Ideas to Improve your Toastmasters club

Random Observation/Comment #414: Toastmasters is an opportunity to take ownership and use your creativity to grow a community focused on self-improvement in communication.

see lemons lead

We can all be leaders. The opportunity is always there to foster a community and organize events.  Toastmasters clubs are self-sustaining groups run by their own members who want to help others improve in communications skills. As a previous President and VP of Education, I can tell you that it’s not always easy keeping a healthy club and maintaining the same enthusiasm from all members. We have to be creative and we need to keep everyone engaged.

Here are some ideas I’ve learned from officer trainings and brainstorming with our members:

  • Themed/Special meetings. It’s always good to have meetings that revolve around current events, seasons, or the specific speakers’ topics.
  • Body language meeting. Extra points for acting out speeches and using the stage space
  • Clearing Filler words. For those who want it, they can opt for a cruel and unusual filler word punishment (e.g. people will throw papers at you if you say a filler word)
  • Session on 2-minute pitching / elevator pitches and their structures
  • Special on Networking and how to be a better speaker daily
  • Interviewing better by communication
  • Practice technical presentations
  • Acting advice (one of our members is a former actor)
  • Guest speakers from managers of toastmaster members
  • Partnership with internal groups. If you’re a corporate club, it’s very likely there are other networks and groups internally that can work together. If a group is holding an event and someone needs to speak, a toastmaster can certainly help.
  • Marketing Campaign. Sometimes people just need to know these meetings exist and regularly meet. If you have consistency, then guests will come and practice.
  • Internal newsletter. Add your toastmasters group to an internal newsletter. Write your own newsletter and share it.
  • Add to new hire process.
  • Website updates (tweets of meeting times with reminders)
  • Transparency of recognition and awards. Send messages to toastmaster members’ managers of their milestones to improve communication skills.
  • Physical poster in the lobby reminding people of the meeting for the day.
  • Mentorship program. Officers who are more advanced speakers can take on mentees and meet with them to complete their goals.
  • Assign mentors and mentees and place some structure around the objectives
  • Mentor packet: A 1-2 page packet for beginning mentors. This will help mentors give some common tips and tricks to mentees.
    • What are some techniques to remove/reduce filler words?
    • How do I gain more confidence in my speech?
    • How do I memorize my speech?
    • How can I tell better stories?
    • How can I think faster on my feet for small talk?
    • How do I make meetings more interesting?
  • Video/Recording – It’s always a great motivation to improve your public speaking when you see/hear a recording of yourself. You are your own worst judge.
  • Guest packet: A 1-2 page visitors material with an FAQ. Some questions may include:
  • What is toastmasters?
  • What is the meeting format?
  • How do members benefit?
  • What is the CC?
  • What is the CL?
  • When does toastmasters meet?
  • How do I join?
  • Polling the Guests. It’s been a tradition in our meetings to have everyone stand up, introduce themselves, and answer a random poll question.. Some of these questions have included:
  • What is your personal tip/trick for public speaking?
  • How do you stay productive and stop procrastinating?
  • How do you relax?
  • What are your new year’s resolutions?
  • How do you feel about snow?
  • Which books have you read recently?
  • What is your favorite costume idea for Halloween?
  • Name an activity you’ve done outside your comfort zone
  • What is a website/app you think everyone should know about?
  • What is the best/worst gift you’ve ever received?
  • What is your most valuable possession?

Whichever combination of techniques you choose, just be creative and have fun with it! Practice will help you get over your fears of insecurity and make you a more confident speaker. Worst case: Fake it ’til you make it.

~See Lemons Share Toastmasters Ideas