If you’ve been selected as an Area Governor, you finished the Area Governor training back in June, or you are taking the make-up training this month. Among your duties, you are expected to do the following:
- Club Success Plans–ask Clubs to provide Club Success Plans, which show what goals they plan to achieve in the Distinguished Club Program and how they plan to achieve them.
- Provide Guidance to Clubs–contact Club Presidents monthly to discuss their progress in the Distinguished Club Program. NOTE: This can be done in the Area Council meetings–see item #4.
- Area Success Plans–take Club Success Plans and create an Area Success Plan.
- Area Council–hold at least two Area Council meetings each year, but optimally once a month,
- Area Governor’s Club Visits–visit clubs at least twice a year, and fill out and submit an Area Governor’s Club Visit Report form for each visit.
- Area Speech Contests–coordinate Area Speech Contest with the Division Governor and the various clubs in your Area.
This post discusses item #5, the Area Governor’s Club Visits.
BEFORE THE VISIT
1. Get the Club Success Plan First
If you are not familiar with the clubs in your area, the easiest way to get to know the clubs is to look at the Distinguished Club Program dashboard on the Toastmasters International website for your club (all you need is the name and/or number of the club). This will tell you how strong the club was last year.
Then you need to ask the clubs for the Club Success Plan. In our District, we are asking the clubs for the Club Success Plan by 7/25, because the Area Success Plan is due to the Division Governor the following week, on 8/2.
2. Arrange your Club Visit
Once you get the Club Success Plan from the Club, then make arrangements for your club visit. It should be done by the middle of August, so you have about a three-week window to do the visit. When you send an e-mail to the club officers asking for the best possible date for the visit, send them a copy of the Area Governor’s Club Visit Report form. This will let them know what information you will need from them. A lot of the information from the Club Success Plan, the goals and how they plan to achieve them, will be required for the Area Governor’s Club Visit Report anyway.
3. Recommend the Moments of Truth Program
Recommend that the club officers get together before the club visit and do the Moments of Truth program from the Successful Club Series that they can download from Toastmasters International. Why? Because it tracks very closely what is asked for in the Area Governor’s Club Visit Report. The program has the club come up with actions the club can take to improve its quality in six different areas, all of which are exactly the same six areas that are on the Area Governor’s Club Visit Report. In other words, if the club has thought about the questions asked in the Moments of Truth program, the club will be able to answer most if not all the questions you have in your Report form.
DURING THE VISIT
4. Area Governor Visit
Ask the club officers if there are any members receiving awards or getting any accolades for achievements on the day of your visit. Ask if you can be the one to give the award; this will be a tremendous morale boost for the person getting the award(s). It also shows that you are there not to “tell the clubs what to do”, but rather you are there to help the clubs and their members achieve their goals. Ask if you get have a few minutes on the agenda to introduce yourself to the club.
AFTER THE VISIT
5. Follow Up!
If there are any items which the club officers cannot answer at the time of the visit, then you need to follow up with them so that your report is complete. You could go back for a second visit, but the second half of August is usually taken up by the Club Speech Contests. So your follow up will have to be by telephone and/or e-mail.
Many Area Governors are so eager to do their visits that they try to bring the Report form with them and have everything answered at the meeting. Trust me; it is almost impossible to do!
Once you get a draft of the report, share it with the President BEFORE you send it to the District. If they have any additions, amendments, or dispute any of your findings, you can clear this up BEFORE it becomes “public knowledge.”
In this way, if you follow these steps, your visit will be spent more in making connections rather than your becoming a scribe as if you are auditor. Try them and see your standing as an Area Governor rise in the eyes of both your clubs and your Division Governor!
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