From a humble beginning in 1924 at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, Toastmasters International has grown to become a world leader in helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. The nonprofit organization now has nearly 250,000 members in more than 12,500 clubs in 106 countries, offering a proven – and enjoyable! – way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills.
At the heart of Toastmasters are the regular meetings at club level. Most Toastmasters meetings are comprised of approximately 20 people who meet weekly for an hour or two. Participants practice and learn skills by filling a meeting role, ranging from giving a prepared speech or an impromptu one to serving as timer, evaluator or grammarian.
There is no instructor; instead, each speech and meeting is critiqued by a member in a positive manner, focusing on what was done right and what could be improved.
Guests are always welcome by all Toastmaster clubs. Just drop in and look forward to an interesting evening. Maybe you will even give your first one-minute impromput speech – if you wish to do so.
After attending two or three club meetings as a guest you surely are in a position to decide, whether you want to become a member of the Danube Sparrows – or whether an alternative way to practice your rhetorical skills is a better fit for you. Membership fee with the Danube Sparrows is 55 € per six months, plus a one time new member fee of 20 €. During these six months you will have the opportunity to meet once a month (this makes about five meetings as we have a summer and Christmas break). You are able to give prepared speeches, receive feedback from experienced members and serve as timer, ah-counter, evaluator, or moderator. You will learn a lot about public speaking and organizing events in all of these roles.
As a new member you will receive two manuals. The manual Competent Communication encompasses ten projects in which you will learn how to structure a speech, how to use your voice, your body and much more. Your first speech is called The Icebreaker. In this speech, you introduce yourself to the other members of the club and break the ice which still may exist between them and you – but surely much of this ice has melted away during your first evening as a guest. Here you can download The Icebreaker.
The second manual Competent Leadership also encompasses ten projects. You will fill your first small leadership positions as timer, ah-counter, table topics moderator, evaluator, or toastmaster of the evening.