March 2022 Leader Letter

Leading an Excellent Club

Explore the elements of an outstanding meeting and how you can influence your club.

By Andy Tonge

Several years ago, Toastmasters’ Board of Directors set out to define what club excellence looks like. After extensive work, the committee released the following statement:

“Clubs that encourage and celebrate member achievement, provide a supportive and fun environment and offer a professionally organized meeting with variety demonstrate high quality. In those clubs, officers are trained in all aspects of club quality to ensure that members have access to a formal mentoring program, are provided evaluations that help them grow and are motivated to achieve their goals.”

A recent webinar, moderated by International President-Elect Matt Kinsey, explored how to achieve club excellence in a changed environment. Here are a few leadership lessons learned along the way.

Mentor check-ins avoid member check-outs. For new members, it simply isn’t good enough for a club officer to assign a mentor and move on. Mentorship is only successful if it is active, ongoing, and provides benefit to the new Toastmaster. A simple way to ensure this process is going smoothly is to periodically check in with these members and ensure their mentor is meeting their needs. This tactic can also be used to help member retention. When someone begins to miss meetings or seems less focused, a simple phone call can show that you care and be the difference in that person sticking with your club.

Host more social meetings. As many clubs are still meeting either online or in a hybrid environment, some have lost out on the fellowship they feel with their club members. The ability to stop and chit-chat before or after a meeting has become harder. To promote fellowship, some clubs have started to host social gatherings where members play games and simply enjoy each other’s company. These social meetings can be held online, in person, or in a hybrid environment and can effectively help bring members closer to one another.

Online is more than fine. Around the world, the need for better communicators and leaders has only heightened. Online meetings are a staple of the future. By embracing them and helping others see the value, members can be set up for success in the real world and gain skills others may not possess. Some clubs have leaned so far into the online environment that they are utilizing search engine optimization to help promote their club’s website and content.

Whether you prefer an online environment or one in person, your leadership requires constant evaluation, feedback, and growth. Luckily, as a Toastmaster, you already have great experience in all three! Learn more great tips  through the “Achieving Club Excellence” webinar link below.

Additional Resources:

Achieving Club Excellence webinar

Stay in Love With Your Club