Get curious about your goals
Set aside to time to think about what you want to get from your Toastmasters membership. If you are not sure, talk to other members and ask them about their goals, then decide what YOU want to achieve. Remember, everyone is starting from a different place, so set goals that realistic and relevant to you based on where you are now. Finally, remember to review your goals regularly, updating them as your skills and confidence grow.
TIP – Share your goals with the club’s VP of Education, and they’ll help you by assigning speech slots and roles to suit your needs.
Attend club meetings regularly
It’s a fact that the more you engage with the Toastmasters programme, the more you get out of it. Commit to attending as many club meetings as you can and you’ll be amazed how quickly your confidence will develop.
Tip: Enter your club’s meeting dates into your diary at least six months in advance and treat them as a priority.
Engage with the Pathways online education portal
Pathways is an online learning portal which provides members with a structured learning path to help you achieve your public speaking and leadership goals. Choose one of 11 distinct paths at a time and then work through the various projects and levels in sequence, building your knowledge and skills as you go.
Tip: If you are struggling to get started, ask one of the more experienced members for help
Schedule your speeches
Your first pathways speech is called the “Icebreaker.” It’s a 4-6 minute prepared speech crafted to introduce yourself to club members and to establish your baseline skills. The icebreaker demonstrates where you are now on your speaking journey.
Tip: Talk to the VP Education about booking a date for your icebreaker or next speech as soon as possible.
Learn at your own pace
Pathways is a self-paced programme, so there’s no set timescale for completing your icebreaker. Some people do it within a couple of weeks of joining, others take several weeks or even months.
Tip: “jump in” and schedule your icebreaker ASAP. It may seem daunting, but the sooner you begin the sooner you’ll start to see the benefits.
You’ll get more out of your membership when you set aside time to prepare for your speeches and meeting roles. For speeches, this means working through the relevant module in Pathways and then preparing your speech assignment thoroughly. For roles, e.g. sergeant at arms, timekeeper, etc.) this means reading the role description to understand what is expected of you.
Tip: Proper preparation will dramatically increase your chances of doing a good job and will help you manage your nerves.
Volunteer for meeting roles
Fulfilling a meeting role is as important as making speech. As well as helping our meetings to run smoothly, you will develop valuable leadership and communication skills. Some are are simple; others are more complex. Our VP Education will help you get started.
Tip: To accelerate your development, challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort zone by volunteering for more complex roles.
Ask for a Mentor
In Toastmasters, we encourage our members to seek out a mentor to help them get started. A mentor is another, more experienced, member who is happy share their experience and help you achieve your initial goals.
Tip: If you are interested in getting a mentor or being a mentor to someone else talk to the club’s VP of Education, and they’ll suggest potential mentors.
Visit other clubs
Every Toastmaster starts by joining a local club. As your confidence grows, we encourage you to visit other clubs to see how they “do” toastmasters. When you do, you’ll make new friends, speak in different venues, and present to different audiences.
Tip: Toastmasters is international. If you are working in another city or travelling on holiday, why not do an internet search to see if there is a Toastmasters club nearby and ask to attend one of their meetings.
Take on a club leadership role
Clubs don’t run themselves. Behind the scenes, a team of elected members who volunteer to ensure that the club runs professionally for your benefit.
This team includes a President, Immediate Past President, VP Education, VP Membership, VP Public Relations, Secretary, Treasurer and Logistics Manager.
Tip: Learn about the rewards and responsibilities associated with these roles by asking a committee member.