Why take a role other than Speaker? There’s an excellent chance that you joined Toastmasters to enhance your public speaking abilities. That’s not the only benefit you’ll get from Toastmasters, however. Other benefits include:

  • Improving leadership skills
  • Learning to listen better
  • Socializing and networking
  • Improving oganizational skills

The Club Member Roles page, mentioned previously on this blog, also mentions benefits for certain roles. For example,

Timer: Taking on this role improves time management skills.

Toastmasters International website, Club Meeting Roles

A few meetings ago, one of our experienced members mentioned that roles are a great way for new members to get their feet wet, especially if they are particularly shy or nervous. I know that when I joined Toastmasters, I took roles such as Timer and Listener. I didn’t give my Icebreaker speech for months! I just ran my Member Role Historical Report, and this is what I got:

NameDateRole
Laura Kozma2018-06-27Timer 
2018-07-11Grammarian
2018-07-25Listener
2018-08-08Evaluator # 5 
2018-08-22Table Topics 
2018-09-12Speaker #3
Yes, I actually was a Grammarian before I gave my Icebreaker speech…

Another reason to take a role other than Speaker is if you currently have a very busy or unpredictable life. You can sign up for a role such as Ah/Um Counter if there are still roles available at the time of the meeting. Performing a role such as Ah/Um Counter also requires less preparation than a speech, so if you’re pressed for time, signing up for a role other than Speaker is the way to go.

Another benefit – and I’m being selfish here as someone’s who’s been a Vice President of Education – is that by signing up for a role, you’ll help the VPE and Toastmaster fill the roles. It’s important to have as many roles filled as possible. Filling all of the roles successfully leads to a successful meeting, which in turn leads to a successful club.

In conclusion, here are some of the reasons to take a role other than Speaker:

  • Get your feet wet, as you acclimate yourself as a Toastmaster and public speaker
  • Improve a skill in addition to public speaking (e.g., time management)
  • You don’t have time to prepare a speech
  • You’re not sure you can attend the meeting
  • Your VPE / Toastmaster will thank you, if only in their thoughts 🙂

Question: Did you give your Icebreaker immediately after joining Toastmasters, or did you take another role first?