How a Toastmasters meeting works
Meetings start at 6.15pm and finish at 8.30pm
Meetings are organised around two types of speaking opportunities, table topics and prepared speeches.
In table topics you'll learn how to think on your feet and to speak for up to 90 seconds on an impromptu topic you're given by the table topics master.
Prepared speeches are usually from 5-7 minutes and are prepared using guidelines in one of the many speakers' manuals provided by Toastmasters International. The manual everyone starts with is called the Competent Communication guide.
Every meeting has an agenda, along with a chairman who runs the meeting. Each of the meeting roles and speaking roles are rostered so everyone gets to perform each of the roles.
A key feature of toastmasters meetings is that every speech or table topic is followed by an evaluation to provide feedback to the speaker on what worked well and what could be improved. Every role has an evaluator - even the meeting chair! That's done so that every aspect of running a meeting can benefit from suggestions for improvement.
Everyone gets a turn at both speaking and having a role in the meeting, which ensures that not only do your speaking abilities improve, but so do your leadership and organisational skills.
A typical Toastmasters meeting agenda