During my “official Governor” visits with Rotary clubs I have discussed what makes members want to come back each week to club meetings. Simple actually…good fun, food, and programs. Ask what makes a good program I always mention having members give “Classification Talks.”

Here is what the Rotary International website says about the member classification talk:

A "classification" describes the principal activity of the company or business with which a Rotarian is connected. For example, a police officer could be classified as "law enforcement", a school principal as "public education". The reason for classifications is to ensure a well-balanced club with members of many vocations. One of Rotary's five avenues of service is "vocational service", whereby we honor and respect our individual contributions to our community through our vocations. New and old members are given an opportunity to share their vocation by giving a classification talk.

In my own club we usually have two members give “Classification Talks” each quarter. These programs turn out to be some of the most enjoyable as members learn interesting details about the life of a fellow member. We give several weeks “notice” to those who are asked to speak. We try to get newly joined members first then cycle in members who have not done a talk for several years. We give members a general outline of what to cover in their classification talk as follows:  We allow about 10-15 minutes to 1) tell us about yourself, 2) your family, 3) your schools, 4) occupation,  5) business, 6)  recreational interests and 7) why you joined Rotary.  This way we get to know our members better.  Rotary is about networking also, so the more we know about a member the more help we can we can give his/her business. Having members ready, and in reserve, to give a classification talk is a great way to “cover” should a regular program speaker not appear.