Congratulations on taking a major step in your personal and professional development journey by joining Toastmasters International!
You’ve now become part of a vibrant community that spans the globe, a network committed to learning, growth, and mutual support.
Joining Toastmasters is a milestone, but the real journey begins when you actively participate in meetings and other Toastmasters events. It’s akin to having a gym membership—simply being a member isn’t enough; you must regularly engage in workouts to truly reap the benefits.
Toastmasters offers a wealth of opportunities to enhance your communication and leadership skills.
By actively participating in meetings, you’ll experience these benefits firsthand. Each meeting is a unique learning environment where you’ll deliver speeches, provide and receive constructive feedback, and take on different roles, such as the Toastmaster, the Timer, or the Evaluator.
Through these roles, you’ll learn how to listen actively, think on your feet, manage time, and provide valuable feedback—all essential skills in today’s professional world.
Beyond club meetings, there are numerous other Toastmasters events that provide additional learning and networking opportunities.
These include area, district, and international contests, leadership institutes, and conventions.
Participating in these events allows you to observe and learn from skilled speakers, compete in speech contests, and network with Toastmasters from other clubs and districts.
Another key advantage of active participation is the ability to progress through the Pathways Learning Experience at your own pace. Each speech you deliver, each role you assume, and each project you complete brings you one step closer to achieving your chosen Pathways designation.
This structured program offers ten specialized paths, each designed to build specific skills and competencies. The more you participate, the more quickly you’ll progress and the more skills you’ll acquire.
Let’s not forget the sense of community and camaraderie that comes with active involvement. As you regularly attend meetings and events, you’ll build strong relationships with fellow members.
You’ll share experiences, challenges, and successes, fostering a sense of belonging and mutual support that extends beyond the club’s boundaries.
In essence, being an active Toastmaster is an investment in yourself. It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself, grow, and unlock your full potential.
With every speech you deliver and every role you take on, you’re not just building skills—you’re building confidence, character, and leadership.
So, welcome again to Toastmasters, and here’s to your active participation and the exciting journey ahead!
For New Toastmasters
My Toastmasters Experience
My name is Jef Menguin, a proud member since 2004, and a Distinguished Toastmaster.
My Toastmasters journey began with the Metro Manila Toastmasters Club, where I found myself serving as Vice President for Education just two months into my membership.
I’ve always seen Toastmasters as a “laboratory of learning.”
With this perspective, I seized the opportunity to learn the craft of public speaking, delivering 200 speeches by 2006 to earn my Advanced Toastmaster Gold (ATMG) recognition. It wasn’t a requirement to make that many speeches, but my thirst for learning drove me to deliver speeches to as many as four clubs each week.
Through the years, I’ve served in various leadership roles, including being a thrice-club President, twice an Area Governor, and currently an Area Director. These roles have taught me invaluable lessons in leadership and have helped me contribute positively to the Toastmasters community.
While I hold a special place in my heart for the legacy program of Toastmasters, I also appreciate the Pathways learning experience. Pathways have provided new avenues for growth and skill enhancement, further enriching my Toastmasters journey.
My aim is to serve as a mentor for new Toastmasters. I want to guide you, share my experiences, and help you navigate your own path in Toastmasters.
I truly believe that the benefits of Toastmasters membership are vast and varied, and I want to help you harness these benefits to achieve your personal and professional goals.
So, whether you’re here to overcome your fear of public speaking, improve your leadership skills, or meet like-minded individuals, remember that you’re not alone.
You have a supportive community ready to help you grow and succeed.
Welcome to Toastmasters, and here’s to the wonderful journey that lies ahead!
History of Toastmasters
Effective communication and leadership skills are not just beneficial—they’re essential.
Many professionals grapple with public speaking fears, struggle to articulate their thoughts clearly or find it challenging to lead teams effectively.
Recognizing and addressing these issues can significantly impact career growth and personal development.
Enter Toastmasters International, an organization that has been dedicated to enhancing these critical skills for nearly a century.
Founded in 1924 by Ralph C. Smedley, Toastmasters started as a small group in the basement of a YMCA in Santa Ana, California. Smedley, who worked as the director of education for the YMCA, noticed a profound need for men in the community to learn how to speak, conduct meetings, plan programs, and work on committees. He decided to help them.
From that humble beginning, Toastmasters has grown into a global organization with more than 16,200 clubs in 145 countries, boasting a membership of over 364,000 as of 2021.
Despite its growth, the organization’s core mission has remained the same: to empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.
Toastmasters has a diverse membership, with people from all walks of life joining the organization.
Some members are professionals seeking to improve their public speaking skills to present more confidently in the boardroom or to larger audiences.
Others join to hone their leadership skills, aiming to manage teams more effectively or take on leadership roles within their organizations.
Many members are motivated by personal development goals, such as overcoming their fear of public speaking, improving their English language skills, or simply becoming more confident in social situations.
One of the key reasons for Toastmasters’ popularity is its unique educational program.
The Pathways Learning Experience offers 11 specialized learning paths to cater to a variety of personal and professional goals.
Each path is designed to build competence in a specific area such as Dynamic Leadership, Effective Coaching, or Presentation Mastery, offering a combination of projects and assignments that challenge members to develop and demonstrate their skills.
Another unique aspect of Toastmasters is its supportive learning environment.
Each member delivers speeches and takes on roles at their club meetings, receiving constructive feedback from their peers.
This hands-on approach, coupled with peer feedback, provides an effective and practical learning experience.
In addition, Toastmasters offers ample opportunities for networking, both within local clubs and at regional and international events.
Many members find value in meeting like-minded individuals, sharing experiences, and learning from each other.
In a world where effective communication and leadership are paramount, Toastmasters serves as a beacon, helping individuals overcome their fears, unlock their potential, and achieve their personal and professional goals.
Its rich history, unique learning approach, and global community make it a popular choice for those seeking to develop their communication and leadership skills.
As Ralph C. Smedley once said, “We learn best in moments of enjoyment.” This ethos continues to guide Toastmasters International as it empowers individuals worldwide.
Deliver Your Icebreaker Speech
Standing up to deliver your first speech at Toastmasters can seem daunting.
You might be plagued with thoughts like, “What if I mess up?” or “What will people think?”
But remember, every accomplished speaker once stood where you are now.
Every journey begins with a single step, and your Icebreaker speech is the first step on your Toastmasters journey—a step towards breaking barriers and embracing growth.
Your Icebreaker speech is a unique opportunity to introduce yourself to your club.
It’s all about you—your interests, experiences, hopes, and dreams. It’s an opportunity to share your story in a supportive and encouraging environment.
I strongly recommend speaking to your Vice President Education (VPE) as soon as possible to schedule your Icebreaker.
Don’t put it off—the sooner you dive in, the sooner you’ll start improving.
Now, let’s look at some practical tips to help you prepare for your Icebreaker:
Start with the Basics: Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What are your interests? These are simple questions, but their answers form the foundation of your speech.
Share Your Journey: Talk about your journey—challenges you’ve overcome, achievements you’re proud of, or lessons you’ve learned along the way. This not only makes your speech more engaging but also allows your fellow club members to get to know you better.
Be Authentic: Authenticity resonates with people. Be true to yourself, share your genuine feelings and experiences. This is not a performance; it’s a conversation with your club members.
Practice: Even though this is an informal speech, practicing can help you feel more confident. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, or ask a friend or family member to listen.
Use Notes If Necessary: It’s okay to use notes. This is your first speech, and it’s better to use notes than to lose your train of thought. However, try not to read directly from your notes. Use them as a guideline, not a script.
Remember, It’s a Safe Space: Your Toastmasters club is a supportive and non-judgmental space. Every member is there to learn and grow, just like you. So, don’t worry about making mistakes. Take a deep breath, smile, and speak from the heart.
Remember, your Icebreaker speech is just the beginning. It’s the first step in a journey that will see you grow as a speaker and as a leader.
Embrace this opportunity, share your story, and let your Toastmasters journey begin.
Beyond Handshakes: Building Strategic Bonds in Toastmasters
Did you know that many newcomers to Toastmasters don’t complete a single path?
Many don’t renew after a year.
It’s a thought-provoking statistic.
They join with zeal but life, as it does, gets in the way, and Toastmasters becomes an afterthought.
I walked into Toastmasters in 2004 with a clear goal: to refine my speaking skills. But over time, I discovered deeper facets of this community.
Beyond the speeches and evaluations, I realized the real essence was in nurturing relationships.
Why do some of us stay committed year after year? I believe it’s the strategic bonds we form.
So, here are five pieces of advice, based on my journey, that I believe can help every member move “Beyond Handshakes”:
- Embrace every moment.
How? Don’t just attend meetings. Dive into them.
Engage in side conversations. Laugh at the jokes. Offer a comforting hand. Every interaction is a chance to build a bond.
2. Seek opportunities in conversations.
How? Be sincerely interested. Listen actively. Ask a fellow member about their day, their dreams, or their challenges.
You might find common ground, or even a potential business partner or mentor.
3. Offer reassurance.
How? Remember your first speech? The nerves?
Spot those newcomers.
A simple, “You’ve got this” or “I was nervous too” can make all the difference. It’s not just about making them feel good; it’s about showing them they belong.
4. Share and learn actively.
How? Don’t just listen. Engage. Share a piece of advice. Offer a book recommendation. Seek feedback and give genuine feedback in return. It’s this give-and-take that fosters mutual growth.
5. Build for tomorrow:
How? Think long-term. Invite a guest. Mentor a newcomer. Organize an outreach program. By investing in the future of the club, we cement its legacy and our place in it.
In conclusion, let’s not just be passive attendees. Let’s be active nurturers of relationships. Let’s show every newcomer that Toastmasters is a space where they won’t just become better speakers, but also find genuine, value-adding connections that truly go “Beyond Handshakes.”
Toastmasters International provides a wealth of resources and support to help you succeed in your journey.
- Toastmasters International Website: The official website (https://www.toastmasters.org/) is your go-to resource for everything Toastmasters-related. It includes a club finder tool, information about the Pathways learning experience, a resource library, and much more.
- Pathways Learning Experience: This is the educational program where you choose the skills you want to develop. You can access it through Base Camp, the online learning management system for Toastmasters members (https://www.toastmasters.org/start-pathways).
- Toastmasters Online Store: You can find a variety of educational materials and Toastmasters merchandise here (https://www.toastmasters.org/shop).
- The Toastmaster Magazine: This monthly magazine offers insightful articles on communication, leadership, and club activities (https://www.toastmasters.org/magazine).
- Toastmasters Social Media: Follow Toastmasters on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ToastmastersInternationalOfficialPage), Twitter (https://twitter.com/Toastmasters), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/toastmasters-international), and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/toastmastersinternational) for updates, tips, and inspiration.
- Local Club Meetings: Your local club meetings are a great source of support, providing an opportunity to practice your skills and get feedback.
- Toastmasters Support Team: If you have specific questions or need help, the Toastmasters support team is always ready to assist. You can reach them at +1 720-439-5050 or via email at email@example.com.
Remember, the more you engage with these resources, the more you’ll get out of your Toastmasters experience. Happy Toastmastering!