Whether a guest presentation goes well depends a lot on club preparation.

By Julie Saetre 

Most Kiwanis clubs know that inviting speakers to meetings adds interest for members — helping them learn about potential service projects or partnerships. For community leaders, it can also be an effective introduction to Kiwanis. But to ensure that the experience is productive and positive for both parties, it’s important to prepare. These tips can help.  

Establish clear guidelines. Give the speaker as much information as possible so they can make the most effective presentation: 

  • Confirm the meeting date, place and time. 
  • Make sure you and the speaker agree on their content. 
  • Request the spelling and pronunciation of the speaker’s name and a resume to help you (or the appropriate club member) make a proper introduction. 
  • Let the speaker know the meeting’s agenda, the time allocated for the speech (and the Q&A session if you offer one), and the approximate time the meeting will end. 
  • Provide the number of members expected to attend. 
  • Detail any available equipment the speaker can use (e.g., screen, lectern, audiovisual equipment, computer, etc.). 
  • Explain the club dress code, if any. 

Make the speaker feel welcome. Ask an officer or member to greet the speaker upon arrival and introduce them personally to other members. Provide a guest or speaker’s badge and seat them at the head table (if applicable). Have water available within easy reach of the speaker during the presentation. Designate an officer or member to officially introduce the speaker and provide their credentials before the presentation. 

Promote Kiwanis. If the speaker agrees, invite local media to attend the meeting and presentation. Kiwanis International has tips and tools to help. And don’t forget to add a properly branded Kiwanis logo to your podium or lectern for photo opportunities. 

End on a positive note. When the presentation concludes, thank the speaker and offer an inexpensive token of appreciation. Consider a donation on the speaker’s behalf to a cause that reflects your club’s focus on service and community.  

Follow up. A day or two after the presentation, send the speaker a note of appreciation on behalf of the club. And don’t forget to invite them to join Kiwanis!