(This is being written some time after the event, and was a last minute speech to begin with)
Fellow Toastmasters and honored guests. We come to toastmasters to learn the art of public speaking. While actually getting up and speaking is important, listening to others to others speak is also a powerful tool to pick up techniques and ideas you can use yourself. Of course, you have to be present to hear the speeches. If you find yourself needing that extra bit of motivation to attend every meeting, perhaps you should consider the officer role Sergeant at Arms.
Officially, the Sergeant at Arms reserves and manages the meeting location, keeps the club equipment, and has primary responsibility for setting up the room before each meeting and for cleaning up afterwards. In this club the relationship with the city hall is nearly on autopilot; they requested a single contact rather than a new officer every year, so it mainly comes down to ensuring the reservations are extended for the next year.
Setting up the room is not hard, and will quickly become routine. Often other toastmasters, arriving early, will help move and position equipment, so you don’t even have to do most of the work. If you are unable to attend some evenings, just let us know. There are several former Sergeant at Arms, including myself and several others present, who could be available to help out. You simply have primary responsibility for ensuring the room is set up – you don’t always have to do it yourself.
The Sergeant at Arms is responsible for the club equipment. Fortunately the club has use of closet space in the city hall, so it only needs to be moved short distances. The necessary equipment is already well understood and provided for, you merely need to keep an eye on supplies like ribbons and new member folders, and provide notice when they need to be restocked. If you have a talent for organizing things, the club supplies, while sufficient, could no doubt benefit from some additional sorting and straightening.
Finally, the Sergeant at Arms is one of the club officers. If you have an interest in getting a gentle introduction to the management of the club, this is a great way to start. The Sergeant at Arms is one of easiest roles to get into – it’s duties primarily occur during meetings you already attend. At the same time, you will be part of club officer meetings, gaining experience in how the club operates, and some perspective on the duties of the other officers.
If you like organizing things, want to get a gentle introduction to the club officers, or just need that extra nudge to hear more speeches, the Sergeant at Arms may be for you.