Quantity leads to Quality in Toastmasters clubs (#TM59)

About 2 weeks ago I gave a speech at Rosemasters club about the performance of clubs and its relation with the amount of members they have. My assignment was to give a 5-7 minute fact-finding report and then handle a 2-3 minute Q&A period. You may find the video and the script of the speech below.

In this post I just wanted to share a couple of graphics I produced while preparing the speech (one of the graphics is used in the speech) which I find quite revealing for Toastmasters club and district officers.

I took the figures of Toastmasters District 59 clubs at the end of the period 2009-2010 (173 clubs) and checked goals achieved within the DCP program per club versus the members they had at the end of the period. Excluding the clubs chartered within that same year (for which it’s complex to achieve many of those goals in less than a year), I found a clear trend that the more members the club has, the more goals it achieves.

Average members in a club vs. DCP goals achieved (D59 2010).

This fact is so simple that no fact-finding was needed, but I wanted to check whether there was a real difference in membership between average clubs (those meeting 4, 5, 6 goals), good clubs (achieving 7, 8, 9) and the top ones (reaching 10). And the answer is yes. Top clubs have in average over 40 members. Good ones have around 30, while average ones have around 25.

Thus, I believe that clubs should not be content with reaching 20 (as DCP requires) or 25 members. Their goal should to reach around 40 members and ensure they have the highest quality. In that way they would also be on the safe side and resist any sudden loss in membership. Clubs having that many members may face issues of finding slots for members to take active roles in meetings, I guess that the preferable solution is to have extra meetings (meet weekly).

The other interesting graphic shows to what extent incentives shape reality. As Toastmasters officers know, clubs are distinguished when they reach 5, 7 or 9 goals out of 10. A club that achieves 6 goals gets the same recognition than a club reaching 5 (the same applies to a club reaching 8→7, or 10→9). So you can see how officers push members in order to achieve either 5, 7 or 9 goals and how most of the clubs reach exactly those numbers and just a few end up the year with an even number of goals.

Number of clubs with a given DCP performance (D59 2010).

Video of the speech:

Script of the speech:

What do you think this represents?

Mr TM, fellows,

I joined TM in 2007. At that time, there were 3 clubs in Madrid: Standing Ovation, Excelencia and TM Madrid, which is the club I joined. Why did I join? Because I saw a great atmosphere, listened to 3 different prepared speeches, good evaluations… I thought “this is a club I want to be part of”.

We can say that the Quality of the club was high.

In this speech I will try to show you that in Toastmasters Quantity leads to Quality. I will go through personal experience, a bit of history and some statistics.

6 months after joining the club I became an officer, I was the VP education. Then I started taking note of the number of members and guests that came to every meeting, I did this for 2 years… I can tell you that as this number grew, the meetings were getting better, etc.

Let me now tell you something about Toastmasters.

In Toastmasters there is a system for evaluating clubs. This system is called the Distinguished Club Program, the DCP. It measures several things: how many members achieve CC, AC, how many new members come into the club, etc… The DCP tries to measure the Quality of the club.

There are 10 goals in the DCP that clubs should try to achieve. If a club reaches 5 or 6, it is recognised as Distinguished Club. If a club reaches 7 or 8 goals it gets a higher recognition. If a club reaches 9 or 10 goals is awarded the maximum recognition: President Distinguished Club.

Now let’s see how Rosemasters was doing these years.

Rosemasters was founded in October 2008. That 1st  year ended with 22 members and achieved 3 DCP goals. The 2nd year it was already recognised as Distinguish Club, for having achieved 5 goals, and finished with 22 members. This year, in its 3rd year of existence, it has already achieved 7 goals and can achieve 9, with 20 members. For this it will be recognised as Select Distinguished Club or President.

What this club is doing is remarkable. Let me show you why:

I gathered statistics from all 173 clubs existing at last year end in Europe.

  • Best performing clubs, with 10 goals, had above 40 members.
  • Clubs with a result like Rosemasters this year (7, 8, 9) had on average have 30 members.
  • Clubs which achieved 4, 5 & 6 goals had ~25 members.
  • The weak clubs had ~15 members.

Let’s now look at clubs of the size of Rosemasters: between 18-22 members. They do not achieve as many goals as this club as achieved; this is why what this club has achieved is remarkable.

Why do I tell you this about Quality and Quantity of members?

As I said at the beginning: I believe that in Toastmasters Quantity leads to Quality. I believe that to make sure that this club continues to be healthy, that we continue to enjoy good meetings, we need more members.

I believe that finding members is a collective effort, it cannot be just an action for the VP Membership or the VP of Publicity; we all need to bring friends, family, colleagues from the work…

We should try to have at least 30 members, and then retain them. How to do that? We can discuss I in another speech. But remember in Toastmasters Quantity leads to Quality.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Quantity leads to Quality in Toastmasters clubs (#TM59)

  1. I wonder, though, about potential differences between weekly and twice monthly clubs. I think it would be harder for a club to get all 10 without being weekly. My twice-monthly club did get 9 once, but it required adding some extra meetings in. Also, at least one of our club members is a member of multiple clubs. Thus, he has more opportunities to give speeches, and he is more likely to give the credit to us as his home club.

  2. Pingback: Summary of (my) 2011 | The Blog by Javier

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