What’s Toastmasters all about? Part 1/2

Toastmasters

What’s it all about?  I’ve had lots of friends and colleagues ask me what happens at Toastmasters. There always seems to be a misconception that it’s a bunch of high flying business people meeting together to clink wine glasses and deliver dinner speeches.

tmIt is soooo far from that.  I started my Toastmasters journey in 2012- and I’ve never looked back.  The club is full of friendly and supportive members who are all there for different reasons- students, members starting their own business, people already running their own business, Doctors, freelancers, people seeking work, introverts and extroverts.  The club has members from all of walks of life and is open to people of all ages between 18 to 100! Toastmasters is international – there are over 15,200 clubs in 135 countries. It’s not uncommon for members to pop into Glasgow Toastmasters when they are visiting Scotland- we’ve had visits from members from all over including Georgia, Australia, South Africa and Switzerland.  I visited a few clubs in London when I was down there for a few months.

It does not matter if you are shy or overly confident- Toastmasters has something for everyone.

Toastmasters offers a structured programme you can work through at your own pace. Everything in Toastmasters is evaluated- speeches, speech evaluations (providing feedback on speeches), how you delivered specific roles like the Ah counter or Wordmaster. It’s truly fantastic and you won’t find any better platform to improve your communication and leadership skills.

Competent Communication manual

This website sums up the process on the first ten speeches- below:

  • Speech 1: The Ice Breaker — The first speech of the Toastmasters program is about introducing yourself to your peers, providing a benchmark for your current skill level, and standing and speaking without falling over.
  • Speech 2: Organize Your Speech — Introduces the basic concepts of organizing a speech around a speech outline.
  • Speech 3: Get to the Point — Clearly state your speech goal, and make suredg that every element of your speech focuses on that goal.
  • Speech 4: How to Say It — Examines word choice, sentence structure, and rhetorical devices.
  • Speech 5: Your Body Speaks — Shows how to complement words with posture, stance, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact.
  • Speech 6: Vocal Variety — Guides you to add life to your voice with variations in pitch, pace, power, and pauses.
  • Speech 7: Research Your Topic — Addresses the importance of backing up your arguments with evidence, and touches on the types of evidence to use.
  • Speech 8: Get Comfortable With Visual Aids — Examines the use of slides, transparencies, flip charts, whiteboards, or props.
  • Speech 9: Persuade With Power — Discusses audience analysis and the different forms of persuasion available to a speaker.
  • Speech 10: Inspire Your Audience

Once you complete your competent communication manual you gain acknowledgement from Toastmasters and then move on to your advanced manuals.

Competent Leadership manual 

It’s not just all about communication you know…  Leadership skills also play an equally important part.

The manual is broken down into different categories- for example, time keeping, planning, organising, facilitating, motivating and mentoring.

Within each category there are a range of different roles and tasks you work through to achieve your Leadership title- including taking on roles like the general evaluator, Toastmaster of the evening, ah counter, timekeeper.

Also taking on a role on the committee, organising events, helping others on their Toastmasters journey through mentoring and/or being on the committee for high leadership projects.

Want to find out the specifics? This webpage goes into more detail about the leadership side:

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for the blog 2/2… ‘What can you expect when you come along to a Glasgow Toastmasters meeting’

 

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