By Seema Viswanath, VPM
Woking Speakers Club held our Open House event on the evening of 23rd March 2023. We had 18 guests who attended this year making it one of the most successful Open House events for the club. Milica Bennett VP-Public Relations and Seema Viswanath VP-Membership led the organisation of the event; they were ably supported by Bob Nisbet, Sergeant-at-Arms.
Leading up to the event, we designed and published the below poster at the local library and supermarkets in the local area. We advertised the event on Eventbrite, Facebook (including on the local community pages) and LinkedIn. We invited the club alumni and previous guests who have attended our public speaking meetings. We also shared the details of the event through club members, all of whom helped promote the event in their own networks.
We received the required materials (badges, name tags, leaflets) from the Toastmasters International District 91 support team on time which were distributed to the members and guests before the meeting began.
Each guest was greeted personally on arrival by a Club Member to ensure they felt welcomed. After declaring the event open, James Sanderson – Club President introduced Toastmasters to the guests. Chris Arning – VP Public Relations, D91 attended the event and addressed the audience. All the members and guests then got a chance to speak at the warm up. The prepared speeches were carefully chosen so we had a mix of beginners and experienced members. The speakers and evaluators were all confident communicators. They shared the benefits of being part of Toastmasters such as access to online resources, mentors and above all being a fun and safe environment for public speaking with the guests.
It was a pretty packed schedule as you can see from (just the front page of!) the Agenda below:
After a 15 min networking break with tea, coffee and biscuits, the second part of the meeting was focused on our guests.
Every guest was asked to fill in an interesting, unique or adventurous aspect of their life that they were proud of at the beginning of the meeting. We used this information for the table topics asking guests to come to the front and speak on their specific aspect. Due to time restrictions, not everyone got a chance to speak, but 10 guests got the opportunity to speak in front of us. Following the evaluations and awards, we handed out certificates of participation to the guests.
The event closed in our usual manner, with a trip to our local pub.
District PR Manager, Chris Arning was in attendance with his friend Nick (who lives in Woking and whom he had been trying to get to come to Toastmasters for ages).
For a flavour of the some Guests reactions to their first Toastmasters experience and Milica, Seema and James Sanderson’s reflections on the event, see the below video.
We thank all the members and guests who participated in making this event a success. If you want to find out more about our club, please visit us at www.wokingspeakers.org.uk. We look forward to welcoming you as a guest. And you may find these resources from Toastmasters International helpful too: https://www.toastmasters.org/resources/resource-library?t=open%20house
Seema Viswanath, VPM, Woking Speakers, 2022-2023