At our meeting on September 26, we heard a proposal to present an Open House meeting during October. Several members, myself included, were skeptical of both the timing and the efficacy of such an event.
My experience with open houses is not wide and I have not seen them to be successful. Especially as an LGM and in other district offices I have seen demonstration meetings used frequently and successfully. These are carefully planned, tightly run, and highly promoted (usually by the organization seeking to form a new club) events. A target audience is already identified.
I wonder what other strategies and mechanisms we might use to support the membership growth we need. We need to satisfy our needs for membership growth, help any prospective members answer the question why this club?, and use methods that are really going to appeal to the audience we are trying to attract. Instead of relying on an open house (or in addition to an open house) can we
- Ask members to post flyers about the club in their workplaces and in businesses they visit in Vienna
- Use Periscope to broadcast all or part of a meeting regularly. We’d need to coordinate this with a lot of word-of-mouth marketing and other publicity, but it might reduce our dependence on a one-time event (which would also require careful planning, publicity, and support) and increase our reach and reputation.
- See whether Vine can be used to create a series of short videos (Is there a way we could use Snapchat effectively?)
- Produce (or point to) gifs and instructional quotes and ask all members to distribute on the networks they use. Maybe we could start a web publication on Flipboard to collect tips we produce. (Here’s a Flipboard publication aimed at Toastmasters.)
- Run a Speechcraft for five or six weeks instead of a one-shot open house. (The Toastmasters International web site notes
The Speechcraft program allows experienced Toastmasters to present the fundamentals of public speaking to non-members. It can be offered as an integral part of your club meeting or as a seminar-style program presented outside the club. It can be conducted in four, six or eight sessions.
Conducting Speechcraft inside the club setting makes it easier for participants to become members.
Conducting Speechcraft outside the club setting can lead to the formation of a new Toastmasters club.)
What ideas can you think of to promote our club? Please tell us about them in a comment.