Success Stories

Highlight on Jackpot Speakers

‘Home of the 30-Minute Evaluation!’

Jackpot Speakers (Club # 2180) focuses on evaluations to build better speeches and champion speakers. They always provide extended, high-quality feedback with their round robin evaluations.

The following interview of Jackpot Speakers was conducted in late September. Enjoy.

  1. You already have 8 of 10 goals achieved this year. To what do you attribute your DCP Goals success this year?

Jackpot is a family of high quality members focused on growth, helping each other succeed, and having fun. We meet every week for 2 hours so we have 16 to 20 speaking slots per month. We have an engaged, focused executive committee that leads by example. Our goal is the success of our members which leads to the club’s success in the Distinguished Club Program. Jackpot also has a strong mentor program that helps new and experienced members grow, develop, and achieve. Other members see this growth and realize they can do it too.

  1. Your club has been President’s Distinguished for the last 4 years. How have you maintained your momentum to accomplish this every year?

At the start of a new year, the executive committee uses the Club Success Plan manual to set its goals. That acts like the backbone for how the club will build its distinction. The VPE and VPM stay in touch with members so they know who will achieve educational awards in the coming year. We focus on helping members achieve THEIR goals using the New Member Profile and assigning mentors to all members who want them. And the officers lead by example in earning educational awards.

We are the “Home of the 30-minute Evaluation.” Our speakers get valuable feedback from all members via round-robin evaluations. Guests see how helpful this type of evaluation is and choose our club if they truly want to become better speakers.

We are warm and welcoming, and we have FUN meetings so people want to participate. As adults, we seldom have enough FUN in our lives. And this year in July, Jackpot Speakers celebrated its 20th anniversary with a spectacular celebration. Our club is definitely a safe place to relax and have fun!

Jackpot has a strong tradition of excellence that we strive to maintain. Since our club was reformed into its current format in 2004, Jackpot members have won 17 District 33 speech titles.

Finally, Jackpot continually develops and attracts leaders to help us continue to better serve our members.

  1. For 10 years your club has hovered between 20-22 members. You ended last year with 36 members. This year you are already up to 44 members. What changed? How have you accomplished this fantastic feat?

In 2017, Jackpot raised the bar for marketing our open houses. Jackpot’s open houses include top-quality presentations that help all attendees. Guests get a taste of our meetings by having one “example” speaker followed by a round robin evaluation session.

This year, our two open houses resulted in a total of 30 guests and 12 new members.

Jackpot also implements the use of Meetup, and members maintain an active, involved presence. We also increased our emphasis on social media presence. Both spark interest in our club and consistently result in guests each month.

We include numerous member testimonials on our club website and in our guest packets. Our members are walking billboards, and social proof that Jackpot helps members grow and develop.

  1. 8 new members so far this year. What techniques are you employing to bring in so many members in such a short time?

We ask our guests to join After guests stand and introduce themselves at the start of the meeting, our president traditionally says, “Don’t be afraid that we’ll ask you to join…” (all members join him and say) “WE WILL!” We give guests an information packet and application, ask them to sign in, and contact them afterwards thanking them for coming and inviting them to our next meeting.

Friends often come to support members giving speeches. The friends like what they see and join. We make a point of welcoming guests and asking how they found us and what they are looking for by visiting a Toastmasters club.

Our meeting format of round-robin evaluations shows guests the wealth of experience our members share with each other.

Our real secret, though? As it states on Jackpot’s website, Jackpot Speakers is the home club of intelligent, fun and Very Good Looking Toastmasters.

Jackpot members continuously grow and become more confident. Confidence is extremely attractive. Additionally, Jackpot meetings are fun, exciting, educational events, and members smile – a lot. Smiling, happy people are very attractive.

Once guests experience our meetings, and see for themselves the REAL magic of Jackpot membership, they clamor to join!

  1. Obviously your club meetings are of the highest standards. What does your club do to ensure your meeting standards remain high?

Recent Jackpot Presidents Dianne Hunter, Greg Bjorgo, Sherrie Parker, and Malik M.L. Williams have worked together with members to maintain a legacy of excellence and growth.

We greet everyone – guests and members – and respect everyone’s effort and time. We want to start and end on time. We want our evaluations to be effective and not repetitive. And we want to make sure each member is being served the best way we can.

We’re a “Toastmasters family” and we support and encourage each other inside and outside of meetings. One of our members wrote a book and joined to overcome her fear of speaking so she could promote it. Members have attended her speaking engagements and book signings so she’d have a friendly face in the audience.

We regularly have a Backup Speaker slot on our agenda in case a scheduled speaker cannot attend.

Our VPEs are dedicated and encourage participation, reviewing the upcoming meeting roles at the end of each meeting.

Our mentors encourage new members to speak about once a month. Since there are sometimes not enough speaking slots for everyone, we hold Saturday Speak-a-thons (about once a month) to give members added opportunities to speak.

  1. What two “pieces of advice” would you give to a club that needs to add members?

Advice 1 –

Assign an experienced member as a mentor to each new member and use our Mentor Manual as a guideline for discussion. (Jackpot’s extensive mentor manual in Word document format is available upon request.) Develop a relationship with your new members. New members need to know they are not alone and that you care about them. A mentor helps to do that and encourages them to achieve their goals, especially when their fear takes over. Members who are making progress stick around.

Advice 2 –

Add FUN to meetings! Try promoting a theme. For Table Topics, use hats and other props or have two members role-play a situation that has the potential for silly fun. Host open houses and special events that feature guest speakers or other “draws,” then use that time to talk up your club to your guests.

  1. What two “pieces of advice” would you give to a club to inspire their members to submit more Educational achievements to the DCP?

Advice 1 –

Find out THEIR goals (use new member profile) and show them how they can achieve them in the club setting. Ask members to commit to specific educational achievements each year, then work hard to support them in the completion of those goals. Even if it seems daunting, going through the educational system helps each person grow. Encouraging each member to grow at their own pace, but a continuous pace, helps the individual and the club. Have active and involved VPE and VPM who stay in contact with, and support and encourage members.

Advice 2 –

Members need to be inspired. Celebrate the achievement of every educational award. We ask members to bring the certificates they receive from TI and then formally present them during our meetings. Pictures of the these presentations go on our club website and on social media.

Advice 3 – BONUS!

An energetic, focused executive committee whose members demonstrate TI’s core values and lead by example is essential!

As a club leader, set a strong example by completing your own educational achievements. Jackpot is fortunate to have three leaders, Sherrie Parker PDG DTM, Dianne Hunter DTM, and Karen Lewison DTM, who rank in the top 25 of District 33’s Lifetime Leaders in total Education Awards. Jackpot’s “Legacy of Excellence” is directly related to this trio’s ongoing, sustained excellence.