Many have asked me on how to lead the challengers way. For those that dont know. Kuwait Challengers is a leading Toastmasters Club in Kuwait and has been growing ever since as a strong powerful club. As a strong toastmasters club and community, there is a leadership style that we adapt and it has worked well towards our success. I have been the president of this club for 2 years and im honored to take up this role and work with amazing members, who have become leaders today in their own ways.
Experiencing a president leadership role has created experiences, Good and Bad and for the bad ones, it has helped me improve based on suggestions given by great leaders and supportive members. There isnt much written about leadership apart from experiences, and sadly not much is told on working with a club. Most of TM marketing is focused purely on “communication skills”. These articles are focused on Leadership ideas and concepts that worked very well in our club and towards each member’s success.
As i took over president role in Kuwait Challengers, i have chosen the following method, customized towards a typical toastmasters journey within the club.
THE CHALLENGERS CLUB MODEL
Now in this article, im explaining the first module from the bottom, the CLUB MEMBERS.
Though in the Toastmasters model, the members are top of the diagram, in mine they are the last. The reason being, is they form the foundation of the club. Without members there is no club, nothing , finito!
Members form the basis for a club survival, and constantly adding members who are interested to work on themselves is vital for a club to grow as a community with common goals along with personal goals. Members when they join the club, come with a set of expectations along with intentions on what they want to achieve or gain. It could be anything from communication, new job, business opportunities, networking or even find new friends, that could blossom into great relationships. Everything a community environment sets a stage for. A club is no different, when you bring in members old and new, they bring in ideas, styles, personalities and more. As a community we need to learn to ADAPT, ACCEPT & RESPECT.
As a president or a leader, i decided to meet every member, though we have the VP Membership that would actively do this role. But as a president i felt it was needed to do a small part of breaking the ice and welcoming the member into our collaborative club journey of adding a new member into our great community. We need to understand, what the member can offer on the table in the form of creativity, ideas and so on. You will also get hints of any leadership qualities the member could have for the future. You may also find first-hand issues that the member would share about them selves and you need to be encouraging and supportive of them.
Members need to be welcomed into your club and make them feel at home. Everyone in your club need to learn to accept the new member as part of their club family. Group-ism, Racism, segregation can destroy communities and definitely toastmaster clubs.
In my model, the member forms the club foundation and the club needs members to survive, support and function actively. For this , you need to ensure you have minimum 3 guests every meeting (non-Toastmasters) . So if you have 2 meetings in a month, that’s like 6 guests per month. so if 2 guests join your club out of 6, thats 24 New Members per year. You need to ensure this is followed by your VP Membership, VP PR and also all your members too. Now here i have a small note. Focus more on new potential members as Guests and not existing toastmasters. Existing toastmasters who want to become dual members should be welcomed but priorities are for New Members. Reason Being,
- A dual member will be more loyal to their home club and you need to respect that, Hence personal achievements will be credited to their home clubs, unless they specifically inform you of their support.
- A dual member may or may not renew for the next term and again you need to respect their decision.
Hence, You need to focus on members who would want to make your club, their home club and then grow from there. Another important factor, i learnt and added to my Model is from TM Priscilla, who once said …. “When we have a meeting, ensure our own number of members exceeds the number of guests” Hence came the formula ;
I have seen clubs that talk about full house meetings, but in reality hardly have their own 3 or 4 members attend the same meeting. Lets look at an example.
KUWAIT CHALLENGERS MEETING DATED : 4th Feb 2019
We have 18 Club Members, 3 Guests , 3 External Toastmasters Total : 24 attendees. So now we can truly say its a houseful “healthy” meeting as the members participating is more than guests (public or/and external toastmasters). Hence we can see a healthy club with active participation of its members.
Now before we move on to the next part of the leadership model , One important element in the members module, i learnt is from DTM Anil Lobo, is NEVER STOP bringing in new members. Your Club may be stable with 20 – 25 members, but you can’t control their personal lives, careers or plans. new members are constantly required. Hence its always fine to constantly add in new members. Lets look at this formula
20 Members in a healthy club and you have a Club meeting on a specific day.
Many a times….
2 could have travelled
2 have work to do
2 could have fallen sick
2 have family committments
Hence here directly 8 are unavaliable for geniune reasons. Take 2 are lazy and dont want to attend. Now you have 10 unavaliable, Hence you decide to go ahead with 10 members who confirmed to be there for the meeting. Many a times members drop out or sometimes late for their roles. Thus making the agenda difficult to achieve.
Now imagine you had 30 members in the above example….. and 10 are geniunely unavaliable .. you still have 20 members ready for that meeting. in Kuwait Challengers we are a healthy 40 Member club, which on an average 25 Club Members attend a meeting at random number considering that members have many personal committments too. The Highest Attendance we had was 31 Club members with 6 Guests.
Hence its always advisable to get a constant inflow of members.
So How do we get members.
- PR plays an active role in gaining new members, the more you promote in NON-Toastmasters platforms, the more chances of new members trickling in.
- Personal references, friends, family, colleagues , etc have a great impact of bringing in new members.
- Have events, create workshops and other learning opportunities for the public . Workshops could be on communication or leaderships and showcase your members talents(i will explain this in detail under the opportunities module).
Hence to sumarize this module of MEMBERS, they play an important role for the club. Without which, the club doesnt exist. Without which nothing can happen. Now i personally believe whatever i said and experienced within my club and others, can be applied to various other scenarios, Work, Home, Community and more. So if you want a club. You need members. Period!
Current Section of Article : CLUB MEMBERS
Move on to next Section of Article :
- CLUB ENVIRONMENT
- CELEBRATING SUCCESS