Mean annual awards for Area G44 clubs

Adv Manual Speaking to Inform: Project 1 The speech to inform

1 – The Speech to Inform

Time: 5 – 7 minutes

  • Select new and useful information for presentation to the audience.
  • Organize the information for easy understandability and retention.
  • Present the information in a way that will help motivate the audience to learn.

Cranfield Speakers Club: The Area Director’s Perspective

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.” Terry Pratchet

Or you can just simply order the next round of drinks!

Tonight Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests I am going to give you a few clues to the bigger picture because I think you will find that fascinating, feel good to be part of something good and to spark ideas about creating better.

I am going to look at three areas –membership recruitment, retention and rewards. The data has been taken from Toastmasters using the web-based tools of Mike Raffety and George Marshall.

Do you think Cranfield Speakers , relative to the other Area clubs has big, medium, or small membership base?

My first chart shows that all five area clubs are in the green zone, but that Cranfield is at the lower end of it. The golden arrow helps spot Cranfield. These positions represent snapshots, but they are representative of the membership strength over many years.

Below the green zone is the danger area where critical mass is lost, coaches are appointed below 12 members and ultimately the zone of not in good standing below eight members. Above the green zone there is the land of member frustration at waiting over 5 months to get speeches.

Membership is about the balance between recruitment and retention which brings me to my next two charts.

Do you think Cranfield Speakers has strong or weak membership recruitment?

In terms of recruitment Cranfield does very well at bringing new people to their first experience of Toastmasters. There is variability over time shown as one standard deviation, but the number of years for which we have data depends on the club. Northampton is very new and Cranfield is quite young at 5 years.

Do you think Cranfield Speakers has strong or weak membership retention?

It is when we consider retention that we see why Cranfield is at the lower end of membership strength. We have low retention on average at around 50% which means that of 20 people joining you would be lucky to have one left after four years where as 75% retention you would have nine years before that happened.

Retention has a direct bearing on the number of members in existence to progress to the higher leadership and communication levels. Our co-founder Jim Reynolds took eight years to reach Distinguished Toastmaster.

Small improvements to retention will be possible with mentoring and membership management, but life is life and life and students move on. The key to better retention is diversified recruitment. Word of mouth is Toastmasters best recruitment tool and we each need to take ownership in flying the flag on social media and in life. We need to network not just within our ‘in’ groups but crucially create links with others groups

Do you think Cranfield Speakers delivers few or many awards to its members?

My final charts show that Cranfield is a great club for generating awards for its members. Last year it lead the District. It also punches above its weight in the Area exploiting the communication and leadership tracks very well. The results are show here are normalised against a club strength of 20 members.

To sum up Cranfield is a good club and we can feel good about that. I’ve given you insights into membership recruitment, retention, and rewards. The message I want to you to think about is about being personal ambassadors and finding ways to reach beyond your in groups to others. In the words of Barack Obama do something, make a difference, it is empowering.


I have to admit to being hard pressed to rustle this talk up after leave. I am glad I did as I enjoyed it.


  • Relaxed confident smiley delivery.
  • Clearly knowledgeable on the subject
  • Strong clear visual aids
  • Engaging material
  • Material flowed well
  • Good structure
  • Good audience interaction with question and answer
  • The speech related very well to the audience’s interests
  • The advice given was specific rather than generic so rather than recruit more or it was each of you be our ambassadors amongst your networks and build bridges to reach beyond your networks.


  • More uniform eye contact
  • If asking the audience questions make it clear that you are not asking them rhetorically.
  • Rushed at the end…the last two slides were not appreciated
  • Could vary the chart types so that not all are bar charts to make each more memorable
  • Did I really need the Terry Pratchet quote and the comic image in the opening
  • The opening quote could have been delivered with more gusto
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