WHAT IS TOASTMASTERS?
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people improve their public speaking and leadership skills.
The organization has existed for more than 75 years and has chapters in more than 50 countries.
HOW CAN I BENEFIT FROM TOASTMASTERS?
In this day and age there is overwhelming evidence that communication skills are essential to success in the workplace.
A Toastmasters club provides a positive, supportive environment in which members have an opportunity to develop more effective speaking and leadership skills which foster self-confidence.
Additionally most members would concur that casual day-to-day social communication comes more easily. You will:
Learn and practice the art of effective public speaking
Learn to overcome anxiety and speak confidently before an audience
Improve the structure and flow of your message; including speech openings, closings, and transitions
Evolve your physical delivery (e.g. body language; and voice volume, tone, tempo, and pitch) to enhance your message
Adapt your communications style to the composition of the audience and deal with unexpected challenges that arise
Sharpen your listening and analytical skills as you give constructive evaluations to fellow members
Practice thinking on your feet while speaking extemporaneously (impromptu, on the spur of the moment)
Refine your skills selling or persuading others of the value of your ideas, visions, services, or products
Practice leadership skills and managing meetings as an emcee / master of ceremonies
Enjoy being part of a constructive and supportive environment
HOW DO YOU CHECK IT OUT?
Feel free to stop by and sit in on any one of our meetings - no reservations or prior arrangements required!
WHEN DO WE MEET?
Every Wednesday night 7:00p.m. to 9:00p.m., except on major holidays.
WHERE DO WE MEET?
395 Santa Monica Place
Community Room, Level 3, Santa Monica Place Shopping Center
Located between 2nd and 4th Streets, and between Colorado Ave. and Broadway St.
Santa Monica, California 90401
If you are coming by freeway you would head west on the Santa Monica (10) freeway until the very last exit for 4th and 5th Streets before the freeway changes direction and morphs into the Pacific Coast Highway.
After getting off the freeway at the 4th and 5th Street exit you would turn left on Colorado Ave from either 4th or 5th St. The Santa Monica Place shopping center is along Colorado Ave. between 2nd and 4th Streets.
Within the shopping center itself go to Level 3 (the top level) where all the restaurants are. We meet in the Community Room near the circular central part of the shopping center.
There is a hallway that you should enter in between Ozumo and Tutti Frutti going out to restrooms and the parking structure. Take an immediate left and as you begin to walk down the hallway in that direction you will see a sign up above you indicating the Community Room off to the right, which is where you will find our meeting location.
For those who have a more visual mindset this more detailed floor plan shows you where the Community Room is located on Level 3.
You have a few parking options. If you choose to park within the parking structure of the shopping center itself, it is best to enter the parking structure located on Colorado Ave. Parking Level 5 of this structure is the same level as our meeting room, identified as the Community Room on the shopping center directory maps.
If you park in the shopping center's parking structure or in other Santa Monica city multi-story parking structures, the first 90 minutes are free and the next hour costs $1. As a very low budget non-profit organization we DO NOT validate the parking tickets from the shopping center.
Another option is on-street parking where metered spaces are mainly free after 6pm. Green boxes on the map above define some of the better hunting grounds for free night parking in metered spaces. There is a cluster of 30 spaces under the Santa Monica / Ken Edwards Community Center off 4th Street across from the shopping center. Other spaces can be found off Colorado Ave going inland (northeast), along 5th Street, or along 6th Street.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
To visit as a guest, absolutely free. To join as an ongoing member the club dues are $13.00 per month, collected semi-annually. There is also a $20 one-time fee for speaking manuals and getting setup within the Toastmaster system.
WHAT IF I'M NEW TO PUBLIC SPEAKING?
That's what it's all about! Though the composition of club changes, there is always a mix of new members and more experienced speakers. So there are always opportunities to learn from others. We believe Toastmasters provides a 'safe' place where you can take risks as a public speaker. You decide when you are comfortable to assume greater speaking responsibilities.
WHAT IS A MEETING LIKE?
A typical meeting has three different speaking sections. There is an impromptu / extemporaneous speaking section which gives members practice in thinking quickly and coherently on their feet as we must all do at times in real life.
A second part of the meeting concerns prepared speeches with topics of the speaker's choosing. The third major portion is an evaluation phase to provide constructive feedback to the speakers with prepared speeches. Where they did well and where they can improve.
HOW DO YOU PROGRESS THROUGH TOASTMASTERS?
The foundation of the Toastmasters program is a basic Communications Manual of ten prepared speeches that members work through at their own pace, acquiring the essential 'building blocks' of public speaking.
Those with broader, longer range communications objectives wanting to further hone their speaking technique in more focused specialized areas can choose from any of 15 different Advanced Speech manuals. These emphasize a range of methods, examples being; how to develop a down-home storytelling style, how to inject humor into a presentation to grab the audience's attention, how to interact with different media channels, or how to handle what we'll call specialty speeches (e.g. wedding toasts, eulogies, etc.).
Another skills-building opportunity for Toastmasters is to participate in periodic speaking contests, normally held every six months. These progress from head-to-head competition within each Toastmasters chapter to successively higher levels outside the club. A brief overview of contests may be found here. You can view examples of selected speech contest videos here, or for that matter other videos of members in action speaking in the real world.
While refining public speaking technique is the main avenue most members travel through Toastmasters there is another key angle for self-improvement through the Toastmaster experience.
In the context of the real work world, leadership and public speaking quite often go hand in hand. A second separate educational track is the development of leadership skills.
Following their chosen educational path, Toastmaster members find other benefits not specifically targeted by the program often accrue. Some find that their writing skills improve while for others the process of developing speech material serves to enhance a creative / innovative mindset.
ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS?