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

What happens at a Toastmasters meeting? Visit a club to find out!

Adults greeting each other before a meeting.

Are you interested in becoming a better communicator and leader? Then, learning more about Toastmasters is a wise decision.

Toastmasters has stood the test of time and continues to be one the best ways to improve your communication and leadership skills.

What is the best way to learn about Toastmasters?

Begin with checking out the Toastmasters International website. On their About page scroll down and find the video titled “How Does Toastmasters Work?” This describes what you can expect at a Toastmasters meeting.

At each meeting, participants are assigned various roles which keep the meeting flowing and provide participants with opportunities to grow their communication and leadership skills. These roles include speaking, evaluating, timing, checking grammar usage, and more.

Toastmasters clubs are both predictable and unique. Most of the components of a club meeting are relatively standard, and you can expect to experience prepared speeches, impromptu 1-2 minute speeches called Table Topics, and reports from evaluators, timers, and grammarians.

However, based on a club’s size and preferences, meetings can also vary. Larger clubs will have more prepared speeches at each meeting and smaller clubs may include more of the impromptu Table Topics speeches. This is true for our club, which has less than 20 members.

Clubs may include optional features. For example, our club includes a listening quiz near the end of each meeting in which one participant writes questions about what has been shared during speeches and Table Topics. Listening well is an important skill that is infrequently practiced.

How can I experience Toastmasters?

Except for corporate clubs, most clubs are open to everyone and are delighted to have guests visit and consider becoming members.

The Toastmasters International website has a handy tool to assist you in finding a club near you. You will enter your location and the day, time, and type of meeting you prefer.

You will be shown all the clubs that match your search criteria and you can click on their names for more information and a link to contact the club. Once the club is contacted, someone from the club will follow up with more information about visiting.

With many clubs meeting virtually, you are welcome to participate in clubs outside your geographic area. The Toastmasters site has a page listing all online-only clubs around the world.

Check out one or more clubs before deciding which one fits your schedule and personality best. Clubs meet at varying times of day and vary in length and frequency of meetings. The most common meeting times are early morning, noon, and early evening.

Our club, the Tippecanoe Talkers, meets at noon every 1st and 3rd Wednesday for one hour. We are a hybrid club and at any given meeting, about half of our members will be in person and half will be joining via Zoom.

What can I expect when I visit a club?

One benefit of Toastmasters clubs is their welcoming attitude towards guests. Whether you visit in person or online, you will be greeted upon arrival, provided with a name tag, and invited to introduce yourself near the start of the meeting.

Each Toastmasters meeting includes an introduction of each meeting role and the flow of the meeting. This benefits guests as well as members. It serves as a good reminder of the function of each part of the meeting.

Visitors will experience hearing members give speeches, will be allowed to participate or decline to respond to a Table Topics speaking prompt, and gain the benefit of hearing thorough and supportive evaluations. Near the close of the meeting, visitors are invited to share their impressions of the meeting.

Visitors are invited to attend more than one meeting as they determine whether membership is for them. The Vice President of Membership will discuss how membership works and open the invitation to consider joining as soon as you are ready.

Clubs will follow up the visit with an email to make sure the guest knows when the next meeting will take place and will feel welcome to visit again.

Curious? Visit our club to give it a try. Learn more and contact us.  

“While most of us may have entered Toastmasters to learn to make speeches, that benefit is but the beginning of the good which may come to us and the good which we may do for mankind.” ~ Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, Founder of Toastmasters International

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