What is Toastmaster International?
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization where members learn and enhance communication, rhetoric, and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization currently has over 313,000 members in over 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924 Toastmasters International has been helping people to speak to audiences with more confidence.
Development of communication skills
Improve your direct and indirect communication and gain confidence in public speaking
Development of leadership skills
Improve your soft skills in time management, teamwork, problem solving and decision making
Set your own learning pace
Toastmaster is flexible and adapts to your calendar, so you don’t lose your balance
How does Toastmasters work?
The typical Toastmasters club has 20-40 members. Each member sets his or her own goals and sets his or her own learning pace. The first part of each meeting is dedicated to prepared speeches. Members develop these with the help of a handbook. Each speech is built on the previous speech project. The aim is to work on a specific aspect of rhetoric, e.g. the structure of a speech, posture, voice, gestures, eye contact, etc. Durng the improvised speech section, the members learn to spontaneously assemble short speeches. In the third part of the meeting, the speakers receive constructive feedback: The evaluator points out strengths and weaknesses and gives concrete indications for improvement. In addition, all other participants can give further feedback to the speakers orally and/or in writing. The success of the program depends on the active participation and organization of the club meetings by the participants.
Twice a year, speech competitions take place at local, regional, national, European and international level. The best speakers from the various clubs meet here. Toastmasters members do not only meet at competitions, but also, for example, when they participate in the meetings of other clubs.
Parallel to the rhetoric program, Toastmasters members can work on their leadership skills. Some examples: As part of the mentor program, an experienced member can look after and support a new member. Members can plan special events such as seminars and competitions; they learn to organize, delegate, work in a team or lead and motivate a group. Toastmasters also attaches great importance to time management. This is helpful in everyday business where Toastmasters members may conduct meetings: At the Toastmasters meetings, time management can be practiced by taking over the moderation of the evening or moderation of the impromptu speeches.