We meet every Tuesday. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., but it’s best to arrive 15-30 minutes early to order food, meet a few people, and generally get situated. The meeting ends at 8:30 p.m., with a ten minute break midway.
Our meetings are lively two-hour gatherings in which all members and guests have the opportunity to participate (guest participation is, however, totally optional). After a short business meeting, we get down to Table Topics, a challenging impromptu speaking exercise. Every member is given a question/subject and then, without preparation, speaks for 1 to 2 minutes on that subject. This section of the meeting is great for learning how to make everything from impromptu speeches to interesting points in day-to-day conversation. You’d be surprised how often you have to make impromptu speeches! These skills are incredibly valuable to anyone, whether you’re a teacher, electrician, CEO, or janitor. Table Topics speeches are also pretty interesting to listen to, and are usually quite funny or educational or both. Table Topics rounds out the first hour of our meeting. We then take a short break.
After returning from the break we jump into three or four prepared speeches of 5-7 minutes in length. Most speeches are based on assignments from Toastmasters manuals, which you’ll have access to if you decide to join. These manuals are professionally designed to help the member become proficient in different styles of speech craft. Topics include entertaining speeches, informative speeches, formal occasion speeches, storytelling, etc.
After the speeches, each is evaluated by another member. The evaluations last from 2 to 3 minutes and are excellent sources of constructive feedback for the speechmaker. Once the evaluations are complete, awards are given for best table topics, most improved speaker, best speaker, and best evaluation. Things wrap up with a general evaluation of the meeting and a confirmation of the next week’s schedule.
Often, a few members of the club will get together afterwards at another location for a drink and a bit of conversation, a tradition fondly known as “Post Toasties.”
Joining the Club
Once you’ve been to three meetings, you are eligible to be voted in as a member. There are some modest dues to pay and other paperwork to fill out, but it won’t be long before you’re set up with a manual to work from and well on your way to public speaking greatness!