Frequently Asked Questions

Most of the questions you may have are answered here

About the Coronavirus pandemic

  • Are the meetings still taking place during this pandemic?

    Yes. We meet online (via zoom) from the comfort of our homes.

  • How does an online meeting work?
      • The meetings are conducted via Zoom. 
      • Each meeting has a separate meeting link and password. We have taken the necessary precautions to make sure that the meetings are encrypted, password protected and the privacy of all attendees is protected.
      • To learn how to use Zoom, you can check several online articles and tutorials, like this one.
      • The feedback and voting will be done via Google Forms.
      • The rest of the functioning will be the same as a regular in-person meeting (see below).
  • How can I join an online meeting?

    Please get in touch with us via the contact form. We will send you a meeting link a few days before the meeting.

    We will inform you about the future meetings via an automated newsletter email.

For Guests

  • What is Toastmasters?

    Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.

  • What is Toastmasters Aachen?

    We are a dynamic group of people from all walks of life dedicated to personal development in the areas of leadership and communication.

  • What are the benefits?
        • Improve your public speaking skills.
        • Build leadership skills.
        • Work on networking in a fun and supportive environment.
        • Practice writing speeches and presenting in a group setting.
        • Gain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
        • Build self-confidence and self-awareness.
        • Expose yourself to new ideas, research, and cultures.
        • Enjoy unlimited personal growth.
  • Can I visit your club?

    Absolutely! You are more than welcome to visit us and attend the meeting. All our meetings are open to guests.

  • When and where are your meetings held?
      • The meetings are held at Aachen City Library every Tuesday at 19:00. During this pandemic, the meetings are being conducted online. Please try to join at least 15 minutes before the start.
  • What is the duration of the meeting?

    A regular meeting lasts around 2h. Most members and guests prefer coming in a little early and staying for a few minutes after the meeting to socialise and catch up with others.

  • What happens in the meetings?

    Each meeting starts with a general welcome by the club President. This is followed by a short introduction to the theme of the evening and the prepared and impromptu speeches. The second half of the meeting is centred around giving feedback to every speaker of the evening.

    Every now and then we change up the format of the meeting based on the theme of the evening and to make things more fun. We will inform everyone who RSVPs if this happens.

  • Will there be a break?

    Yes, there will be a short break ca. 20:00 of approx. 10 min. 

  • Who are the members?

    Our members include students, working professionals, retired persons and everyone in between. We have a good mix of both Germans and foreigners.

  • I cannot stay for the entire meeting, is that okay?

    That’s okay. You can choose to leave during the break (ca. 20:45). If you need to leave at another time during the meeting, it may be a good idea to occupy the back row seat. Please make sure you leave the borrowed items (writing pad, pen, nametag) carefully.

  • Are meetings conducted in English or German?

    We are a bilingual club, which means that our meetings are held in German as well as English on an alternating basis. Please check the calendar to know the language for the upcoming meetings.

  • I can't speak English/German. Can I still visit?

    Yes. Many of our members attend meetings to specifically focus on improving either English or German. You are most welcome to join even if you don’t know the language well. Alternatively, you can join the meeting in the language you are more comfortable with.

  • How will improving communication skills help me?
      • Improving your communication skills will help you in many areas of life, such as:
        • Professional career.
        • Social gatherings.
        • Personal life.
      • It is a well-established fact that companies prefer well-rounded employees with Emotional Intelligence for hiring and promotions over others.

    The fear of public speaking is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders, or heights (National Social Anxiety Center, 2016). It is time to overcome this fear!

  • I'm bad at public speaking, and I also get nervous while talking in public, so I don't know if this is the right place for me.

    Please understand that you aren’t bad at public speaking, you are merely inexperienced, and we are here to help. Many of our members joined because they were in a similar position as you are in. As you start participating and getting out of your comfort zone, you’ll find that you will be able to improve significantly.

  • How can I improve my communication skills?
      • Like any other skill, the more you practice, the easier it will get to improve. However, to make significant improvements, you need the following:
        • Guided and structured practice.
        • Personalised feedback.
        • Further practice to incorporate the feedback.
      • You can start by assessing your current capabilities and then practising regularly while focusing on a few aspects at a time. It is essential to get unbiased feedback from others who have been in your shoes.  
      • This is what Toastmasters aims to provide.
  • How long will it take me to master public speaking and communication?

    Public speaking and communication is a multifaceted skill. You can start seeing improvements in your current capabilities right away. Focusing on step-by-step improvement is the optimal strategy rather than focusing on accomplishing everything at once.

  • I am new to Aachen / NRW / Germany. Is it okay for me to visit?

    Absolutely. Many of our members joined our club as a way to socialise and connect with others. You are unlikely to find a more welcoming and friendly group elsewhere.

  • I'm just visiting Aachen and will leave the city soon. Am I still welcome at a meeting?

    Of course. We love to meet and connect with people from all around the world. This is an excellent way to spend a Tuesday evening in Aachen.

  • Can I bring my friend/colleague/partner with me to the meeting?
      • Yes. You are welcome to come together to the meeting. 
  • Can I actively participate in the meeting even if I am a guest?

    Absolutely. We always reserve some time to get to know our guests at the beginning of the meeting and ask them for their feedback about the meeting at the end. Each person receives a feedback slip that they can use to give feedback to various speakers throughout the meeting. Additionally, we have an impromptu speaking session (called Table Topics) which is open for guests.

  • How much does it cost?

    You can attend our meetings as a guest for free.  We want you to get a good idea of what Toastmasters and our club is all about. Following that, if you wish to become a member, you can find out about the membership fees below.

  • Where can I find more information about the next upcoming meeting?

    You can access the agenda online through EasySpeak. Here you will find the theme of the meeting, a detailed list of the speakers and speech topics as well as a list of other roles and attendees.

  • Is there a dress code?

    There is no dress code for the meetings. Please dress according to your convenience as you would at college, work or other social gatherings.

  • Do I need to bring anything?
      • No, we will provide you with a nametag, the agenda, a pad and pen along with a feedback slip.
      • Please hand over the feedback slips to the appropriate members and put the pad, pen and the nametag where you took it from.
      • For online meetings, everything will be managed online, so it would be best for you to join using your computer.
  • I would like to visit, but then I'll have to cancel my dinner plans.

    Don’t worry. We head out to an excellent restaurant right after the meeting. Guests are always welcome. (Note: You will need to separately register for this, We will send you all the details before the meeting.)

  • What is the best way to get in touch?

About Membership

  • Can I just keep attending the meetings as a guest?
      • You can choose to keep attending as a guest until you feel comfortable enough to attend as a member. 
      • However, you will not be able to gain access to members-only resources, such as:
        • Guided manuals and online resources for learning and tracking your progress.
        • A Toastmasters International account for accessing the Pathways programs, competition-winning speeches and other resources.
        • An EasySpeak account for seeing upcoming meetings and book roles in advance.
        • The choice between all roles, including speaker and Toastmaster of the evening.
        • Personalised feedback from various members.
        • Certificates of achievement.
        • Opportunity to participate in various club competitions and test your skills against fellow toastmasters from all around the world.
  • What are the fees?
      • If you are a new member, a one-time fee of 20 € will be needed to open two online accounts for you (EasySpeak and Toastmasters International). If you are transferring from another club, you can skip this.
      • All our members pay a 6 monthly membership fee of €66, which comes down to €11 per month. These fees are generally payable around April and October each year.
      • These fees are vital for booking the venue and for providing all the resources.
  • I would like to become a member. What is the procedure?
      • You will need to fill out a membership form.
      • Please get in touch with our VP Membership or simply let any member know that you would like to join.
      • Shortly after the membership formalities are complete, you can enjoy all the member benefits.
  • What will I get when I join?
      • You will get a few emails from our VP membership with login details for your online accounts with Toastmasters International and EasySpeak.
      • You can access EasySpeak and start picking roles for the upcoming meetings and book speech slots.
      • You will be able to go on Toastmasters International Website and choose a particular pathway to start your Toastmasters journey.
      • You will also get a comprehensive beginners guide, specifically written for new members of Toastmasters Aachen.
  • How can I use my Toastmasters experience in improving my CV?
      • Mentioning ‘Public Speaking’ as one of the things you do in your free time can boost your CV.
      • You can add your certificates of achievement to your portfolio
      • The best way to make use of your Toastmasters experience can be to talk about your experience and demonstrate your improved skills in an in-person interview.

For new Members

  • I have just joined. What next?
      • Welcome! You will receive our Beginners Guide, which will take you by the hand and get you acquainted with everything you need to know. You will get login details for two online accounts (Toastmasters International and EasySpeak). Please login and start your journey.
  • There is too much information available, where can I start?
      • You can simply start attending the meetings and picking roles that you might be of interest.
      • All other gaps will fill in as you explore the online resources and go through the Beginners Manual. 
  • Can an experienced member mentor me?

    Yes. New members can ask to be paired with an experienced member to be guided throughout the Toastmasters journey. Mentors can help you out with planning and preparing a speech, providing useful tips and directing you to others if needed.

  • How can I get a mentor?
      • Please speak with the Mentoring Manager. Mention what your expectations are and whether you have any specific requirements.
  • Is it necessary to have a mentor at Toastmasters?
        • No, it is not necessary, but highly recommended.
        • We recommend it because many members find it useful.
  • How will Toastmasters track my progress?
        • Once you select a particular pathway, it will guide you through different projects. Each project focuses on a specific aspect of communication, such as body language, leadership, research, storytelling, connecting with the audience, etc.
        • Make sure you regularly speak with your mentor to discuss further points of improvement.
        • Besides, you can track your progress via the audience feedback.
  • What roles can I pick as a new member?
      • All roles of a regular meeting are available to you. As a start, we recommend picking supporting roles such as Word Master or Timekeeper and observe experienced members in other roles. After that, you can begin booking other roles and even book a speech slot.
  • I picked a role, but now I cannot do it due to personal constraints. How can I withdraw with minimum disruption?
        • Please withdraw from the role on EasySpeak as soon as possible.
        • If it is less than 24 hours to the meeting, please let the Toastmaster of the Evening know, so that they can find a suitable replacement. It would also help if you inform everyone on the Toasties WhatsApp group.
  • I signed up for a speech, but I feel like I'm not fully prepared. Should I withdraw?
        • Please consider that hardly any speaker feels fully ready for a given speech. Done is better than perfect. We would highly recommend taking this up as a challenge and going through it. Please feel free to discuss this with the speech evaluator/mentor to get an unbiased opinion. 
        • During the speech, you can choose to have notes or speech transcript nearby during the speech. At the end of the day, we are here to help you in pushing your comfort zone.
  • Am I expected to attend all the meetings as a member?
        • We understand that people have different stipulations and personal constraints. You can choose which meetings you wish to attend based on your schedule.
        • We recommend that you confirm your attendance for the meeting beforehand via EasySpeak. This would help with the role allocation, resource planning, and other activities.
  • Will my membership get renewed automatically?
        • No, the membership doesn’t get renewed automatically. Each member will have to pay the membership fees once every 6 months (April and October).
        • Without the payment, the membership will be terminated. You can easily resume the membership once it gets terminated (see the question below)
        • The VP Membership will remind everyone about the upcoming renewals.
  • I wish to terminate my membership. How can I do that?
        • Membership can be terminated at two times in a year (around April and October). You can let the VP Membership officer know of your decision to help you further.
        • Please make sure to let your mentoring partner know so that they can manage their activities accordingly.
        • Please note that if you are moving to a different city/country, you can transfer your membership to a club in that area without terminating your membership.
  • Can I return to a club after I terminate my membership?
        • Yes. You can renew your membership. Please get in touch with the VP Membership for that. 
        • You can also join as a guest.
  • Who can I get in touch with if I have any further questions?
        • You can ask general questions in our WhatsApp group.
        • For a more detailed query, please get in touch with your mentor or one of the board members.