How It Works
Our meetings typically run for 1 hour and 45 minutes. They consist of three segments:
Members get called upon to speak extemporaneously for 1-2 minutes on a predetermined theme with only seconds of preparation
Three to four club members present speeches (mostly 5-7 minutes long) based on projects and specific goals from the Pathways manuals
Each prepared speech is evaluated by another member in a constructive manner to help speakers recognize their strengths and learn what steps they can take to improve their speaking skills
As a community that relies solely on volunteerism, it is important to understand that your path toward becoming an effective communicator includes not only giving prepared speeches but also sharing in the many functionary roles that are available at each meeting. You want as much “speaking” time as you can get. These functions include acting in supporting roles and as rule keepers, and enable you to get up on your feet and speak as often as possible.
Sergeant-at-Arms who calls each meeting to order
General Evaluator who evaluates the meeting as a whole
Word Master who shares a fun word to be used as often as possible by the other members
Ballot Counter who collects the ballots as members vote on best speakers
Timer who ensures that the individual roles and the meeting as a whole keep to the allotted time
Grammarian who keeps track of filler words
Bell Master who rings the bell when people use filler words
Camera Operator who records the prepared speeches and evaluations for the speakers to use in improving their speaking skills
The final component of the Toastmasters program is being assigned a mentor. Whether you’re a brand new Speaker or a “pro”, you join Toastmasters to improve. A mentor will impact your learning process and help you to grow, regardless of your experience.
Beyond the Basics
In addition to attending the weekly meetings, delivering prepared speeches and taking on functionary roles, what does the greater Toastmasters journey consist of?
Taking on larger speaking roles like running a meeting or presiding over Table Topics
Competing up the ranks in Toastmasters speaker and evaluator contests
Practicing leadership by serving as a member of the club’s Executive Committee
Extending the local leadership experience to become a leader at the Area or District level
“I was touched by the speeches.”
— A recent visitor to our club