COMM0014 Blog #3 We Need More Members!

Who is interested in becoming a member of Toastmasters? How can we increase our membership? We need more members!

This year my goal as President of The Newmarket Toastmasters is to attract 15 new members. An increased membership builds enthusiasm, creative ideas, active meetings and an opportunity to inspire others to develop their leadership and communication skills.

At the beginning of the year I had a meeting with our newly elected executive team and told them about my aspirations. It was a far-fetched dream but I was determined to make it happen. I knew the first steps were to assess our target audience.

Who Are We?

In the beginning we asked our registered members through an online survey, what originally attracted them to Toastmasters and what they liked most about becoming a member? We gathered information about their interests, hobbies, goals and demographics. These responses helped us learn more about our current membership and helped guide us in the direction of determine who may be interested in joining our club.

With the information that we gathered it allowed us to determine how we could attract more people to our club. It was fascinating to read the information they shared. Everyone had different hobbies and interests but almost all of their goals for joining were the same. All of the members wanted to improve their public speaking skills, meet new people and become stronger leaders.

We learned that the majority of members were between the ages of 35-55, lived in Newmarket, worked full time, both male and female, and everyone had post secondary school education. This information helped us strengthen our knowledge of who was attracted to Toastmasters and what kept them coming back each week.

Take Action

The next step was to take action and promote our club to this specific audience. We created a website, distributed flyers to service clubs and local businesses, advertised on the radio, television and newspaper and held open houses, contests and celebrations.

This picture was from a competition we held earlier this year in Newmarket. After the competition three audience members were inspired by the speeches and joined our club.

Our Future

We cannot predict the future but we can expand our communication strategy. We are looking forward to promoting our club through social media this month. We will share the benefits of Toastmasters through inspirational quotes, testimonials, photos, and accomplishments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We are confident that communicating through social media will be an excellent strategy in attracting new members.

The first half of the year has been a great success. We currently have 8 new members registered and only need 7 more to reach our goal. We are not giving up. We are determined to build our campaign to reach out to our community and increase our membership. By the end of the year we can celebrate and say to each other “We don’t need any more new members”.

COM0011 Blog #1 To Share, or Not To Share, That is the Question

To Share, or Not to Share, That is the Question

It is easy to fall into the trap of sharing too much information on social media. Stop yourself before sharing every little intimate detail of your life. You don’t want your life to become an open book for everyone to read and share with their contacts.

What needs to be kept private?

Last year my friend was on vacation and shared this photo on Facebook of a breathtaking sunset in Hawaii. She received over 100 likes and many comments about how beautiful the photo was. The unfortunate thing was that she shared too much information.

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After seeing the photo, her best friend’s son, thought it would be the perfect opportunity to host a party in her backyard with over 200 out of control teenagers. She soon realized that she should have waited and shared the photo when she returned home.

According to Kathy Kristof’s article from CBS Money Watch there are 6 things you should avoid sharing on Facebook. http://www.cbsnews.com/media/6-things-you-should-never-share-on-facebook/7/

She states that you should never give out personal information including where you live, passwords, where you were born or confidential information. Identity theft is more common than we think and can lead to devastating circumstances. Posting pictures of parties or inappropriate activities is also something you need to avoid. A drunken photo can lead to job loss or relationship troubles.

I find negative comments or putting down others a complete turnoff. No one wants to hear about your problems or insulting others. Show kindness and support instead of hatred and bitterness.

What information should you share?

You need to attract people to your posts by expressing a positive image that get’s their attention. It is important to be professional and use appropriate language when communicating with others on any social media platform.

It is okay to share photos, inspirational quotes, events, ideas and announcements on social media but remember your contacts may not be the only ones reading your post. It is better to motivate someone than to upset the reader, which may lead to a negative reaction.

I always like to think, is this something my grandmother wants to read or see? If so, then you may feel comfortable sharing this information with others. If you know it is hurtful or will upset someone it is better not to share on social media.

To share, or not to share, what would you do?

What information do you think should not be shared? What is appropriate to share? Everyone has different opinions about what is acceptable to share with others. We must remember that if it is written and recorded then it may never be deleted. Remember to think before you act and remind yourself to read what you have written before you hit send.

 

Twitter: To Share or Not to Share, what should you post and avoid sharing on social media? To learn more visit this blog http://bit.ly/2v8aaUe

 

Facebook: To Share or Not to Share? Have you ever been unsure of what to share on Facebook? We have some helpful hints of what to share and avoid to attract interest in your post. Visit http://bit.ly/2v8aaUe

COM0014 Blog #2 “Let me tell you a story”

Let me tell you a story

Growing up, I loved to hear my grandmother start a conversation with “Let me tell you story”. She shared memories of her past that captivated everyone’s attention. When she spoke, it felt like you were being transported through time. She was a gifted storyteller.

Sharing stories

Throughout history and around the world, storytelling has been one of our greatest forms of communication. Evidence proves ancient people shared accounts of their daily lives and cultural beliefs through oral history and engraving rock art images.

Although the tools for communicating have changed overtime, the message is still clear that we are all interested in sharing stories.

Today, social media is an effective method to share our stories and communicate immediately with our contacts and possibly millions of unknown users.

Effective communication is key

No matter how you communicate with others, it needs to be effective. It is important to remember to share information in a way that is easy to understand and clear for others to interpret.

My grandmother taught me that one of the best methods for attracting an audience is to capture their attention at the beginning. When writing for social media the headline and first few sentences are the most important. This information grabs the reader’s attention and draws them into your story or post.

Sometimes we miss crucial information if it is buried in the story. When we send or receive information it needs to be attractive to the reader. It is the same as telling a story we need to engage our listeners.

Staying connected

For many years my grandmother refused to use a computer and avoided all types of digital communication. She soon realized she was loosing touch with family members and found it difficult to share her stories.

In the past few months she has started to use social media to communicate with others. We look forward to reading her posts that begin “Let me tell you a story”.

COMM0014 Blog #1 Facing My Fears

What are your fears? Do spiders, snakes or crowds make you panic? For as long as I can remember I have had a fear of heights. I realized this paralyzing phobia was stopping me from accomplishing many goals. I decided to face my fears during our vacation in Las Vegas.

Within the first hour of our arrival my husband, Dave, decided to book a helicopter flight for the following morning. The flight would leave Las Vegas fly over the Hover Dam, Lake Mead and land at the base of the Grand Canyon. Dave was thrilled. This was his dream. This was definitely not my dream, but more of a nightmare.

What did I get myself into!

Once we boarded the helicopter I realized there was no turning back. I was shaking as the helicopter lifted off the ground. Once we were in the air I soon realized there was nothing to fear. It was the perfect day to fly, no wind, a few clouds and so much to see. We had a bird’s eye view of Arizona’s magnificent Grand Canyon.

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When the helicopter landed I couldn’t believe we had arrived safely at the bottom of one of the deepest gorges on earth. We were totally surrounded by the steep-sided canyon that had been carved by the Colorado River.

We didn’t want to leave, so we took our time as we loaded back into the helicopter for our return flight. I wasn’t nervous this time and knew we had to see the Grand Canyon again, and that’s just what we did.

On the last day of our vacation we rented a car and returned to the Grand Canyon. We had an incredible day connecting with nature and exploring the Canyon from the top.

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The highlight of the tour was one I will never forget. We stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon! We were absolutely amazed by the natural beauty surrounding us.

In the beginning I was trembling as I saw many people walking to the edge and looking down. As the crowds dispersed I slowly inched my way to a safe rock and sat by the edge. Looking down I realized how incredible it was to be there. I finally mustered up enough courage to take a few pictures of before I snuck away from the edge.

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At the end of the day Dave convinced me to join him on the Skywalk at Eagle Point. I grabbed his arm as we slowly walked around the horseshoe-shaped bridge that jutted out beyond the canyon walls. It felt amazing to be suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River below us. I know why the Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

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I truly believe you must face your fears and live your life to its fullest. The adventures that we experienced will be etched in my memory forever. I can’t wait to plan our next trip and overcome my fear of swimming with sharks.