Guests are like snowflakes, each is unique and it is essential that we remember this. Why? You may ask? It is because each guest comes to a Toastmaster meeting for different reasons. This is one thing that I wish I had understood when I first took over the role as Vice President Membership. It is essential when interacting with a guest that what they are wanting to get out of the program is different.
We need to listen and ascertain their needs and sell them the benefits of the program that best suit them. There is no point in selling them the benefits of becoming a great speaker if they are there to improve their self-confidence. If a guest is shy and wants to improve their self-confidence you should talk about all the various roles e.g. timekeeper that could be taken to start the process of building their self-confidence. Similarly if a guest is there to improve their speaking and presentation skills then talking to the leadership skills that can be developed will not get them to sign the application form and join the club.
The best advice for any Vice President Membership is to listen twice as much as they talk. Ascertain the guest’s needs and tell them how the Toastmasters program can meet these needs.
The second thing that I wish I understood when I was first a Vice President Membership was how valuable each and every guest is. It has taken work on the part of the Vice President Public Relations and the members of the club to get that guest to the club. Each guest should be treated like the most valuable commodity that the club has. They should be made to not only feel welcome and special, seated next to an experienced member who can guide them through the programme and every guest must be followed up and shown that the programme meets their needs and they should join.
Don’t let any guest slip through your club without every effort being made to convert them into a member. Remember they deserve to be part of this amazing organisation that will change their lives.
Club Growth Director