Taking a Club Officer Role at Toastmasters

In a past post, I wrote about my experience in joining a Toastmasters Club. As I am writing this post, around a year and a half has passed since and there is a lot that I have gained from my involvement in Toastmasters. I have enjoyed it so much that I am now part of three clubs (yes, that’s a lot of time committed to Toastmasters). For those of you who have never heard about Toastmasters, you can refer to my previous post where I provide a general overview but to sum it up, it’s an organisation that helps its members develop their presentation and leadership skills.

What I would like to focus on in this post is the valuable experience that I have gained from taking the club officer role of president at one of my clubs. Every Toastmasters Club is managed by designated club officers who help in the running of the club by taking on core responsibilities that are essential for growing and maintaining a healthy club. These individuals are ordinary club members who put themselves forward at the start of an office term (more details can be found here) and are elected via the club’s officer election process.

While my first year at Toastmasters was focused on my presentation skills and on working on my speeches, my second year has been focused more on my club officer role. I have seen a lot of seasoned toastmasters who are just happy focusing on their speeches and avoid taking club officer roles due to several reasons (time commitment, additional responsibilities, etc.) but I think this is a big mistake as there is so much value from being a club officer. I believe that by taking on a club officer role, members can truly focus on harnessing their leadership skills. In this post I am summing up some of my key learnings:

Working in a Team

The seven officer roles are President, Vice President Education, Vice President Membership, Vice President Public Relations, Treasurer, Secretary, Sergeant at Arms. Each role has a very well-defined purpose, and each role is essential for the club. This segregation of roles is as close as you can get in replicating the process of running a small company or some form of entity/organization. All club officers are indispensable for efficiently operating a club. As a club president, one of the biggest mistakes that I made at the start of my term was getting involved with some of the core duties that should have come under the remit of other club officer roles. Despite my intentions being good and driven by the desire of wanting to grow the club, I realised that this was not the right approach as it adversely impacted the other club officer’s experience. I learned that there is a reason why roles are segregated and learned to have full confidence and respect for other club officer’s work and that has helped me build a good relationship with the team which has helped us work efficiently and harmoniously in almost doubling the number of members at our club. The ability to work with different types of people is extremely important and I have no doubt that this experience is something that will be valuable for my career.

Helping Club Members

Arguably, one of the greatest satisfactions for me as a club president has been seeing the progress of newer club members. Seeing new members who were originally nervous but who gradually become more and more confident in speaking, seeing their smiles after they delivered their Ice Breaker Speeches is what motivates me in working hard in running the club. One of the first things that I did with other club officers at the start of the term was setting club level core values and we agreed that we wanted our club atmosphere to be as friendly and as inclusive as possible to help people who are new to Toastmasters; having a set of shared values has really helped us in creating our desired club atmosphere.

District & Area Networking

Club officers are also required to regularly attend officer trainings which are organized by the club’s district (I will elaborate on this structure in a future post). This is a great opportunity to not only learn new skills (relating to officer roles and club management best practices) but to also network and meet fellow toastmasters from other clubs and regions. Being able to see area level and district level directors organize these kinds of bigger events also gives relatively new toastmasters like me new goals as this gives me strong incentives for further improving my leadership skills to have an influence also outside of my club.

Overall, despite having struggled a bit at first being a club president, I found the experience very rewarding. It has been great seeing new members deliver their Ice Breaker speeches; I’ve found it a very rewarding experience being able to have the opportunity to help enrich my club members’ toastmaster journeys. It has also been a great experience working with other club officers, I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to work with other far more experienced toastmasters and they have always been very helpful in guiding me throughout my journey. With about half a term left, I am very excited about our club’s prospects; due to COVID we had lost quite a lot of members, however, in the past months we have had numerous guests visit and members join and I think the club is doing very well. I look forward to sharing with you more posts in the future about my toastmasters adventures. Thank you for reading.

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1 Response to Taking a Club Officer Role at Toastmasters

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