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Philadelphia's First Toastmasters

A Toastmasters meeting has many roles, large and small, which give us all a chance to participate. At Toastmasters, everyone speaks. That's why we're there!
Each meeting of Philadelphia's First Toastmasters follows Toastmasters International guidelines. It's a structured format that has the ultimate purpose of helping us to strengthen our communication and leadership skills. What may you expect if you visit our club? That's an excellent question.

At a typical meeting, we start to gather at about 6:45pm to exchange greetings and get our seats for the meeting. At 7:00pm, our club's President opens the meeting with a "round robin," introducing members and Guests. This is followed by an Invocation and Pledge to the Flag. The Toastmaster of the Day assumes control of the lectern and hosts the meeting, introducing the Wordmaster, who brings us a Word for the Day. Then we have a moment of entertainment delivered by the Jokemaster. There is a short Education speech, followed by Table Topics. The Table Topics Master calls upon various members to respond to a variety of questions. The response time for each question is two minutes. This can sound a little intimidating, but practice with this is what makes us better communicators. (Guests are not required to participate in Table Topics. However, you're welcome to take part if you wish.)

Following a short break for refreshments, the scheduled speakers deliver their speeches. Each speech follows a format from one of the many Toastmasters manuals. A Toastmaster may choose any topic, but the speech should meet certain criteria, designed to enhance the skills of the speaker. Each speech is evaluated and "polishing points" are noted by an Evaluator so that the speaker may receive constructive feedback.

While we encourage attendance and participation at each meeting, it is not required. Members proceed through the Toastmaster program at their own pace. At first, we start with roles like Timer and Ballot Counter and Grammarian. These are small roles that allow for just a few spoken words. (Even those with a fear of public speaking are able to handle these tasks very well.) As members learn and gain experience and confidence, they gradually take on more challenging roles. Soon we're all delivering speeches far beyond what we thought ourselves capable. The more we undertake these roles, the better we get!