Coaches Corner
What the Public Sees

What does the public see when they are looking at your club? This is the question every Vice President of Public Relations should be asking themselves constantly. The publics perception of your club is the key to whether they will attend your meeting, consider joining your club, or keep on looking. So what does the public see when they look at your club?

Let's start with your website. Does your club have a website? In today's immediate information age, everyone goes to the Internet to seek what they need or want. Is your club represented? If not, consider adding a website using FreeToastHost. They can provide you with an easy to customize template and free hosting of your clubs site on the Internet. Yes, I said free. Any club can obtain a free hosted website in under 24 hours. I have spoken to many people that helped their club obtain a FreeToastHost site, and they say it is easy to maintain and chock full of useful tools. To find out for yourself, go to and follow the simple directions to obtain a free site.

If the answer to the above question was yes, then check to make sure that your site is represented on the Toastmasters International website as well as the District 26 website. By adding your website to your club’s contact information on the Toastmasters International website you make it available to anyone searching for a club, either on the International site or on the district site, and it costs you nothing. Next, is the information on your website current? I went to the website of a club I was going to visit and found the information was dated 2006. If the information on your site is not current or useful to the public, they will simply ignore you and go to the next club website – that would be a shame. Assign someone to update your articles, contact, and meeting information on your website. Approximately 7 of 10 guests that attend the clubs I am in have expressed to me that the club website was the primary factor that brought them to the meeting.

Once they have decided to attend, your club has to carry them into the fold and make them feel welcome. Remember to greet visitors and ask them to sign your guest book. Spend a few minutes before the meeting to explain what they will see and hear. Better yet, assign someone to sit with them and explain the meeting as it overflowing

unfolds. Give them an agenda that they can take away. An agenda should be typed up (not hand written) and contain the meeting flow and role players names. Believe it or not, the agenda is a deciding factor for at least 30% of the people that will join your club. It is a way for them to remember what happened and how organized and fun your meeting was, especially if they decide to visit a few clubs before joining one.

Start your meeting on time. The president or toastmaster could introduce guests to the club before the meeting begins and ask guests if they have any questions before closing the meeting, this will help them to feel involved in the club without joining yet. I recommend that the Vice President of Membership or another member spend some time with them before they leave to ensure that their questions are answered fully and they are invited back to attend another meeting at their convenience. Don't forget to give them a Toastmasters magazine, a Toastmasters pamphlet and an application to take with them, but don't pressure them to fill it out.

The Vice President of Membership or Secretary could follow-up with a brief e-mail to them thanking them for attending the meeting and inviting them to attend again (don't push for them to join in the e-mail). Guests are welcome to attend any Toastmasters meeting as often as they wish without any pressure to join. I have been told by 50% of new members that a follow-up e-mail cinched the decision of which club to join. It takes so little time and is so effective. Consider adding them to your e-mail list so they can follow the club meetings. However, if they ask you to remove them from your e-mail list, do so immediately.

"The mission of a Toastmasters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth." The tips I have presented here have been used successfully by many healthy and thriving clubs in the District. I hope you too will consider adopting some or all of the tips above. Please keep me informed of your progress or any tips you want to share with other clubs by writing me at


  First   Previous Next Last