What is Toastmasters?
It is no secret that it is important to have strong public speaking and leadership skills. Toastmasters International has been around for decades, giving people the opportunity to improve their public speaking skills through a supportive environment where members share ideas, evaluate, and learn from one another. This article will go over Toastmasters International, how it works, who would benefit from it, and what you can expect to learn when participating in Toastmasters International.
Toastmasters International is a global nonprofit organization that provides communication and leadership development training. Toastmasters was founded in 1924 by Professor Ralph Smedley of the Educational Association of Lake Como, Pennsylvania. It’s important to note that Toastmasters is a nonprofit organization, which means that it does not have any shareholders or owners. It runs on member dues and the support of volunteers who give their time to running clubs across North America.
Toastmasters International has more than 352,000 members in over 15,900 clubs located around the world. Trained members lead clubs, and Toastmasters International provides guidance and support to individuals looking to improve their public speaking skills. Members meet weekly in an informal setting, where they speak on various topics for prepared speeches or impromptu discussions.
Who Joins Toastmasters?
People from all walks of life participate in Toastmasters International to improve their communication abilities by participating in courses taught by other members. Toastmasters International offers a variety of educational pathways aimed at helping individuals develop their communication skills.
What does Toastmasters Offer?
Leadership Development Program: Leadership development is a key focus for this program. Members learn how to lead and motivate others by providing guidance and support in clubs across North America. The World Championship of Public Speaking Contest is held annually and allows members to compete in a friendly environment. Members who participate in this event learn how to prepare, present, and support their speeches while developing presentation skills.
How does the Toastmasters Program Work?
Toastmasters International helps individuals improve their public speaking abilities by providing an engaging space to practice real-world communication skills with supportive feedback from their peers. It is important to note that Toastmasters International does not offer any official accreditation for completing courses or programs. Still, it does provide a wide range of opportunities for members to develop their communication skills in a supportive environment.
What can I expect from visiting a club meeting?
Toastmasters Club meetings are taking place every day all over the world. You can find one that meets your schedule based on the time of day and day of the week. When visiting clubs, you’ll notice that they all follow the same format:
- Members welcome new guests.
- The Toastmasters reviews the agenda and fills any open roles.
- Roles are explained: Grammarian, Ah Counter, Timer, General Evaluator, etc.
- There is usually a joke or thought of the day.
- Some clubs share an Educational Moment
- Club meetings have three parts:
- Prepared Speeches: members give speeches based on project requirements.
- Impromptu Speeches: the Table Topics Master asks random spontaneous questions.
- Evaluations: members evaluate the prepared speeches and provide positive feedback.
You are welcome to participate in Table Topics, and it’s OK if you’d like not to participate and observe.
Toastmasters meetings are usually one hour, and once the meeting ends, the Toastmaster will ask you to share your thoughts if you’d like and welcome you to join or visit as often as you’d like.
Why is Toastmasters Successful?
Toastmasters has developed a simple easy to follow framework for improving your speaking and leadership skills!
The Toastmaster Formula:
- Create a positive, supportive environment.
- Develop an easy-to-follow program.
- Provide immediate positive feedback.
It’s that simple!
By consistently participating and speaking regularly, you will improve!
How do Toastmasters improve leadership skills?
Your communication and leadership development takes place starting at the club level by participating in club officer roles:
- Club President
- VP of Education
- VP of Membership
- VP of Public Relations
- Sergeant at Arms
These club officer roles allow you to interact with guests, new members, and other club officers. In addition, club leaders will introduce you to Area and District Director Roles to support clubs within a Toastmasters District. These roles and lead to additional positions at the District level and beyond.
Each Toastmasters Club offers a variety of people to learn from: teachers, entrepreneurs, real estate agents, accountants, home business owners, etc., all of which you have the opportunity to learn from and improve your skills.
How to get started in Toastmasters?
It’s a great idea to visit multiple clubs and see which club you enjoy the most. Then, be sure to find one near your home or office that works with your schedule. Make it convenient for you to attend, so it’s an easy decision to visit your club consistently. You may also decide to get started by visiting some clubs online.
How to get the most out of Toastmasters?
Set goals as to what you want to achieve out of Toastmasters. Is it improving your speaking skills, improving your leadership skills, or both? Once you know what you want to get out of Toastmasters, it will make it easier to decide where to focus your time.
Any Last Tips?
Yes, when you get started, you may be tempted to join multiple clubs and complete speeches at a record pace! Everyone is different. The only thing I want you to consider is beware of overcommitting to too many clubs and getting burned out. Some people do perfectly fine joining multiple Toastmaster clubs if their schedule permits. As long as you’re having fun, you’ll keep attending and making progress. If you overcommit and it becomes something you have to do, it becomes a second job.
Toastmasters is a global nonprofit organization that provides leadership and communication skills training to individuals from all walks of life. In addition, trained members offer support and guidance for people looking to improve their public speaking skills through participating in club meetings.
Have an awesome day!
P.S. If you are interested in Toastmasters and curious what it costs, check out this post: How much does Toastmasters Cost?