What is Toastmasters

Ballard Sunset Toastmasters has been a warm, friendly place to learn, practice, and perfect public speaking and leadership skills for over seven years!  If you are not familiar with the Toastmasters Organization in general, it is an international organization, with thousands of clubs around the world, giving people the opportunities for communication development.

From the Toastmaster International site, “a Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere.  There is no instructor in a Toastmasters meeting. Instead, members evaluate one another’s presentations. This feedback process is a key part of the program’s success.  Meeting participants also give impromptu talks on assigned topics, conduct meetings and develop skills related to timekeeping, grammar and parliamentary procedure.”

How Ballard Sunset Toastmaster Meetings Run

During a Ballard Sunset Toastmasters, we aim to maximize the number of speaking opportunities for all who attend.  We rotate the positions each meeting, so if you join, you’ll have an opportunity to play the different roles.

  • Toastmaster: This is the person who runs the meeting.  He/She sets the agenda and meeting theme
  • Timer: The timer times the speeches in the meeting
  • Grammarian: This role is responsible for noting positive uses of grammar, counting filler words (ums and ahs, etc), and providing a word of the day
  • General Evaluator: This person leads the evaluation portion of the meeting, offering feedback on the meeting overall
  • Evaluators: These roles evaluate the main speeches of the meeting
  • Table Topic Masters: This person hosts the table topics (impromptu speaking) portion of the meeting
  • Speakers: At Toastmasters, we have different assignments from various manuals.  These speakers have prepared a speech on a given topic based on the instructions from their manual

Goals for Toastmasters

Toastmasters is a community geared toward helping individuals achieve their own communication goals.  In helping members reach their goals, the organization has developed different paths and goals both for individuals as well as for the clubs.  Some of this will make more sense when you come visit a meeting.

For individuals, there are 2 tracks for various goals — communication and leadership.  New members will start off with a Competent Communicator and Competent Leader book.  The Competent Communicator book (the most popular in our club) outlines 10 speeches and instructions that you can give once you become a member.  Once you’ve finished that book, you graduate to the next level and work on Advanced Communicator books.  Same goes for the leadership track.

For the club, Ballard Sunset Toastmasters, there is this recognition we try to get as a club each year called the Distinguished President Program.  Our club has been a Distinguished President Club each year of our existence!  The club has goals to accomplish things such as 4 Competent Communicator manuals finished by our members, 4 Advanced Manuals, etc.  There are a number of requirements.  When you accomplish your own goals, you are contributing to the club’s goals! A win win!

Joining Toastmasters

Coming to visit our club as a guest is a great first step in joining Toastmasters.  When you come to the meeting, you’ll be able to see first hand how a meeting runs and get to meet and ask questions to our current members.  Once you decide that Toastmasters and the Ballard Sunset Club is a great fit for you, we’ll help you become a member.  Membership entails filling out an easy membership form (e.g. name, email, etc) and then submitting dues.

For first time Toastmaster members, there is a $20 one-time sign up fee.  You won’t pay this fee again (it goes to Toastmasters International, to add you into the system, send you your first two manuals, and send you Toastmaster magazines).  In addition to this one time fee, you will also need to pay your dues, pro-rated based on the month you join.  Dues at Toastmasters are collected twice a year.  Toastmasters dues are $6 a month and our club dues are $2 a month, so it’s $8 a month (or $48 for half a year).

If you join in… TM Intl dues Ballard Sunset dues One-Time Membership fee (new members only) Total
October or April $36 $12 $20 $68
November or May $30 $10 $20 $60
December or June $24 $8 $20 $52
January or July $18 $6 $20 $44
February or August $12 $4 $20 $36
March or September $6 $2 $20 $28

The club dues are different for different clubs, so if you go and visit another chapter, you can ask them about their dues.  Check is the easiest way we collect the dues, but we are investigating other electronic options (to bring us into the 21st century :)).

But don’t worry about all this now!  We’d love to see you and meet you.  Please stop by and visit to see a meeting for yourself.  We’ll help explain and answer any questions you have.