Thank goodness that my original experience within Toastmasters included a Club Officer Team that promoted all aspects to the program! I am so grateful and appreciative that so many Club Officers and Members of the Club cared so much about each other and the results that each Member desired. Are you promoting the learning experiences, the comradeship, the leadership opportunities, the competition and the fun that comes through participation?
One comment I have heard all too often from the leaders within struggling clubs is, “Oh, we don’t do that.” What is it that they don’t do? It could a singular piece of the puzzle, an event, multiple events or a list of what would be considered normal, healthy and fun activities that make this experiential program work so well for others. They are neglecting to participate in the very components of the program that help members achieve positive outcomes and make it fun and rewarding!
If you want to belong to an energetic club that embraces new Members, sees problems as opportunities, has quality meetings and brings that best out in it’s Members then you have to remember one important factor! The Club doesn’t belong to a single individual, nor does it belong to a small cliche of Members, the Club belongs to everyone! No Member is a majority stock holder! If the environment within your Club needs to change for the positive so that people are excited to come to and be at the meetings, so that guests feel welcomed and decide to return and so that Members are advancing and seeing positive results in their life, then you must take ownership! You have to care! You are encouraged to take ownership of and for yourself first of all. Begin to engage by learning everything that you can about how a model club operates. Explore the vast amount of material available and seek out the best practices! Invest time to read helpful resources that are available on the Toastmasters International website. Go beyond the club for help! Track down your Area or Division Governor and find out when the next Division or District event is scheduled for and then commit to being there! Strive to figure out what the missing elements are within your Club environment and then begin a movement for change! Be the leader and begin a revolution for change! Figure out who can and will help you to influence a redirection in course and then leverage the help to get the train back on the rails!
This type of learning is called experiential learning for a reason. If you walked into this environment and assumed that any or all of the Members within a club are subject matter experts and that they follow a proven system to the letter then that would be a misguided assumption. That’s not to say that there aren’t exceptional Clubs and phenomenal leaders who set a stellar example because there are! This just doesn’t exist in all Club environments! This is a volunteer army and if you happen to find yourself in an environment that lacks the depth of knowledge and structure, then let your experiential learning begin by learning how you can contribute to the team effort by becoming part of the solution! That is part of the experience and it may become the most rewarding and beneficial part of the experience for you if you are willing to take on the challenge!
Once you sign on the dotted line, pay your money and you are voted in as a Member then it is as much your Club as it is anyone else’s! Take pride, dive in and take ownership and you get more from the experience then you ever imagined!