[spoiler intro=”General” title=”What is Toastmasters”]Toastmasters is a world leading organisation which promotes communication and leadership development. Members join a club and attend meetings, where they practice all forms of public speaking and provide each other with support and encouragement. More information on Toastmasters international can be found here.[/spoiler]
[spoiler intro=”General” title =”How Does Toastmasters Work?”]A Toastmasters club is a “learn-by-doing” workshop in which men and women hone their skills in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. A typical club has 20 to 40 members who meet weekly or biweekly to learn and practice public speaking techniques. The average club meeting lasts approximately two hours. Annual Membership is about the same as that of a typical short Night School Course.[/spoiler]
[spoiler intro=”General” title=”How is Toastmasters Organised?”]Every new Toastmaster joins a specific club. Each club has 20 – 50 members, and is part of an area. Each area has four members and is part of a division. Each division is then part of a larger district. The district covering Great Britain and Ireland is known as District 71. More information on how Toastmasters is organised can be found here. [/spoiler]
[spoiler intro =”General” title=”How is a Toastmasters Club Organised?”]Every Toastmasters club is organised by a voluntary committee, consisting of a President, Vice President of education, Vice President of Membership, and Treasurer. The committee organises a venue and time for meetings, puts together a program of speeches and generally makes sure the club runs smoothly.[/spoiler][/spoilergroup]
[spoiler intro =”Club Questions” title=”What are the Roles at a Meeting?”] At every Hellfire meeting you will see club members adopt a range of different roles, and each role has a different title. The main roles are:
- President – Wears a very fancy gold chain and sits at the top table. This is a committee position, that is elected once yearly.
- Toastmaster – Sits in the centre at the top table. Is responsible for organising and chairing a meeting of Toastmasters. A different member is asked to act as Toastmaster each week so that one person doesn’t have too much work, and to give everyone experience of the role.
- Topicsmaster – The final person at the top table. Asks members of the audience to answer a question (Topic), and speak for two minutes on it. They’re usually the person everyone is being extra nice to at tea break.
- Timekeeper – Sits at the front of the audience on the right, times member speeches and responses, and uses a one of a kind lighting system to issue warnings. Keeping speeches to time is a key part of Toastmasters.
- Sergeant at Arms – Gives a quick safety briefing and introduction at the beginning of the meeting. Think of them as an air hostess without the yellow plastic thing.
For more about what happens at a meeting of Hellfire Toastmasters, see here. [/spoiler]
[spoiler intro =”Club Questions” title=”What Happens at a Hellfire Toastmasters Meeting?”]People get up and speak, then some more people speak, then there’s a tea break. After the tea break some more people speak.
The speeches are all short, usually 7 minutes is the maximum. We’re pretty strict on time. They’re very varied. The last meeting I was at had a speech on the perils of online dating, the one before that on Rhino’s in South Africa. You never quite know what people will speak about, but you end up finding out a lot of information you never would otherwise.
For a more formal answer, the typical format we use for Hellfire Toastmaster meetings is described here. [/spoiler]
[spoiler intro =”Club Questions” title=”Can I Just Show Up To A Meeting?”]Yes. Guests are always welcome. Come alone or with a friend. Our meetings are every Tuesday, September – Mid December and Mid January – June. They start at 8pm and they’re in the D4 Hotel, Ballsbridge.
You can see the full details here.[/spoiler]
[spoiler intro =”Club Questions” title=”What Sort of Members Do You Have?”]In Hellfire our membership is extremely varied. Our youngest members are in their early twenties and our oldest memories are in their 80’s. (I think, to be honest, I’m kind of scared to ask). There are architects, engineers, senior managers, students, bankers, healthcare workers, salesmen and a whole range of other professions.
We have some members who are nervous first time speakers, people preparing for best man speeches right the way up to people preparing for father of the bride speeches and with twenty years experience in Toastmasters. [/spoiler]
[spoiler intro=”Club Questions” title=”What Is Expected Of Me As A Toastmaster?”]
Being a Toastmaster means more than simply making a commitment to self-development. Everyone who joins a Toastmasters club is making a commitment to the club, to its members, and to the organization as a whole.
In general Hellfire members are expected to:
- Attend club meetings regularly;
- To prepare speeches and leadership projects to the best of your ability, basing them on projects in the Competent Communication manual, Advanced Communication manuals or Competent Leadership manual;
- To prepare for and fulfill meeting assignments;
- To provide fellow members with helpful, constructive evaluations;
- To help the club maintain the positive, friendly environment necessary for all members to learn and grow;
- To treat fellow club members and our guests with respect and courtesy;
- To adhere to the guidelines and rules for all Toastmasters educational and recognition programs;
- To maintain honest and highly ethical standards during the conduct of all Toastmasters activities.[/spoiler][/spoilergroup]