The environment in a Toastmasters club is friendly and supportive. Everyone at a Toastmasters meeting feels welcome and valued – from complete beginners to advanced speakers. In a club meeting, you practice giving prepared speeches as well as brief impromptu presentations, known as Table Topics. There is no rush and no pressure: The Toastmasters program allows you to progress at your own pace.
Constructive evaluation is central to the Toastmasters philosophy. Each time you give a prepared speech, an evaluator will point out strengths as well as suggest improvements. Receiving – and giving – such feedback is a great learning experience. In Toastmasters, encouragement and improvement go hand-in-hand.
- A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere. A typical group has 20 to 40 members who meet weekly, biweekly or monthly. A typical meeting lasts 60–120 minutes.
- 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 and develop skills related to timekeeping, grammar and parliamentary procedure.
- 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.
- Members also learn leadership skills by taking on various meeting roles and working in the Competent Leadership manual. In our learn-by-doing approach, we don’t lecture members about leadership skills; we give them responsibilities and mentoring to help. Then we ask them to lead.