Hilda Guffey, VP Education, San Angelo Toastmasters
Seeing your club through the eyes of a guest is crucial especially for those who have been in Toastmasters for a few years. The recent Club Success Workshop presented by Elicia Cook was an excellent review of what to do and not do to provide visitors a great first impression. People who attend Toastmasters for the first time are at different comfort levels. Being sensitive to meet a guest at their level is critical.
Do you put your newbies on the spot and ask them to provide an impromptu evaluation of their experience at the end of the meeting? I never thought how asking this question might make a guest feel awkward and unprepared in the spotlight.
First-timers attend with different levels of knowledge about Toastmaster meetings. My favorite part of the workshop was the free handout to give guests. It can act as a tour guide to visually explain what each portion of a club meeting is designed to achieve. I’ve noticed visitors looking confused or overwhelmed. The handout is a great way to help first-timers better understand the structure of a meeting.
Elicia pointed out how important it is to make connections with newcomers through conversations. Learn what goals visitors and new members are trying to achieve. Are they getting ready to give a presentation at work, or preparing for a big interview? Explain how Toastmasters can help them achieve their goals, and how an experienced member can guide them through the first few levels of the Pathways curriculum. This will ensure all feel genuinely welcome and not like just another number for membership status.
The workshop provided valuable tips for members, not just club officers. Our club, The San Angelo Toastmasters, had four members in attendance. The more a club understands the significance of creating a positive guest experience, the stronger it will grow.
Thank you, Elicia, for reminding us how important it is to extend a warm reception to our club visitors. Welcome is the same in any language.
Hilda Guffey, VP Education
San Angelo Toastmasters