All Things Toastmasters

All Things Toastmasters (50)

All Things Toastmasters is a collection of questions & answers about Toastmasters answered by Rae Stonehouse DTM and other Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmaster members. 

 I want to improve my public speaking skill, and I've given a lot of thoughts to join Toastmasters Club in New Delhi, India. But my speaking English, which isn't good, always creates a doubt in my mind.

Should I first improve my English, and then join Toastmasters?


Monday, 10 October 2016 21:10

How long does a person stay with Toastmasters

Written by

 This question is a flipside to the question of What are the reasons to quit Toastmasters. You can read my response to that question at

There isn’t a one-size fits all answer to this question. If a member is getting everything out of the program that they can get out of the program, they will likely stay a member. I’m going on 23 years. Toastmasters is a part of my daily life. Rarely a day goes by where I’m not either working on something Toastmaster related or something that has been created due to my involvement with Toastmasters.


While it may seem that you are causing an imposition for your fellow club members, you are actually doing them a favour by not delivering your speech. It might even better to stay home until your cough clears.

Monday, 10 October 2016 21:00

What are the reasons to quit Toastmasters?

Written by


4 ClubMeetingsv3As a 22-year + member of Toastmasters, I have continually found more reasons to stay in Toastmasters than I have to quit.

I’m fond of a quote from a Past International President of Toastmasters and I paraphrase her “If you get everything out of Toastmasters that you can get out of Toastmasters, you will never get out of Toastmasters.”

During those 22 years of Toastmastering I have seen numerous reasons that people quit. I would say almost all of the reasons, if not all, are the same ones shared by other organizations and are not specific to Toastmasters.

Here are some reasons that people leave Toastmasters, based on my personal experience. They are not in order of priority or incidence.

I would suggest rephrasing the question to “How can my Toastmasters portfolio improve my university application?”

When it comes to applying for a job or an educational pursuit I believe that nowadays it is more important to illustrate what you can do, rather than what you have done.

My understanding is that many institutes of higher learning are looking for candidates that give back to their community as a way of life, rather than a way to manipulate a system for personal gain. I have seen this with colleagues who have applied for entrance to medical and pharmaceutical university. There are a lot of qualified, brilliant applicants out there. You need to position yourself so you stand out from the rest.

Thursday, 06 October 2016 21:29

Is Toastmasters Good for Painfully Shy People?

Written by

As answered at ...

Shy?Like any thought-provoking question, there likely isn’t a definitive answer. This one, as others, would likely fit into the “it depends” category.

Let me preface my comments with sharing that I am a 22 years and counting member of Toastmasters, Past District 21 Governor and a Distinguished Toastmaster. I wouldn’t say that I was painfully shy when I joined Toastmasters but my shyness did limit me significantly.

While I can’t recommend a Toastmasters club enough for its ability to help increase your self-confidence, your poise, your communication & leadership skills and in time a reduction of one’s shyness, it isn’t an automatic effect of joining a club. You don’t learn public speaking by osmosis. You actually have to speak and incrementally improve your skill and self-confidence.

The same applies to reduction of one’s shyness. If you join a Toastmasters club with the expectation that they will solve your shyness problem, then you will be disappointed. On the other hand, if you join with the express purpose of reducing your shyness and a self-directed plan to do so, you will likely be successful.

Our Toastmasters club officers take on their leadership role in one year increments. They are learning on the job as they practice servant leadership. I would expect that few of them have any practical experience in helping a shy person move forward. I have encountered far too many people, which tend to be extroverts, say “Just do as I do! That’s the right way!” When helping someone overcome shyness, it isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ scenario.

Saturday, 10 September 2016 21:21

What makes Toastmasters successful?

Written by


As originally answered on

Visit a Toastmaster meeting today!To be able to answer this question with any degree of quality, I think it is necessary to challenge the original assertion … is Toastmasters successful?

I think you have to qualify the term successful. Of the hundreds of thousands of members that have passed through the organization, have everyone of them been successful at achieving their goals? No.

Is Toastmasters the best in the world at teaching communication & leadership skills? Possibly, but probably not. It is however, the undisputed leader of providing inexpensive, effective communication & leadership skills training.

As a 22-year member, so far, I definitely believe that Toastmasters is successful from my perspective. I have leadership experience from the club executive level through to Area, Division, District and Regional.

So what actually makes Toastmasters successful? At the simplest level, I would say that the members do. We are a world-wide organization composed of clubs that embrace culture, ethnicity, diversity, adults over the age of 18 years, etc.

Fillers like: um, uh, y’know, like, so, etc. If not, what’s some advice for accomplishing this?


Toastmasters International Sample MeetingThe short answer is ‘yes’, it can help do that. However, it doesn’t follow that just by joining Toastmasters you will become proficient at not using fillers. Like any other skill, you have to practice, you have to receive constructive feedback and you have to act upon the feedback.

In my club, Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters, I assign all new members the role of Ah Counter as their first official meeting role. I believe that to extinguish fillers in your oral presentation, you first have to be aware of them. After a new member has taken on the role a few times, they start to become aware of them in their own speaking.

To facilitate the ah counting we provide the Ah Counter of the evening a form to keep track of what they hear and make it easy to deliver a report. The following info is mentioned on the form:

<<Helping members off their crutches. The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any word or sound used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and, well, but, so and you know. Sounds may be ah, um or er. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I” or “This means, this means.” These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners. The Ah-Counter role is an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills. It is unnecessary to report someone with no ums, ers, etc.>>

Page 4 of 4

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.