Earlier in September, we held our first ever ‘virtual open house event’ on Zoom. You can read more about what went on in this post. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun and we were so happy to have 12 visitors to the club that evening – 7 of whom had never been to Toastmasters before.
What we did in advance:
We decided to plan a ‘virtual open house’ to coincide with schools going back. The thinking was that, with children back at school, parents might have a bit more time to take up something new. Of course, the idea was to attract anyone with an interest (not just parents). We held a planning call to discuss the event and decided to try some new ideas to make it feel as friendly and welcoming as possible for guests. Part of the challenge was narrowing down the ideas! We also did a lot of work on social media and sent out a press release to let people know about the event. I asked a friend of mine to design a flyer for us.
What happened on the night:
We had a record number of people on a Zoom meeting for the club – so that was a great start. Lauren got us warmed up with a brilliant topic ‘what do you do for your wellbeing?’ Answers were wide ranging and included… wine, chocolate, time in nature, walking the dog, reading, swimming in the sea and many others!
Bill and I gave prepared speeches. My speech was on ‘my toastmasters journey’. I wanted guests to understand that many of us started with a fear of public speaking. Now I am in a job where I am required to do public speaking on a weekly basis – and it is thanks to this club that I have developed my skills. My speech was evaluated by smaller groups who discussed their thoughts in breakout rooms. This feature helped guests to see how an evaluation works. One of the parts I enjoyed most was the ‘virtual cuppa’ where we were in smaller groups and it enabled us to chat to guests and each other in a way that we would have done in person.
Our guests came from near and far! One guest runs a business in Worthing, she said that she wanted to come back! Another guest said that it was ‘positive and entertaining.’ A third guest said that ‘everyone is really friendly and there is no pressure.’
In summary, it was a great success and we had wonderful feedback. It was a brilliant team effort by the committee and the wider club. This club has the most wonderful members – do come along sometime – you won’t regret it!