How to Be Successful in Toastmasters – Part 2 of 2

Summary of Part 1 – Your First Meeting as a Member

Talk with the Vice President of Education (VPE) to get your Icebreaker scheduled
See if the VPE can assign you a mentor.

Goals for Part 2

1. Learn more about the club structure
2. Take on different meeting roles
3. Write and give your first speech, “The Icebreaker”

The Club Structure

As a new member, there is a lot of information thrown at you in the first few weeks. Toastmasters meetings are not like normal business meetings and at first the structure can seem quite off and disorientating. However, as you progress through the program, you will see that the club is structured with a purpose, and that is to help members grow as effective speakers in leaders.

As you read through the back of the competent communicator manual, you will get a better understanding of the overall agenda of the meeting, the parts that fill our the agenda, and the roles within the parts that help members succeed in speaking and leading.

The Executive Council, consisting of the President, Vice Presidents, Treasurer, Secretary, and Sergeant at Arms are responsible for maintaining the structure and flow of the meeting. This includes the set up of the meeting space, the opening, business meeting, educational speeches, table topics, and evaluation. Each section of the meeting has different goals and people assigned to roles are responsible for leading those sections.

Meeting Roles

If you break the meeting down into primary sections: Set up, opening, business, speeches, table topics, and evaluations – there are different roles within these primary sections for structure and execution.

In the clubs I am involved in, the sections are run by the following roles:
Set Up – Sergeant at Arms
Opening and Business – President
Speeches – Toastmaster
Table Topics – Table Topic Master
Evaluations – General Evaluator

To be successful in Toastmasters, I encourage you to take on as many of the roles as possible within the first few meetings. Doing that will help you better understand the structure of the meetings and will serve you to become more comfortable in front of your club.

The Icebreaker

Ah the Icebreaker, that glorious first speech that so many new members run from. There is really not much to say about the icebreaker. It is tough, but it really takes just getting up there and doing it.

For me, I mind mapped my first speech and got up there and gave it. I said “um” 12 times, but after that the numbers of “ums” dropped to 6, then 2, and then none within the first few speeches. Today, I now slap myself if I say filler words.

You can do it. Whether you are a new or returning Toastmaster, the Icebreaker is nothing to fear. It is a lot of fun and once you get good at speaking, you can actually make a lot of money just standing in front of people speaking.


It is my hope that I have encouraged you to really get the most out of Toastmasters as possible. To do that, please get out the materials you have received from Toastmasters and figure out:

1. The structure of the club
2. What the various meeting roles are
3. Getting your Icebreaker done

Good luck as a new Toastmaster.

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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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