No, we don't make toasters!From a humble beginning in 1924 at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, Toastmasters International has grown to become a world leader in helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. The nonprofit organization now has nearly 250,000 members in more than 12,000 clubs in 106 countries, offering a proven – and enjoyable! – way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills.
Most Toastmasters meetings are comprised of approximately 20 people who meet weekly for an hour or two. Participants practice and learn skills by filling a meeting role, ranging from giving a prepared speech or an impromptu one to serving as timer, evaluator or grammarian.
There is no instructor; instead, each speech and meeting is critiqued by a member in a positive manner, focusing on what was done right and what could be improved.
Good communicators tend to be good leaders. Some well-known Toastmasters alumni include:
- Peter Coors of Coors Brewing Company
- Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies
- Tom Peters, management expert and author
- Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii
How Does It Work?
Toastmasters makes learning fun!This non-profit organization offers a proven – and enjoyable – way to practice communication and leadership skills. Here's how it works:
- A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a friendly atmosphere. A typical group has 20 to 40 members who meet weekly or biweekly to practice public speaking techniques. The average meeting lasts one hour.
- Members learn communication skills by working in the Competent Communication manual, a series of 10 self-paced speaking assignments designed to instill a basic foundation in public speaking. Participants learn skills related to use of humor, gestures, eye contact, speech organization and overall delivery. When finished with this manual, members can choose from 15 advanced manuals to learn skills related to specific interests.
- Members also learn leadership skills by taking on various meeting roles and serving as officers at the club and district levels, and by working in the Competent Leadership manual and the High Performance Leadership program. In our learn-by-doing approach, we don't lecture our members about leadership skills; we give them responsibilities and ask them to lead.
- There is no instructor in a Toastmasters meeting. Instead, members evaluate one another’s presentations. This feedback process is a key part of the program’s success. Meeting participants also give impromptu talks on assigned topics, conduct meetings, serve as officers in various leadership roles and learn rules related to timing, grammar and parliamentary procedure.
Toastmasters groups also can be found in governmental agencies, as well as in a variety of community organizations, prisons, universities, hospitals, military bases and churches.
Interested? Contact us today!