May 6, 2012

Should You Join An Advanced Toastmasters Club?

climbingby Promod Sharma, President 2011-2012, CC

After you complete your Competent Communicator (CC) manual, you can join an Advanced Toastmasters club. You still maintain a connection with your home club but now you can also benefit from being with more experienced speakers.

In theory.


You have limited choices since there aren't many advanced clubs. If there are fewer members, you won't get as many suggestions on how to improve. If you don't like a member or two, you may not like the chemistry of that club.

The big problem is the meaning of "advanced". It's difficult to get a failing grade on a Toastmasters speech. Encouragement is motivating but speakers might think they're better than they really are because of the certificates they've received.


Speakers can get stuck in ruts. That's why many PowerPoint presentations still have too much text and too few visuals. Change is difficult.

Do you see the dilemma? You might be getting feedback from speakers who think they're great but are stuck in worn-out routines. You risk getting tips that don’t work well with today’s shorter attention spans. For instance, there’s an old speaking formula: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and tell them you told them. Sensible but boring. Do you see that approach routinely used in movies, plays, keynotes or TED Talks?


Members of a niche (say speakers, entrepreneurs, economists) tend to think in similar ways. They become predictable and hence redundant. You might find greater wisdom in a diverse crowd.

For years, I've been speaking to the financial sector. The audiences tend to be technical (or think they are). Advice from self-proclaimed expert speakers tends to be similar. Listen to them and you'll become a speaker much like them. Deviate and you'll stand out.

See For Yourself

If you're already in a club you like, you may benefit most by staying there. You'll also be helping less experienced members.

Visiting an advanced club is definitely worthwhile. Joining might not be.


Promod Sharma ( is currently working on his Advanced Communicator Bronze in his original club.

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