Pathways - Understanding your Communication Style - It's renewal time (Dynamic Leadership Path / Level 2 / Project 2)
March 31st is the last date for renewing your Membership dues in Toastmasters. I know our VP Membership Annamalai is trying very hard to get the dues from us. I’ve been a VP Membership multiple times in the past. Friends… trust me… it is easy to propose to a girl and make her your lover. But, it is very hard to persuade members to renew their membership.
Good morning fellow Toastmasters and Guests,
In my speech today, I am going to talk about my experiments with the different communication styles during my VP Membership roles.
When I was a novice VP Membership, I tried the 3Bs…
Begging: Sir… pls renew Sir… Mme… pls renew Mme”
Bullying: Nikhil… How many times should I tell you that you’ve to renew in time. If you don’t renew now, I’ll not allow you to enter this club again.
Borrowing: Rahul… if you don’t have money now… no problem… you can borrow it from me… and pay me back later
But, none of the 3Bs helped me to move the needle. Then, I started experimenting with the different styles of communication.
At first, I tried the Initiating Communication style
Initiating communication style values interacting with others and sharing stories. For example, I would go to the stage and say,
“Imagine it is 24th Aug 2019… a bright sunny day… you are attending the Toastmasters International convention at Denver, Colorado…. the finals of the World Champion of Public Speaking Contest… the hall is filled with people… people are busy talking to each other … you can smell the coffee brewing … your name gets called on the stage… Contestant #1, Farhan Ahmed… Farhan Ahmed, Contestant #1… the crowd starts to cheer… Farhan… Farhan. All of a sudden, the Chief Judge walks to the stage and stops you from talking “Farhan… You are not eligible to contest. You haven’t paid your membership dues for this term”. Fellow members, if you don’t want to lose an amazing opportunity to participate in WCPS contest, pay your membership dues now”
After listening to my pitch, members told me “Saro! What a nice tale!”. But, the tale didn’t make any sale.
Then, I tried the Supportive Communication style
Using, supportive communication style, you can earn the audience’ trust by providing them with plenty of reassurance. For example, I tried this..
“Hello team… I know you have been working hard to develop your communication and leadership skills. We, the club officers are here to serve you and support you. We’ll assure you that you get the value of the $45 that you are spending for Toastmasters. I know some of you didn’t like the hot tea served after the meeting… and that too, during hot summer. After this renewal season, we promise to change the hot tea to butter milk or fresh juice. I trust that all of you will pay the renewal fees by this week”
Members appreciated the trust, but, my dream of getting renewals on time, went bust.
Later-on, I experimented with the Analytical Communication style
Analytical communication style uses facts and figures. So I made my sales pitch with statistics.
“Dear folks… only one in every 200 members who join Toastmasters achieve their Distinguished Toastmasters award. If you want to be such a rarest of the rare Toastmaster… pay your club membership fees now. Toastmasters’ average retention rate is just 55%. Who knows … the person sitting near to you, may not see you, after the renewal season. So, better renew your membership now, to replenish your commitment towards becoming a DTM”
I was expecting some pats for the stats, but all that I got were brickbats.
Finally, I decided to experiment with the Direct Communication style
Direct communication style helps you to get to the point very quickly. You don’t have to beat around the bush and you can be very specific.
“Folks… It’s renewal time again. There are 3 reasons why you should renew now:
You can continue to make uninterrupted progress in your communication and leadership journey
You would continue to get the unmatchable support from your mentors and club officers
Most importantly, you’ll be able to represent our club in the World Champion of Public Speaking contests
The renewal fees is $45 for 6 months. Will you pay the dues on time? Please help me to help you”
To my surprise, dollars kept ringing and that made me singing. I managed to complete more than 80% of the renewals, in time. I discovered that “direct communication” is my real and authentic style.
Dear Toastmasters, communication style is like the vehicle on the road, that takes you to your destination. You’ll have to pick the right vehicle for the right destination. You don’t need a sophisticated aircraft, if the place that you’ve reach, is the shop at the corner of your street. A bicycle would do. Similarly, use the right communication style with the right people, at the right time, to get the right results. I have discovered my communication style … have you? Mr. TMOD.