If you are new to Toastmasters, you probably have a lot of questions about the organization, our club, and what happens during our club meetings. The following Q&A’s will address many of your questions.
What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters is a non-profit organization and a world leader in helping people improve their communication and leadership skills. During our weekly club meetings, we help people overcome the fear and nervousness associated with public speaking in a safe and supportive environment. For more information, see Toastmasters International.
Can I attend a meeting as a guest? Will I have to give a speech?
You are more than welcome to attend as a guest to observe our club meetings. Guest participation is optional. Guests may choose to join us in Table Topics, or to add comments at the end of the meeting, or guests may pass. Guests are welcome to attend for as long as it takes until they are ready to join us as club members.
We normally meet every Saturday at 10:30AM. On occasion, we may not meet due to officer training, holidays, or for other reasons. We also meet at different locations on occasion. If planning to attend, please review our home page for our location and for any days that we are not meeting.
What happens at a typical club meeting?
A typical club meeting consists of three parts: Table Topics, which are impromptu mini-speeches from club members; formal speeches, which are prepared speeches by scheduled club members; and evaluation, including speech evaluations, reports from functionaries, and an overall evaluation of the meeting.
Each meeting has a prepared agenda and a scheduled Toastmaster who is the “host” of the meeting. Meeting roles, such as speakers and evaluators, are assigned in advance of the meeting.
How many people attend your club meetings at Speak Out!?
Meeting attendance varies each week. Typically, there are between 10 to 20 people at a given meeting.
Who are your club members at Speak Out!?
You’ll find that Speak Out! members are a diverse group, with varied backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and ages. Everyone is welcome! All we ask is for each club member to contribute to a supportive and positive learning environment, among friends.
What are club meetings like?
You’ll find that Speak Out! meetings are lively and fun! Our meetings are a safe and supportive environment with members providing encouragement to one another. You will learn and laugh as you listen to the stories, experiences, and ideas of fellow club members. When you become part of Speak Out!, you will likely make long-lasting friendships that extend outside of the club. Members often become ”family” to one another.
How does the program work?
We learn by practice and constructive evaluation. Everyone learns at their own pace. Members sign up for speaking roles in advance for meetings, and use the opportunity to practice delivering a speech. Another member gives an oral evaluation of the speech. The evaluation is designed to be constructive, showing high points of the speech, and possible room for improvement. It is designed to encourage the speaker to do even better with the next speech. Meanwhile, the evaluator gains practice giving constructive evaluations. We all learn to be better speakers and leaders.
How do I become a member of Speak Out?
Join us at one of our meetings as a guest to experience first-hand what our club is like. Our Vice President of Membership (or another club member) will provide you with a guest packet that includes an application to join our club. Simply complete and return your application along with our nominal new member fee.
What is the cost for a new member?
Membership dues are $54 for 6 months. Also, there is a new member fee of $20 + tax that covers the cost of materials for up to 20 speech projects. That’s about $1 per speech!
Compare this to the cost of any class. The textbook alone can easily cost more.
What does sexual orientation have to do with public speaking?
Absolutely nothing, and we are thankful that Toastmasters International and District ONE recognizes this. However, it has everything to do with comfort level. Humans are social animals, we want others to be comfortable with us and accept us. GLBT people are no exception. This Toastmasters Club sends a strong message to the community. Yes, YOU are welcome to join us.
I am heterosexual. Am I still welcome?
Of course! We welcome everyone 18 and over who is willing and able to participate in the program.
Do you have a mission statement?
All Toastmasters Clubs have the same mission statement:
The mission of a Toastmasters club is to provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
When and where does your club meet?
We meet Saturdays from 10:30 AM to Noon at Long Beach Pride Inc., which is located at 1017 Obispo, Long Beach, California. We are at the corner of 10th and Obispo. Our meeting room is up the stairs. (Note: During Pride season from April to June, we relocate to a temporary location: The Royal Cup, 994 Redondo Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90804)