by Jennifer Lusby
Ahh, April in Winnipeg. Normally a time for rejuvenation, for spring cleaning, and for starting to plan all of the fun activities you’re going to do (outside) this summer. Be it patio hopping in town or getting out of town, there are so many things to do in such a short amount of time it’s easy to see why one of the first things to go are regular Toastmasters meetings.
But I’m here to tell you that is NOT a good plan!
Meeting over the summer is one of the best ways to build trust with your membership base – because consistency is key. Think about it – all the big brands from Coca-Cola to Wal-Mart advertise consistently. They’re always in your face. Why? They hold so much of the market share already, why do they feel the need to continually advertise and remind us they exist? Let me tell you why.
Enter: Customer loyalty.
These big brands have worked hard to earn your trust over the years and they know that the best way to keep you coming back and to keep top of mind is to always be in your face, even if they don’t have any new products or services to tell you about. By advertising on a consistent basis they stay relevant and the consumer starts to trust them. They know what they’re going to get by walking into a Wal-Mart or picking up a bottle of Coca-Cola. They have built consistency over the years by slowly and surely keeping their message constant: We aren’t going anywhere.
This same logic can be applied to Toastmasters. What happens to all of that momentum your club has built up from September – June if you close up shop and don’t meet over the summer? Your members are going to feel let down, and you’re going to lose that trust you spent so much time and energy on building. What happens if a new member wants to check out your club but they only hear about you at the end of June? If I had to wait until September to come to a meeting, you can bet I’m going to find other things to do with my time.
The moral of the story is we all know the summer is coveted – it’s a precious resource that we could lose at any moment (snow in July, anyone?) But just like warm weather and days that stretch on forever, your members are also precious – treat them like it! What’s the worst that could happen if you met year-round? Sure, some members may drop off but you could attract new members who are eager to get involved AND you’ll be further ahead than clubs that don’t see the value in meeting all year. There’s definitely value in practicing public speaking and leadership skills all year, even when you’d rather cool off with a nice cold can of Coke on a dock somewhere, am I right?
Overall, there’s something to be learned from big brands that remain relevant by staying consistent and top of mind. I hope you’ll consider why consistency is key and why meeting all months of the calendar year are important. Your members will thank you for it!