FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Who Are We?

The Articulates came into existence in April 1977. We have the unusual habit of referring to ourselves as "Club 316", whereas members of other Clubs typically refer to their Club by name (you’ll only occasionally hear us say "The Articulates"). We’ve been in Irvine for as long as anyone can remember, having met at only three different locations since the mid ‘80s (with a brief nomadic stint in the late ‘90s).

Club 316 is proud to provide members with the opportunity to learn public speaking and leadership in a friendly, supportive environment with guidance and constructive feedback at all levels. We have been remarkably successful in conducting high quality meetings and in attracting and retaining talented members. You may think we’re bragging, but we have credentials to back it up...

We are consistently a President’s Distinguished Club. We have on our roster many members who have achieved awards of Competent Communicator, Advanced Communicator, and Distinguished Toastmaster, as well as Competent and Advanced Leaders. We have had Club 316 representation at Toastmasters contests all the way to the Regional level. We consistently maintain a Club membership of between 25 and 40 members.

When I join what will happen next?

Once you fill our the application form to submit with membership dues you will then receive a New Member Package from Toastmasters International in the mail in about a week. The New Member pack contains the Competent Communicator speech manual and the Competent Leader manual. You will work on these two manuals simultaneously. In the meantime, if you would like to get a head start on preparing your first speech you can view the instructions here.

Everyone talks about a CC. What is that?

There are many levels of achievement within Toastmasters (see the chapter entitled Communication and Leadership Development for details). The first level of achievement is Competent Communication (CC), which is explained in detail in the CC manual. The CC program consists of just ten speech projects designed to develop your speaking skills one step at a time. Every project builds upon what you have learned in the preceding project. When you have achieved the CC award, you will have learned and practiced the basic skills required to excel in public speaking.

I'm really scared to give my first speech. How can I prepare and how can the Club help me?

Most everyone is anxious and nervous about his or her first speech. That’s why we ask that you start with the “Ice Breaker,” the first speech in the Competent Communication manual (CC). During this speech you will introduce yourself to us, your fellow Club members, giving us our first opportunity to help you understand what areas require emphasis in your speaking development. And, you’ll only need to speak for 4 to 6 minutes! With guidance from your mentor and the detailed information in the CC manual, you’ll be off to a solid start. Remember, we're all here to help you!

When I join what will happen next?

If you desire, the VP Education will get you scheduled for your “Ice Breaker” within a month or so after you join. After that, you’ll be scheduled for a Prepared Speech approximately every eight weeks, although this will vary. If you want to speak more often, the most effective strategy is to have one or more Prepared Speeches ready “in your back pocket” so that you can fill in for a cancellation. In special circumstances, the VP Education can schedule you for a prepared speech on short notice.

Is there any help for new members?

Yes, we have a voluntary mentor program that provides a new member with a mentor who is an experienced member that can provide assistance with achieving your personal goals from Toastmaster and growing with the Toastmaster organization. See the mentor program for more information.

How important is meeting attendence?

Regular meeting attendance is essential to get the full benefit from the Toastmasters program. Of course, we realize you can't make every meeting. As soon as you know you will miss a meeting, contact the VP Education or the scheduled Toastmaster of the Evening. Depending upon the assignment you will miss, you may be obligated to find a Club member to take your place. (Roles that require you to find your own replacement are listed in the chapter entitled Weekly Meeting Roles – A Step-By-Step Guide.) If you will be absent for three weeks or longer, let the VP Education know and you will be put on “inactive status” until you return.

Besides the manuals I’ll receive with my New Member Kit, is there literature available?

You bet! Our Secretary keeps a current copy of the Toastmasters Supply Catalog filled with a wide selection of books, manuals, audio and video tapes, and other educational materials. You can order anything in the catalog from World Headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, or you can order online at www.toastmasters.org. Another benefit of Toastmasters membership is The Toastmaster magazine, which you’ll receive every month. It is full of interesting, educational, motivating, and relevant information pertaining to communication and leadership. You’ll find it a valuable resource in your efforts to become a better speaker and leader.

I’ve heard about Speech Contests. Do I have to compete??

Contests are held at all levels within the Toastmasters organization, from the Club to the International level. While we encourage all members to compete in our Club contests, it is not mandatory that you do so. Speech contests provide an opportunity for you to practice speaking in a competitive environment or, if you are not competing, they allow you to learn by observing proficient speakers. Club 316 holds the International and Table Topics contests in February / March, and the Humorous and Evaluation contests in August / September. Ask the VP Education for more information on these events. Whether you compete or simply observe, Speech Contests are tremendously educational and they’re fun, too!

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