Challenged in turning Toastmasters guests into members?

Here’s an unusual (and slightly heavy) tip I just overheard at the TLI in Bratislava:

Note: I don’t guarantee I captured it 100% accurately, but below is how I made sense out of it.


In one of the Slovak clubs, their charming VP Membership meets each guest before the Toastmasters meeting and gets their contact information. She tells them that she doesn’t have enough time to explain everything to them before or after the meeting itself. However: She can meet them for a coffee sometime during the week. Why? To find out more about their goals and ambitions – and if they can achieve them in Toastmasters.

Sounds like treatment they won’t get anywhere else.


FVO (Frequently Voiced Objections)

Objection: “But that’s time consuming!”

Answer: Maybe. But besides doing the work for the club, the VP Membership is building her personal network, one Toastmasters guest at a time.

O: “But that’s like a sales meeting!”

A: Yes. As Daniel Pink wrote in his book To Sell Is Human“We’re all in sales now”

O: “But our VP Membership is not at all charming.”

A: 2 ways you can deal with this.

  1. (and preferred) Make them charminger. If there’s a single most useful life skill that one can learn in the role of VP Membership, it’s charming other people.
  2. (the backup option) If you’re convinced your VP Membership is hopelessly uncharming – get them a charming deputy. It will be the deputy’s duty to arrange coffee conversations with guests and charm them into joining the club.

The Membership Building Campaign Talk Up Toastmasters is knocking on the door, starting on February 1st.

Why not start it with an unusually heavy membership building trick?