12 October 23
When we decide to host a presentation for any reason, be it an open night to encourage membership enquiries, to make a presentation to a local charity or person, or merely to make our presence known, we are selling ‘our masonic lodge’ to the general public, in particular to the residents and workers in our local town or suburban community.
We must do it well!
The target is to win over our local community, which has for years been living with ‘that’ building around the corner or up the road, which is very rarely open, very rarely used and ‘is full of mysterious objects used in strange rituals “acted out” by old men in dinner suits!’
We masons have been objects of curiosity for too long we need to rise to the challenge and use that curiosity to sell ourselves so that we can make freemasonry more attractive.
Being secretive over the years has not been very helpful to us. In fact it has done us a great deal of damage. To repair that damage will take time and effort and a very professional approach with polished presentations to win people over.
We should not be disappointed if our ‘newfound openness’ doesn’t work the first time. We must be prepared to open our lodge to introduce ourselves and our philosophy to the community again and again and let them get used to us gradually. If that is what it takes for them to accept us and start thinking positively about us and about joining our organisation, just remember – if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.
What we must do each and every time we invite people into our ‘home’ is to ensure that we present ourselves in the very best manner possible. Every presentation requires the lodge to consider two major matters before even setting a date:
1. ‘Why are we doing this and what
do we expect to achieve?’ and;
2. ‘Who is going to be our front man?’
1. As with any undertaking careful planning will generally result in success; poor planning in failure. When planning we should remember ‘if we increase our expectations we will improve our outcome’. Whatever reason you are doing this for, remain focused on that reason as this will help you achieve your goal. In doing so you should aim to leave no doubt in the mind of the audience that we are a fraternity of excellence and men of high ideals.
2. Your front man and the job he does can either boost your image or leave it in tatters. How the audience sees him is far more import ant than how you see him. Is he articulate, a polished speaker who presents well, looks the part and is capable of getting your message over to enhance your standing in the community? If not, call for reinforcements.
Help is out there.
Shoot for the stars in the best environment available, hiring a room if the lodge room does not present well. Promote your event within the community and don’t be afraid to spend some money; provide an appropriate repast that will impress so that those who take the time to come will leave with a good, positive impression of you and your lodge.
In particular if you are doing this to add to your membership, have a specific segment for the ladies attending. Never forget the part a wife can play in determining her husband’s choices. The future of your lodge could possibly be at stake here, so nothing but ‘the best’ will do; prepare well, choose your presenters carefully, advertise, dine in style and follow up curiosity for, perhaps, half a century or more, so inviting the locals in and impressing them with our good looks and smooth talking in one short meeting will be a big ask.
But we must rise to the occasion, accept the challenge and start selling.