Most of us can recall Aesop’s fable about the race between the Tortoise and the Hare. The Tortoise was known to be slow and surefooted, whereas the Hare was fleet of foot and sure of himself!

The passage of time has seen the moral of the story fluctuate, however, for me I particularly like ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

So…what’s with the tale of the “The Tortoise and the Hare”?

We are coming to that time of the year when as a member you may be reflecting on the Toastmaster’s year that is concluding and asking yourself, “have I done all that I could to achieve success?”

Are you winning your race?

For our club executive committee this is a good time to pull out the;


Club Leaders please check where you are at – and what still needs to be accomplished.

If your pace has been slow and steady and the boxes are getting ‘ticked’ you will obviously be feeling quite proud of your achievements.

Should you be choosing the fast and furious path to a sensational ending may I remind you that quality over quantity will always be the winner.

So…is victory in sight?

Let’s not forget that victory is the sum of all the parts. Not only does the runner need to turn up and participate, but most likely there has been a trainer/coach involved, support from family, friends and other team members, officials, an audience…wait a minute…this is starting to sound like a Toastmasters Club!

Which brings me to the punch line, ‘Quality over Quantity’.

When your club possesses characteristics of quality, the member experience is enhanced. A high-quality club encourages and celebrates member achievement, provides a supportive and fun environment and offers a professionally organized meeting with variety. In those clubs, officers are trained in all aspects of club quality to ensure that members have access to a formal mentoring program, are provided encouraging evaluations that help them grow and motivate them to achieve their goals.

A primary objective of clubs is to provide the best possible member experience so that existing members continue to renew their membership and new members join.

How can you create the best possible member experience in your club? First impressions are crucial. Every new and prospective member’s initial interaction with your club should be a positive one.

Let’s look at some areas that will ensure we are winning the big race:

Education:  Recognition of education awards. Now that’s an excellent way to acknowledge members who are achieving their goals.

Membership:   New members enhance the club experience. By boosting club membership there are more members to share leadership roles, meeting and committee assignments are filled more readily, which ensures that burnout and exhaustion are not part of your club experience.

Training:  Trained club officers are better able to serve and support your club members because they know how to best fulfil their roles.

Administration:   Fulfilling administrative duties, timely lodgement of your new officer list, submitting new member applications and promptly lodging member education and leadership awards also helps your club run more smoothly and assists the club in achieving its goal of supporting and providing the best experience for the members.

If you are feeling a little behind in your race, now is the time to do a SWOT analysis.

… Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities &Threats

  • Personally, decide how strong you can finish. Are you close to achieving those goals? Maybe you omitted to set some. Well it’s not too late. Check in with where you are at. Identify all assignments completed and what is left to complete. Make an appointment with your Club Vice President of Education and ask for help with club agenda programming. Find your path of least resistance and work toward finishing strong.
  • Weaknesses, we all have some. Procrastination is the devil’s advocate, that’s a big one! We are all running the ‘human race’, balancing work, family, career, education, recreation, faith…and so much more. In fact, we are all ‘option rich and time poor’. So… what are YOU going to do about it? Time management is a good place to start. You may even be able to get your mentor to make you more accountable.
  • Opportunities abound if you are looking for them. Ask the VPE to have you marked as a fill in speaker, offer to speak at smaller clubs who may appreciate a new face at the meeting. Some clubs have speech fests/ Speech-a-thons on the 5th meeting, or a special event night to assist members achieve their goals. Just remember to have all your speeches evaluated.
  • Threats are often fear based. A previous experience that had a negative outcome will often set the tone for the future. This is where courage, fortitude and sheer determination to succeed will empower you to a victorious win over FEAR… False Expectations Appearing Real! Not forgetting to mention that your club experience should be helping you to break through those fear-based experiences by providing you support, applause, constructive evaluations and acknowledgement of those achievements that you have already made.

Now that you have completed your SWOT analysis it’s time to take on the big league!

Members – Set yourself a goal to get those assignments completed and your communication and leadership awards lodged before June 30.

Club Leaders – Support your members in achieving their goals. Provide additional speaking opportunities where necessary.  Remember, this is a team effort. There is also still time to organise another membership drive, after all, members are the life blood of a club.

Mentors – Encourage, support and motivate your mentees to finish their race.

Club Executive – A gentle reminder, when your club possesses characteristics of quality, the member experience is enhanced. A high-quality club encourages and celebrates member achievement, provides a supportive and fun environment and offers a professionally organized meeting with variety.

Just in case you can’t find it, here is the link to the DISTINGUISHED CLUB PROGRAM AND CLUB SUCCESS PLAN.