You may have heard of or been a part of a Toastmasters Club in your high school, college or communities. This week I sat down with the Chairman, Idan Jacobs – Post-Baccalaureate Human Resource Management student from Israel, to get you the scoop on how the club is helpful to students, what they do and how students can join.
Founded in 1979 under the Merritt Toastmasters Club, the TRU Toastmasters Club (known to some as ‘Toasties’) aims to help students develop their public speaking and leadership skills. They do this through preparing and giving speeches at their meetings, hosting and attending events where some are open to the general public and others are exclusive to members – such as TEDx.
So what does a Toasties meeting look like?
Before I dive into that, you do not have to be a member to attend meetings. You can always come through and take part in some of the activities that they have, or stick to the background the first time you come. Remember, everyone was shy at some point so you can feel free to move at your own pace. Be comfortable.
Now, a meeting includes three main parts:
- A prepared speech. The topic is normally predetermined and so you will have time to prepare for this. You can get help on many different topics (also known as ‘paths’) from a manual or from their website (Pathways). If you are new, your first speech (when you are ready) is likely to be an ice breaker.
- Table Topics. These are all improvised topics. Again, you will receive the theme for this beforehand. There is a theme for the meeting and you get asked questions. Relax.
- Evaluations. Some clubs will do these at the end but this club does these right after each part so people don’t have to wait for feedback.
- … and of course, snacks!
If they have time, they will squeeze in what they like to call ‘Quiz Master’. This is like a listening test where they ask questions like ‘where did Speaker X say they come from?’ or ‘what was the topic Speaker G addressed?’
Jacob’s favourite part of leading this dynamic group is the “mutual respect” that he finds in the way people that people talk. He enjoys learning about the differences between and amongst cultures and people through their speeches, thought processes and through the way they present themselves.