How many times do we hear the comment that Toastmasters is the best-kept secret? It doesn’t need to be. How can we, as members, spread the word about its value to people around the world? What part can we play in showcasing our organization and what it offers?
The answer can be found in the eighth commitment in the Toastmaster’s Promise, which clearly sets out club members’ responsibilities: “To bring guests to club meetings so they can see the benefits Toastmasters membership offers.”
Of all the commitments in the Toastmaster’s Promise, this is probably the one I tend to overlook the most. How about you? When was the last time you brought a guest to your club? When was the last time you even invited someone to your club? Marketing analysts will tell you the best method for creating interest in a product or service is through personal referrals. Yet most of us fail to refer others to Toastmasters.
For those who bring guests regularly, I can almost hear you saying, “This does not apply to me.” But to the majority of us who, for one reason or another, fail to live up to the promise, I ask, Why? Is it because you feel uncomfortable with the possibility of rejection? Or perhaps it’s the dwindling number of members attending your meetings, which tends to lead to uninspiring meetings. Perhaps you are too busy and leave it up to those who have more time. Excuses are countless but few, in fact, are viable or acceptable.
As I write this article, I realize that if I am to be true to my mantra of “Remember the Member,” then I should also consider all potential members. As Toastmasters we have a responsibility to share with others the benefits we derive from our membership. To extend the hand of friendship and invite others to participate in what could be a life-changing experience is an opportunity not to be missed.
I challenge every member to bring one guest a year to a meeting. Consider the possibilities: This would mean more than 350,000 guests worldwide. If we converted only one in five guests, that would mean more than 70,000 new members a year. Breaking it down to the club level, if your club currently has 15 members and each member brought one guest a year, then of the 15 guests you could potentially gain three new members. Imagine what could happen if you brought two guests a year! Are you prepared to take up the challenge and Remember the (future) Member?
MIKE STORKEY, DTM