Frequently Asked Questions
What is (Vienna) Toastmasters all about?
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Since 1924, it has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders. To find out more about the organization’s mission, history, etc., visit the Toastmasters International Website.
The original meaning of the word comes from someone who announces a “toast” by standing up and holding a glass, for example at a wedding banquet. Often, the “Toastmasters” also introduces other speakers.
First of all, Toastmasters Clubs generally hold meetings in one language (there are also some bi-lingual clubs)*. Ours is an English-speaking club, which naturally attracts many international members.
We are also the oldest Toastmasters Club in Austria and one of the most established ones in Continental Europe. This means that there is a diverse mix of experience, age, nationalities, culture, etc., that come together to form an unique Toastmasters experience at our club. Some of our club members have been with Toastmasters (in our club and/or other clubs) for several decades! At the same time, we welcome new club members on a regular basis, so you will also be in good company if you are not yet an experience public speaker!
Finally, there are many aspects that give a Toastmasters club its unique identity – existing club members, the officer team, the meeting structure, the location… Some clubs meet in-person only, others also offer hybrid and/or online formats (which provide opportunities to practice in front of a camera, etc. but also may not be everyone’s cup of tea). Large clubs have a different dynamic than small clubs, and every club faces different challenges. It’s best to check out different viable options (see below) before taking a decision which club to join!
As of September 2021, more than 15,800 Toastmasters Clubs are active worldwide, so newly founded clubs are assigned 5-digit club numbers. Our Club, Vienna Toastmasters, was one of the first European Toastmasters Club, founded at a time when less than 10 Clubs existed in Continental Europe. We are proud of our club history and heritage, which is reflected in our 3-digit club number.
How can I find out if Toastmasters is for me?
To benefit from the Toastmasters experience, you don’t need to aspire to become a professional keynote speaker or someone who has to present in front of a large audience regularly. While some of our club members are professional speakers or coaches, the majority has backgrounds that do not primarily relate to public speaking. If you’ve ever tried to excel in a job interview, convince your boss of an idea or think faster on your feet, then the skills you learn at Toastmasters can definitely benefit you. In addition, being part of the Toastmasters organization offers many opportunities to hone your leadership skills in a safe environment.
The Toastmasters Educational Program is called Pathways. It is a highly structured program with 11 “Paths” to choose from, focusing on topics such as Presentation Mastery, Dynamic Leadership or Effective Coaching. Once you become a member of a Toastmasters Club, you will be granted access to the Pathways e-learning platform to choose a path and progress through the program. Delivering speeches at club meetings according to your pathways assignments will be an important part of completing your Pathways projects.
To find more about the Pathways program, click here.
How do I become a member of Toastmasters / your club?
Just come to one of our meetings and talk to us about the next opportunity to become a club member! You will also find detailed information on the process here.
Currently, you pay a one-time fee of 50 EUR when you join Toastmasters through our club (this fee is waived if you are transferring from a different Toastmasters Club). Annual membership fees are 216 EUR or 18 EUR per month and calculated on a pro rata basis until the end of September of each year.
Yes, definitely! We have numerous club members who are active in more than one TM club. When you join our club, the initiation fee is waived. However, please be aware that you will need to pay full annual membership fees to all TM Clubs that you are a member of.
Of course! Attendance of club meetings is entirely voluntary. However, to reap the benefits of the Toastmasters program and stay connected to the club, we recommend attending at least one meeting per month.
How do your Club Meetings work?
Vienna Toastmasters is an English-speaking club. Many members use it as an opportunity to improve their English and English-language presentation skills. There are also German-speaking and bi-lingual TM Clubs in Vienna. You can find a list here (courtesy of Toastmasters International).
Each Toastmasters meeting is generally opened and closed by the Club President.
The body of the meeting is divided into three major parts:
- Impromptu speeches (known as “Table Topics” at Toastmasters)
- Prepared Speeches and
- Evaluations Speeches
Members also take on different roles such as Toastmaster of the Evening (similar to a Master of Ceremony), General Evaluator, Table Topics Master, Joke Master and others that contribute to the overall Learning experience of meeting attendees (Ah Counter, Grammarian, etc.). You can find out more about Toastmasters Meeting Roles here.
Throughout the meeting, members and guests in attendance give written feedback and encouragement to the speakers and evaluators (optional) and vote on the best speaker or evaluator. Winners are announced at the end of the meeting and rewarded with a ribbon and lots of applause!
Feel free to also take a look at this video to get a better sense about Toastmasters Club Meetings.
Generally, we meet on the 1st, 3rd and 4th Tuesday of each month. No meetings are planned on 4th Tuesdays in July, August and December, the 1st Tuesday in January and Austrian public holidays.
For upcoming meetings, check out our Public Calendar.
One of the nice things about Toastmasters in that you progress through the educational program at your own speed. Members generally start out by taking meeting roles such as Timer, Ah Counter or Ballot Counter. You can find out more about Toastmasters Meeting Roles here.
However, based on experience, it is best not to wait for too long before giving your first speech (your “ice breaker”) in front of the club. Also, we do recommend committing to attend a club meeting at least once a month – to keep the momentum going 🙂