Archive for April, 2012

VP of PR Workshop

Posted in leadership, toastmasters on April 13, 2012 by pastajon

There is one essential element for promoting any Toastmaster club – well planned, exciting, and meaningful meetings. Everything rests on excellent meetings. If our meetings are enjoyable, word will spread.

If our meetings are fantabulous and we can get a SALESMAN to join our club – membership will explode. This happened serendipitously for my club. Scott, who enjoyed horses, invited Mark, who also enjoyed horses to speak at our club. Mark is a former NBA All-star basketball player. Mark has an executive coach at the time named Julio. Mark invited Julio to come along to the club when he spoke. Because our club was conducting meaningful and exciting and well planned meetings both Mark and Julio joined immediately. Mark is a professional speaker. Julio is a SALESMAN.

According to Malcom Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point, a SALESMAN is someone whose unusual charisma allows them to be extremely persuasive in inducing others’ buying decisions and behaviors.

After two years of over 40 members we had to approach Julio to stop persuading others to join our club.

Meaningful, exciting, well-planned meetings are so important that everything else related to Public Relations pales. If we don’t have great meetings we will only be turning people off to Toastmasters by inviting them to bore themselves.

In addition to word-of-mouth sales, we can help people discover what Toastmasters is about and where and when we meet by:

  • submitting meeting information to be printed weekly in the local paper for free under the community meetings section,
  • submitting news and pictures to the local newspaper to be printed and bring attention to what the club is doing,
  • submitting PSAs (public service announcements) to the local radio station that tells people when and where you meet,
  • asking to be interviewed by the local radio station regarding recent breaking news related to your club or to inform the community about what Toastmasters is, and
  • creating a blog/website that provides information that is easily found by visitors looking for meeting times and locations and explanations about Toastmasters. By posting current news and information onto our blog we can drive traffic to our sites and increase awareness in the community.

Four Reasons to Use Props

Posted in public speaking on April 11, 2012 by pastajon

As a former preacher and current public speaker, I place high value on using props to get my message across. I’m using the acronym CAVE to spell out four critical reasons why we should use objects in our public speaking:

Connect your audience with your story or idea. Preaching for Palm Sunday service years ago I asked the congregation to throw their coats into the aisle. It was a simple but bold request to do something similar to what the crowd did for Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a colt many  years ago. They were throwing their tunics down which was probably their only outer wrap that they owned and it was likely to get dirty, maybe torn, and unfortunately for some, have a some horse manure land on it. It was a way to honor their new king. Asking the congregation to throw their coats in the aisle connecting them with the story and made it personal.

Anchor your message in the minds of your audience. How many times do we forget rather quickly a sermon or speech soon after we heard it? We can often remember ideas when they are associated with something we see. When talking about the two holes in our hearts I created a large 3 foot wide brightly painted heart to put on the platform. I asked for some volunteers to place common household objects into each of the two holes that I had cut into the heart. It created a mental picture that would not soon fade.

Visualize your ideas. When performing weddings I love to make the sermon very personal to the couple and highlight their wonderful traits and uniqueness. For Eric and Kara I used a skill saw and a violin. Eric was a carpenter and Kara was a musician. They didn’t know I was going to pull these objects out and talk about how these represent them in multiple ways. I tied them together by pointing out how they both work with wood to make something beautiful and how Eric and Kara will be working together to make a beautiful life together. Not only did they really enjoy it when I fired up the skill saw and ran the bow across the strings of the violin, but I created an anchor of a delightful day in their lives.

Engage your audience’s imagination. An object can jump start your presentation even before you start speaking. For example, having an elegante table set for dinner on the platform before you start speaking got my congregation wondering what I was going to be talking about that day. Curiosity keeps our attention.

Use a prop the next time you speak and watch your audience CAVE into your ideas.