Lots of neat stuff related to feeling confident and comfortable speaking in public. Lots of learn-by-doing agenda items and roles where everyone gets a chance to work on their speaking, organizing, evaluating, and leadership skills.. Roles rotate every week. New members start with simpler roles.
Read what happens in a typical 2 hour GATM meeting below, or watch this 12 minute video on YouTube from Toastmasters International.
Chairperson's Opening Remarks
The Chairperson opens the meeting, presents their theme of the evening with opening remarks and then presents the agenda. They introduce the meeting officers and guests. Some themes are serious, and some are ...well..a little offbeat, making every meeting quite interesting.
We always have a toast to someone. One toastmaster selects an individual they think is worthy, and prepares a toast in their honour. Good practice for those formal dinner events.
Point Of View
Everyone has a point of view, and so do all Glen Abbey Toastmasters. One Toastmaster develops a point of view on their subject of choice - and tries to convince all of us to adopt their point of view.
Impromptu speaking at it's absolute finest. How many times have you been called upon to speak at a moment's notice? Table Topics gives at least five Toastmasters every week a chance to prepare a one minute speech with just one minute of preparation. Speaking off the the cuff is always interesting, and often quite funny.
We discuss the business of the club, the officers reports, and then we do a mock parliamentary session - so everyone learns how to conduct a 10 minute meeting using Roberts Rules of Order. The Parliamentarian provides feedback on the effectiveness of the Business Session - valuable when you decide to go into politics and need to sit in parliamentary session - or when you become CEO and need to conduct a Board meeting.
While all other roles are important - prepared speeches are the heart of Toastmaster personal development. There are usually three prepared speeches of about 5-7 minutes in length at every meeting. Based on the designation a Toastmaster is working towards, they develop their speeches according to the specific project goals and criteria.
There are an equal number of evaluations as there are prepared speeches. Toastmasters learn to give effective feedback to speakers based on the goals and criteria of the speech projects. While only three people
The General Evaluator provides an overall evaluation of the meeting - what went well, what could have been improved. Helps us all do better next time.
The Quizmaster tests our listening skills by asking a number of questions about what we heard that evening
The Grammarian provides a report on the use of interesting language, word of the day - and how many ums, ahs, and fillers we used - always focused on helping us become more articulate.
Every meeting culminates in key awards. Best Table Topics, Best Speaker, Best Evaluator, Most Valuable Toastmaster (that evening) - you get to choose / vote for these. Always fun. Always motivating.
It's a packed two hours every week. It's also the best two hours of learning related to public speaking and taking leadership every week. Way better than you'll find at work.
The Meeting After The Meeting!
And if that's not enough.....we sometimes go to the pub afterwards. Every few weeks, the chair of the 'Wine & Beer Tasting' committee invites all interested members and guests to join them at the local pub.
Not everybody comes every week, but most weeks a few tables get pulled together to talk about the night, network with colleagues, laugh at the humorous speeches, and generally just have fun. If your a first time guest, you can ask any member about Toastmasters in a more informal setting!