What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International (TI) is an International nonprofit organisation in promoting better Public Speaking, Communication and Leadership skills for people who wish to improve these abilities in their everyday life. Through establishing clubs around the world, members gathered for meetings to deliver speeches and other leadership tasks guided by manuals published by the organisation.[su_tabs] [su_tab title=”Meetings”]Meetings usually take place twice a month in evenings around seven o’clock and last for two to three hours. The rundown usually divided in three main parts – 1) Topic Topics, members will be invited to the stage to give impromptu speeches for two minutes on an assigned topic. 2) Prepared Speech, 2 to 3 members will give a speech they prepared ahead of time, usually 7 minutes each. 3) Evaluation, assigned evaluators will share their thoughts on the speakers who had spoken during the meeting. [/su_tab] [su_tab title=”Arrange Your Visits”]Visiting club meetings are usually free of charge or with a small fee depending on individual club policy. Contact the Vice President of Membership (VPE) via email that you can find with the help of the club locator operated by TI. Some clubs impose a policy for up to three visits per year for non-members to visit and consider for joining.[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”Becoming a Member”]Being a member is by invitation from the VPE. Upon becoming a member, a mentor would normally be assigned in assisting you to get aquatinted to the club and all other members. Meanwhile, you are able to get help from your mentor in preparing your speeches with the manuals. Giving speeches is voluntary but encouraged to do as frequent as you can.
Membership fees vary from club to club as they self-financed for meeting venues and all stationaries – only a flat rate up to USD 36 per member will be paid to TI annually and new members will need to pay a one-time USD 20 for New Membership Kit and processing.[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”What’s Next?”]As you progress in speaking, you are also encouraged to take up meeting roles and even executive roles in running the club. Your meeting roles or executive roles are guided by manuals by the TI and upon successfully performing your duties, you will be promoted to various levels of reflecting your communication and leadership skills. The Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) is the highest level of recognition for members.[/su_tab] [/su_tabs]
Meeting Roles[su_accordion] [su_spoiler title=”Timer”]As a timer, your role is to record, indicate and report the time for the speakers. You need to inform whether the speaker delivered their speech according to their project requirements or as per the agenda. Since our sense of timing is pretty poor, the timer’s report and time reminders (as in green, yellow and red indicators) are the guides for speakers to improve their time management when preparing their speech and getting a sense of it during their speaking. Read on![/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Ah Counter”]As an Ah Counter, your role is to count and to record the number of unnecessary sound (including repetitive words) that the speaker uttered in her/his speech. Effective speakers usually made much less to nil unnecessary sound when speaking and therefore, their message are loud and clear to their audiences. In Toastmasters meeting, we want to help speakers to improve their unintentional utter of sounds/words and here’s your step-by-step guide on how to perform your role as an Ah Counter and your script. Read On![/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Grammarian (Language Evaluator)”]As a Grammarian (Language Evaluator), you are the guardian of proper English. Effective communication is heavily depended on choosing the right word or phrase to deliver speaker’s thoughts, you are their ears for that. You listen and provide feedbacks to all speakers and encourage them to use the World of the Day to enrich their choice of vocabulary. Read On! [/su_spoiler] [/su_accordion]
If you happened to be in Hong Kong, Vienna or London, these are the clubs I participated or visited over the years:[su_tabs] [su_tab title=”Hong Kong”]MDC Toastmasters Club: I am currently attached to this club. It is a 20-30 members club with a very causal, cosy and friendly atmosphere. Here’s my review and you can find more information from our Facebook Page. For visits, you can write to our Vice President of Education (VPE) via email email@example.com.[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”Vienna”] Vienna Toastmasters Club: This is where I started my Toastmasters journey. Members are from all over world and I enjoyed so much in this cross-cultural atmosphere. It is rather formal and friendly with professionals from all walks of life. You can find more from their website, Facebook Page and short memoir of mine in the links.
Vienna Speakers Club: Sisters club of the Vienna Toastmasters Club, they share many members and resources that is now shaping characters of its own. You can find more information from their website and Facebook Page.
VIC Toastmasters Club: This is a private club, meaning that they are not open for public. It is located within the vicinity of the United Nation (UN) Headquarters in Vienna. They might however consider for visiting Toastmasters or individuals, contact the Vice President of Education (VPE) for availability.[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”London”]
Speakers of Croydon Toastmasters Club: I visited this club some years ago while I was in London. It felt to me is a community club with a very friendly and causal environment. Many of them are long time members that are enthusiastic in crafting better speech delivery skills. You can find more information from their website. Here’s my review of this club.
Berkeley Square Speakers, Early Bird Speakers & Covent Garden Speakers: These clubs meet in weekday mornings which are the rare gem in Toastmasters. Their venues are rather extravagant that might already worth visiting for. Atmosphere are rather formal as everyone suited up for work later on. Speakers are really top-notch that you will be impressed by their delivery skills and how much they prepared ahead of time. Here’s my review of these clubs.
Connect with other Toastmasters in joining the annual Toastmasters International Convention. During this 5 days event, there are workshops for leadership and communication skills, club business meetings and the international speech contest, which is the spotlight event with speakers from all over the world competing for being the best speaker of the year. Here’s a club you should not miss! You can read about my experience in this post too.