A Look in the Mirror Beware of potential stumbling blocks for new members Want to join our Lions club? Great! Meet us at Wally’s Waffles at 10 a. m. Wednesday. 10 a.m. Wednesday? Yikes. The occasion of finding a new prospective member can be an exciting one, but there are plenty of pitfalls that can stall the future of a great would-be member before it starts. Members and membership have changed significantly in the last 20 years, and there are more things to consider now than simply adding someone new to the roster and sizing them up for a nice yellow vest. Following are five factors to consider when inviting someone new to join your club. 1. Consider your meeting time. Ah, the breakfast meeting club—a friendly and familiar vestige of the 1950s. Once the source of great fellowship, the breakfast club can actually be a stumbling point for many a prospective member. With workdays expanding long beyond the historic 9-to-5 constraints and many companies in urban areas using flex times to help their employees beat rush-hour traffic, a very early start to the workday is now a common occurrence. Consider the convenience of your club’s meeting time. It may still work for a handful of members, but a simple shift to early evening meetings may make membership in your club a reality for plenty of new faces. 2. Don’t smother your prospect. “I’d love for you to come to our next meeting—and I think you’d make a great secretary.” Yikes. Offering a leadership position to a prospective member is akin to putting the horse before the carriage, and can scare them off faster than a boring meeting. Even if you think your prospect demonstrates great leadership qualities, give the process time and pay attention to how you’re communicating. “I think you’ll really enjoy our club’s camaraderie, and there are some great future leadership opportunities available” introduces the leadership concept in a low-pressure, non-committal way. 3. Discuss projects and possibilities. Your bingo tournament might be the best thing going from time immemorial, but remember that recruits might just have a few great ideas of their own. A prospective member’s pre-existing ties to other organizations—an animal shelter or local library, perhaps—can often form the foundation of a new and exciting project. Don’t fall into the trap of getting too comfortable with a formula that might scare others off for fear of bucking the system. 4. Listen, don’t lecture. It’s always better to approach with open ears instead of flapping gums. A prospective member often will tell you what they’re looking for without even knowing it. Remember the multitude of benefits your own club presents to someone on the outside looking in—a chance to meet new people, get involved in the community and do hands-on projects that make a difference in the lives of others. 5. Don’t get aggressive. Get the sense that a prospective member wants to join, but now isn’t the right time? That’s OK—accept it. Nothing turns a would-be Lion off faster than a recruiter who’s pushy or insistent on a topic that isn’t open for debate. Understand and remind yourself that everyone has a life outside of Lions. Be gracious for their interest and let them know the club will still be around when things settle down.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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