What to Hate About Toastmasters? – A Toastmasters Review

When the realm of public speaking is explored, Toastmasters inevitably becomes part of the conversation. Having spent four years as a Toastmasters member, my overall experience has been positive. However, like any organization, it has its share of challenges. This review delves into aspects of Toastmasters that could be improved, showcasing both the strengths and weaknesses of this renowned public speaking forum.

What to Hate About Toastmasters?

1. Know It Alls

My primary pet peeve with Toastmasters is the presence of individuals who believe they know everything about public speaking but rarely venture beyond the club’s walls. Though a minority, their vocal nature can adversely affect the club’s atmosphere. The remedy? Step outside Toastmasters and speak to diverse audiences to gain real-world insights.

2. The In Crowd

Like any social group, Toastmasters can sometimes develop cliques, creating an “in crowd” versus everyone else dynamic. While this was not an issue in the club I joined, it’s crucial to avoid such clubs. If you sense exclusivity emerging, initiate open discussions and ensure the club remains welcoming to all.

3. Ineffective Officers

Leadership challenges can plague Toastmasters, from reluctant past presidents to power struggles among officers. The strength of a club lies in diversity, and prolonged leadership dominance can stifle it. Regular rotations of leaders and addressing power struggles openly can help maintain a healthy club environment.

4. When Bad Things Happen to Good Clubs

Several external factors can impact a Toastmasters club, from sudden changes in meeting locations to a loss of talent due to company relocations. Having contingency plans for meeting space changes and consistently demonstrating the club’s value to the host organization can help weather logistical challenges.

5. Ego, Ergo They Go

Strong personalities within a club can lead to member attrition, especially when dominating voices drown out others. Clubs should emphasize inclusivity and discourage the imposition of personal beliefs or political agendas. Regular announcements reinforcing these principles can help maintain a harmonious environment.

6. A Leader Runs Through It

Leadership challenges, including leaders reluctant to let go and overzealous individuals focused on rules rather than personal growth, can strain a club. True leaders unite rather than divide, recognizing that the heart of a club lies in its people. Electing leaders who prioritize the club’s purpose is essential.

7. The Long Decline

Cumulative small decisions, when left unaddressed, can lead to the gradual decline of a Toastmasters club. The curse of mediocrity sets in when meeting standards drop, roles are neglected, and an air of informality prevails. Infusing the club with quality practices, communication, and member interaction can reverse this decline.

8. It’s Not What Happens, It’s How You React

Despite challenges, no situation is irreparable. Seeking assistance from club coaches, specialists, and experienced members can aid in reviving a struggling club. Initiating changes in practices, communication, and overall club dynamics can breathe new life into a Toastmasters community.


While the word “hate” might seem strong, it was chosen to address specific challenges within Toastmasters. The aim is not to discourage participation but to highlight areas for improvement. Toastmasters remains a valuable platform for personal and professional growth, provided clubs actively address and overcome these challenges.

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