You don’t have to be a Toastmaster for very long to realize that some people are members of two or more clubs. The question you might ask is: “Should I follow their example? Should I join a second club?”
Not necessarily, but strong reasons may motivate you to consider it.
One obvious benefit is the chance to increase your speaking opportunities. If you joined Toastmasters to improve your speaking, the more you speak, the better you get. And if you plan to compete in speech contests, belonging to more than one club gives you more chances to practice.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Another key benefit of speaking in more than one club is being evaluated by different groups of Toastmasters. Although we all evaluate speakers based on the same guidelines, each one of us notices different areas for improvement. Different evaluators may give you a different perspective and, hence, a richer growth experience to help you improve.
Perhaps you are focused on the leadership aspect of Toastmasters. Two clubs give you more opportunities to serve—not to mention the additional networking possibilities.
More opportunities to speak and serve will, potentially, help you progress through the program much quicker. While that may be your objective, I will reiterate what I wrote in my first Toastmasters Toolbox article: This is not a race. Proceed at a pace that promotes growth.
You may have other reasons for considering membership in a second club. There may come a time in your Toastmasters involvement when you say, “I would like to be pushed to grow more.” You might even be ready for an advanced club, where most, if not all, members are higher-level speakers. Advanced clubs challenge you to get better.
Another type of club to consider is a specialty club; Toastmasters offers lots of them. There are clubs for humor, improv, storytelling, dining and even wine-tasting. I’ve seen them for writing, photography and specific ethnic groups. And if you are in business for yourself, see if your local Chamber of Commerce has a club.
“More opportunities to speak and serve can help you progress through the program quicker.”
If you have a specific interest and don’t see a club for your topic, talk with members from your area leadership team. They are always looking to start a new club.
Personally, I have some specific requirements. I use the stage a lot when I speak. A venue with a good speaking area is important to me. I also videotape all my speeches (some clips even make it to the internet), so I need a professional setting, and one that is bright enough to get a good recording.
I found a club that fits those requirements and I joined.
Another reason to attend an additional club is one that I have used extensively.
I have competed in Toastmasters speech contests many times. If you are a member of one club, you have one chance of participating. You may be fine with that. I have found for myself, however, that competing at the higher levels pushes me to become a better speaker. I am therefore highly motivated to make it to the area contest, and beyond. Being a member of more clubs gives me a greater chance of winning at the club level and moving on to the area competition.
Let me give you an example. I was once a member of two advanced clubs. Competition, as you can imagine, was high. In fact, in one club, I didn’t finish in the top three. I had, however, joined another club whose speakers were not as strong. I won its club contest. By working hard, I improved to the point where I took second at the division level. I created a contestant opportunity for myself by joining an additional club—and I became a better speaker in the process. That is one way to use multiple club memberships to achieve your speaking goals.
As you can see, there are many reasons for joining a second club. Or a single club may be perfect for you. If you are ready for an expanded experience, take a look at what is available in your city. You just might find what you are looking for.