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A Brief History of Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International was founded by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley in October 1924, when the first Toastmasters meeting was held at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California.  There are now more than 15,400 Toastmasters Clubs and 332,000 members in 135 countries, with World Headquarters in Mission Viejo, California.

Over 4 million men and women have benefited from Toastmasters International training. More than 1,000 corporations and government agencies sponsor in-house Toastmasters Clubs as communication training workshops for their employees. Specialized Clubs have been established at military bases, professional associations, colleges and universities, senior citizens homes and churches, and even in prisons. Toastmasters International is open to anyone over the age of 18, regardless of race, colour, creed, sex, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability, so long as the applicant can participate in the program.

A Communication and Leadership Experience

Toastmasters International is an organization of more than 10,500 clubs dedicated to communication and leadership training.

When you join a Toastmasters club you can practice public speaking at every meeting before your fellow club members.  You are free to progress at your own pace and will always receive the support and guidance you need.

You can also learn practical leadership skills by hosting part of a meeting, and by becoming a club officer (each club is run by its members).

Communication and leadership go together in Toastmasters, just as they do in business and in the community.

Is Toastmasters Right for You?

  • Do you get butterflies in your stomach whenever you’re asked to speak before a group?
  • Do you wish to express your thoughts and ideas with confidence?
  • Do you lack the nerve to ask your boss for a raise?
  • Do you want to be better at networking at business functions?
  • Do you want to be better at motivating your co-workers - or your children?
  • Do you want to become a better communicator and leader?

If you answer “YES”, to any of these questions, Toastmasters is for you.

Anyone eighteen years and older can join a Toastmasters club.  The Toastmasters educational program will enable you to develop the communication and leadership skills you need, whether you are a professional, student, stay-at-home parent or retiree. Toastmasters is the most efficient, enjoyable and affordable way of gaining communication and leadership skills.  By learning to effectively formulate and express your ideas, you open an entirely new world of possibilities.  You’ll be more persuasive and confident when giving presentations, and you’ll improve your one-on-one dealings with others.

Leaders are good communicators

Leadership is the art of persuading others to do what needs to be done.  To do so, you need to communicate, and you need to work as a team.  In our Toastmasters club, you’ll do both.  And you’ll find out how to vary your approach to suit the needs of different audiences.

Toastmasters Provides many Benefits

By participating in Toastmasters club meetings you will learn to use the speaking technique that is right for each audience, whether it be the board of directors of a large business, a fundraising committee or a family reunion.

More specifically as a Toastmaster you will:

  • Learn to prepare and present speeches, using the speech manuals developed by Toastmasters International;
  • Organize and run meetings and other events;
  • Develop leadership and organizational skills by serving as a club officer;
  • Learn to motivate people through constructive evaluations;
  • Gain confidence, social skills and a more outgoing personality;
  • Belong to a group of friendly people of varied backgrounds who meet-usually every week - to help one another achieve their educational goals.

Communication and Leadership Programs

Once you join a Toastmasters Club, your goal is not only to attend meetings regularly but to immediately begin developing your communication and leadership skills, using both the Competent Communication and the Competent Leadership Manuals.

The Competent Communication manual features 10 speech projects.  Each project will guide you in preparing and delivering a 5-7 minute speech in order to master a specific speaking skill.  Every project builds upon what you have learned in your previous projects. By completing the Competent Communication manual, you will understand the basic skills of public speaking.  You will then be able to choose from fifteen Advanced Communication manuals, to refine your skills and direct your training toward your specific goals.

The Competent Leadership manual features 10 projects, each focused on developing a leadership skill, such as listening, motivating or team building.  You are required to practice each project by performing an official role in one or more weekly meetings.  After having completed the Competent Leadership manual, you can proceed to the Advanced Leadership Program.