Why Toastmasters?

Nobody is a born speaker. But with proper training & practice one becomes good speaker. The Toastmasters platform provides an exclusive, extensive and elaborate exposure to improve public speaking and leadership skills.

You may be a working professional, student, entrepreneur, teacher, business leader or someone else. In order to succeed and be remarkable in any profession, one requires both communication skills and leadership skills. These skills can be developed and improved over a period of time, with practice.

Toastmasters, can, therefore help you in Becoming
• Better Speaker
• Better Leader
• Better Communicator
and Better Person above all


There is always a first time when the disaster you always dreaded to never happen, happens. There will be a time when the audience begins to like you and you get a rush of confidence. Speech by speech, step by step, you move forward towards the imaginary speaker you saw in the mirror but never thought would be possible in reality !!
• Toastmasters helps you find your voice!
• Toastmasters kick starts your journey towards becoming the polished speaker you always wanted to be.
• Toastmaster is a safe place where there is no penalty for failure!
Once you start speaking and speak in a group of active listeners, you will start communicating, clearly and effectively.


Secretly in our hearts, we all want to lead. What we fear is:
• Nobody would listen
• We will make mistakes
• We would not be able to communicate exactly what we actually want to say

History of Toastmasters

Toastmasters began as a series of speaking clubs organized by Ralph C. Smedley during his time working for the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in Bloomington, Illinois, United States. As director of education at the YMCA, Smedley saw a need for the men in the community to learn how to speak, conduct meetings, plan programs and work on committees, and he wanted to help them.

Smedley decided to organize a club where they could learn these skills in a social environment, and the men responded well to the concept. He named the group the Toastmasters Club; “toastmaster” was a popular term that referred to a person who gave toasts at banquets and other occasions.

The first unofficial Toastmasters meeting was held on March 24, 1905. Much like Toastmasters meetings today, the participants took turns leading and speaking at each meeting. Smedley and the older, more experienced men evaluated short speeches, while the younger men were invited to join in the evaluations. However, as Smedley was offered positions at other YMCAs in Illinois and later, in San Jose, California, the fledgling clubs lacked leadership and did not flourish.

The Forming of Toastmasters International

Smedley began working at the newly organized YMCA in Santa Ana, California, in 1922, and for the first two years, his time was spent building a home for the organization. However, his passion to help others learn to speak and lead remained. Once the new YMCA building was christened in April of 1924, he was able to introduce the idea of Toastmasters to his colleagues, and organize the Toastmasters club that eventually became Club No. 1 of Toastmasters International. The first meeting was held at the YMCA building on October 22, 1924. Word spread about Smedley’s Toastmasters clubs and soon people in surrounding communities and other states were asking how they could start their own club.

To save time replying to the many letters and inquiries he was receiving, Smedley wrote the “Manual of Instructions” and “Ten Lessons in Public Speaking,” which he had printed and bound in paper covers. On October 25, 1928, he secured copyrights on the publications and trademarked the name “Toastmasters Club.”

By 1930, nearly 30 Toastmasters clubs had formed including a club in British Columbia, Canada. To reflect expansion outside of the United States, the newly formed association was re-named Toastmasters International. Two years later, in 1932, Toastmasters International was incorporated as a California non-profit organization and Smedley took on the positions of Secretary and Editor of the new association.

He resigned as YMCA Secretary in 1941 to devote more time to Toastmasters. Through the war years, he operated the organization out of a small office. When the war ended, a new Secretary, Ted Blanding, replaced Smedley and remained active as Educational Director for the rest of his life, as well as a permanent member of the Board of Directors.

The Growth of Toastmasters International

A series of rented office spaces in Southern California served as Toastmasters International’s headquarters until 1962, when the staff moved into the first World Headquarters building in Santa Ana, not far from the YMCA where the first Toastmasters club met.

Ralph C. Smedley died in 1965. In 1970, Toastmasters International admitted its first female member, Helen Blanchard, under the name Homer Blanchard. In 1973, Toastmasters began officially admitting women, and in 1985, Helen became Toastmasters’ first female international president.

Terrence McCann, an Olympic wrestler, was chosen in 1975 to serve as the Executive Director of Toastmasters International, a position he held until 2001. He was replaced by Donna Groh (2001–2008) and then Daniel Rex (2008 to present).

Source of information and for further details- Click Here

How does the Toastmasters journey pan out?

At Toastmasters, we follow a structured learning process:
There are two tracks in Toastmasters-
1.Communication Track
2.Leadership Track

Once an individual become a member, he/she receives a kit from TI which consists of two manuals:
Competent Communicator (CC)
Competent Leadership (CL)

Both these manuals helps the members to sharpen their skills in the step by step manner. For example: CC track takes a member through Ice Breaker, Organization of Speech, Body Language, Vocal Variety, Researching the Topic etc. Similarly, CL track takes through various leadership opportunities as Timer, General Evaluator, Master of Ceremonies (known as the Toastmaster for the Day) etc.

Your journey will be supported by a Mentor from among the membership base. The Mentor will guide you and support you throughout the journey. As one move forwards as a TM, completing various such manuals in both the tracks, as per the following chart, one would finally join the elite club of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).

Image source: honeybpatel.blogspot.in

On successful completion of all requisite projects as per the Manual, the Member is awarded the corresponding Level certificate by Toastmasters International. For example, on completion of the Projects, under Competent Leader manual, one will be awarded the ‘Competent Leader’ certificate. This certificate is valid and recognised around the world.

What happens at a typical Toastmasters meeting?

Every Toastmasters meeting consists of three sections:

1.Prepared Speech: Where a member delivers a speech s/he has practiced beforehand. Furthermore, this will be as per the project flow of the Communications Track of the member. Only members are allowed to participate in this section.

2.Table Topics: This is an opportinuty where members and guests are invited to speak impromptu on a topic provided by the Table Topics Master.

3.Evaluation: Where a member will evaluate the speech of the participants and provide constructive feedback to each of the presenters.

Members can complete their Leadership Track by taking up various roles within and outside the Club will help one hone leadership skills.To understand how this actually works, please do join us for our upcoming meeting!

Why should you join CTM?

Chennai Toastmasters has been chartered over a decade ago. Over time, CTM has impacted the lives of countless individuals from various walks of life. CTM has also facilitated growth of numerous people to become DTM. CTM remains committed to its mission to create leaders and communicators for the world.

How do you become a member?

Please visit Become a Member section for more details.