What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International is a worldwide organization that aims to improve communication skills, public speaking skills and leadership skills among its members. It promotes the values of proper speaking, proper listening and critical thinking, to apply to the public speaking scene.
Toastmasters traces its origins to a single club, the Smedley Club Number 1, based in Santa Ana, California, USA. The club was founded by Ralph Smedley, an educational director, for the YMCA in October 1924. The club was eventually renamed Toastmasters Club, and with the introduction of another club in British Columbia, Canada, was eventually named Toastmasters International.
At present, TI is more than 250,000 strong, with over 12,800 clubs all over the world. Anyone wishing to improve their communication skills aged 18 and above is welcome to join. Although originally intended to accept only male members, TI eventually opened its doors to female members in 1973.
TI actively holds activities throughout the year. Activities such as speech workshops, leadership workshops, extemporaneous speaking sessions, debates, and International speech contests are held regularly by the club.