Frequently Asked Questions
– Downtown Toronto Public Speaking Club
What are the requirements to join your Toastmasters club?
There is only one major requirement – your desire to enhance your communication skills in a supportive and friendly environment. Your initial level of public speaking skills is not important. While some people come to us already being good speakers in need for a place to practice and others barely able to talk in front of a group, at Toastmasters we all learn from each other.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable to participate in exercises and make speeches from the start you can still become a member, attend meetings and progress at your own pace.
Naturally, we would ask you to uphold the positive and friendly spirit of our meetings and treat everyone with respect. You must be at least 18 years old to become a member of Toastmasters club.
Do I have to become a member right away?
No, you don’t have to become a member right away. You can come as a guest and enjoy our meeting without commitment. See for yourself if this club is the right fit for you and become a member only when you feel comfortable with the idea.
What if I am too nervous to speak up in front of the group?
You have come to the right place! Nervousness is the number one problem for the majority of new Toastmasters members. You would be surprised how quickly and easily you will be able to overcome this obstacle and become a more effective and confident speaker. Come on in, we’ve all been in your shoes and we understand!
What should I expect at the meeting?
A warm and inviting atmosphere!
It is best if you arrive a few minutes prior to the meeting. You will be greeted by one of the club’s executives who can answer any further questions you may have.
We would ask your name and a few other details (e.g. why you are interested in Toastmasters, your occupation or hobbies, how you heard about our club, etc.) so we can get to know a little bit about you. You will be given a guest nametag and showed to your seat.
At the beginning of the meeting the Chair of the meeting (the Toastmaster) will acknowledge new and returning guests and the club executive who greeted you will introduce you to the group. If you wish, you can introduce yourself and say a few words you want people to know about you.
After greetings and introductions the meeting will follow a specific agenda. Usually our agenda consists of 1-3 prepared speeches 5-10 minutes long and one or two group exercises where everyone is encouraged to participate and each person gets 1-2 minutes to speak up. Group exercises include Table Topics, Debates, Soap Box and other similar activities.
At the end of the meeting a pre-assigned evaluation team will evaluate the meeting. Then the Toastmaster will open the floor for comments and guests will be asked to provide their feedback about the meeting.
Remember, everything we do at Toastmasters is voluntary! We encourage guests to participate in activities they are comfortable with, but if you would like to pass and just observe you can perfectly do so. We will always respect your wishes.
Some meetings are special and do not follow the standard format above. These meetings can be speech contests, educational lectures or social events and parties. Prior RSVP and a nominal cover charge of $5 or $10 might be required to attend (this fee would cover the cost of food, drinks, door prizes, etc.). Please check the current agenda and our club calendar for details of the special meetings.
What inspired the word “Visionary” in the club name?
In 2014, the name was revised to “Visionary Toastmasters Club” to accomodate the vast number of members that are entrepreneurs and had joined Toastmasters to help them improve their business. Members are welcome to present speeches relating to their business such as sales and marketing presentations, product pitches or business development training in order to benefit from the feedback received by the group.
English is not my first language; would your classes help me improve conversational skills?
Toastmasters meetings are not ESL classes and there is no formal teaching or class structure. We embrace diversity and welcome everyone to the club, but in order for all of us to benefit from the meetings each member of the group needs to be able to express ideas and understand others without difficulties.