Each club has its own personality, but follows guidelines established by Toastmasters International. Larger clubs may fill more roles and separate out duties whereas a smaller club may have folks helping out in more than one area. A typical meeting will have an introduction and welcome given by the Toastmaster, speakers that give prepared speeches, and a Table Topics session where members (and guests if they choose) can practice thinking and speaking on their feet. Following speeches and Table Topics, there is usually an evaluation portion of the meeting. The evaluation team will typically consist of a General Evaluator who monitors and reports on how well the meeting flows overall, an Evaluator for each prepared speech, a Timer that keeps speech times on track, and a Grammarian who will report on things like “ah’s” and “um’s” as well as point out exemplary word usage. Often there is a Word of the Day which members are encouraged to learn and use as well. Many clubs incorporate a short business meeting at the end of their club meeting.
How much does it cost to join?
There is never a cost to visit, and we recommend you visit a meeting at least once or twice, and check out multiple clubs so you feel comfortable making the commitment to yourself and your club. You can join anytime; there is no need to wait for a specific date to join as dues are pro-rated. New members pay a new member fee of $20 for materials and membership, and TI dues are $36 every 6 months, pro-rated at $6.00 per month. Most clubs have nominal dues as well, typically only $1 to $2 per month.
What do you get for your money? Shortly after joining, you will receive a New Member Kit in the mail from Toastmasters International. This contains the Competent Communicator manual, the Competent Leadermanual, and additional informational materials to help you get acquainted with the Toastmasters Educational Program. In addition, you will receive a subscription to the Toastmaster magazine, published monthly. Materials are not the only thing you will get with your membership. Your club will make sure you receive all the support you need to be successful, which includes support and mentoring from your fellow club members.
Typical Meetings of Toastmasters Clubs
How is a typical meeting conducted?
In each meeting, there are 2 sections – One half deals with Impromptu Speaking, the other half deals with prepared speeches, which are later evaluated.
What happens in the Impromptu Speaking Section?
One member gives away the topics, or ‘tables’ them one by one, the others can speak on it by either volunteering or once they are nominated.
The time allotted is between 1 & 2 minutes
What happens in the Prepared Speech Section?
The members follow a graded programme, as per the manual — that they receive, once they become members.They deliver speeches on any topic of their choice, but using the suggested format & trying to meet the objectives of that particular speech
Later, senior members evaluate these speeches, giving them constructive feedback.
This is the best part of the programme- Positive, encouraging feedback with suggestions for improvement!
In addition to providing the speaker with feedback the evaluator learns important skills in quickly preparing a presentation and listening skills. One thing to note is that the evaluators evaluate the speech and not the speaker. This is a subtle but important difference.
The distinctive feature of Toastmasters is this continual evaluation. Each activity at a club is evaluated: speeches are evaluated both orally at the meeting as well as by writing in the manual. There is language evaluation nearer the end of the meeting. Even the evaluators are themselves evaluated at the end of the meeting by a General Evaluator.