For over 80 years Toastmasters has created a club program that creates successful communicators. A local club provides a safe, but challenging environment for members to grow and excel in public speaking.
Each new members receives the Competent Communicator manual. The manual consists of 10 speech projects that allow the speaker to add new skills with each project. They start with a short 4 to 6 minute “Ice Breaker” where they simply talk about themselves. They then work their way through other projects such as vocal variety, how to use visual aids, persuasion and finish off with a speech to inspire.
One of the greatest benefits to Toastmasters are the speech evaluations. Each time a Toastmaster gives a speech, a more experienced member provides a written and verbal evaluation. Each evaluation provides a brief overview of what the speaker did well and the areas they need to improve on.
It is great to watch the person who is terrified as they give that 1st “Ice Breaker” speech confidently give their 10th speech to earn the Toastmasters Competent Communicator.
Most meetings also have “Table Topics.” These are 1 to 3 minute impromptu speeches that help the Toastmaster think on their feet.
In addition to the the formal evaluations, each meeting will have an “Ah” counter who will keep a running tally of all the “ahs,” “ums,” and other “filler” words, and the timer will make sure that each speaker finishes on time.
After the initial 10 projects, the Toastmaster has the opportunity to complete projects in variety of advanced manuals. Examples include, Storytelling, Humorously Speaking, Speeches for Management, and Public Relations are just a few.
Through the use of proven structured projects, opportunities for impromptu speeches and constructive evaluations, Toastmasters provides the experience needed to become an accomplished public speaker.
To learn more about Toastmasters and the benefits of membership visit: www.toastmasters.org.