The Ask

Asking is an art.

The right question at the right time can make or break getting the result you want. Or, at the very least, help you understand why not.

The members of our Toastmasters club have done an amazing job helping guests to our club feel welcome.

We recently had a guest who is a Toastmasters veteran, a polished speaker we would have a lot to learn from. She generously shared feedback with me that she was a bit startled by some members that asked right after a meeting if she would be joining. I took this to mean that the timing wasn’t right.

We had barely gotten to know her and were already asking for what amounts to a serious relationship in the dating world.

I’ve often been a fan of the position that if I’ve done my job as a salesperson really well, I shouldn’t have to “ask for the sale.” I’m talking outright like, “may we have your order?”

In our context in Toastmasters, it might be better to ask what brought a guest to our club. What are his/her motivations for practicing public speaking and leadership skills?

We could then ask what s/he saw during the meeting that they think could help them achieve their goal(s).

Make the point of it to have a conversation and get to know the guest better, rather than anything else. S/he’ll join if it feels right – and be more likely to follow through when s/he does.

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