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Association Profile: Toastmasters

By Nesreen Sarras |

CanadaOne brings you a new feature, The Association Profile. We're featuring various organizations that we believe can help you, the business owner.

Toastmasters We talked to Daniel Rex, marketing division manager of Toastmasters International. He explains what the company does and how business owners might benefit from joining.

You will find the following questions and answers:

CO What is Toastmasters?
DR At Toastmasters, members learn by speaking to groups and working with others in a supportive environment. A typical Toastmasters club is made up of 20 to 30 people who meet once a week for about an hour. Each meeting gives everyone an opportunity to practice:

- Conducting meetings. Meetings usually begin with a short business session which helps members learn basic meeting procedures.

- Giving impromptu speeches. Members present one- to two-minute impromptu speeches on assigned topics.

- Presenting prepared speeches. Three or more members present speeches based on projects from the Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Program manuals. Projects cover such topics as speech organization, voice, language, gestures and persuasion.

- Offering constructive evaluation. Every prepared speaker is assigned an evaluator who points out speech strengths and offers suggestions for improvement.

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CO Who can join, and what will it cost?

Anyone age 18 or older can apply for membership in a club. I suggest they visit several clubs and find one they feel comfortable with. Each club has its own personality. Basic fees are US $16 to join and receive the needed materials. In addition, dues of US $18 are assessed every six months. The local clubs may also assess additional fees, based on local expenses.

Please note: Daniel is an American representative of Toastmasters. For a Canadian quote, we spoke to Vince DaCosta, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) and past international director of Toastmasters.

Vince represents a Richmond Hill, Ont. chapter of the organization. He says his chapter charges a one-time initiation fee of $35 and an annual fee of $95.

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CO How does one find the Toastmasters chapter nearest to them?
DR The best way is to visit our web site at and follow the Find a Club link.
CO How can members benefit from what Toastmasters has to offer?
DR Your success in business is based on how effective you are. Through participation in the Toastmasters Communication and Leadership program, people from all backgrounds learn to speak effectively, conduct a meeting, manage a department or business, lead, delegate and motivate.

How Toastmasters works:

As your improved communication skills become obvious within the workplace, increased visibility, recognition and promotion will follow.

Your improved presentation skills will win you the respect and admiration of your colleagues and employees - and make them wonder what you did to change!

Leadership skills acquired through participation in Toastmasters will increase your management potential.

As a Toastmaster you will acquire an increased ability to motivate and persuade, making you more effective as a supervisor or manager.

Members of Toastmaster clubs have access to a wide range of educational materials, including books, audio and videotapes, and seminar programs available at reduced cost through the Toastmasters International Supply Catalog.

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CO How can business owners benefit from Toastmasters?
DR Successful business owners have to be good communicators. Toastmasters can help them better give off-the-cuff remarks, better prepared presentations and better employee evaluations. Impromptu and prepared speaking and evaluations are all practiced in a Toastmasters meeting.

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