What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International (TI) is a nonprofit educational organization. It helps its members learn communication and leadership skills through clubs like ours all over the world. The organization itself was founded in 1932, however, the first 'unofficial' Toastmasters meeting dates back to March 24, 1905. This was organized by the founder of Toastmasters, Ralph Smedley.
Currently, Toastmasters serves over 360,000 members in 145 countries through 16,000+ clubs. Town & Gown Toastmasters is one of those clubs located in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
The word "Toastmaster" was chosen by Ralph Smedley and refers to one who delivers a toast at an occasion such as a banquet.
The Pathways Program
This is the online interative method of learning communication and leadership skills that you would use as a member of a club. The program is available online and consists of 11 paths available to you. The program was built around 5 core competencies and each path covers a select few competencies.
The five core competencies are:
As a member, you can select a free path when you join Toastmasters. This path can be of your choice or you can take an assessment that recommends one for you. Subsequent paths are $20 USD each.
What does all this mean?
Each path comprises of 5 levels. Each level comprises of a few projects. And each project refers to a prepared speech. You start from Level 1 - Project 1 which is a simple icebreaker speech. As you progress, you move on to the next project and onto the next level and so on. Remember, all this is self-paced. You decide when you wish to start working on your next project!
Toastmasters Organization Structure
Toastmasters is organized into the following structure with you as a member, your club, your area and so on. It is quite easy to follow as levels form a pyramid structure.
Several clubs form an area.
Several areas form a division.
Several divisions form a district, and so on.