How to Be Successful in Toastmasters – Part 1 of 2

Don’t Panic.

Coming into a Toastmasters club for the first time is hard. There are a lot of new people you have never met before, they have titles like VPE and they want you to get in front of a group of people and do what?

Don’t worry. Just sit in on your first meeting, listen to the speeches, do a table topic, and get an information packet from the first person that hands you one.

Now jump ahead two weeks. Thinking back on your experience, you enjoyed yourself at the first meeting; so you came back to the meeting and turned in your application…now what?

For many new members, you are at a loss for what to do. The person who gave you the application wants you to do an “Icebreaker” and some other person wants you to be the timer. Then there is this guy in the corner who keeps thinking you are a guest and wants you to sign the guest book. What are you supposed to do?

Deep breaths… that’s it… don’t panic. It will all be OK.

Day 1 as a Member

As a new member, you are going to get a lot of information thrown at you rather quickly. It is good to take a look at the books and manuals that Toastmaster sends you. Don’t worry about knowing all of it now, but really start to look at Project 1, “The Icebreaker” in the Competent Communicator manual. This is the first prepared speaking project and it would be beneficial to ask when you can get signed up to give that speech.

Ok..ok..don’t panic. It is not as hard as it looks. Just take a few deep breaths, talk to some of the other members and find the person that is the Vice President of Education. We will talk more about officers later, so for now look for the person that is prematurely gray, has a ton of paperwork stacked in front of them, and keeps babbling incoherently about needing one more CC by the end of the year or something similar. Don’t worry, it is not a drug reference… but it should be.

Once you locate the Vice President of Education, he or she will help you get speeches and other roles scheduled, find a mentor, and learn more about the educational tracks in the program. I encourage you to talk to each officer in the club, ask them what they do and how they can help you figure out what this Toastmasters thing is all about.

Now that you have gotten you first speech scheduled, it is time to learn what Toastmasters is, how the club works, and then give that first speech…all topics to be continued in part two of this series.

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About the Author:

Chris Elliott serves as a leader for supply chain and international non-profit organizations. He has an unshakable habit of lifelong learning and uses his knowledge and experiences during his speaking engagements, workshops, consulting projects, and one-on-one coaching sessions. The result…connecting people and empowering change.

In his presentations on personal success, employee morale, technology selection, and supply chain issues, Chris Elliott brings a unique perspective to help you solve the problems that affects your business. Contact Chris Elliott at so he can deliver the results that you need to be successful.

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