For the last 6 months or so most of our new students have come because they are friends of someone who already practices or are members of the karate dojo where we train. That makes things just a little easier.
For the most part someone who is interested in us will watch a class first. Whoever is teaching that night will generally start a technique and then go talk to the person/people watching just to give them an idea of what we are about. Sometimes they come back and sometimes they do not.
If they come back and take a class they immediately get paired with one of the 2nd or 1st kyu's for the basic exercizes and ukemi. After the warm ups they switch off just like every other student. With a new student on the mats the technique tends to be a little lighter and not as "fancy", at least for the first few classes
After most peoples first class most wear a kind of an information overload look on their face Most of the regular students are really good about talking to the newbies and offering help or even time to work on the basic motions and or ukemi if the new person so wishes.
We also have a student handbook that gives a nice history of Aikido and of our style in particular along with terminology, etiquette and general dojo rules.
One of our Sempai runs a college club (where he teaches) and was thinking that it would be a good idea to have each new person who showed up have a "mentor" who is a regular student. Of course when the club started he had 6 or 7 regulars from the main dojo helping him out and well over 20 students so that idea never really panned out
Sounded like a good one though, anyone ever do something similar?