Toastmasters members take action to brand themselves

On or about September, 2016, a club officer, Sherry (not her real name), at the time invited me to run for Vice President of Public Relations at Addison Singles Toastmasters because she knew of my expertise and familiarity with internet marketing, something that we needed for our club to attract more members. #AST9872 #AddisonSinglesToastmasters

At first, I hesitated and thought I could not possibly be a club officer if I’m new to the club since I didn’t have the membership longevity as some of the other members. I didn’t think it would be fair to them since I’ve been a member for only 2 short months.

After giving it some thought, I said to myself, “why not? I’ve never held a leadership position in any organization other than my own.” So I ran for the position and was elected. “Cool!” I thought.

The purpose of the VP of PR is to relate our club to the public for the purpose of generating interest among prospective members. Hence, public relations. According to the Toastmasters Leadership Institute training, article writing is one of the most powerful ways taught to get the word out about our club. I started doing just that by utilizing my article writing skills and combining it with my SEO skills.

Therefore, I started a campaign as early as December even if my term hadn’t started yet. Fast forward to the end of January, I get this e-mail flame from the former VP of Education, Neil (not his real name), where he ask “why haven’t you been making posts?”

I thought, “Excuse me? I’ve been busting my *ss writing articles about this club and posting it in my blog and my OWN fan page where I have over 10,000 followers. I’ve been doing this so our club can have more visiblity AND be the best club in the metroplex.”

He said, “The hell you’re not. Our AST (groups) page is our home court, and that is where you should be posting. I can’t find your cr*p anywhere.”

I returned with, “Perhaps the reason you can’t find my “cr*p” online is because you’re just too unfamiliar with the internet.” It was obvious to me that a 61-year-old man with connectile dysfunction issues is NOT going to be web savvy like us people in the younger generation.

I got so infuriated with this bozo. I will tell you why. From my discovery, his so-called “AST page” is a page that HE controls, and NOT something that I control. His AST page happens to be a groups page, which, by the way, has a paltry audience of 76 members, and not a fan page.

What’s the difference? The difference is this. A groups page is a private page that “only members” who are subscribing to the group can view content. The fan page, on the other hand, is a page whose content is visible to “everybody” on Facebook.

The reason I posted to my fan page is because,

  • I have over 10,000 followers
  • I have more control over content that I create about our club.

By publishing my articles in my OWN fan page, I can have more visibility and establish myself as a leader in the Toastmasters community. By posting my stuff in the AST groups page (his page), I am establishing and branding HIM, the former VP of Education, as the leader. THAT IS WHAT I HAD A PROBLEM WITH.

What did I do then? I returned fire to my attacker. I said unto him, “You know what? I will publish where I want to publish in social media, and it doesn’t have to be in a place where I’m branding YOU. I will NOT brand you. I REFUSE to brand you. I have more experience than you in online marketing, and I am going to BRAND myself as the leader and NOT YOU in the Toastmasters community. Get over it. From what I remember, your last PR person didn’t even produce ONE article for the group. You are so lucky that your current PR guy has produced over 10.”

If you are ever asked to run for VP of Public Relations in ANY club, be honored to take up in the offer. But be ready to conquer adversity and to say “NO” if you feel you can do something better for your club. That is what I did, and I support by my decision. In fact, any club officer position will generate conflict between you and another officer or member. That is expected.

By making a stand for yourself, you are taking action by establishing yourself as a leader where fellow Toastmasters will respect and admire you, even if they don’t agree with you.

John Quincy Adams, our sixth president of the United States, once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Addison Singles Toastmasters meets every Wednesday night at la Madeleine Country French Cafe

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