Saturday, November 27, 2010

Toastmasters in Chennai/India - FAQ

I've compiled information about Toastmasters in a FAQ format, to provide a better understanding of the movement, to new folks.   

  1. What is Toastmasters?
“Toastmasters” is a non-profit organization that helps members to improve their public speaking/communication & leadership skills. Toastmasters provide a mutually supportive environment for people to share their knowledge and learn from each other.

  1. How big is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International is a “Learning by Doing” forum and has a vast presence across the globe.  Toastmasters has served over four million people, and today the organization serves over 260,000 members in 113 countries.

Some statistics on Toastmasters clubs:

1) There are 22 clubs in Chennai (26 in Tamil Nadu)
2) There are 200 clubs in India
3) There are 12,842 clubs in the world

  1. What happens in Toastmasters meetings?
During Toastmasters club meetings, members deliver prepared speeches, impromptu speeches & evaluations. The forum also provides roles for members to play, to improve their leadership skills. By joining toastmasters, people can also extend their 'social network'.

The pattern and the structure of meetings are same all over the world.  The meeting conducted in such a way that everyone gets an opportunity to speak in every meeting.  Every aspect of communication and public speaking is carefully evaluated and suggestions for improvement given.  There is no criticism or negative feedback in a Toastmasters forum. 

  1. What is meant by prepared speech, impromptu speech & evaluations?
Prepared Speech - Members prepare for their speeches before the meeting, based on project manuals from Toastmasters International. Members deliver their speech during the meeting. The speech duration is typically 5 – 7 mins. 

Impromptu Speech – Members or guests will be given an impromptu speech topic such as “How will you handle the economic crisis, if you are the Finance Minister for the country”. Participant has to talk on the subject for 1 – 2 mins. The theme & type of questions vary for each meeting. This will help members to think on their feet and deliver a short speech.

Evaluations – Evaluations are feedback from fellow toastmasters that cover strengths the speaker may already have and identify opportunities for improvement. Evaluations include adherence to speaking time limit, grammar usage, unwanted filler words usage (such as “u know”, “so”, and “Ah”), eye contact, stage usage, hand gestures, body language etc.,

  1. Who joins Toastmasters?
Anyone who has the desire and commitment to excel in public speaking & communication is welcome to join toastmasters. There is people from all walks of life – students, lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, etc.,
There are people of different age groups – 18 - 70s.

  1. When do Toastmasters meetings happen?
There are clubs available throughout the city (& world). Different clubs meet at different time. Most of the clubs meet once a week. A few clubs meet once every fortnight. You can look at the following link to find out the available clubs & their meeting time:


Each club meeting may go on for an hour or two (depends upon the membership base or strength of the club).

  1. I am interested to join Toastmasters. What should I do?
Folks who are interested to join toastmasters can find a club that is close to their location. They can find their nearest clubs from the following link:


Interested folks can send an email to the club email id or talk to the phone number listed in the website. They can attend one of the meetings as a guest and then join the club as a member, if they like. Folks can visit as many clubs as possible before deciding to join a particular club.

  1. What is the difference between corporate and community clubs?
Community toastmasters clubs are typically open to everyone. You can see people from all walks of life who are part of community clubs. You can drop-in to any community club, any time as a guest.

Corporate toastmasters clubs are typically for the "employees" of the corporate. They aren't open for everyone. In order to attend a corporate toastmasters club meeting, you may have to call the club officers to work out the logistics. Because of the corporate policies, you may even not be allowed to attend the corporate toastmasters club meetings.
  
     9.  Do I need to make an appointment to attend the club meeting, as a guest?

    No. You don't have to make an appointment to attend the community club meetings as a guest. You can drop-in to any of the community clubs in your area. Corporate toastmasters clubs may have some reservations. You can call the corporate club officers to find additional details regarding guest/visitor policies. 

    In general, it is good to talk to any of the club officers to inform them that you are visiting. That way, if there are any changes to the meeting time/venue, you'll be kept informed.
       
        10.  Where can I find more information regarding Toastmasters?

      You can get more information from the following website:


         11.  I have more questions on Toastmasters. Whom should I contact?

         You can contact the club officers directly. The contact details of the club/club officers is listed in the below location:


        Alternatively, you can contact me by leaving a comment here and I'll be glad to provide you additional details.
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