|October 22, 1924
|9127 South Jamaica Street, Englewood , Colorado ,US
Toastmasters International (TI) is a US-headquartered nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping people develop communication, public speaking, and leadership skills.
On 24 March 1905, Dr Ralph C. Smedley, a 1903 graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University, who was also the educational director for Bloomington YMCA in Illinois, started a club in a dinner meeting, to train young boys and men in speech, to face an audience, and to express their thoughts. He envisioned it as a weekly social club, with training programs for short speeches, debates, and work in chairmanship. The members took turn to speak in 5 to 6 minutes while the elder men served as speech evaluators. George Sutton, General Secretary of YMCA, named the club "a Toastmasters Club". Smedley later noticed a significant improvement in his members' speeches and leadership abilities. When YMCA transferred Smedley to another city named Freeport in Illinois, he decided to expand his club to the new city.
The organization grew out of a single club founded by Smedley on October 22, 1924, at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, United States.It originated as a set of classes with the aim of improving the communication skills of the young men under his charge. Toastmasters International was incorporated under Californian law on December 19, 1932.
The first international chapter was established in Vancouver, Canada, in 1932. The organization began admitting women in 1973.
In 1999, Toastmasters International (TI) had 170,000 members spanning 68 countries.By 2016, TI had 16,000 clubs worldwide.
Toastmasters International uses a local club-based structure, with an average club size of around 22 members. Meetings are held every week or every other week and usually in the evening, although some clubs meet in the morning or afternoon.Each club operates as a separate entity with a set of requirements leading to chartered status for them to be recognised as official Toastmasters clubs. The chartered status allows clubs to use the names, promotional material and program of Toastmasters International.
Every meeting is based on a set of organized speeches. Speakers are given feedback, often by a more experienced member, who then gives an impromptu speech with constructive feedback based on their performance.
Part of the meetings is devoted to Table Topics, which are impromptu speeches that are assigned on the spot by a Topicsmaster. The goal of this is to think on one's feet with minimal preparation. In some clubs, attendees are then asked to vote on whom they thought gave the best speech.
Toastmasters International places a large emphasis on building the public speaking and leadership skills of its members.The current education system Pathways consists of eleven differing paths suited to their needs and requirements, based around Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Management, Strategic Leadership, and Confidence. Each path consists of 14 projects. Content consists of online and print materials, it being the first time in the organization’s history to provide modern technology in its programme. Content is available in English, and as of 2023, translations are available in 10 languages. Speechcraft is a 4- to 8-week program with materials hosted online and is conducted by experienced Toastmasters members for non-members. To develop leadership skills, members lead at the club, area, or district levels, focus on content development, and participate in speech contests.
Toastmasters runs an international public speaking championship formally known as the Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking, which is held annually at its International Convention in August.It started in 1938 and involves over 33,000 participants in 141 countries, making it the world's largest oratory contest. There is a six-month process of elimination to reach the semifinals; in 2018, there were 106 participants who made it that far. There are ten places in the final, and speeches are judged on content, gestures, organization, and style.
List of notable members
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Toastmaster is a general term, prevalent in the United States in the mid-20th century, referring to a person in charge of the proceedings of a public speaking event. The toastmaster is typically charged with organization of the event, arranging the order of speakers, introducing one or more of the speakers, and keeping the event on schedule. Such meetings typically include civic events, service organization meetings, and banquets for various purposes.
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The Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) is a British confederation of about 150 clubs around the country that promote the skill of public speaking.
Rostrum Australia is an association of Australian public speaking clubs, founded on 21 July 1930. It is the main continuation of the original Rostrum club founded in Manchester, United Kingdom on 21 July 1923. This club's other surviving descendants are "Rochdale Rostrum", a Rostrum club in the Greater Manchester area founded in 1978; and the presently dormant "Wellington Rostrum Club" in New Zealand.
Ralph C. Smedley was the founder of Toastmasters International, an international speaking organization with more than 352,000 members in 141 countries and more than 16,400 individual clubs.
Jeanne Flinn Swanner Robertson was an American athlete, teacher, humorist, motivational speaker, YouTube personality, and Miss North Carolina 1963.
Communications training or communication skills training refers to various types of training to develop necessary skills for communication. Effective communication is vital for the success in various situations. Individuals undergo communications training to develop and improve communication skills related to various roles in organizations. Good executive communication helps garner trust between bosses and employees and between team leaders and their direct reports.
Table topics are topics on various subjects that are discussed by a group of people around a table. As practiced by Toastmasters International, the topics to be discussed are written on pieces of paper which are placed in a box in the middle of a table. The participants pick up one paper each and start talking about the topic written on the paper. Speeches given by the persons are extemporaneous or Ad libitum. The purpose is to develop the speaking skills and thinking processes of a person.
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Nick Morgan is an American speaking coach and author.
Wali Shah is a Canadian speaker, poet, musician and philanthropist. He has spoken most prominently on topics including bullying, mental health and social change, while creating spoken word poetry specifically tailored to his projects and engagements.
Mel Kelly is an Irish stand-up comedian and international speaker based in Munich since 2003. Kelly began his speaking career in 2004, has spoken on stages in Europe, the US and Thailand. He has also won several European Speaking Contests in English and in German.
Ayan Pal is an Indian author and public speaker who is best known for his novel Confessions on an Island, as well as his acclaimed short stories in the anthologies Chronicles of Urban Nomads and 21 Tales to Tell. He has also co-authored India's first composite novel, Crossed and Knotted, which made it into the Limca Book of Records.
Sidney Frederick Wicks was a Congregational minister, public speaking trainer, advertising and business manager, and newspaper executive. He conducted public speaking courses and formed what is now the oldest public speaking club in the world initially called The Rostrum but now simply Rostrum.
Manoj Vasudevan is an International speaker, author, consultant and coach. He is the founder of Thought Expressions. Vasudevan is best known for winning the World Champion of Public Speaking by Toastmasters International in 2017.
The World Championship of Public Speaking began in 1938 and has grown to over 50,000 participants in 149 countries in 2022. In its early decades, it was referred to as the Toastmasters Speech Contest. By the 1990s, there were about 10,000 participants every year. The contest's popularity grew rapidly in the 2000s. The contest has been called the "largest speech contest in the world" by Daijiworld.