest with a name tag and a guestbook to sign. Introduce the guest to other members and provide a buddy for him to sit with during the meeting. This helps guests feel accepted and encourages them to explore the Toastmasters program.

Run a professional and organized meeting. Start your meeting on time; by doing so, you will reward guests for being there at the start. Waiting for late members creates the impression that lateness is rewarded. Keep things moving. Your guest came to your club to learn communication and leadership skills, so make sure it’s clear how Toastmasters training can help. Then, be sure to end on time. Your guest will appreciate it.

Ask your guests for feedback. Once the meeting is over, make sure visitors are interested in coming back. Find out what aspects of the meeting each guest liked or disliked, and if there were any complaints, address them. Thank your guests for coming to the meeting and invite them to join. Let them know that they are welcome in your club. You can give them a package of materials to take home with them. Be sure to include pamphlets such as “The Benefits of Toastmasters Membership” (Item 354) and “Find Your Voice” (Item 99), as well as a membership application and a club officer contact sheet.

These guidelines will help your club to create a great first impression. By making a good first impression, you’ll ensure that guests will soon become members in your club. For more ideas, check out Moments of Truth, where you’ll find creative and innovative tools to perk up any club meeting.

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