In this section, you will find the 3 aspects generally composing the Toastmasters Experience: A general view of Toastmasters, What are Toastmasters Meetings and your possible first steps by Visiting A Club.
Welcome To Toastmasters!
Toastmasters International gave itself the following mission:
We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.
We are the world leader in Communication and Leadership development. This non-profit organization with over 700,000 members in 15,000+ Clubs in 145 countries offers a proven – and enjoyable! – way to practice and hone Communication and Leadership skills.
Since 1924, Toastmasters International creates supportive environments in Clubs all around the world. In this Club context, more experienced speakers and leaders are role models you can refer to in order to learn the fundamentals of verbal communication and leadership.
Need to get straight to the point? (how do the Toastmasters meetings look like) —> Watch this video 🎞
As an international organization, caring about its Members’ well-being, Toastmasters has written its basic frame by giving itself values, a vision and a frame presented as the Toastmasters’ promise.
Toastmasters International Values are Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence.
Toastmasters International Envisioned Future is: To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.
A Toastmaster’s Promise is the following text. It is very important, as it carries the mission of the Club at Toastmasters International, which is to provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
Each Member of our organization embraces it as soon as he or she become a new-born Toastmaster:
As a member of Toastmasters International and my club, I promise:
To attend club meetings regularly
To prepare all of my speech and leadership projects to the best of my ability, basing them on projects in the Competent Communication, Advanced Communication, or Competent Leadership manuals
To prepare for and fulfill meeting assignments
To provide fellow members with helpful, constructive evaluations
To help the club maintain the positive, friendly environment necessary for all members to learn and growTo serve my club as an officer when called upon to do so
To treat my fellow club members and our guests with respect and courtesy
To bring guests to club meetings so they can see the benefits Toastmasters membership offers
To adhere to the guidelines and rules for all Toastmasters education and recognition programs
To maintain honest and highly ethical standards during the conduct of all Toastmasters activities.
Your Improvement Path
As a member, you practice and improve your skills by following the assignments in the Communication and Leadership manuals. You get to practice your skills in a wide variety of roles: as a meeting participant, as a speaker, as a club officer and as a leader at some of the different levels necessary for an international organization.
To understand better what this journey will look like for you as an individual, visit the “Find Your Voice” page.
There is no instructor in Toastmasters; instead, each speech and meeting is evaluated by a member in a positive manner, focusing on what was done right and what could be improved.
In this playground provided by the Clubs, through practice, you will gain confidence in your abilities in: delivering prepared presentations, speaking “on your feet,” using visual aids and body language, effective listening and passing what you learn on to others.
The educational material has been rigorously and professionally prepared, used by hundreds of thousands of men and women over the past decades, and improved based on their feedback.
The Club’s Experience: Typical Meetings
The purpose of the Toastmasters method is to help members overcome their fears about speaking in front of a public and to improve their communication skills.
So as a Toastmaster – Member – are provided a self-paced, focused speaking program with a supportive, experienced group of people to assist you.
This mutual support, which is part of the Toastmasters Promise, will help you become more effective in several skills. Among these skills: formal public presentations, individual communications, handling impromptu speaking situations, managing and participating in meetings, and leading and managing teams.
So in a Meeting, you will meet various Roles:
The Toastmasters Members fill different roles to help the meeting flow smoothly and create and keep its quality into the organization’s standards.
Here is a majority of them: The Toastmaster of the Day prepares and leads the meeting as “host” | The Table Topic Master leads the impromptu speaking portion | The General Evaluator is the master of the Evaluation section | The Timer supports everyone by reminding them of their use of time | The Ah Counter notes any word or sound used as a crutch, so speakers can become aware and correct them.
Can’t figure how it looks like yet? Watch the video below, sure it helps ⤵
Thus the typical Club meeting is specially designed to be an opportunity to practice various techniques in a variety of situations.
Therefore, a normal Toastmasters meeting will count sections:
Table Topics are the moment of a meeting where participants improvise! In this part, Club members – and sometimes guests – practice impromptu speaking by answering to topic questions prepared by the Table Topics Master.
The challenge here will be to talk 1 to 2 minutes.
Another part of the meeting is assigned to prepared presentations by Members following their path in the Educational Program.
To know more about Toastmaster’s educational program, visit Pathways’ introduction page.
Each project in your educational path has a specific objective in an area that helps you practice different speaking techniques. The objectives are designed as guidelines to help reach the best possible speech.
Some Members may be starting out while others may be more advanced. Remember all Toastmasters began just as you did, and as you learn from each project you will be in good conditions to help you reach your objectives.
Last but not least… a Toastmasters meeting uses Evaluation to support the Members’ practice of listening.
Then, assigned Members will present evaluations of the prepared speeches and of the meeting as a whole.
These evaluations provide feedback of by the Evaluators for the presenters and will point out the positive aspects of the speech, and some possible areas for improvement.
Constructive evaluations are the hallmark of the best Toastmasters.
It can happen at the beginning, at the end, or in the middle of the Meeting.
This is the Club’s Business.
There can be a Member in charge of this moment in the Meeting, so that this business time can be handled quickly and efficiently.
Visiting a Club: Advice for your first steps in Toastmasters
Visit A Club
Visiting a Club is the best way to learn more about Toastmasters.
While the information contained in this web site can give you a good idea of what to expect, the best way to learn what Toastmasters can do for you is to visit one of our Clubs’ meetings.
So find a club near you and contact it using the telephone number or email provided.
For your information, some – very few – Clubs might be closed to the general public (usually Corporate Clubs are generally open only to their employees and Toastmasters Members).
Visit More Than One Club
We encourage you to visit more than one Club, as each Club has its own atmosphere.
You might notice the core principles of Toastmasters: the general purpose of improving its Members’ speaking skills in a supportive environment + the different stages of a meeting, will keep you in a familiar environment.
You Are Always Welcome
You are always welcome at Club meetings. You may take part if you wish, or just watch and listen.
As a guest you will be introduced so that the Members of the Club know who you are, and encouraged to join Toastmasters. The decision to take that first step toward becoming a better speaker, however, is entirely up to you 🙂
Remember you can contact us if still you need precisions.