By: Phyllis Breech, DTM – D44 2017-2018 Club Growth Director.
With our Toastmaster year hitting the five months mark, clubs are recruiting members to help with an open house. This does two things:
5 Terrific Tips on a Triumph
An Open House is a party given by a club with the goal of drawing guests who will, hopefully, become members. An Open House doesn’t have to be a complicated or costly affair. With the cooperation of the club members, some word of mouth, and a little good PR work, your Open House can be a huge success and reap many interested visitors and future members.
An Open House is a big event. You need the agreement and commitment of your club members to make the event a success. Remember members can receive credit in their Competent Leadership (CL) manual for coordinating and helping with this event (see Projects 6 and 10 under “special club events”). Also, someone might want to make this their High-Performance Leadership Project.
Is your club celebrating an anniversary? Does your club throw a holiday party in March? Does your club throw a kick off meeting to celebrate member achievement? Regardless of the theme, consider expanding the scope of this event to serve as an open house.
New year resolutions and performance reviews are top of everyone’s mind this time of year. Many people will be interested in expanding their public speaking and leadership skills and a special open house might be the trigger they need to attend and become motivated to act.
Word of mouth marketing is still the strongest way to drive awareness. Get current members involved in making the open house a success by encouraging them to attend and bring a +1. It could be a co-worker or a friend. Ask them to post on their social media sites or tell at least five friends. They might inspire someone to join.
Plus, attending a meeting that focuses on public speaking can be nerve wracking. Facing that fear with a buddy, especially one that is already in Toastmasters, can calm anxiety, build courage, and help lead to a successful first visit.
4. Make guests feel welcome and wanted
For those who have trouble remembering names (or even for those who have no trouble) hand out name tags to both guests and members. Name tags can serve as excellent icebreakers.
Invite everyone to share a fun fact about themselves — anything from 2018 goals to superhero names. The key is to have fun and reinforce the reason we’re attending Toastmasters.
During and after the open house, invite guests to join the club. Many guests will be too shy to raise their hand or sign up right away, but if members and officers make them feel welcome, they are more likely to join. Give them a guest packet with more information about Toastmasters and a membership application to take home. Follow up with them via email AND a phone call. A little hospitality goes a long way.
Speed networking is a tried and true method that brings everyone together and forces them to meet everyone in the room. It’s quick, it’s efficient, and really helps the guests feel at home. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory recently put out a great video touching on, “How speed networking could work at your next conference.”
BONUS: Participate in the “Open House Incentive”
If you are looking for even more motivation to host an open house, District 44 Toastmasters is holding a special Open House Incentive, where your club will be reimbursed $25 for food.
Submit your promotional materials, meeting agenda or flier, and proof of dues payment for the 2+ members to CGD@d44Toastmasters.org