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What is Toastmasters?

LogoTaglineLockupJPGsm.jpgToastmasters International is:

  • a nonprofit organization,

  • Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization has more than 292,000 memberships in more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries and

  • dedicated to excellence in communication and leadership

Most Toastmasters clubs meet weekly for 1-2 hours, and follow a pretty basic agenda:

  • Prepared speeches - Members are given opportunities to prepare, rehearse, and then deliver presentations in front of their fellow members.

  • Speech evaluations - Whenever you speak in Toastmasters, you receive helpful and supportive evaluations from your peers.

  • Impromptu speaking - Members practice speaking "off the cuff" for one or two minutes by responding to general topics of interest (table topics).

  • Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

When Did Toastmasters Start?

The first Toastmasters club was started by Ralph Smedley in Santa Ana, California in 1924 at a local YMCA to meet the need for speech and leadership training for young men. His initial "Ten Lessons in Public Speaking" still forms the core of the Toastmasters educational program as the 10 projects of the Competent Communicator manual. ( It has, of course, been updated and revised many times.)

The single club turned into a network of affiliated Toastmasters Clubs as the idea spread throughout southern California. When an affiliated club formed in British Columbia, Toastmasters International was born.

Who Joins Toastmasters?

Anyone over the age of 18 can join Toastmasters, provided they have the desire to improve their communication and leadership skills.

Beyond that, Toastmasters members are a diverse group, spanning countries and cultures, and all socio-economic backgrounds.

The Toastmasters International website tells us that:

  • 52% of members are female and 48% are male.

  • Average annual household income: $85,000-$99,000.

  • 30% earn $100,000+ annually.

  • 69% of members are between the ages of 35 and 49.

  • 82% have a college degree.

  • 36% have an advanced degree.

What industries employ Toastmasters?

  • 20% Sales, Consulting, Self Employed

  • 18% Management

  • 15% Finance & Insurance

  • 15% Government

  • 12% Education

  • 20% Other

Why do they Join?

Who Joins Toastmasters?


People join Toastmasters because it gives them a positive and supportive place to learn and practice a wide variety of transferable skills. The Toastmasters Educational Program creates great communicators and leaders.

Click here to learn more about how the Toastmasters educational system works!


The leaderhip team that makes it work span the world!

It takes a lot of volunteers to keep an International organization like Toastmasters running smoothly.

Members - Our members are the most important aspect of the district. It's people like you that help our clubs become successful and assist other members to grow and achieve! Our members are best served when we help them become effective evaluators and strong mentors for other new members.

Clubs - Clubs are supported by seven Club Officers; President, VP Education, VP Membership, VP Public Relations, Secretary, Treasurer and Sgt. At Arms. Club officers should be visible to their club members and be ready to assist members navigating the communication and leadership development programs.

Areas - Areas are comprised of about 4-7 clubs with each Area being led by an Area Governor appointed by the District Governor. Area Governors work with the club Presidents and Vice-Presidents of Education to ensure the club is supporting their members in the best way possible and fulfilling their Club Mission. Area Governors provide training and assistance to help clubs achieve their Distinguished Club Program goals. As such, it is strongly recommended that members serve as a Club President or VP Education before being appointed to an Area Governor position.

Divisions - There are six divisions within District 3 each being comprised of 4-6 Areas. Each Division is led by a Division Governor elected annually to support the Area Governors and help the District build new clubs. Division Governors meet regularly with their Area Governors and help coordinate with other District resources to ensure Area Governors have the resources they need to support their clubs. Division Governors also work closely with the District Club Extension team to conduct orientation and new club organizing efforts.

District Leaders - There are three primary District leadership roles elected annually; District Governor, Lt. Governor Education & Training, and Lt. Governor Marketing. The "trio" as we refer to them leads administrative, education, and marketing/membership committees in support of the areas and our member clubs. District leaders are measured by four critical success factors as defined by Toastmasters International: net member growth, net club growth, educational achievements and leadership achievements.

Regions - Toastmaster Districts are in regions and those regions. There are also Districts that are not in regions.

World Headquarters and beyond - The world headquarters has a small staff of people to handle all of the administrative duties required plus a board of directors which includes five officers and 18 board of directors plus the International President and five other elected officials to set the vision of the organization.

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