Tools to help maximize your experience.
If you want to become more self-confident, a Toastmasters meeting is the place to be. By practicing your communication and leadership skills each week in a hands-on, learn-by-doing environment, you’ll be well on your way to speaking confidently and leading with purpose.
Here are some of the resources that can help you get the most out of your Toastmasters membership.
- The Toastmasters Educational Program, which includes the Pathways program, is at the heart of every Toastmasters journey and forms the basis of every Toastmasters meeting.
- By assuming various meeting roles each meeting, Toastmasters can learn new communication and leadership skills every time they attend a meeting.
- There are many opportunities to participate outside your home club by getting involved in district programs. The Club Ambassador Program and Speakers for Stagetime are two of the most popular.
- Consider becoming a club officer to further challenge yourself and improve you leadership and communication skills.
- Use your experience to help other clubs by becoming a club coach or new club mentor. You’ll learn a lot about leadership and communication in the process and broaden your experience in the Toastmasters community,
- Consider becoming a district officer to challenge and develop your communication and leadership skills while helping other clubs in the district.
- Help yourself and your club by giving presentations from the Better Speaker, Successful Club, and Leadership Excellence Series. You can download these programs free from Toastmasters International. Here is a downloadable list of the programs and direct links to each program.
Toastmasters Educational Program
The following principles form the basis of the Toastmasters Educational Program:
- By giving speeches and assuming meeting roles, Toastmasters is a learn-by-doing environment that helps member improve their communication and leadership skills.
- Toastmasters is a self-paced program in which members progress through the educational tracks at their own speed.
- Peer evaluation provides feedback about members’ strengths and opportunities for improvement.
- Mentoring is an integral part of the experience, where members help, support, and encourage each other.
The Pathways program provides a series of projects that outline various targets and objectives and that guide Toastmasters through their educational journey. There are 11 paths to choose from, each with its own specific area of focus. To learn more about the Pathways program, click on the button below.
A Note about the Legacy Educational Program
From time to time, you may hear someone mention the “legacy program” or see someone with unfamiliar Toastmasters ranks (such as Competent Toastmaster or Advanced Leader). These were part of the legacy educational program, which was replaced by Pathways in 2020.
At every Toastmasters meeting, there are several functionaries who participate in the meeting. Not only do these roles help the meeting run smoothly, they also provide an opportunity for members to improve their communication and leadership skills in the process. Members are encouraged to fill a different role every meeting so that they can polish their skills in a variety of situations.
Here is a quick summary of the common roles in a Toastmaster meeting:
- The Toastmaster of the Day serves as the “host” for the meeting, guides the meeting though the agenda, introduces key participants, and keeps the meeting on track and on time.
- The Prepared Speakers present manual speeches from the educational program and receive feedback from the evaluators. This process of speaking and listening helps everyone learn from the experience.
- The Table Topics Master provides opportunities for participants to practice impromptu speaking skills by asking previously undisclosed questions. Typically, the Table Topic Master gives priority to members without another assigned role so that everyone has an opportunity to speak at every meeting.
- The Table Topics Speakers give a 1-2-minute response (as an impromptu speech), prompted by the questions from the Table Topics Master. This lets members practice and improve their ability to think quickly on their feet.
- The Speech Evaluators provide verbal and written feedback to the prepared speakers, reviewing strengths and identifying opportunities to make the speech even better next time.
- The Ah-Counter notes the use of filler words and reports on the use (or overuse) of those filler words. This helps members become aware of their use and work towards eliminating them.
- The Grammarian notes when speakers use exemplary or eloquent language and also looks for opportunities to improve language usage.
- The Timer helps everyone stay on time by providing visual signals for various time limits.
- The General Evaluator evaluates everything that happens in the meeting, looking for strengths and opportunities for improvement. In many clubs, the General Evaluator also oversees the evaluation portion of the meeting.