Q. What is Toastmasters about?
A. Toastmasters is a personal development voluntary organisation. Through a network of clubs we help people learn the skills of speaking in front of an audience and gain confidence to speak in public. Toastmasters do this by providing a variety of speaking activities including prepared & “off the cuff” speeches. Toastmasters also offer opportunities to develop leadership skills.
Q. How long do meetings go for?
A. It depends on the Club! Corporate clubs may meet over an hour at lunch. Community clubs generally meet in the evenings. Some clubs meet in the early morning before you start your day. Most clubs have coffee and tea facilities whilst some clubs include a dining option. Before you visit a club, it is always best to contact their membership co-ordinator.
Q. What is the difference between a short public speaking course and joining a club?
A. Toastmasters conduct a number of short public speaking courses. We run “Speechcraft” courses for adults and “Youth Leadership” courses for school age youth. Each is about 6 weeks in duration usually over 21 contact hours. Courses offer an opportunity to learn about impromptu speaking (without preparation time) and preparing a speech. Participants can expect to deliver prepared speeches during the course. Courses are usually limited to 10 participants.
By joining a club you get to experience all of the benefits from a Speechcraft course and learn from others by observing and participating in meetings. You proceed at your own pace. You will have the support of club members and have a mentor appointed to provide personalised assistance. Members are scheduled to undertake a range of roles in club meetings.
Toastmaster clubs offer leadership opportunities. There are elected club officer roles as well as a defined leadership track that reflects your professional and personal life.
Q. Would it better to do a public speaking course first?
A. There is no need to do a course first unless you feel the learned skill sets will benefit you quickly and personally. The success of the Toastmasters program then depends on regular contact with like minded individuals. If you are not interested in club membership then a public speaking course will benefit you.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. There is a once only joining fee of RM120 plus semi-annual fees of RM180. Most clubs will ask for a small additional charge to cover membership, venue hire and refreshments. For Sunway Toastmasters Club, we have a door fee of RM10 for members and roleplayers and RM15 for guests to cover cost of food and venue.
Q. Can I go along and see a meeting?
A. Yes, you can attend meetings as a guest. Clubs look forward to guests visiting and will receive you warmly. There is no compulsion to participate in any of the planned activities if you do not want to. A member of the club will be assigned to personally look after you. You can attend several clubs if you like!
Q. How can I join?
A. You can join or collect the relevant information at any club meeting or ask any club member about how to join their club. There are a number of clubs, with one bound to be near you.
Q. Do you have to make your mind up at the first meeting?
A. No, you can go along to as many meetings as you like before deciding. Clubs may ask you if you would like to join each time you attend, but you can take your own time before deciding. You can attend more than one club if you want to. The sooner you join, the sooner you begin to gain the benefits of Toastmasters membership!
Q. Can I attend more than one club?
A. Whilst you are visiting and deciding whether Toastmasters is for you, you can attend as many clubs as you like. When you join, membership is for that club. However, should you need to change location your membership can be simply transferred to another club. All clubs are always happy to have you as a visiting guest or a visiting member.
Q. What do I get when I join?
A. Every new member receives a package which includes a professionally published Communication and Leadership manual, additional educational brochures, membership and access to all Toastmaster functions, promotion, support systems and a monthly “Toastmaster” magazine.
Q. What age groups attend meetings?
A. This really depends on the club you join. You can join Toastmasters from the age of 18. Clubs usually have a mix of experienced members and ages. You can attend a few clubs to see which best suits you.
Q. How many people attend meetings?
A. Numbers vary from club to club and at different meetings. A dynamic meeting can have as few as 5-10 members, however 15-25 members usually create a great meeting environment.
Q. Are all the people good speakers?
A. No, not at all – in every club you will find some beginners, some very experienced people, and those in the middle. As people join and progress a good range of experience is usually present in all clubs. No matter how long you stay in Toastmasters you are always learning. Toastmasters learn from both experienced and new members.
Q. Do you provide individual tuition?
A. An experienced member will be appointed as a mentor. If you particulary wanted a personalised programme of tuition then you may need to speak to the Club President or contact the Public Speaking Course co-ordinator in your state.