The Magic Sauce for Creating a Quality Club

  • September 11, 2019 by Laura Ficarra, CC, ALB, Immediate Past President, Bethlehem Club
hand stirring pot on stove

Spoiler alert: the magic sauce of successful clubs is amorphous and somewhat elusive! 

A quality Toastmasters club reflects an aggregate of various components.  Club environment, leadership, supportive mentoring, active member engagement, and satisfaction, as well as programmatic support for Legacy and Pathways endeavors are key.

The terms “climate” and “culture” have been defined in several ways, and sometimes have been used interchangeably. Much of the research on organizational psychology suggests that the term “climate” references the subjective experience of its members (how members feel about the club) while “culture” captures the actual state of the organization (why members feel the way they do, such as through shared experiences, beliefs, and values).

As members of Toastmasters International, we are all fortunate to have core values at the ready: integrity, respect, service, and excellence.  As members of various Toastmasters clubs, we contribute to, and are influenced by, the presence of these values in the manifestation of the club experience.

How do we create a quality club?  Hint: it’s not through adherence to the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) alone.  The DCP is an invaluable resource in helping to guide the “what” as quantifiable metrics of success for clubs.  Yet, the health of a club is driven by its climate, which is the more subjective “how” we attain the more objective “what”.

How does it feel for you to be at meetings?  Are members eagerly fulfilling roles?  Are meetings fun, humorous, and engaging?  Do meetings start and end on time?  What is your club’s membership recruitment and retention trend? Do members find value in attending meetings?  Are guests greeted and acclimated to the structure of a meeting?  Do members come in a few minutes after “gavel in” to avoid filling roles? Do Table Topics sessions offer equitable opportunity for attendees to speak?  How are members recognized for their educational progress?  Is the bi-directional mentoring process active?

As you consider these questions with your own club in mind, use the Club Quality Checklist as a reflection tool from Toastmasters International.  Hone in on club strengths, opportunities for growth, and share your completed Club Quality Checklist ideas with your club’s Executive Committee (EC).

Other resources to assist with assessing the health and climate of clubs include:

  • Model Club Checklist
  • Moments of Truth
  • Successful Club Series projects
  • Area Director Visit Reports
  • Club Success Plan (CSP)
  • TI Initiatives (e.g., #MyWhy; Wow!Factor)
  • Toastmaster Magazine

You contribute to your club and organizational quality in many ways because Toastmasters is where leaders are made!