By Alyssa Kline, Key Club International trustee 

As we jump into the new school year and get on that Key Club grind, it’s essential that we ensure our officers are effectively trained. Club and division officers are arguably the most important building blocks in a strong, active and engaged membership. Here are five tried-and-tested tips to plan and execute an effective — and engaging — officer training event. And they’re applicable to Key Clubs across the globe!  

Develop relevant and relatable presentations.  

Educational workshops are the core of officer training events. Thus, it is key to develop presentations that are relevant and relatable to your membership. Well in advance, send out a Google Form to your officers asking which presentations they would find most useful. (Remember: Direct feedback is the best way to ensure an event meets members’ needs!) The options should include a balanced mix of basic, foundational workshops (e.g., Presidents 101) and fun, out-of-the-ordinary presentations (e.g., Using fairytale characters to Build Your Leadership Style). Be sure to include workshops that relate to the quarter of the term you are in, whether it’s a step-by-step navigation of the Membership Update Center or an in-depth guide on fundraising to attend a district convention.  

It’s also helpful to send a feedback form to all attendees after the event. This will assist with the planning of future officer training!   

Diversify your presenters.  

The opportunity to present a workshop should be given to more than just a few people. Reach out to trusted club officers, Key Club alumni, and other possible guest presenters! If more than one person is presenting a workshop, try to pair up presenters who have different Key Club/leadership experiences. The more diversified your presenters are, the greater variety of tips and advice you’ll be able to offer your attendees.  

Diversify your attendees. 

One of the easiest ways to boost attendance is to host your training event in conjunction with a nearby club or division. Collaborating to bring a diversity of Key Club members beyond your own club/division to your event stimulates an exchange of Key Club spirit and wisdom. An event’s engagement is automatically bolstered if you incorporate activities that promote the intermixing of Key Club members from different areas. You can even discuss the possibility of friendly competition between the different attendees in order to incentivize engagement.  

Keep it casual. 

Attending a “training conference” can sound boring and intimidating. Keep it casual and entertaining — and include more engaging aspects in the promotion of the event! One simple way to achieve this is to embed icebreakers into the beginning of your presentation. When presenting a workshop on effective communication, I love to play “telephone” with the entire room; it creates an attentive, energetic atmosphere while still pertaining to the topic.  

In addition, introduce yourself and some personal fun facts at the beginning of each workshop. To spice up any presentation, you can sprinkle in jokes, plan interactive games or theme your presentation slides on something random. Basically, get creative and don’t be too serious!  

Employ the “Sandwich” method.  

Your officer training event should include a mixture of fun, spirit-building activities in addition to your educational workshops. Your event can be most effective if you sandwich your workshop blocks in between games, meal time and other activities. The schedule should be balanced and should naturally incorporate “brain breaks” to keep your attendees refreshed and attentive. A sample schedule may look like:  

  • Opening Session 
  • Workshop Block #1
  • Workshop Block #2
  • Lunch
  • Workshop Block #3
  • Spirit Activities
  • Workshop Block #4
  • Closing Session 

Remember: Your officers are integral to your club’s or division’s success, and training events are some of the most direct and effective ways to develop your officers’ leadership skills. Take the advice above into consideration, and you’re one step closer to successful training.