Frequently Asked Questions

What is Toastmasters?

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational corporation headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Its mission is to improve communication and leadership skills of its members. Improving public speaking skills is a key element but there is also a potent leadership and management aspect.

In October 1924, a group of men assembled by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley met in the basement of the Santa Ana, California YMCA to form 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. The group took the name Toastmasters.

All Toastmasters members belong to one or more clubs. Clubs consist of at least eight members and may have forty or more. The recommended size for a club is twenty or more. Clubs exist in communities around the world, especially in North America, and it’s a rare locality in the United States that doesn’t have at least one Toastmasters club within thirty minutes’ driving time. There are, at present, over 14,650 clubs in more than 126 countries, with most of them are in the United States.

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What Happens at a Meeting?

Most meetings at One State Street Toastmasters
follows the format:

  • A brief business meeting lead by a club officer
  • Introduction of the Toastmaster of the meeting, who presides over the program for that day and explaining the meeting to guests as the meeting goes along
  • Prepared speeches from members
  • Impromptu speeches from members (know as Table Topics)
  • Oral evaluations of the prepared speeches
  • Reports from other members on speech times, Grammarian reports, and a General Evaluation of the meeting.
  • Awards, Announcements, & Adjournment.

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What are the Fees?

For the New Member:

One time, New Member Fee $20

(Covers costs of New Member Kit, Competent Communication Manual, Competent Leadership manual, and processing.)

Plus, $45 for International dues*

For the Dual, Transfer, or Reinstated member:

$45 for International dues and $12 local club dues.*

Semi-Annual Renewing Member Dues:

$45 for International dues and $12 local club dues.

Payable on or before October 1st and April 1st.

* Dues may be reduced according to month joined.

(Effective Monthly Dues is $7.50 for International plus $2.00 for the local club or $9.50)

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What is a “Prepared Speech”?

Upon joining One State Street Toastmasters, each new member receives a set of educational materials that includes the Basic Communication and Leadership Program manual. The manual contains a series of speech assignments that provide instruction and practice in the basic techniques of public speaking. Upon completing the manual, a Toastmaster will know how to organize and present a dynamic and effective speech.

As a member you will be scheduled a few weeks in advance to present a speech from the manual. You can then review the goals of the speech assignment and prepare a speech on whatever you like, while paying attention to the objectives and goals. On the day of the meeting you will meet with your evaluator, discuss any special goals you want to work on, then present your speech to the club. Later in the meeting your evaluator will give an oral review of your speech. The purpose of the commentary is to show you what you are doing well, what you need to work on, and driving these lessons home so you are constantly improving.

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What speech projects do I work on?

There are ten speeches in the Basic Manual which can be divided into three broad categories:

(1) beginning speeches, (2) “mechanical” speeches, and (3) “put it all together” speeches.

Speeches #1 through #3 should probably be given in order and #10 should definitely be the last speech. Outside of those limitations, there is considerable flexibility within each group as to the order you present them.

The generic titles, time limits, and objectives of the speeches in the basic manual are as follows:


#1 – The Ice Breaker (4 – 6 min, +/- 30 sec)


  • To begin speaking before an audience.
  • To help you understand what areas require particular emphasis in your speaking development.
  • To introduce yourself to your club members.

#2 – Be In Earnest (5 – 7 min, +/- 30 sec)


  • To convince the audience of your earnestness, sincerity, and conviction on a subject you thoroughly understand.
  • To confront and control any nervousness you may have.

#3 – Organize Your Speech (5 – 7 min, +/- 30 sec)


  • To organize your thoughts into a logical sequence that leads the audience to a clearly defined goal.
  • To build a speech outline that includes an opening, body, and conclusion.


#4 – Show What You Mean (5 – 7 min, +/- 30 sec)


  • To learn the value of gestures and body movements as part of a speech.
  • To explore the different ways of using body language.
  • To develop a sense of timing and natural, smooth body movement.

#5 – Vocal Variety (5 – 7 min, +/- 30 sec)


  • To explore the use of voice volume, pitch, rate, and quality as assets to your speaking.
  • To achieve a pleasing natural voice quality when speaking.

#6 – Work With Words (5 – 7 min, +/- 30 sec)


  • To select precisely the right words required to communicate your ideas clearly, vividly, and appropriately.
  • To avoid lengthy words and sentances and jargon.


#7 – Apply Your Skills (5 – 7 min)


  • To bring together and apply the communication skills you have learned in the preceding projects.
  • To organize your speech in a logical manner, following one of the suggested outlines.
  • To research the facts needed to support your speech.
  • To make a personal evaluation of your progress.

#8 – Add Impact to Your Speech (5 – 7 min)


  • To learn the value of props in speaking.
  • To learn how to use props effectively in your presentations.

#9 – Persuade with Power (5 – 7 min)


  • To present a talk that persuades the audience to accept your proposal or viewpoint.
  • To achieve this persuasive effect by appealing to the audience’s self-interest, building a logical foundation for agreement, and arousing emotional commitment to your cause.

#10 – Inspire Your Audience (8 – 10 min)


  • To understand the mood and feelings of your audience on a particular occasion.
  • To put those feelings into words and inspire the audience, using all the techniques you have learned so far.

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I’m scared to death of speaking! Why should I look into Toastmasters?

EVERYONE is afraid of speaking. Public speaking is the nations’s #1 fear. Even if you think you are a really good speaker, there will be times when your heart stops and your palms sweat and you freeze before your audience. Toastmasters can help you with that. Remember that EVERYONE in a Toastmasters club is there because at some point they realized they needed help in communicating and speaking before audiences. Almost everyone will remember how the wretched they felt when they gave their first speech. You may be startled to find out how supportive a Toastmasters club can be. If you are aware on how nervous you are but aren’t convinced that you can do should do anything about, stop and think what skill is more important than any other when it comes to getting and keeping a good job.

If you don’t know whether you would like Toastmasters, why not visit a meeting? If after your visit, you still don’t think Toastmasters is your cup of tea, we’ll still be happy you dropped by.


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I’m a good speaker! What can Toastmasters do for me?

Think you are already an excellent speaker? Many people who think they are good, sometimes come to Toastmasters and find out how unstructured and sloppy their presentations are. Being comfortable doesn’t mean that you are actually good. Even
if you ARE good, you can always get better, and you can share your good techniques with the rest of the club. Toastmasters can give you a lot of skills to keep you improving.

If you don’t know whether you would like Toastmasters, why not visit a meeting? If after your visit, you still don’t think Toastmasters is your cup of tea, we’ll still be happy you dropped by.

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How is Toastmasters more beneficial than other forms of speaking improvement?

High School and College courses in public speaking usually involve the students sitting through dozens of lectures followed by very few speaking opportunities. When the speeches are over, you get a grade. Often, you get a grade on what you did wrong. This is NOT then way to build reassurance and motivation. Then too, you rarely get much of a chance to practice by doing. You get up at the end of the semester, you do your speech, and you sit down. Toastmasters us constant reinforcement and constant improvement. You learn by doing, not by sitting there while someone else lectures for hours.

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Updated: 01/26/2016


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We meet every Wednesday
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Currently meeting in a hybrid mode.
Please contact us for a virtual meeting link and location details.
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