Toastmasters International

What Is Toastmasters International?

From a humble beginning in 1924 at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, Toastmasters International has grown to become a world leader in helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. The non-profit organization now has nearly 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 weekly for an hour or two. 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 evaluated by a member in a positive manner, focusing on what was done right and what could be improved.

Good communicators tend to be good leaders. Some well-known Toastmasters alumni include:

•   William Bennett, Former Premier of British Columbia
•   Peter Coors, of Coors Brewing Company
•   Leonard Nimoy, actor, star of TV series “Star Trek”
•   Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies
•   Tom Peters, management expert and author
•   Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii
•   Chris Matthews, author and host of MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews”

You can visit Toastmasters International online for further information.