Millions of Lives Changed in 88 Years!

Today, October 22, 2012 marks 88 years since Toastmasters International was organized!

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Membership is 280,000 strong, and members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 13,500 clubs in 116 countries.

Membership in Toastmasters is one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself. At $36 every six months, it is also one of the most cost-effective skill-building tools available anywhere.

I joined Toastmasters International five years ago, and I’m so happy I did!  I had only heard of Toastmasters before then–never taking the time to find out what it was.  Then I was at a networking event in South Carolina in May of 2007 when I heard Jeanne Robertson give a keynote speech.  

Jeanne was so funny, and so natural that I immediately connected with her.  She shared life experiences that taught great truths, yet used humor to do so.  I was IMPRESSED!  I was so impressed with Jeanne, that I actually pushed my way through the crowd to meet her after she spoke. 

I asked her, “How did you develop such talent to be able to inspire people so powerfully without seemingly trying?”

Jeanne told me that as a professional speaker with the National Speakers Association that she had many opportunities to speak, and that the experience gave her an edge.  But then she looked me in the eye and said, “if you want to be a better speaker, you should join Toastmasters.”

That was all it took!  When I got home from that trip, I found a Toastmaster Club 2 miles from my home, and I went to a meeting.  It was an easy sell for them because I wanted to be like Jeanne, and I already knew I would join.  That was when my life changed.

I started speaking to my club members about subjects I wanted to speak about.  They would give me feedback, and I would incorporate their suggestions into my next speech.  It was a wonderful program.

Then I started saying “yes” to leadership opportunities.  More changes came.  Because I said yes that first time, and then said yes the second and third time, I am the Governor of District 2 for Toastmasters International!

This is a picture of me with my Lt. Governors at the Toastmasters International Convention in Orlando Florida this past August.  The three of us oversee and serve the 3500 members and the 187 Toastmaster Clubs in Western Washington, and we ARE LOVING IT!

I encourage you to go visit a Toastmaster club near your home or work.  CLICK THIS LINK to check out the locations of the clubs nearest you.  It won’t take long for you to see the value it will have for you.  VISIT A CLUB….AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Let me know what your experience was like. 

“Head and Shoulders” above the rest!

You Never Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression!

This phrase was a slogan used in a marketing campaign in the 1980’s for Head and Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo.  It spoke about the need to make an impression based on appearance. 

Most things from the 80’s should probably stay in the 80’s, but this tagline is timeless!  It’s also very applicable to each of us. When we meet someone new, the other person forms an opinion of us very quickly. That judgment is not only based on appearance; but it’s also based on our body language, demeanor, mannerisms, and on what we say, and even HOW we say it.

First impressions cannot be undone
; therefore it’s important that you learn how to set the stage for a great first impression.  When you do, the relationship you’re forming will continue long after the first or second act.

The website for
Mind Tools – Essential Skills for an Excellent Career  provides some useful tips for making a successful first impression:

  • Present Yourself Appropriately

  • Have a Winning Smile!

  • Be Courteous and Attentive

These same tips be applied to making a good impression on potential patients in your medical or dental practice; or on customers in your business.  Let’s use these same tools to determine whether or not you’re making a good impression.

Present Yourself Appropriately

When was the last time you called your office?  How did the person on the other end answer your phone?  Was it a pleasant voice?  A helpful-sounding voice?  Was it a recording or voice mail?  

The phone is the method by which most of your potential patients or customers will find out about your service business.  Your first impression is extremely important!  The person who answers your phone is quite possibly your MOST important team member.

What if you had a method for building trust and rapport with a potential patient/customer on the phone?  What if you asked a series of questions with the objective of not only gaining information that will help you learn about the needs of your patient/customer, but would also create a powerful first impression?

Having a website is another way of presenting yourself appropriately.  Does your practice/business have a website that is up to date and accurate in its information?  Your website should be active, and reflect current information about your services and practice specialties.  Your website should be warm and welcoming to your potential patients or customers.

Have a Winning Smile!

When a potential member walks into your business or practice, what do they see?  Do they see organization or chaos?  Is the feeling warm or uncomfortable?  Is there someone wearing a smile to greet them?

Listen to a personal story about Lessons of First Impressions

This scenario should never happen!  If it does, your practice/business will not survive.  I can guarantee it.

It’s important that customers and/or patients feel welcomed and cared for.  SMILE!  A smile goes a long way toward building trust and loyalty.  Look people in the eye, and shake their hand to introduce yourself, and to create a connection.  

A good indicator of whether you’re smiling enough at your patients or customers, is to watch them.  If your customers/patients are smiling, then you’re probably doing a good job.

Be Courteous and Attentive

As a doctor or a business owner, you have a lot to worry about.  If you want less to worry about, then I know a few things you can do to rid yourself of fewer patients/customers:

  • Assume you know exactly why they’re in your office or business

  • Don’t ask any questions that will lead you to discover more about them

  • Hurry through they’re appointment and just write a prescription

  • Treat ONLY the problem they’re currently having

LISTEN.  That was easy.  You didn’t even have to actually do what this word says to learn the secret.  That’s it.  It’s that simple.  LISTEN.

You Never Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression!

With that in mind, make sure your practice/business stands “Head and Shoulders” above the rest, so that you can grow your business and improve the quality of life for your patients and/or customers!