The most common comment guests make after they’ve attended their first Barrie Toastmasters Club meeting is – I didn’t know what to expect. Most people are aware that Toastmasters can help them with their public speaking skills. However, many are unaware of the other skill building opportunities Toastmasters has to offer and just how our club goes about helping people improve those skills at each meeting.
Barrie Toastmasters is a friendly, supportive club with the emphasis on supportive. We strive to make our guests feel welcome and comfortable. Many people feel apprehensive about attending a meeting for the first time, so we take the time to orient our guests and prepare them for the meeting. We’ll ask guests to fill out a guest card, and a member will introduce them at the beginning of the meeting.
Much More Than ‘Just’ Public Speaking
Toastmasters is known as a venue for learning to speak in public, but it encompasses so much more. There are several leadership and speaking roles at each Barrie Toastmasters Club meeting. This gives everyone the opportunity to participate at some level and hone specific skills.
All roles are rotating, giving each member a chance to practice every week. The Sargent at Arms will open the meeting, and make sure that everyone is ready to begin before handing the meeting over to the Chair. The meeting Chair introduces the speakers and leaders for evening. The first thing on the agenda is the Toast. A member will be introduced to deliver a toast to the theme of the night, or the subject of their choice. This is followed the Word of the Day, a chance for a member to do a brief presentation introducing an interesting word that we attempt to use throughout the meeting to improve our vocabulary. The Humourist is introduced to provide us with a joke to lighten the mood. We learn better when we’re having fun.
Speaking ‘Off the Cuff’
The Chair will then introduce the Table Topics Master. Table Topics gives members a chance to practice impromptu speaking. Members are asked to present a one to two-minute speech on the subject presented by the Table Topic Master and guests are invited to join in if they wish. (This is optional and as a guest it is your choice, whether you participate.)
A Learning Opportunity at Every Meeting
Table Topics is followed by an Education Take 10. These informational sessions can be about public or interpersonal communication, leadership skills or Toastmasters itself.
We take a brief break for coffee and conversation, and we then reconvene.
The formal speech portion of our meeting is led by the Toastmaster. The Toastmaster introduces speakers who present speeches that hone our presentation skills, as well organize our ideas, utilize our voice, body language, and visual aids and most importantly increase our self-confidence in front of an audience. These speeches are on the subject of the member’s choice, but built around a set of criteria in our speech manuals. Speakers may be working on basic speaking skills like gestures, voice or using visual aids, or more advanced skills like interpretive reading, interpersonal communication, or workshop leadership.
We Learn to Evaluate
The meeting is then handed to a General Evaluator who introduces the evaluators for the evening. Each manual speech is peer evaluated and as Evaluators, we practice listening, critical-thinking skills and how to give constructive feedback. The General Evaluator then introduces the other evaluators who have been working away during the meeting. The Quizmaster tests our listening skills by asking us what we heard during the meeting. It’s important to be punctual and on schedule, and for that we have a timer. The agenda is divided into time slots and both the formal speeches, and the impromptu speeches are timed. The General Evaluator then assesses the entire meeting, pointing out what we did well, and where we could make our meetings more effective.
After the evaluations are finished, the Chair takes control of the meeting. Awards are handed out to recognize participants who did a good job and guests are asked for their comments. We finish with a Closing Thought, a bit of inspiration to complete our meeting.
Barrie Toastmasters Club meets each Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. Please accept this invitation to attend a meeting soon. We look forward to meeting you! See our Information and Directions for more details.
Have questions about Barrie Toastmasters Club? Use the form below. Your query will be sent to a member of the executive who will respond within a short time.