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Stepping Stones to Success

TM Vibha Pandey 

In May 2017, I had just completed my Competent Communicator manual and was searching for a community club where I could kick start my Advanced Communication journey. After attending 4-5 demo meetings, I joined Bibvewadi Toastmasters Club as a charter member.

The first phase of this club, just after its installation, was the best time all the members had. They were motivated and their enthusiasm made up for their lack of experience. President TM Sagar Agarwal’s continuous patronage and VP-Education TM Rekha Bafna’s mentorship kept the momentum going.

Gradually the club moved into its next phase. This was all about the expansion of club. This was where we lost our momentum. The Public Relations department of the Club was getting hampered.

The Public Relations department of a club is responsible for coordinating an active publicity program to increase awareness of Toastmasters through local news and social media. This essential element fizzled out from the club. Due to this, word stopped going out about our meetings and our membership began to dwindle. Members left but very few got inducted and we began to suffer from a membership deficiency. We were lagging to maintain a quorum at any given point of time in the club, which was very important for its quality and survival. Soon, we became unsure about the future of our club.

Meanwhile, the next term of the club was about to begin. The outgoing Ex-com was looking for a new set of leaders and the hunt for a President ended with TM Rashmi Singh accepting the roles and responsibilities for the office.

It’s said that with great power comes great responsibility. TM Rashmi Singh took charge from day one. She made sure that the members of the Executive Committee were on the same page and were aware about their responsibilities. She build a strong connection with the Public Relations and Membership teams. TM Rekha Bafna continued with the VP-Education office. TM Deepak Baldawa worked with TM Rashmi Singh to build a great rapport with guests and convert them to members. They worked together to reach out to the guests after meetings and invite them to the next meeting on a one to one level.

What turns a guest into a member? A hearty, hospitable reception and the quality of the meeting, which makes them believe that there is an end product to this investment which will benefit them.

The Membership Campaign jointly conducted by TM Rashmi, the PR Team of the club along with TM Jayant Kelkar reaped benefits and the club saw a great turn around of members in the very second term of its charter. Soon, our quality meetings made waves in the Pune fraternity, and the club saw many awards and achievements in its second term.

We also received strong support from the Pune Toastmasters fraternity and the club mentors, who worked with the members to focus on the individual as well as the club’s overall success and growth. Contrary to what new members thought or felt, most veteran Toastmasters proved to be of great support and encouraged us to succeed. Even if we came up on stage shaking and nervous, they kept encouraging us as individuals and as a club together. Without their immense assistance and support, this breakthrough could not have been possible.

Teamwork is what helped us go from a club with a membership deficiency to one with a sustainable membership, and it is what makes Bibvewadi TMC continue to thrive to this day.

The only thing we should remember is that even though the burn of defeat can be traumatizing, failure is one of the most valuable stepping-stones that there is for developing greatness. Failure breeds success. You have to lose to win. This breakthrough of highly significant improvement in quality and quantity was made possible only through consistent, focused, and synergistic efforts of the Club and its leadership.

This article was first published in the August Issue of  District 98’s bi-monthly newsletter ‘Communicate 98’. To read other articles, click here.

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