Toastmasters meetings are a safe environment in which to learn. Everyone who attends is there for the purpose of gaining the skills from the Toastmasters program. You will learn the basic techniques to capture your audience and effectively communicate your message. Participants have a variety of opportunities learn about public speaking at every meeting.
We learn by:
- Practising speaking in front of the group
- Listening to others speak to the group
- Evaluating and listening to evaluations of speeches
- Following the Toastmasters program of advancing in steps
- Mutual support and encouragement are the cornerstones of Toastmasters meetings.
Improve your self confidence
By practising speaking to a group in an environment where everyone is also learning, you become more comfortable with the task. All Toastmasters know what it’s like to feel butterflies when called upon to speak. Experienced Toastmasters also know that the fear can be overcome just by trying.
- Learn at your own pace
- Toastmasters share and understand your feelings
- Opportunities every meeting to speak at the podium
- Do what you want – prepared or impromptu speeches
Improve your listening skills
We learn about listening as well as about speaking. To fully participate in Toastmasters meetings, you must listen carefully to the other speakers. We develop our skills by listening on different levels. We listen to the content but we also learn to be aware of the impact of the speech organization and presentation.
You need to be alert at Toastmasters meetings because:
- You may be asked to answer an impromptu question
- You may be asked to evaluate another speaker
- We learn by listening to evaluations of other speakers
Sharpen your thinking
A Toastmasters meeting excites your brain. Participants at meetings who are not giving a formal prepared speech are usually asked to participate in “Table Topics”. This is a 2 minute impromptu speech on a topic selected by the Table Topics Master with the speaker having no time for preparation.
Subjects could be on a theme such as:
- My favourite holiday
- The best Christmas I ever had was …
or the topic could be more challenging:
- Do today’s youth have a more difficult time than youth of twenty years ago?
- Can we improve our economy with natural resources at the expense of our environment?
- An election issue
Everyone who speaks at a Toastmasters meeting has their speech evaluated by another Toastmaster. Evaluating challenges you because you must always remain encouraging, constructive and positive. As an evaluator, you need to be very alert. You have to think on your feet in order to mention all the good points of a person’s speech and mention some aspects that may need improvement.
Develop your leadership skills
There are many opportunities to be a leader within Toastmasters.
- Club and District Officers are elected annually in May to lead and represent the club and District from 1 July
- Members chair meetings and take on other responsibilities
- Toastmasters is an international organization with leaders from each geographical area represented on the International Board of Directors