Spa Speakers

End of year review: what Spa Speakers achieved in 2017-2018

The outgoing committee says goodbye!

It’s the 30th June 2018. The last day of the outgoing committee’s term. (sob..)

It’s been an enjoyable and eventful year for us, with lots to be proud of. Our vision was to make Spa Speakers the most fun, friendly and supportive place in the whole of Leamington Spa, whilst ensuring each and every member achieves their speaking and leadership goals. We did our very best to deliver that vision and hope you sense how passionate and committed we have been in pursuit of our mission.

As a final goodbye, this outgoing committee thought it would be nice share a list of things we are proud to have delivered. We hope what we have done has made the club a stronger, more vibrant and more enjoyable place to be.

Our vision was to make Spa Speakers the most fun, friendly and supportive place in the whole of Leamington Spa, whilst ensuring each and every member achieves their speaking and leadership goals. We did our very best to deliver that vision and hope you sense how passionate and committed we have been in pursuit of our mission.

Big achievements

We achieved some great results! We won several club level accolades from Toastmasters International and reached some historic milestones. We also supported many members in attaining a variety of individual achievements.

– Club Awards

– Club leadership achievements

  • We grew our membership to 51 members, the largest in our history
  • We recruited 37 members, the largest number in our history
  • We got 82% of the club assigned a mentor, and 47% of the club enrolled on Pathways
  • We elected a complete new committee by May 2018 and conducted a full leadership handover before 1st July 2018
  • We built a strong social media platform that attracted the largest number of inquiries (160+) and guest visits (140+) in our history
  • Our website achieved the most number of page views (9,100+) in our history
  • We were recognised as the 8th best public speaking blog in the UK by Feedspot

– Individual educational achievements

  • 6 members achieved their Toastmasters public speaking and leadership educational awards (congrats Kash, Fiona, Louise, Rachael, Ginny and Layla)
  • Fiona Clayton became this year’s Area 39 speech evaluation champion and gave a great performance at the Division E finals. She was also our Outstanding Toastmaster of the year for individual achievement.
  • David Thompson was presented with the distinguished service award for chairing the District Nomination Committee. He was awarded our Outstanding Toastmaster of the year for dedication and service to the club.
  • Harriet Cummings had an article published in the official Toastmasters International magazine, which reaches 350,000 members worldwide
  • Rachael Siggers delivered a brilliant 20 minute keynote speech at the IMechE Annual General Meeting
  • Fiona Clayton facilitated a major national convention for headmasters at the Royal Shakespeare Centre, putting her Spa Speakers skills to full use beyond the club

Welcoming our new leadership team

One of the great things about Toastmasters clubs is that they elect a new committee every year. This allows for an injection of new ideas, new ways of thinking and new energy. At the same time, because it’s important clubs don’t stray too far from the traditions that make the Toastmasters program a success, the immediate past president and the previous committee as a whole should be on hand for the first few months to offer support and guidance. This will certainly be the case at Spa!

Please join me in wishing our new committee – Marie, Diana, David, Sunny, Joy, Tom, Sham, Craig and Trish – a huge welcome. They lead the club in a very special year: our 15th anniversary! We wish you well in your mission to take Spa Speakers to the next level. Your work begins tomorrow; it’s your turn to make a splash!

Our incoming committee!

And for the curious……

We did quite a bit more than what’s listed above, so much so there is almost too much to share. But perhaps there are some who’d like to know more? If so, keep reading!

Improvements to the educational program

We were committed to making the educational program stronger than it ever has been in 2017/2018. We did some brand new stuff and made some improvements to existing processes.

– Brand new stuff introduced in 2017/2018

  • Introduced our monthly STAR award to recognise members who made a big leap in progress or have been exceptionally helpful towards the club
  • Introduced the new Pathways program in March (and have acheived a 47% program enrol rate already)
  • Created an introductory email series for new members to ensure they are introduced to all aspects of the club experience over a 12 week period
  • Created an introductory leaflet for mentors and mentees so they know what to expect from each other
  • Began using ballots slips so feedback to the toastmaster, general evaluator and topics master can be offered by all members
  • Introduced two new educationally focussed roles: the jokesmaster and vote counter
  • Introduced a new set of educational resources for club officers to facilitate club leadership handover
  • Regularly posted educational blogs on topics such as evaluation and mentoring direct to member’s inboxes
  • We laid out a roadmap for the 2018/2019 committee to achieve the President’s Distinguished Award again

– improvements to existing processes

  • Increased the number of members with a mentor to 82% (up from 47% last year)
  • Increased the number of active mentors in club from 11 to 20
  • Created a complete guide to meeting roles resource tailored to our club, so new members can fully prepare when assuming a role for the first time
  • Delivered three educational workshops on: self-limiting beliefs, rhetoric and evaluation
  • Delivered five educational speeches on: mentoring, speech evaluation, Pathways and table topics
  • Created the option to split the grammarian and ah-counter role to make it easier for new members to take on those roles, and also to increase number of members taking part in each meeting

Making the club experience magical for existing members

One the key projects for the committee was making the club experience magical (sorry if that sounds cheesy!), not only at club meetings, but also outside of it. Here are the new things we introduced, and what we improved in our existing practices last year.

– Brand new stuff introduced in 2017/2018

  • We put in place a lively social program with over 12 events over the year to help connect our community
  • Introduced our new post-it process so all members can give feedback at meetings and help us improve
  • Introduced a regular newsletter for members
  • Purchased clipboards, pens and post-its to make voting and sharing feedback easier
  • introduced the cafeteria hospitality role to ensure we alway serve teas and coffees to members before meetings and during recess

– improvements to existing processes

  • Endeavoured to make timekeeping a focus of our meetings, so meetings start on time, end on time and we always have a 10 minute recess (still work to do here though!)
  • began regularly sending cards to members when appropriate to show we, as a community, care
  • Brought the social media of the club to life to help members keep in touch with the club even when they miss meetings (over 500 tweets, 500 facebook posts, 80 Instragram posts and 80 blog articles just this year!)

Making the experience of new members magical

Making guests feel comfortable and relaxed so they enjoy the meeting experience was a big focus for us this year. We did a tonne of new things and made improvements on what we do already to achieve our goal.

– Brand new stuff introduced in 2017/2018

  • Introduced a meet and greet experience champion (thank you Paul Smith!) to ensure the guest experience is as good as can be. Click here to read more
  • Gave name badge stickers to everyone at the door to help guests and members connect
  • Purchased a display board to put out at reception so guests know they are at the right place as soon as they arrive

– improvements to existing processes

  • Increased the number of meet and greeters at the door to 2 (3 if you include the meet and greet champion)
  • improved our application forms so they are easier to fill in
  • Ensured guest flyers are always available so they can be given to guests at reception
  • Introduced a new member welcome pack, to be sent on joining
  • Made our google calendar easily accessible to interested parties so they know when they are welcome to visit
  • Made big improvements in getting back to new inquiries quickly, put focus on writing warm personal emails to all membership inquiries, and were disciplined in following up after meetings, as well as sending reminders to guests a few days before our next open meeting
  • We now introduce all new members to the club via our club newsletter

Behind the scenes

To deliver the above achievements and changes, all of which are highly visible to members, we’ve had to do a tonne of work in the background. We’ve improved how we go about nominating and electing club officers, how we hand over leadership responsibilities and our accounting practices. We’ve designed new systems to track how we handle new member applications and how to monitor member progress against educational awards, automated our social media, implemented GDPR, and ensured the ABCs of good management are in place too (e.g. regular meetings, agendas, minutes, up to date calendars etc.). It’s true: a well organised committee can deliver much more than a disorganised one!

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