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Beat The Clock – A Toastmaster’s Area Director’s Diary

As we draw to the close of the Toastmaster year, nothing stops!  The clock keeps ticking!  With two months to go we still have a lot to play for; not least the handover of a decent club position for the incoming committee; our successors.

The Beat the Clock challenge is one of three over the course of the Toastmaster’s year to engage five new members to each of our clubs. 

Both Chaseside and Hallmark have surpassed themselves with 19 and 13 new members to their respective clubs to date. (Ferndown has recruited nine new members – nice! And Casterbridge five). 

Yet, only two Dorset Toastmasters (so far) have completed their competent communicator manual.  Really? Only two! Only two from a target of 16?  We do have two Toastmasters who have achieved an advanced speaker’s goalpost from a target of 8. Now that is not quite so bad!!! 

So what has this got to do with the Beat the Clock challenge?  Well, new members are the life blood of any club.  Whilst there are stalwarts like myself, there is a natural churn which means that if we don’t bring new people in to the club we end up with a big gap in abilities.

New members need to learn from experienced members, but when the experienced members are ‘advanced’ speakers, the perceived gap can be too big a jump.  So recruiting and retaining members on a regular basis is important for continuing progress. 

Therefore, we don’t want to put a halt on recruitment but nor do we wish to see members leaving as they are not able to achieve their personal goals.  So how do we keep members once they have completed speech three and again when they have completed speech six.  These are the pivotal ‘Stay or Go’ points.  

I myself had a ‘gap year’ between speech six and seven, so I do recognise the point for an intake of breath.  I was lucky.  I got a kick up the backside and got my enthusiasm back for the programme – others will leave. 

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I leave you with two questions … how will you keep new blood coming into your meetings and … how will you keep members alive and kicking? Now and next year too …

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