Officer Training – Again!
What’s in it for you?
Are you a club officer? If so, are you planning to attend midyear officer training in December or January?
No? Think the training won’t benefit you? Please think again – and read on to see what unexpected benefits training can offer. Even veteran officers find numerous reasons to attend.
If you already plan to be there – great! Here’s a sample of what everyone can gain from this enlightening and helpful event.
Learn Something New
The initial benefits of midyear training – or “second training” to some – should be obvious to anyone assuming an officer role for the first time in January. You attend to learn about your role.
As technology and resources change, officer roles can be affected. Even veteran officers might need to learn new procedures, functions or processes. For example, officers of clubs using FreeToastHost.org have seen their responsibilities adjust to the increasing functionality offered by the free online website.
Remember and Reflect
Officer roles are multifaceted. Many times, these positions involve behind-the-scenes work seldom realized or appreciated by members. Rarely do we do everything we’re supposed to during our first six months in a role – maybe not even in a whole year. Midyear training allows you to check in with others about all the duties involved in your position and to think about ways to handle them.
It can also be an opportunity to reflect on the first six months. How did you do? What went well, and what could be improved? Our lives are so busy – who isn’t multitasking these days? This session offers that time to focus on your officer contribution and process what’s happened so far.
Share Challenges and Successes
For club officers gathered at the training event, the group dynamic is very useful. Edward Chen, of District 67 in Taipei, Taiwan, says, “The main purpose is to share what they have experienced in the past half-year and find solutions for the problem or difficulties they are facing.”
What are some best practices employed by clubs? What activities or approaches have other clubs tried? What are some lessons learned that could benefit you or others? By hearing about best practices or activities that didn’t work, officers can quickly add to their portfolio of initiatives. And it’s nice to know that you’re not alone in some of the challenges you’re facing.
Socialize and Network
Many people go for the social aspect of training. It’s an opportunity to meet new people or connect with other members in a new way.
You can also network to help recruit participants for your club meetings. Chen says, “Both the first and the second officer trainings also serve as fellowship meetings for district and club officers. The meetings offer them opportunities to make friends with the officers from all over the country. This is very helpful in fulfilling their jobs, as they may [then] know many capable and experienced Toastmasters from other clubs who they can invite to their clubs to serve ... in the regular meetings or as judges in their speech contests.”
You might hear about other speaking opportunities or recruit speakers for meetings and contests. You might even learn about something beyond Toastmasters, such as a job opportunity.
It’s Up to the District
Not all midyear training sessions offer all these opportunities. Some might offer very few. In addition, as Debbie Roes, Area 8 Governor in District 5 and immediate past president of Pacific Beach Toastmasters in San Diego, California, points out, “The level of benefits gained varies widely depending upon the trainer.”
If your district doesn’t provide the training you or your officers need, send the district leaders some constructive feedback. What would help? Toastmasters are trained in evaluation; use those skills to let your district leadership know what you need to be successful. Share your ideas.
A lot of time, energy and resources are put into organizing midyear training. The coordinators and trainers want to make training the best possible experience for all. Give them an opportunity to consider your needs. As Philani Ncube, past president of District 74’s Honeydew Toastmasters in Johannesburg, South Africa, notes, “Like anything else in life, you only get out of it as much as you put in.”
Condensed and updated from “Officer Training – Again!” by Jennifer L. Blanck, ACS, AL, published in the December 2008 Toastmaster magazine.