Toastmasters International is a global educational organization which helps to improve English speaking skills and communication. In each club, members are led by the Toastmasters Manual to speak in front of an audience fluently, to think quickly and to react confidently.
The first Toastmasters club opened on October 22, 1924, at Santa Ana, California, United States by Ralph C. Smedley. It was called Smedley Club Number 1. Today there are over 13,000 clubs in 116 countries.
Clubs, meetings and membership [change]
A typical Toastmasters club is made up of 20 - 30 people who gather weekly throughout the year. The club meetings last for about two hours and there are many roles. The meetings generally consist of the following:
- An introduction circle at the beginning of the meeting gives the members, visitors and newcomers a chance to get to know each other and briefly and express his/her opinion on a certain question presented by a Chairman
- Word of the Day is an unknown or interesting word, sentence, expression that is supposed to be used during the introduction circle or during the following meeting.
- Invocation is a thoughtful thanks or idea to motivate members to do our best. It is a short prepared speech.
- Toast of the Day is a short prepared speech, dedicated to something or somebody the speaker considers worthy to be admired or respected.
- Table Topics gives members the opportunity to participate in impromptu speech situations
- Prepared speeches are based on projects from the Communication and Leadership Program Manuals
- Evaluation is a part of the meeting, during which each speaker is provided with valuable feedback
- Closing Thought can be a thoughtful idea or a joke to close the meeting.
Anyone age 18 and above and who pays a fee can join the club and improve his/her speaking and communication skills.
- Chairman opens the meeting, leads the first part of the meeting, prepares a simple question for the introduction circle, welcomes other speakers, leads the business minutes.
- Word Master introduces and explains the Word of the Day
- Toastmaster guides the rest of the meeting, introduces the speakers, gives short information about the speakers, schedule or events.
- Table Topics Master prepares a topic for impromptu (unprepared) speeches, usually several questions related to the chosen topic. He asks speakers to give a 2-minute speech with a structure - an opening, a body and a conclusion.
- Table Topics Evaluator evaluates the chosen topic, the Table Topics Master and the speakers’ presentations. He initiates voting for the best Table Topics Speaker.
- Speaker presents a prepared speech, usually according to the Toastmasters Manual, usually two or three speakers are introduced.
- General Evaluator leads the evaluation meeting - calls Evaluators, Timer and Grammarian. He/she also evaluates other roles and the meeting as a whole.
- Evaluator evaluates the Speaker, according to the Toastmasters Manual; there is one Evaluator for each speech.
- Timer measures time limits of both prepared and unprepared speeches, uses a special light device to show the time limits (green, yellow, red).
- Grammarian follows mistakes made during the whole meeting, reports and corrects them, and explains grammatical rules.
- Quiz Master prepares questions concerning the meeting activities and asks participants to answer the questions.
Competent Communication Manual [change]
The Competent Communication Manual is a basic manual for Toastmasters. Members follow it to present ten speeches. Each of the ten topics is dedicated to improving one of the speaker’s basic skills. The skills are:
- The Ice Breaker
- Organize Your Speech
- Get to the Point
- How to Say It
- Your Body Speaks
- Vocal Variety
- Research Your Topic
- Get Comfortable with Visual Aids
- Persuade with Power
- Inspire Your Audience
After completing all ten speeches the member gets a globally recognized certificate and he/she can continue strengthening his/her skills with the Advanced Communication Manuals.