Toastmasters International, a nonprofit education organization, has been working for more than 75 years to provide for this need and help people conquer their pre-speech jitters. From one club started at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, Toastmasters has grown to become the world’s largest organization devoted to developing people’s public and interpersonal communication skills.

Since that first club was organized by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley in October 1924, nearly five million men and women have enjoyed the benefits of Toastmasters membership. The nonprofit organization now has approximately 200,000 members in 9,600 clubs in 80 countries.


A Toastmasters club is a “learn by doing” workshop in which men and women hone their skills in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. A typical club has 20 to 40 members, who meet weekly to learn and practice public speaking techniques. The average club meeting is one hour.Upon joining a Toastmasters club, members progress through a series of 10 speaking assignments designed to instill a basic foundation in public speaking and effective presentation skills.

There is no instructor in a Toastmasters club. Instead, members evaluate and videotape one another’s Oral presentations. This evaluation process is an integral component of the overall education program.

Besides taking turns delivering prepared speeches and evaluating those of other members, Toastmasters give fun impromptu talks on a broad range of topics. They also develop listening skills, conduct meetings, and learn parliamentary procedure.

The effectiveness of this simple formula is evidenced by the thousands of corporations that sponsor in-house Toastmasters clubs. These clubs serve as communication training workshops for employees. Every year, more and more business and government organizations are discovering that Toastmasters is the most effective, cost-efficient means of satisfying their communication training needs.


The educational program is the heart of a Toastmasters club. It is the means through which you develop your communication and leadership skills and achieve your goal of becoming a better communicator.

The Toastmasters educational program is divided into two tracks-a communication track and a leadership track. The tracks are not mutually exclusive. You may participate in both tracks at the same time if you wish.

Toastmasters International sends every new member a set of materials within 48 hours after receiving his/her application for membership. Included in the material are manuals to get you started in both tracks:

Competent Communication, Competent Leadership, Your Speaking Voice, Effective Speech Evaluation, and Gestures: Your Body Speaks.


               Members working in this track learn and practice communication skills
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               Members working in the leadership track learn and practice leadership
               skills by serving in club roles.
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Toastmasters meetings have a set agenda every time. Starting and finishing on time is practiced on a weekly basis. Members rotate responsibilities week to week and are accountable for running smooth meetings.

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Members can practice public speaking by taking varied roles according to their personal schedule and speaking comfort level.

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See what a real Toastmasters meeting is like! Watch a variety of video clips right here on the Web. (This link will open the Toastmasters International Site in a new window.)

Hear from people whose lives were changed by the Toastmasters program!

Experience how Toastmasters can help you improve your communication and leadership skills!

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