About the Toastmasters Program

Introducing Toastmasters International and the Toastmasters Program - 'Where Leaders are Made'
In October 1924, a group of men assembled by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley met in the basement of the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, U.S.A., forming a club “to afford practice and training in the art of public speaking and in presiding over meetings, and to promote sociability and good fellowship among its members.” This group eventually took on the somewhat inquisitive name of “Toastmasters.” 

Today, Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization which gives its members the opportunity to develop and improve their public speaking and leadership abilities through local club meetings, training seminars and speech contests. Toastmasters International includes more than 260,000 men and women in more than 13,000 clubs in more than 116 countries.
Experienced professionals and novice speakers alike can benefit from our practical, face-to-face learning program. Whether you're speaking to the board of directors, customers, co-workers or kids, Toastmasters can help you do it better. You'll learn and practice in a friendly, comfortable environment with people who are there for the same reason you are - to become better communicators and leaders. Many well known people have benefited from the Toastmasters program. Check out this 30 second video from Hardball Host Chris Matthews, who shares that "freedom requires leadership and leadership requires oratory."
At Toastmasters, members learn by speaking to groups and working with others in a supportive environment. A typical Toastmasters club is made up of 10 to 20 people who meet once a week. Each meeting gives everyone the prospect to practice their speaking skills in the 3 major segments of a Toastmasters meeting:
Prepared Speaking Segment -> 2-3 members select a communication project from a Toastmasters Communication Manual and prepare a speech on any topic. The average speech duration is 5-7 minutes which goes by faster than you think it will.
Table Topics Segment -> Every attendee has the opportunity to volunteer to give a 1-2 minute impromptu speech response to a question provided by the Table Topics Master of the evening. Usually, the question is related to the meeting theme.
Evaluation Segment -> Each prepared speech has a pre-assigned evaluator who quickly prepares and delivers a constructive 2-3 minute evaluation of the speaker during the final segment of the meeting.

Leadership opportunities abound at every meeting with the fulfillment of meeting role assignments. Chances to learn and laugh also flourish.
Check out this 15 minute 'Welcome to Toastmasters' video. Don't have 15 minutes? Check out this 2.5 minute video to see what Toastmasters can do for you.
Toastmasters International increased their membership dues from $54 per year to $72 per year effective 10/01/11. As you consider the dues increase, think for a moment about seminars, conferences, and college or university classes that cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Toastmasters, at $72 per year, provides education and invaluable practical experience, support and reinforcement. Toastmasters is still the best value for anyone seeking communication and leadership training. After joining, all it really takes to succeed is a commitment to 'A Toastmaster's Promise'. It's also helpful to learn the Common Toastmasters Acronyms.
Note: Toastmasters minimum age requirement for membership is 18.
To learn about The Contrarians Toastmasters Club, please visit 'About our Club'
To learn more about Toastmasters, please visit the following websites: