The Toastmasters Club Experience

The Toastmasters Club Experience

Hello, I’m Stacey. Thanks for visiting Toastmasters International,
where more than 4 million people have become more confident speakers and leaders. They did so by visiting a Toastmasters club
in their company or community. When you visit a club, you’ll find three
things: members give speeches, they take on meeting roles and they have a great time learning. There is no designated teacher in a Toastmasters
meeting. Instead, much of the learning happens by doing
a particular task, such as giving a formal speech or fulfilling a particular meeting
role. Ready to visit a club? It’s free, and you can find one near you
on the Toastmasters website, at The purpose of the meeting roles is to help
the members improve their speaking and leadership skills by providing feedback and evaluation. There are seven different meeting roles: Toastmaster
of the day, Ah Counter, Grammarian, Timer, Evaluator, Table Topics Master and General
Evaluator. Every meeting is started by the club president,
who introduces the Toastmaster of the day. The Toastmaster of the day is the host of
the meeting. Fulfilling this role is great practice for
leading meetings. The Toastmaster begins by introducing people
who will fill other meeting roles for the day. He or she acts like an emcee and keeps the
meeting flowing smoothly and on time. Many clubs use an Ah Counter to document the
number of “filler words” members use while speaking. At the end of each meeting, the Ah Counter
reports how many “ahs,” “ums” and other similar words each speaker used. This helps members become more aware of unintended
words or sounds they make when they speak. The Grammarian helps members expand their
vocabularies. One of the Grammarian’s duties is to provide
a word of the day and its definition. If a member uses the word of the day or says
something well, the Grammarian calls attention to it. As the name implies, the Timer records the
exact length of each speech. He or she also uses timing lights to help
speakers stay within their allocated time limits. The General Evaluator takes notes throughout
the meeting and reports back to everyone, giving specific feedback on how well the meeting
flowed and also on how future meetings might be improved. The general evaluator also calls for reports
by the Ah Counter, Grammarian and Timer. In every club meeting, there are at least
two members who present speeches. These speakers don’t just stand up and start
talking. They use the guidelines in their designated
education manuals to prepare their presentations and reach the objectives for each speech. Every speaker who has prepared speeches in
advance enjoys one of Toastmasters’ greatest benefits: evaluation. Think of it as having a friend watch you practice
a speech and then give you helpful feedback. The speaker usually meets with an evaluator
before the meeting and asks for the evaluator to pay attention to certain aspects of the
talk. After all the speeches are done, the evaluators
present their feedback in front of the club, covering areas such as: did the speakers use
their hands to gesture well? Did they control their voices throughout the
speeches? What did they do especially well, and what
are some ideas for improvement? In addition to prepared speeches, a few minutes
are set aside for Table Topics®. This is often the most challenging, but also
the most fun part of our meetings. During Table Topics, a series of questions
or speaking topics are presented, and members are selected to respond on the spot. This is excellent training for those situations
that come up in everyone’s lives where we have to think fast and say just the right
thing. It might be a job interview, a sales meeting
or a dinner conversation. Table Topics are great for practicing and
honing the skills of impromptu speaking. Now that all the reports have been made, the
President calls the meeting to a close. Everyone joins Toastmasters with a personal
goal. Maybe it’s a goal to become a more competent
presenter or learn how to run a meeting or think faster on your feet. Whatever it is, you can achieve your goal
if you participate. So, what’s your goal? For more information on the club experience,
please visit a Toastmasters club. To learn more about how you can become a better
speaker and leader, visit To find a Toastmasters meeting near you, visit
the Find a Club section at

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Great presentation and marketing tool.

    Darryle Brown, MBA, DTM
    Immediate Past District Director
    District 26 Toastmasters
    Serving Colorado, Wyoming and western Colorado

  2. Good overview of the meetings! I've been a member of several clubs over many years. Has anyone else noticed unavoidable awkward transitions between the roles/functionaries? "Thank you Mr/madam table topics grammarian toastmaster master" (or some similar statement of confusion). I love TM, I just wonder how that could be smoother.

  3. Why is Toastmasters so aggressively P.C.? Spotting the white man in one of their promotions is like playing 'Where's Waldo?'

  4. Check out the One-A-Day Speech series by Career Communciators and Toastmasters Plus. They are very much liked Table Topics.

  5. I'm gonna try this in my community. I am joining due to my overall lack of ability to have a conversation which has in short destroyed my ability to have a proper conversation on a personal level. It would be nice to have a proper conversation with a woman without getting stuck on anything past "hi". At the age I'm at 24 its pretty much an auto turn off when a women finds out you can't even communicate your thoughts properly. Not having any past experience offers little to no sympathy in this category. So my last lifeline is getting into a group of newbs like myself and learn to speak and have a meaty conversation(s) and hopefully apply it as thoroughly as I do in the meetings in the real world. Not just on a relationship basis but also during interviews amongst other things.

  6. I can't seem to find anything on pricing to join a club in the UK. Does anyone know approximately how much the cost is in the UK??

  7. No wonder why so many youth find it so hard to hold a conversation. They forgot their bloodied toastmaster club president! How are we supposed to engage in such inspirational, and compassionate discussion without our oh-so-important word-of-the-day?

    Merriam Webster enters chat

    Oh sh*t

  8. Hi i am hassan
    I need native English to make a friendship with him to help me to improve my English Practice . And i will pay for him something as a gift if anyone want to help me i wish to leave a replay on my comment with his email.

  9. My issue is I get so nervous speaking in front of others I normally avoid speeches. Would this be beneficial for a nervous speaker

  10. Is it okay to present in a more relaxed manner, almost how a stand-up comedian might (but a very amateurish one). From the videos I've seen, everybody seems so rigid and professional when speaking, which I don't think will jive well with my current goal of simply becoming more relaxed when presenting. I would love to get to a point where I can make the members laugh and listen with a smile instead of an attentive face. Is this sort of execution/presentation style okay or out of the ordinary?

  11. I enjoy attending meetings because is a safe environment to experiment, get over your fears in communicating, and best of all get useful feedbacks from awesome people.

  12. The skills I learned from Toastmasters International (TI) have been invaluable to me in so many ways. Within each of us we have a story to tell. Toastmasters' provides a comfortable setting that allows everyone an opportunity to improve speaking and leadership skills. As the Author of 17 STEP- A Federal Employee's Guide For Tackling Workplace Discrimination, I truly appreciate my interactions with TI UMUC Power Speakers. I always loved to write …now I can speak on those topics that mean so much to me. "Find Your Voice; Change The World"

  13. Hello Toast Masters of Parsippany,
    I am Sean Nave, a man with a dream, and I want to learn how to go about doing it. The Toast Masters Club seems to be the right place to hone my skills again if you will take me under your wings.

    I am a traumatic brain injury survivor of over fourteen years, and havr gone through many changes during my process in coming to you.

    I am a simple man, who was in the process of getting a degree in business and computer science while being a title insurance broker, when the accident occurred.

    Now fourteen years later, after losing my good hand and regaining my mastery of English, I work for Universal Institute’s TRU program as the Editor of the quarterly newsletter, and have a book about a number of topics that I want help with publishing.

    Can you direct me in how I become a member?

    A humble,.

    Sean Nave

  14. I know it is said to be free, but the meeting I went to had a breakdown of fees…is it normal to have fees or dues at these meetings or was it just normal at that location?

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