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easy-Speak Training

Full Catalogue of Paths & Tasks

District 71 
District 91 

Author malcolmw  Date 16 Oct 09, 20:52  Views 3799
Description Information for a guest or new member
Category Toastmasters  Type Information

Getting started in a Toastmaster Club

The educational programme
When you become a member of Toastmasters International you will be sent a joining pack. This includes the two manuals to get you started: the Competent Communication manual and the Competent Leadership manual.
Details of the educational programme proceeding from these two manuals is at

Table Topics
Table Topics is fun! It's also terrifying. Basically, it calls on you, the guest or member, to present a one to two minute impromptu speech on a subject not known to you until the moment you get up to speak! A member of the club assigned to be Topicsmaster will prepare a few impromptu topics and call on members (or guests, if they've given assent in advance to being called on) to stand up and speak on the topic.
Topics might include current events (e.g. 'What would you do about Haitian boat people if you were President?') or philosophy ('If you had no shoes and met a man who had no feet, how would you feel?') or the wacky ('Reach into this bag. Pull an item out. Tell us about it.').

All prepared speakers, as noted above, should have their speaking manuals with them and should have passed them on to the evaluators beforehand. During the speech, and after, each person's evaluator makes notes and plans what to say during the two to three minute oral evaluation. It's important to remember that the evaluation is just the viewpoint of one person, although one who has focused in on your speech closely.

Timing rationale
A good speaker makes effective use of the time allotted and does not keep going and going and going until the audience is bored. In the real world, quite often there are practical limits on how long a meeting can or should go; by setting time limits on speeches and presentations, participants learn brevity and time management and the club meeting itself can be expected to end on schedule.

Timing lights
It is common for clubs to use a set of timing lights to warn the speakers of the advance in time. All speeches and presentations have a time limit expressed as an interval, for example: 5 to 7 minutes. In this case a green light would be shown at 5 minutes, amber at 6, and red at 7. In Table Topics, the lights would be shown at 1, 1.5, and 2 minutes respectively. When the green light comes on, you've at least spoken enough, though you need not finish right away. When the yellow light comes on, you should begin wrapping up. If you're not done by the time the red light comes on, you should finish as soon as possible without mangling the ending of your speech.

Meeting structure
Meetings generally are not complicated once you get used to the timing lights and the different roles members of the group play. Since the average club is expected to have 20 or more members, you need a lot of roles for people to play in order to involve everyone. And, since meeting assignments vary from meeting to meeting, everyone gets practice doing everything over the course of several meetings. One meeting, you'll be assigned to give a speech; the next, you might be timer; the next, you might be the Toastmaster of the Meeting, running the whole show. It keeps you flexible and it prevents you from having to prepare a speech for every meeting.

External speeches
You may give two speeches for each manual outside your Club as long as there is at least one Toastmasters member in attendance who evaluates your speech. Permission must also be obtained beforehand from the Vice President Education.

For a suggested progression in roles for new members:

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