General l Club l Membership
General Toastmaster Information
What is Toastmasters? l Why is it called Toastmasters? l What is the mission of a Toastmasters club?
What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International is a non-profit worldwide educational organization. Its mission is to improve the communication and leadership skills of its members. The organization has over 250,000 members in more than 12,500 clubs in 106 countries, offering a proven and enjoyable way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills.
Most Toastmasters meetings are comprised of approximately 20 people who meet 2 to 3 times a month for an hour. Participants practice and learn skills by filling a meeting role, ranging from giving a prepared speech or an impromptu one to serving as timer, evaluator or grammarian.
There is no instructor; instead, each speech and meeting is critiqued by a member in a positive manner, focusing on what was done right and what could be improved.
Why is it called Toastmasters?
The name "Toastmasters" reflects the origins of the organization in the early 1920s - a time when after dinner speaking was one of the most common forms of public speaking. Today, Toastmasters has taken on the more modern requirements of public speaking: sales calls, training seminars, business presentations, school presentations, etc. Toastmasters is a public speaking practice session among friends and co-workers.
What is the mission of a Toastmasters club?
"The mission of a Toastmasters Club is to provide a supportive learning environment for its members to develop public speaking and leadership skills, which foster self-confidence and personal growth."
What is AGOISSI and what does it stand for? l How many members do you have? l When will the next meeting be held? l What happens at a meeting? l Do I have to come to every meeting? l How often do I have to give a speech?
What is AGOISSI and what does it stand for?
AGOISSI stands for A Group Of Individuals Seeking Self Improvement. We are part of Area 25, District 40 (Eastern Division of the International Organization headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.
How many members do you have?
We have at any given time approximately 40 members with 15 - 20 individuals attending each week. For a complete membership roster, check out our membership roster.
When will the next meeting be held?
Meetings are held the 1st, 3rd and 4th or 5th Wednesdays (depending on how many Wednesdays there are in the month) of each month from 11:30 – 12:30. Toastmaster’s is a command sponsored activity and one hour of absorbed time is authorized for DSCC associates. For other base tenants, please check your local policy. Meeting locations vary and are always posted to Message of the Day (MOTD). Check the upcoming events for the latest information on special events for the next two months.
What happens at a meeting?
The first half of the meeting is devoted to scheduled speeches by members. A typical meeting has three speakers each giving a 5 to 7 minute speech. This is followed by 1 to 3 minute evaluations. The second half of the meeting is devoted to Table Topics in which members and guests volunteer to give a 1 to 2 minute extemporaneous talk on a topic provided to them. The meeting concludes with awards being given out to the Best Speaker, Best Evaluator and Best Table Topics. Each winner will receive a rotating trophy which is to be returned to the next regularly scheduled meeting.
I have a busy work schedule. Do I have to come to every meeting?
No, you can attend as many or as few as you would like. Club members are encouraged to attend regularly. Frequent practice is important to foster improvement in speaking ability.
How often do I have to give a speech?
The average person gives a speech every four to six weeks. We schedule two to three speeches each meeting and there are times when a member cannot fulfill their role due to a work commitment. The Toastmaster or VP of Education will inform members if there is a speech opening. It is good practice to have a couple speeches started in case an opportunity opens up.
How long does it take to complete the Competent Communication Manual?
It takes the typical member about a year to complete.
How much does it cost to join? l How do I pay? l What do I get for my membership? l When will I get my membership kit? l If I join, will you make me speak right away? l What if I have no experience at public speaking or making presentations? l Do I get to choose the topics of my speeches? l How will I know how well I’m doing? l Are there any leadership opportunities? l Can I earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Leadership Development Hours for participating in Toastmaster activities?
How much does it cost to join?
The Toastmasters membership fee is currently $45 due semiannually in April and October. For members who join the club during other months the dues are pro-rated at $7.50 per month. The following shows the pro-rated amount due by new members depending on which month they join. This is in addition to the New Member Fee of $20 (if not a dual or reinstated member, to cover new member materials) and $5.00 club dues:
- October/April - $45.00
- November/May - $37.50
- December/June - $30.00
- January/July - $22.50
- February/August - $15.00
- March/September - $7.50*
*Note: a new Toastmaster in March/September may want to pay dues of $42.00 (plus new member fee and clue dues) to cover March/September dues as well as subsequent six months renewal of dues to avoid back-to-back payments.
How do I pay?
Make your check payable to "AGOISSI." Checks can be brought to a meeting and given to the current Treasurer or one of the other club officers.
What do I get for my membership?
You get a packet of materials to help guide you through your first ten speeches, a subscription to "Toastmaster" magazine, and a welcome package of materials from the club to get you started. Here are some of the other benefits of joining:
- Cheaper than a speech class
- Safe and supportive speaking environment
- Command sponsored
- Club Champion Sponsor
- Guests welcome to attend multiple meetings without pressure to join
- Guests may participate in the Extemporaneous portion of the meeting
- Speak about your favorite topic without being interrupted!
- Everyone who speaks in front of a group is a winner!
- Members are not pressured to give a prepared speech
- Prepares members to speak by assigning meeting roles such as Toastmaster of the Day, Grammarian, Timer and General Evaluator
- Three type of speaking venues: Prepared Speeches, Evaluations, and Extemporaneous
- Speaking manuals - Basics; Technical Presentations; Speaking to Inform; Speeches by Management; Humorous; Story Telling, and more
- Club Officer Roles - President, Education, Membership, Public Relations, Treasurer, Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms
• Receive speaking level certificates after completion of manuals
When will I get my membership kit?
It usually takes about 7 to 10 days for the materials to arrive from the date that you submit your membership form and check.
Do I have to join right away?
You are welcome to attend as a guest for as long as you like. There is no pressure to join, but there are lots of benefits!
If I join, will you make me speak right away?
No. You will not be asked to speak unless you're ready to, although you will probably find that the supportive atmosphere helps to melt away those first speech butterflies. Our club attempts to arrange the meeting schedules in such a way that most members are involved in some capacity at each meeting, so just let one of the officers know what your comfort level is.
What if I have no experience at public speaking or making presentations?
We all had to start somewhere. AGOISSI has a wide range of abilities within its membership. During any given meeting, there will be some very experienced speakers as well as new members with very limited experience. Perhaps the biggest fear many people have is speaking before a group. One of the objectives of Toastmasters is to help members to understand this and to provide them with the "laboratory" to bring this fear under control.
Do I get to choose the topics of my speeches?
Yes, you can speak on any subject. But to help guide your development, there is a ten speech program designed to develop particular speaking skills. You begin by talking about yourself and then progress to more difficult speeches.
Speech # - Title / Duration in Minutes / Objective of Speech
- Ice Breaker / 4-6 / Introduce yourself to the club
Organize Your Speech / 5-7
- Get to the Point /
General and Specific purposes
- How to Say it /
Select the right words, use rhetorical devices
Your Body Speaks /
Stance, movement gestures, facial expression
Vocal Variety /
Voice, volume, pitch, rate, pauses
Research Your Topic /
Use numerous sources, facts, illustrations
Get Comfortable with Visual Aids /
Props and visual aids
- Persuade with Power /
- Inspire Your Audience
/ 8-10 /
How will I know how well I’m doing?
After each speech you will be evaluated by a fellow member. Our evaluations are constructive and supportive, seeking to encourage you along your journey of self development. A good evaluation will give you one or two tips to keep in mind for enhancing your next speech.
Are there any leadership opportunities?
Yes, Toastmasters has a rigorous program for helping members develop leadership skills. Members have many opportunities to take on different roles at every meeting and help it to be successful. More experienced members can take on officer roles, both at the club level and at Area and District levels.
Can I earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Leadership Development Hours for participating in Toastmaster activities?
Yes, although your supervisor is the ultimate authority for approving credit for your activities, participation in AGOISSI could meet several categories for both programs. For the DAU CEUs and Leadership Development Hours, there is a tailored credit request form for Toastmaster Activities. If you have any questions, please contact the President or Vice President of Education.