3 Things you can do to help you choose your Toastmasters club
You have done your homework: you have searched online, you have asked colleagues and friends, you have watched championship speeches – and decided you want to join Toastmasters.
Then you realise you cannot “join Toastmasters” as such. You need to choose a Toastmasters club, and join it. This will give you access to the Toastmasters International website and Pathways, their online educational programme – enabling you to prepare and deliver speeches and other project in the club.
So how do you decide which Toastmasters club to join?
Here I share how I went about it in my own personal case.
1. Do a search based on your location, either home or work
You might want to go straight to Toastmasters meetings from work, or find it more practical to head for home after the office, then go to a local club near to your home location. There are clubs that meet in the evening, others at lunchtime and others at breakfast time. Again others that prefer a weekend time.
Bear in mind that while Covid-19 is with us worldwide, there are more options to meet with your club online, using such platforms as Zoom. You may thus be able to join any club around the world, regardless of where you live at present. Just check with prospective clubs what their intentions are for when they are able to meet in person again. There are many clubs that are planning to adopt a hybrid meeting environment, which would maintain the online option beyond the current pandemic crisis.
2. Visit what appears to be a good location-based club or any other criteria applicable to you.
Visit your first club of choice, based on time of meeting, location or other considerations important to you. You can be a guest free of charge and free of obligation. Gather your first impressions: is it a friendly bunch of people? Did you have an opportunity to network? Were you introduced? Did you like the general flow of the meeting and did you find the speeches interesting, even captivating? Was the meeting well attended…and so on.
Take a look at the club website, how long the club has been in existence and ask questions before and after the meeting.
Visit more than once. Revisit your first impressions after 3 or more meetings: do you still feel that you have found your ideal “home club”?
3. Visit one or more other clubs
Clubs are like individuals: they have a personality. There are also speciality clubs that restrict membership to a certain profession or previous experience. There are corporate clubs; your place of business may have a Toastmasters club available for you to join.
Membership fees can also vary, depending on the club’s overheads, such as rental of venue.
“Shop around” and then make your choice and join a Toastmasters club. Bear in mind that later you may choose to join a second club if you wish and become a “dual member”, for certain reasons beyond the scope of this post.
Why not contact Tube Talk Toastmasters for details, or visit us at one of our meetings as our guest, free of charge? We’re online, so you are as close to us as your nearest Internet connection.
And take note: joining a Toastmasters club does not break the bank!
Post by: Massimo
Vice President Education and Membership 2020-21
Immediate Past President
Tube Talk Toastmasters Club