By Rayeesa Tabassum
Public speaking and communication skills taking you to higher places.
What is Toastmasters?
It is an international organization that aims to develop members’ communication and leadership skills. Founded in 1924 in California; it has spread to 135 countries. Saudi Arabia has over 200 clubs, both English and Arabic.
Who can join?
There are two types of clubs: corporate and community clubs. Corporate clubs include office, college and organization clubs whereas community clubs are open to the general public. Some community clubs may have membership restrictions, but most clubs are open to everyone above the age of 18.
How to join?
To join a club, all you have to do is attend one or two meetings, fill the registration form, pay the fees, which include the cost of two manuals, and you are set to go.
What are the fees?
Club Jeddah Elite Ladies Toastmasters charges SR 280 as the registration fees and SR 175 as renewal fees every six months.
What happens when you become a member?
You will be given two manuals: Competent Communication Manual and Competent Leadership Manual. Each manual has 10 projects; you can tackle the projects at your own pace to receive Competent Communicator and Competent Leader award respectively.
What exactly happens at the meetings?
A general Toastmaster meeting has basically 3 segments; each segment timed by the Timer and anchored by Toastmaster of the Evening. The first session is the Prepared Speeches. Members present speech projects from their communication manuals. Each speaker is assigned an evaluator who will evaluate the speaker’s speech based on the objectives of the given project. The second session is Table Topics Session conducted by Table Topic Master, wherein guests and members are given a chance to speak on random topics given on the spot, to improve the impromptu speaking skills of the participants.
The third session is Evaluation; Evaluators of prepared speeches provide feedback on the speeches presented and how they can be improved further. Also, the general evaluator’s team, consisting of the Grammarian and Ah-Counter, evaluate the whole meeting to improve the quality of future meetings.
At the end of each meeting, three awards are given: Best Prepared Speaker, Best Table Topics Speaker and Best Evaluator; members’ votes decide this. The votes are collected and counted by the Award Master. By taking up different roles, as mentioned above; a member completes projects of Leadership manual.
What are the benefits?
Improved communication, leadership, listening and public speaking skills.
Visit toastmasters.org to find a club near you.