The global pandemic hit the country late March 2020 impacting Toastmasters all over the world. Club officials had to act promptly to ensure that clubs would still achieve the set out membership and education goals for the year.
When we spoke to David Onyango, Vice President Public Relations (VPPR), Kwanza Kenya Toastmasters, he affirmed that he had to adapt his approach towards club publicity. Before the pandemic, the VPPR strategy relied on walk-ins to a physical club meeting, for member conversion. Unfortunately, now with travel and social restrictions, he had to primarily focus on online engagement as the sole strategy. He reckons that without a social media presence, it is difficult to engage with the public on the value of Toastmasters, especially during this time.
His greatest lesson in this period and his advice to other club officers centers around showcasing the impact of Toastmasters on its members. He encourages members to engage in club activities, to make it a lively attractive experience for the guests.
According to Mr Msechu, President of Dar Toastmasters, the pandemic propelled the club’s executive committee to find innovative ways to establish camaraderie within the club’s leadership. For the members, online meetings gave them an opportunity to virtually travel to other clubs, and bring back best practices to their home club. Reflecting on the experience, Msechu is confident that this online-meetings period boosted the club’s publicity resulting in large numbers when the club resumed its physical meetings.