101 Public Relations Pointers for Toastmasters

Tip #1. Talk about Toastmasters to everyone … Word of mouth is the best form of advertising.

Tip #2. Use flyers, posters and calling cards to promote your club wherever you can. Try staff canteens, office notice-boards, elevators, churches, Laundromats, personnel offices, post offices, health clubs, gyms, schools, universities, libraries, CES, job clubs, hairdressers, tea rooms, vending machines, employment agencies.

Tip #3. Distribute copies of “The Toastmaster” magazine in coffee shops, libraries and waiting rooms, with club meeting and contact details. You could also put copies in all of the places listed in point one.

Tip #4. Use business card size invitations to give to prospective visitors. Consider a calendar on the back to encourage people to keep it in their wallets.

Tip #5. Hold a careers night and promote it through local media, CES, job clubs, employment agencies, etc – tell people how Toastmasters can help their careers, whether it be applying for a new job or for performing the current job better.

Tip #6. Get your company to put a Toastmasters flyer in the induction kit for new employees.

Tip #7. Write an article for your company newsletter featuring a Toastmaster employee.

Tip #8. Corporate clubs could ask to be listed in the company training and development manual/diary.

Tip #9. Does your local council have a ‘welcome’ kit for new residents? If so, ask if you can put in a flyer for Toastmasters. If not, they might let you put out some leaflets or brochures at their enquiries/information desk.

Tip #10. Convince local real estate agents to give new residents a flier or at least put some in their foyer.

Tip #11. What about the information desk at your local shopping centre, can you put some brochures there?

Tip #12. Run a self improvement forum open to the public – subjects would include: Effective Listening, Productive Meetings, Thinking Power, Leadership, Management Skills – all Success Leadership Modules.

Tip #13. Invite company Human Resources Managers and Training Managers to a meeting to see the benefits of Toastmasters for themselves and their staff.

Tip #14. Encourage company Human Resources Managers and Training Managers to promote Toastmasters to staff and include it in their training schedule.

Tip #15. Prepare a club newsletter and send it to visitors, absent or inactive members with an invitation to return.

Tip #16. Include a mix of news, future events and some educational articles or tips in the newsletter.

Tip #17. Offer to provide speakers for community service organisations such as Rotary, Lions, Apex, View Clubs, Probus, etc and in doing so promote Toastmasters.

Tip #18. Offer to provide a speaker or run Speechcraft for your local Chamber of Commerce.

Tip #19. Provide judges for local Eisteddfods, Speech Contests or Debates and ask to have Toastmasters listed as a ‘sponsor’ of the event.

Tip #20. Provide support for local Eisteddfods (public speaking section), Speech Contests or Debates by competing or coaching participants.

Tip #21. Put a District 70 or TI bumper sticker on your car.

Tip #22. Give each visitor a brief description of Toastmasters (at least) to take away with them.This could be in the form of a Welcome to Toastmasters’ kit.

Tip #23. Provide everyone with a name tag (and make sure members wear theirs).

Tip #24. Explain Toastmasters to visitors – the programme, the assignments, the manuals and the acronyms.

Tip #25. Invite guests to participate in the meeting and comment at the end of the meeting.

Tip #26. Invite visitors to join members for a drink after the meeting (or before).

Tip #27. Be able to tell the visitor how much it will cost to join.

Tip #28. Ask the visitor to join and have a membership application form (form #400) ready and completed except for their personal details then help them to complete it.

Tip #29. Take the membership application form from them even if they have no money. A signed form is generally a stronger commitment than a blank form taken home.

Tip #30. Have a venue which is easily accessible, central and comfortable (not too hot or cold), etc. A good venue at a small fee is better than a free poor venue.

Tip #31. Display your meeting details and a Toastmasters sign prominently at your venue. Others who use the venue are prospective members.

Tip #32. Find out if the venue has a newsletter and if you can put an article or advertisement in it.

Tip #33. Encourage your members to talk about Toastmasters to their friends, business acquaintances and family and offer incentives or prizes for those who bring the most non- Toastmasters visitors.

Tip #34. Run an educational session or put an article in your newsletter about how to invite people to Toastmasters.

Tip #35. Ask visitors why they came and what they want to achieve. Then tell them how Toastmasters will help them achieve it.

Tip #36. Ask visitors where they heard about Toastmasters. Keep using forms of publicity that are working to generate visitors and tell other Toastmasters about them.

Tip #37. Follow up visitors and invite them back.

Tip #38. Induct new members with a simple and relevant ceremony and appoint a mentor. Send a photograph and press release of the induction to the local paper.

Tip #39. Contact in-active members and encourage them to return. If study is the reason encourage them to attend meetings during vacations. Suggest they bring fellow students with them.

Tip #40. Promote Area, Division and District functions and encourage members to attend to help keep them motivated and introduce them to other Toastmasters.

Tip #41. Use theme meetings, social meetings, and other events as an opportunity to do some special promotion, use press releases and flyers to promote.

Tip #42. Give or send a personalised invitation to prospective members to a special meeting such as a theme night.

Tip #43. Encourage members to visit other clubs and invite members of other clubs to visit you to exchange ideas.

Tip #44. If your attendance is low, invite Toastmasters from other clubs to visit and help fill the program. Meetings with larger attendance generate higher energy levels and are more attractive to prospective members.

Tip #45. Ensure all speeches are manual speeches. This helps members improve and provides a good example for newer members.

Tip #46. Start and finish meetings on time. This encourages a culture of promptness.

Tip #47. Ask experienced members to use their skills by participating as mentors and providing educational sessions.

Tip #48. Encourage experienced members to take on leadership roles both within the club and for District. Publicise members taking on leadership roles.

Tip #49. Offer to write to members’ employer/company to draw attention to their achievements.

Tip #50. Challenge experienced members to help rebuild membership of a weak club or start a new club. Publicise their achievements with press releases.

Tip #51. Run a “Member Get A Member” campaign and award prizes for the member who introduces the most new members. TI also has incentives for members who sponsor 5, 10 and 15 new members during a district year.

Tip #52. Ask experienced members to run Youth Leadership. As well as being advantageous for the participants, it also allows experienced Toastmasters to develop advanced skills.

Tip #53. Use the Youth Leadership presentation as promotion for Toastmasters. Promote to parents, teachers and the community.

Tip #54. Ask experienced members to run Speechcraft. Similar to 52 but has the additional benefit of attracting new members.

Tip #55. Try and run Speechcraft within (at least some) meetings of the Toastmasters Club. This makes the transition from Speechcrafter to Toastmaster member easier.

Tip #56. Appoint an assistant co-ordinator and groom them to run a subsequent Youth Leadership or Speechcraft.

Tip #57. Award a club Communication and Leadership Award to a non-Toastmaster who is prominent in the community – and reap the publicity.

Tip #58. Recognition will encourage others to achieve. Recognise member’s achievements at every opportunity.

Tip #59. Recognise a couple of members (or visitors) at each meeting. Perhaps Best Table Topic, Best Speech or Best Other Assignment etc. TI Supplies has ribbons or certificates for this purpose or have your own.

Tip #60. Recognise achievers who have given their Ice-Breaker. Encourage members giving their Ice-Breaker to invite friends, work colleagues or partners to see them give their speech.

Tip #61. Recognise achievers who have given 5 manual speeches towards their Competent Toastmaster Award. Some clubs present a 1/2 CTM award. Encourage members to invite back friends, work colleagues or partners to see how much they have improved.

Tip #62. Recognise achievers who have attained their Competent Toastmaster Award or an advanced award with a presentation of their Certificate. Encourage members to invite back friends, work colleagues or partners who have seen them speak earlier to see them recognised for gaining their Competent Toastmaster Award.

Tip #63. Recognise members who have attained their Distinguished Toastmaster Award with special recognition, perhaps a framed certificate or a special gift such as a Toastmasters DTM pin.

Tip #64. Take a photograph of award presentations to give the member as a momento. Encourage them to display the photograph in their workplace or home, generating interest from friends and visitors.

Tip #65. Recognise other achievers – such as co-ordinators of Speechcraft, Youth Leadership, participants in contests, etc.

Tip #66. Recognise each member for their birthday. This ensures that each member is recognised at least once a year and encourages a sense of ‘belonging’.

Tip #67. Recognise and congratulate members on non-Toastmasters achievements, for example a promotion, a change of job or graduation from college or university.

Tip #68. Highlight how Toastmasters helped members achieve non-Toastmasters goals such as promotions, community recognition, social success and encourage members to tell others how Toastmasters influenced their successes.

Tip #69. Wear a Toastmasters tie, scarf or t-shirt (all available from Toastmasters International Supplies).

Tip #70. Display a Member Progress Chart and allow members to see where they and others are up to. Encourage a little competition.

Tip #71. Laminate certificates, if the budget and occasion merits, or put the certificate in a holder or a plastic sleeve.

Tip #72. Have an educational session on business procedure, so that members understand and don’t feel threatened.

Tip #73. If you have business sessions, have a frivolous motion and encourage members and visitors to participate in debate. A frivolous motion prevents the debate from becoming serious and helps members to enjoy the business session. This may involve priming several people to move or amend the motion.

Tip #74. If you don’t have a business session, try holding one occasionally, but do it with frivolous motions.

Tip #75. Invite a local councillor or politician to attend a meeting with a business session and ask them to explain why business procedures are so important in running meetings efficiently and effectively.

Tip #76. Is the agenda easy to read? Is it clear, confused or cluttered? Is it prepared in advance and sent or given to members and visitors?

Tip #77. Nominate someone for District Outstanding Toastmaster of the Year or the Jazzer Smith Award as appropriate. Generate some publicity about the nomination.

Tip #78. Have the Area select an Area Toastmaster of the Year and present a trophy to them.

Tip #79. Be interviewed on community radio.

Tip #80. Use the District 70 PR Kit CD to provide community service announcements to your local radio stations.

Tip #81. Hold a speak-a-thon in a public place and as a by-product promote Toastmasters.

Tip #82. Participate in a local festival or parade or an open day.

Tip #83. Wear your Toastmaster’s pin to work and socially, and when people ask you about it, invite them to a meeting.

Tip #84. Form a new club in a new location.

Tip #85. Form a new club in the same locale aimed at attracting a different target group such as a breakfast or lunch time club.

Tip #86. Hold a demonstration meeting, be it for your own existing club or a new club.

Tip #87. List an entry in the White Pages, under the name of the suburb that you meet in, rather than the name of your club. Check the closing date for listings.

Tip #88. Hold a reunion of past members and use their stories to motivate current members and gain some publicity.

Tip #89. Use excerpts and quotes from success stories of members both past and current for publicity and promotional purposes.

Tip #90. Encourage members, particularly those that have achieved their CTMs to visit advanced clubs to challenge them and to step outside their comfort zone.

Tip #91. Attend club officer training sessions and Area Council Meetings to exchange ideas.

Tip #92. Beg, Borrow or Buy a copy of “Patterns in Programming” (available from Toastmasters Supplies) for ways to add variety to the clubs programme.

Tip #93. Arrange for the use of credit card facilities from District for chartering a new club. Most people carry a credit card with them but not a cheque book.

Tip #94. Use the (free!) community noticeboard in your local paper to publicise club meetings and special events.

Tip #95. Check if your local community or commercial radio station has a ‘community noticeboard’ or local events programme and get listed.

Tip #96. Invite a local radio presenter to attend a meeting and perhaps give some pointers on speaking on radio. Hopefully they will then mention Toastmasters on their programme.

Tip #97. Send regular press releases with photographs to local papers. If more than one paper covers the same area, alternate stories between them.

Tip #98. Adopt a club slogan for the year and use it with club meetings, publicity and promotion.

Tip #99. Investigate whether a local paper will do a feature on Toastmasters, with articles provided by local clubs as well as some paid advertising.

Tip #100. Have a special meeting such as “Bring the Boss”, “Friend of the Opposite Sex” or “Parents or Partners”.

Tip #101. Whenever someone comments on your speaking ability, tell them about Toastmasters.

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