All You Need to Know About Toastmasters

#beckenhamcommunicators #toastmasters #publicspeaking #confidencespeaking #personaldevelopment #education

Public Speaking, Storytelling and off the cuff confident speaking are the key skills in today’s ever-changing world. It is not only for students or politicians, it is useful for every walk of life from private life to business.

There are several courses available provided by universities and private companies. Some of them providing this as a part of the profession, improve company culture or community development.

Toastmasters are one of these community-led non-profit organisations and I thought I would answer some of the most common questions that are asked about Toastmasters by combining different information available through different sources.

First of all, let’s start with an easy way by revealing what is Toastmasters NOT about;

  • It’s not a cooking club

  • It’s not a club for selling toasters

  • It’s not a set of people who learn about toasting

To be able to explain properly what Toastmasters is stood for, I will use one of the best-known technique called Fishbone Diagram also known as Cause-effect or 5W1H which stands for What, Who, When, Where, Why and How. Let’s adapt this to our subject;

  1. What is Toastmasters?

  2. Who joins Toastmasters?

  3. When did Toastmasters Start?

  4. Where do Toastmasters Meet?

  5. Why Should You Join Toastmasters?

  6. How to Join Toastmasters?

1. What is Toastmasters?

Toastmasters is one of the best learn by doing educational forums for communication and leadership. Toastmasters is a forum that works on the lines of a rotary club model. The members need to be pay £10 per month with a one-off £20 initial joining fee. This fee is paid to Toastmasters International, the central body that is headquartered in California, USA. Sometimes, clubs might collect an extra fee for other operational expenses.

The fascinating part of Toastmasters is that the paying club members are creating the club environment. Nobody is getting paid to create this environment but people step up and run the club. Each club has the following key roles:

  1. President (in other words CEO) who runs the whole show.

  2. Vice President Education (in other words, the HR) who is responsible for achieving club educational goals.

  3. Vice President Membership (in other words “Sales”) who is responsible for converting the club visitors into club members.

  4. Vice President Public Relation (in other words “marketing”) who is responsible for marketing activities of the club.

  5. Secretary is like the “Spokesperson” of the club.

  6. Sergeant at Arms (in other words “Operations”) who is responsible for logistics of the club.

There are many other things Toastmasters offer but I believe the unique selling point of Toastmasters is that it gives you an environment to practice and make mistakes without any penalty.

Usually, we pay a big penalty when we mess up during a presentation, whether it’s in front of a social circle or business colleagues. But Toastmasters is more like a workshop or a training ground.

The building blocks of the organization:

  1. are the Clubs, where people join as members

  2. a group of clubs forms an Area

  3. a group of areas form a Division

  4. a group of divisions form a District

  5. a group of districts covers the entire Organization

The geographical boundary of each district is based on the membership count. For example, the United States can have more than 10 districts, India can have four districts or one district for a group of Southeast Asian countries.

The boundary of a district can keep changing based on the changing membership counts in that region. If the modern world is divided at a high level by countries, then the Toastmasters’ world is divided at a high level by districts.