Frequently Asked Questions about our club
We are a vibrant Club that meets from 12 noon to 1pm every Wednesday at St. Andrews Church Conference Centre. All our meetings have an agenda, drawn up by the Chairperson, which shows the duration of each event on the programme. Toastmasters are strict about time, with meetings starting and ending on time. To answer your specific questions below:
- Is there a cost or other criteria required in order to participate?
Anyone over 18 years of age can join. Given the international reputation and proven record of success Toastmasters has in training people in public speaking and leadership, the cost of membership is remarkably low. A six-monthly subscription costs $100. This covers Toastmaster International’s fees (including a monthly subscription to the Toastmaster magazine) and the cost of running the club, such as postage and photocopying.
If you are a new member, there is also a one-off joining fee of $40. This covers the administration costs of registering a new member and the provision of materials such as the Communication and Leadership manual.
Six-monthly subscriptions are paid in September and March. Depending on when you join the club, your fees will be calculated on a pro rata basis to either September or March, plus the one off joining fee.
- Are people who are interested in joining able to come along as spectators initially?
You are welcome to visit the Club before deciding whether you want to become a member. Indeed we strongly recommend that you do attend two or three meetings to observe proceedings and get the full flavour of what we do. It is not possible, however, to schedule you for a formal speech until you have become a member.
Our meeting times are Wednesday, 12-1pm.
Venue: St. Andrews Church, 30 The Terrace, Wellington CBD, New Zealand
- What would the average weekly group size be?
Our weekly attendance is +/-15. We may occasionally get to 20 if several guests show up.
- Does each person prepare a speech or other communication to present, and if so how often?
A schedule for coming meetings is distributed ahead of time. The schedule lists the duties assigned to club members at forthcoming meetings. Roles are assigned on a voluntary basis, according to level of experience and comfort. The roles rotate amongst the members meeting by meeting so that everyone in the Club gets an opportunity to improve their speaking, communication and leadership skills. The roles are as follows:
¨ The Chairperson organises and runs the meeting. They prepare a written agenda and introduce each item of the Club meeting.
¨ The Speakers deliver speeches that they have written themselves on a topic of their choosing. Each speaker has particular objectives that they are trying to achieve – these objectives are specified in the Toastmasters’ programme.
¨ The Table Topics Master prepares the topics for the impromptu speaking part of the meeting. The speakers, chosen from the audience, are first those who have no assigned duty during the meeting, and then other members. The speeches are normally 1-2 minutes. Guests get the opportunity to introduce themselves during this part of the meeting (also 1-2 minutes). Alternatively, they can opt for a topic from the Table Topics Master.
¨ An Evaluator is assigned to each speaker. Their role is to inspire and give comments to the speakers on how well they met the objectives of their speech, pointing out the speakers’ strengths and areas where they might improve.
¨ The Timekeeper records everybody’s times and operates the lights. A green light means keep going, an orange light means prepare to finish, and a red light means stop! It is important for every speaker to keep to time.
¨ The Um-Counter notes all the words and sounds used as a ‘crutch’ or ‘pause-filler’ by each speaker. The Um-Counter gives a short report on how everybody did towards the end of the meeting.
¨ The General Evaluator evaluates all meeting participants who haven’t received evaluation feedback, comments on how well the meeting was run and where improvements could be made.
- How does the competition aspect apply? i.e. is that voluntary?
All activities / roles at a Toastmasters Club are on a voluntary basis. You will not be forced into giving a speech or taking up a role if you do not wish to. Having said that, it is important to note that everyone attends the meeting in order to improve their speaking, communication and leadership skills. Therefore, attendees are expected to participate, because we learn by:
¨ Practising speaking in front of the group
¨ Listening to others speak to the group
¨ Evaluating and listening to evaluations of speeches
¨ Following the Toastmasters program of advancing in steps
- What is the scope in relation to the mentoring programme mentioned on your site?
The Club has a healthy mix of skills and experience, from very nervous members who have just joined to very experienced speakers who have won awards. Because of this diverse range of skills and experience, the Club offers an opportunity for interested members to find an appropriate mentor to assist their development.
We hope you will be able to pay us a visit. Let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.