From comments made on another subject, it appears that several MT members are also members of Toastmasters.
Would joing toastmasters be beneficial in terms of my personal and managerial development? or will it just help with public speaking.
Can any Toastmasters describe a typical meeting?
What's involved when joining as a new member?


GlennR's picture

[quote]Would joing toastmasters be beneficial in terms of my personal and managerial development? or will it just help with public speaking. [/quote]

I believe it would benefit you personally and in a work setting by making you more comfortable when speaking either formally or informally, providing you with leadership opportunities within the club, and allowing you to enhance your coaching skills by providing feedback to speakers.

[quote]Can any Toastmasters describe a typical meeting? [/quote]
A meeting at my Toastmasters club is broken into the following
1. Announcements
2. 3 prepared speeches usally 5-7 minutes each, but ocasionally longer
3. Impromptu Speaking: 3-4 members are given 1-2 minutes to speak on an topic. They don't know what they will speak on until they're called upon. This strengthens your ability to speak off the cuff, such as within a meeting.
4. Evaluations. The original 3 speakers are each evaluated so that they can learn what they did right and what they could change to improve. This coaching is usually very supportive and I have found evaluating others offers valuable training for me to use when giving feedback at my work.

What's involved when joining as a new member? [/quote]
Go to their Web site, and use the locater to find clubs near you. Some clubs may be employee-only clubs. Others are public.
Each club has a different personality so feel free to attend 3 or 4. Guests are made welcome.

Toastmasters offers a fantastic ROI for the small membership fee. AND, the meetings are usually fun, motivational, and informative as well.



aspiringceo's picture

Thanks for your reply Glenn. I've looked at the website and it appears that there are 2 clubs within 15 miles of my home.


chuckbo's picture

I'll support Glenn's comment that even though all of the clubs have the same basic structure (though they may alter the agenda and timing), each one has a distinct personality. I've visited some clubs that just weren't for me, and many clicked very nicely. It surprises me how very different the five clubs that I started became. Check out both of the clubs in your area.


taffywit's picture

I've been a member of three different clubs and have held various leadership positions including club President. I highly recommend Toastmasters as a way to grow in confidence when speaking in meetings and giving presentations. Toastmasters also gives you the opportunity to develop other management skills, such as giving feedback, running meetings, leading projects and socializing with people.

Toastmasters is a structured learning program. Members prepare speeches from manuals that aim to work on one skill at a time, for example vocal variety, structuring a speech, and gesturing. After completing the basic manual, which has 10 speeches and gets you a Competent Communicator award, you can select from advanced manuals, such as "Speeches for Management" and "The Entertaining Speaker".

At each meeting, members take on different roles. The idea is that everyone has a chance to speak during the meeting, and each role gives members different things to try. Newer people typically take on smaller roles, such as the speech timer and "Ah" counter. As you become more comfortable you can prepare speeches and take on bigger roles such as Table Topics Master and Toastmaster. Then, you can contribute to the club in a leadership role, such as Vice President of Membership, or President.

Clubs have speaking competititions a couple of times a year a that you can take part in to stretch yourself further. Winners go on to Area contests, then District contests, and so on, up to the national and international levels. This means bigger and bigger audiences and better and better speakers to measure yourself against and learn from.

Every club is different and you'd definitely want to visit all the clubs in your area and pick the one that suits you best. I like clubs that are a little more polished and business-like and that have very experienced speakers.

I've seen a lot of new people shake with terrible fear at first, their voices quaking and hardly audible. But because of the positive, friendly, supportive energy in these groups and the regular practice, they blossom and become completely different people. Toastmasters is an excellent way to learn to control the fear of public speaking and develop speaking and leadership skills.

Mark's picture
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Sorry for my absence all.

Toastmasters is the best professional organization available to managers in the world. PERIOD. (We're not an organization yet).

If you even have an INKLING of going, GO.

Brilliant group, great program, good system, wonderful people, COMPLETE AND UTTER NO BRAINER.


aspiringceo's picture

Thanks everybody for all the advice, I have enquired about the 2 clubs in my area, at the moment the nights they are on clash with one daughters swimming training and the other daughters Tae Kwon Do and my parental responsibility as the official taxi driver. The swim timetable will change (for better or worse) later this year and I will try then.

Thanks again


paizleygrl's picture

Hey there, I am an avid Toastmaster Promoter (currently VP or Public Relations and Assistant Area Govenor.) Not only is Toastmasters a great way to improve your speaking, listening and facilitation skills, but it's an excellent Networking opportunity.

With that said, many clubs have morning and lunch time meetings. Are those an option? You can find local clubs by going to That site can also answer the other questions you had about meeting format etc.


denisagiles's picture

I recently went to my first toastmasters meeting. I was thinking about going for 3 years, but I guess I always made excuses. I can tell that even after just watching the first meeting, I can see it will benefit me greatly. Thanks for reiterating what a great organization it is, as I value your recommendations.

canuck's picture

As Mark H said, this is a no brainer.

But don't forget that Toastmasters also has really good Leadership training as well as speaking training (they divide their program into two parts now - Competent Communication and Competent Leadership).  You can't actually advance in the organisation without doing the leadership training.

Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions and Toastmasters is the only place where I get honest, constructive, supportive and (best of all) detailed feedback about my communication and leadership skills.

I find that when I do presentations at work now I actually MISS the level of feedback I normally get in a TM environment.   It's nice to hear "Good Job" from your boss, but it'd be even nicer to have comprehensive points for improvement and praise!

jhbchina's picture

Dear MT'ers,

Over 20 years ago, the phrase “Have you ever heard of ToastMasters” was spoken to me by a colleague. That led me to visit a meeting, join the club and so much more.

ToastMaster and it’s members helped me become a more confident speaker. Through ToastMasters I have met so many people that I still communicate with today. With my fellow members I developed my business and marketing skills.

Sometimes I pondered what it would be like to start a club from the beginning. Never did I realize that I would get that chance, and in of all places, China. I can promise you that ToastMasters will help you get what you want, based on what you choose to go after.

Want to grow your business network, join
Want to be a better presenter, join
Want to make new friends, join
Want to be a leader, join

JHB "00"

denisagiles's picture

I've been signed up for a few weeks now, just waiting for my books. After only 3 sessions of table topics, I am already much more comfortable with impromptu questions. It's what I need practice on the most and it's already working.

asteriskrntt1's picture

I have seen dozens of people, totally paralyzed in their communication skills, blossom through Toastmasters.  Many groups have lunchtime meeting in business districts.  Many bosses are fairly liberal in giving you time to get to and from these meetings.

I know of a man, I will call Stan.  Had one of those unique 2 different eye colour disabilities.  Terrible eyesight, bad depth perception, worse self esteem, stalled in a low level tech job.  We introduced him to Toastmasters.  Within 6 months, he started winning competitions.  His relationships at work changed (for the better).  He got a couple of promotions based on his ability to communicate concepts and goals and deadlines.  Technically, he was still lousy at what he did but he made the relationships work. He is now a respected IT director and winning speech competitions.

All for an investment of $5 a week.

Find a toastmasters or start one up that works for your schedule.

If that story isn't compelling enough, I have a cousin name Darcy.  Possibly the most book smart person I know and totally useless in any other meaningful way.  She got involved in Toastmasters, found she had a gift for making speeches and now, is a regional trainer for a major life insurance company (about $60 grand a year) and teaches part time at a community college.  Oh, and she has won more than a few contests.

All for $5 a week.

Find a toastmasters!





amcglone's picture

I cannot say enough good things about Toastmasters.  Over the last year my personal confidence has sky-rocketed.  I've won 12 speech contests in 14 months, and I am the reigning 2009 district 40 speech champion for both the spring and fall contests.  These experiences have pushed me to grow and develop and follow some excellent mentors along the way.  I have learned that practice leads to performance leads to confidence leads to your dreams.  Toastmasters is not about Toastmasters.  Toastmasters is about improving every area of your life outside of Toastmasters with the skills and confidence you gain.  Simply an amazing program and for so little money.  I have made some great friends through Toastmasters, all quality people.  I agree.  "No brainer."

PS - You can view some of my speeches here:



asteriskrntt1's picture

OMGosh Ash


I laughed so hard that I woke my roommate.  Brilliant. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the energy you bring to an interview.


Well done.



asteriskrntt1's picture

OMGosh Ash


I laughed so hard that I woke my roommate.  Brilliant. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the energy you bring to an interview.


Well done.



asteriskrntt1's picture

OMGosh Ash


I laughed so hard that I woke my roommate.  Brilliant. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the energy you bring to an interview.


Well done.



asteriskrntt1's picture

OMGosh Ash


I laughed so hard that I woke my roommate.  Brilliant. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the energy you bring to an interview.


Well done.



allie's picture

I cannot say enough good things about Toastmasters International!  It was suggested to me by an employer nearly 6 years ago and I've been suggesting it to friends and colleagues ever since.

Toastmasters single handedly transformed my life and career.  While a member of Toastmasters, I acheived Competent Toastmaster as well as Competent Leader and also served as our club's secretary and president.   Not only are the learned skills invaluable, so are the friendships that will be formed with other professionals.

As a marketer for a financial institution, Toastmasters has served me well on many different occasions.  (From television interviews, training staff, educating consumers, to interacting with vendors and co-workers.)      You should make it a New Year's resoluton to join a local Toastmaster's club today.  You owe it to yourself, personally and professionally!  Even if you think you're "polished enough"...Toastmasters will prove that there's ALWAYS room for improvement.




spatter1's picture

I joined Toastmasters as a way to improve my public speaking in addition to explaining what I have been doing since I've been out of work and I have to say that membership is highly recommended.

Professionally, I have given hundreds of presentations and while I have developed some level of confidence in public speaking, the Toastmasters' program takes you out of your comfort zone and presents you with new and exciting challenges.  The program takes you through so much more than how to give a presentation, but works to develop communication and leadership skills on many levels.

The Competent Toastmaster (Competent Communicator - CC) and Competent Leader (CL) awards are really only a start.  The advanced communicator and advanced leader awards grow on the basics learned in the CC and CL programs and allow you to tackle even larger projects that will only serve to benefit you in your professional life regardless of your profession.

DPWade's picture

You rock, Dude (or is it "you go girl")  Great performance.

I joined TM a year ago and echo all other takes on this thread, especially finding a group that fits has managers common to you, MOL. 


stringl's picture


I thought those of you who have posted here would like to know that you've persuaded me to join Toastmasters. I found their website, typed my postcode in, and found there was a group within 10 minutes of where I live. That, combined with your enthusiastic recommendations, persuaded me to go along. I've been along twice now as a guest, and had a couple of great evenings. The whole evaluation & feedback culture fits it really well with MT, and I can see why you're all fans. I'm now a fully paid-up member.

To return the favour, I plan on doing one of my speeches about how great Manager Tools is!



mjpeterson's picture

I  have been a member of Toastmasters for about a year have been listening to Manager Tools for over three years.  Just yesterday I gave an impromptu speech on giving feedback.  After you have listened to the podcast on feedback over and over again, you can put something together very quickly.  I am doing my first speech contest in a week or so.  I got theidea from another podcast I heard about on Manager Tools.  Oh where would I be without MT. 

rthibode's picture

I've been vaguely curious about Toastmasters for awhile. There are posters about it at my workplace and I've idly thought, hmm, I should ask the MT gang what they think.

Honestly? I always got the impression it was going to be just a lot of painfully shy and awkward people. I hope I'm not offending anyone. I guess I just meant that I imagined it was for people who were seriously paralyzed by the inability to speak in front of a group.

I'm really glad I finally decided to check out what this community has to say. It sounds like I could really benefit from giving and receiving feedback, as well as networking with some interesting new people.

Oh! And I'm going to check if there's a French one too. Then I'd be one of they shy/awkward people ;-)

I'm so grateful for this community. Thanks everyone!


TNoxtort's picture

I  started the Toastmaster club at my company 3 years ago and am really impressed at how much it has helped other people's communication and leadership skills. Sometimes your business does not give you opportunities to show your leadership - Toastmasters does. Mark of MT once wrote an article about not wanting to be an "average speaker" at your company - because the average speaker at your company is pretty bad. Toastmasters can help so much. I see so many people at my company who need it. The cost of membership is worth the monthly magazine alone.

GlennR's picture

A standard part of the Toastmasters meeting is the Table Topics or impromptu speaking. This is where you're given a topic with no warning and have to stand and speak from 1-2 minutes on it. Its purpose is to give the speaker an opportunity to build confidence in speaking off the cuff.

This morning at my Toastmasters club, I listened to a speech by someone who has 20+ years experience in training managers. He pointed out that the confidence gained from participating in Table Topics week to week can directly benefit interviewees, especially when the questions are behaviorally based.

If you're interested, visit to find a club near you.

Happy Holidays!


(High S, Strong D and a 5-year Toastmaster)


mbaker's picture
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It's great to review all of the encouraging and supportive comments about Toastmasters from Manager Tools devotees.   Having been in a community club for the past 9 years, and helped to start up a corporate club in the last 6 months, I wholeheartedly agree.  After my club's meeting last night, I couldn't help but thinking of all the parallels between Manager Tools (MT) and Toastmasters (TM).   Here's what I came up with:

                  MT                                               TM

  • Feedback                                  Evaluations
  • Coaching                                  Competent Communication/Leadership Tracks
  • One-on-Ones                           Mentors
  • Hotwashes                               Evaluations/General Evaluation
  • Smiling                                      Applause
  • Interviewing                              Table Topics
  • Managing an Organization    Managing a Club

And then of course there are several elements of effective management, leadership and communication that both MT & TM emphasize: 

  • It's all about the audience
  • Continuous improvement
  • Effective meetings management
  • Preparation and practice is key
  • Importance of relationships
  • Effective handshakes

No wonder Mark and Mike so strongly endorse it.