It’s the end of the Toastmasters program year. Time for each member to stretch to finish up a level in Pathways. Time for each club to maximize its achievements in the Distinguished Club Program. And time to submit your club’s new officer list.
Some clubs have already selected officers. But others may still be looking to fulfill one or more slots. Perhaps someone has talked to you about stepping up and taking one of those positions. If you have never been a club officer, you might be hesitant to take the plunge, especially if you are a relatively new Toastmaster. The reality is, this might be a great opportunity for you, no matter your experience level.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of being a club officer.
First of all, it is an opportunity to serve the club. I have been a Toastmaster for 16 years and held almost every officer position. However, I did reach a point where I needed a break. But when I moved to a town in Wyoming and joined a small club, I discovered one member had been Vice President Education for many years and needed a change. In a small club, there aren’t many options for officers and being a detail-oriented person, I was well suited to assume the role. I needed to step up for the benefit of the club. Although I was reluctant to take the position, I am enjoying it with this club and have had an impact in moving the club forward. It also gives me a connection with each member that I would otherwise not have had.
Taking on the role with this club also gave me a fresh challenge. It gave me an opportunity to sink my teeth into a new project. And I am improving my leadership skills in the process.
There is also much that goes on behind the scenes in a Toastmasters club. Serving on the Club Executive Committee, composed of all the club officers, gives you insight into what happens in the club, as well as at the Area, Division, and District levels.
An additional benefit is the opportunity to expand your network. In the remote area of Wyoming where I moved to, the nearest club is 120 miles away. Serving as an officer has given me a sense of connection with more people in my District.
Hopefully, I have piqued your interest. If that’s the case, which positions should you consider? Here are my brief explanations of the roles.
The Sergeant at Arms helps with meeting setup, logistics, and etiquette rules. The role is very important, but isn’t too time consuming.
Another position you might consider is Secretary. You take minutes of the meetings, maintain and update club records, and order club supplies as needed.
If you like financial details, you might want to consider Treasurer, who essentially acts as the club’s accountant. You manage the club’s bank account and submit membership dues payments to Toastmasters World Headquarters.
If websites and social media are your thing, Vice President Public Relations might be a natural fit for you. It is your job to promote and publicize the club.
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in a Toastmasters club.
My first position was Vice President Membership, which focuses on member recruitment and retention. This is a great role, especially if you like to talk to people.
The two remaining offices, Vice President Education and Club President, are a little more involved. If you have a larger club, normally the roles are taken by more experienced members. However, if you want to hone your leadership and organizational skills, and your club needs you to step in, you could pick up what you need to know relatively quickly. Among other things, the Vice President Education helps members with their progress in Pathways, and the President inspires members and fellow officers to achieve results.
No matter what role you take on, your District will have training sessions to bring you up to speed. There you will meet people who, in addition to your fellow officers, you can call on for help throughout your term.
Serving as a club officer, and becoming part of your Club Executive Committee, is an excellent way to grow your leadership skills. I am glad that I joined the Executive Committee of my new club and plan on continuing when my current term is up. I recommend that you consider serving as well, especially if your club needs you. You will be glad that you did.
Bill Brown, DTM is a speech delivery coach in Gillette, Wyoming. He is a member of Energy Capital Toastmasters in Gillette. Learn more at www.billbrownspeechcoach.com.