I recently presented the club officer training for VP of Public Relations at a Toastmasters Leadership Institute in Boca Raton, which is funny because I never actually served as VPPR. However, during my time as VP Education and President and still today as Area Governor, I have always played a big role in my club’s public relations and marketing efforts. I particularly worked on online strategy but also designed flyers and helped get us into the newspaper event listings,
Public relations is too important to be left to the VP of Public Relations alone, just as growing and retaining membership is too important to be left to the VP of Membership alone, and educating the members is too important to be left to the VP of Education alone. In a strong club, the members work as a team, contributing their own strengths and backing each other up. So I tried to get other people besides PR officers to attend the session. To the extent that I talked up WordPress for Toastmasters, I also wanted to get across the idea that the software has something to offer to the VP Education and other leaders as well.
Here is the presentation I used:
The video referenced in the slides is here:
Despite my emphasis on the web and social media, I tried to set it in context of the broader responsibilities of a VPPR.
Other VPPR Resources
In my opinion, the best resource for PR officers available through Toastmasters International is this booklet — Let the World Know (Item 1140) — which will help you understand how to go about putting together a media plan and seeking coverage. Much as I emphasize do-it-yourself media through blogging and social networks, getting major newspaper or TV coverage will definitely make you a hero in your club.
The Public Relations page on toastmasters.org includes pointers to many other resources, and you can look at the Toastmasters International Media Center for examples of how Toastmasters clubs worldwide are being promoted and covered in the media.
You should join the The Official Toastmasters groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to see what other clubs are doing. The Facebook group is particularly good for seeing how other clubs are succeeding at getting media coverage. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would say something positive about my WordPress for Toastmasters project on one or both of those groups — it’s more impressive if it’s coming from someone other than me.
The standard Toastmasters International training presentation for VPPR contains some points that I may have breezed past too quickly. You can get it here.