Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.
The organisation was founded by Ralph C Smedley in 1924, with the formation of the first toastmasters club in Santa Ana, California. Over the years the organisation has grown to more that 292,000 members and over 14,350 clubs across 122 countries.
A Toastmasters Club provides those who aspire to improve their public speaking skills, with a safe environment to practice their speaking technique and develop their confidence in front of an audience. Based on the original principles established by Ralph Smedley, the Toastmasters Educational programme has helped countless thousands of people to achieve their goal of speaking in front of an audience.
At Toastmasters we “learn by doing”. A Toastmasters Club has no “teacher” or “students”, or professional staff of any kind. A club is run entirely by its members on a voluntary basis, with a commitment ” The Toastmasters Promise” to support the learning goals of all its members. Each club is managed by a leadership committee who are responsible for ensuring that the club is operated to meet the standard set by Toastmasters International.
The need for volunteers to run the organisation, provides a number opportunities for members to take on leadership roles in their local club, and in the wider organisation. The development of Leadership Skills are a a major pillar of Toastmasters and there are many opportunities for these skills to be recognized thorugh the Leadership Track of the programme.