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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J. Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

How does Toastmasters build better communicators and leaders beyond the club?

Woman standing in front of an audience giving a speech

The heart of Toastmasters is the local club but that is not the only way Toastmasters builds better communicators and leaders. Toastmasters is stronger than a single club because it is comprised of more than 14,000 clubs in 148 countries throughout the world.

Each club is part of an area, a division, a district, a region, and ultimately the entire international organization. For example, I belong to the Tippecanoe Talkers Club, which is club number 5882 in Area 82, in Division H, in District 11, in Region 6.

See the map below to see where in the world you can participate in Toastmasters.

World map of Toastmasters districts

Clubs and members benefit from the larger organization in many ways.

The international organization provides the educational program, policies, procedures, and governance to make local clubs successful. Every member benefits from a consistent Toastmasters experience no matter where they belong.

Guidance for leading successful clubs is provided at all levels of the organization as listed below:

Table showing Toastmasters leadership levels

Area directors visit clubs and provide feedback on what clubs are doing well and how they can improve. An outside perspective is extremely important for clubs to grow and not get stuck in unproductive habits.

Districts provide club officers with training twice a year and ongoing support as often as needed. Officers from different clubs learn from one another as well as from the district leadership. The larger organization benefits from hearing challenges faced by local clubs.

In addition to leadership support, the larger Toastmasters organization provides opportunities to practice public speaking and communication skills beyond the club. Speech contests and conferences are the most common ways.

Speech contests are held at all levels of the organization starting at the club and moving up at each level all the way to the international level. Each year more than 30,000 members compete in contests in one of the following speech areas: International (any topic), Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, Table Topics, and Video Speech.

In addition to the competing speakers, speech contests are opportunities for growing communication and leadership skills, with members learning and practicing how to judge speeches and run contests.

Conferences are held each year at the district and international levels. These provide an arena for higher-level speech contests, educational sessions, leadership decision-making, and networking.

Interested in building your communication and leadership skills? Get more information about Toastmasters or learn about our club, the Tippecanoe Talkers.

Take the next step… visit a club!   

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” ~ Harvey S. Firestone

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