Toastmasters International


Dear writer, write a research paper. The paper must be over an agency or association that aids businesses and/or industry. For example, you could write over Toastmasters International. For each organization, you will answer questions such as these: What is the purpose and main goals of this organization? What is the history of this organization? How is the organization organized? What benefits does the organization provide to its members? Where is the nearest local chapter of this organization to you (I stay in Oklahoma)? What does membership require? The paper should not include graphs, charts, tables or pictures.


Name of Student:

Institutional Affiliation:


Introduction. 2

The Purpose of Toastmasters International 2

History of the Organization. 3

How Toastmasters International Is Organized. 5

Benefits of Toastmasters International to its Members. 6

The Nearest Local Chapter of Toastmasters International 7

Membership Requirements. 7

References. 9


The Purpose of Toastmasters International

            Toastmasters International is an organization whose mission is to empower individuals by transforming into effective leaders and communicators. To achieve this objective, the organization establishes new clubs, which act as the platform on which to facilitate processes through which individuals can achieve excellence (Petrausch, 2002). The mission of these clubs is always to offer a supportive learning experience characterized by efforts to empower members to become better leaders and communicators. Such individuals are then guided on the path of personal growth and self-confidence.


            Since its establishment in 1924, Toastmasters International has continued to operate a non-governmental educational organization that guides individuals through the process of acquiring leadership and public speaking skills (Slutsky&Aun, 1997). The organization achieves this objective through meeting locations that are part of a worldwide network of clubs. The organization has made tremendous progress in its work of recruiting members, managing clubs, and providing leadership and communication skills. Today, the organization has over 313,000 members who form a network of 14,650 clubs spread over 126 countries. Some of the famous people who have been members of the organization include Carl Albert a former American politician, Carl Dixon, a rock musician, Napoleon Hill, a writer and presidential adviser, Pat Roberts, a US senator, and John Young, a former American astronaut.

            Toastmasters International envisions a future where its members will become people of integrity, excellence, service, and respect. The organization also aspires to be the premier provider of a high-value platform through which experiential leadership and communication skills can be instilled into all members with a view to transform them into effective leaders. To achieve this objective, Toastmasters International operates on the basis of an educational program, which provides guidelines for the activities of all Toastmasters clubs. Members are taught through a curriculum that takes them through a step-by-step learning process. The curriculum offers outstanding members recognition by offering them opportunities to demonstrate their newly acquired skills.

            Members are required to follow manuals carefully and to complete projects as required under the curriculum. The educational program provides an evaluation guide for each project. This gives members of the club an avenue through which they can provide immediate feedback even as they move on with the task of completing the project. Every individual who becomes a club member can immediately enroll for the educational program. Some of the areas of study that members should expect to be subjected to include competent leadership, competent communication, effective evaluation, and how to communicate through gestures.

History of the Organization

            Toastmasters International was established in 1924 in Santa Ana, California (Smedley, 1959). It is here that the first meeting of the organization that eventually came to be known as Toastmaster International was held by Ralph Smedley. After graduating from college, Smedley started working with the YMCA as a director of education. One of his main observations was the need for most young patrons to be trained in the art of presiding over meetings and public speaking. He embarked on a journey to help these people through a training program that resembled a social club. Smedley decided to use the term “The Toastmasters Club” in reference to the group of patrons he was offering training on how to speak in public(Smedley, 1959). He used the term “toastmaster” because at that time it was being used to refer to people who introduced speakers at banquets while at the same time proposing toasts(Smedley, 1959). The rationale for using this term was to suggest that the social atmosphere in the groups was pleasant enough to appeal to young men.

            With time, the club blossomed against the backdrop of intense practice sessions where members were trained in an informal, friendly, and supportive environment. Over time, Smedley’s experiment at YMCA became popular within California and in the neighboring states. People in other states soon began seeking permission to hold similar Toastmaster meetings. By 1930, the emerging clubs had grew to become a federation that endeavored to coordinate all activities and to offer a standard training program. Later on, a club in British Columbia, Canada, asked for permission to join the organization. This marked the transition of The Toastmasters Club to Toastmasters International.

            Until 1962, Toastmasters International coordinated its activities through its headquarters, which were housed in a rented office in Southern California. During the same year, the organization established its World Headquarters building and moved its staff there. The new building was located in Santa Ana, not far from where Smedley held the first meeting of the Toastmasters club. This relocation was followed by three decades of tremendous growth. New Toastmasters emerged and a larger workforce was hired to service them. The World Headquarters were finally relocated again in 1990, this time to a new place within California called Rancho Santa Margarita.


            As Toastmasters International continued to grow, its educational programs continued to evolve. Initially, the organization relied on the 15-project manual that Smedley developed for his club. Today, many other materials have been integrated into the programs to enable members to develop new skills, particularly those relating to delegating, mentoring, listening, and decision-making. Today, Toastmasters International continues to thrive. For example, the organization operates in 126 countries and has over 313,000 members today.

How Toastmasters International Is Organized

            All the activities of Toastmasters International are coordinated through the World headquarters. Here, a Board of Directors takes the overall responsibility for organizational decision-making. The members of the Board include the International President, First and Second Vice Presidents, International Directors, and International Officers. The Board of Directors is also responsible for overseeing the operations of all regions. The organization has set up the office of regional adviser for every region. The regional adviser takes overall responsibility for all activities being undertaken by Toastmasters clubs within his region.

            Regions are in turn subdivided into districts. The two main subcategories within the districts are District Executive Committee and District Council. The District Executive Committee is made up of district governor, lieutenant governor in the chart of marketing, lieutenant governor in the chart of education and training, secretary, public relations officer, area governors, division governors, and immediate former district governor. The District Council comprises of vice presidents and club presidents in charge of education, and the District Executive Committee. At the Division level, the Division Council reigns supreme. The members of the Division include the Division governor, assistant division governors, and area governors operating within that division.

At the area level, which is one step lower in the hierarchical structure, the Area Council takes charge over the running of the affairs of the organization. Some of the members of the Area Council include area governor, club presidents, and secretary. Clubs represent the lowest level of the association at Toastmasters International. The supreme organ at the club level is the Club Executive Committee. The members of this committee include immediate past president, secretary, Sargent-at-arms, vice presidents in charge of membership, education, and public relations, treasurer, and the current president of the club. Finally, individual members constitute the lowest hierarchical rank within the organization. 

Benefits of Toastmasters International to its Members

            Toastmasters International provides numerous benefits to its members. To begin with, it gives them a platform through which they can acquire public speaking skills. Once members join various clubs, they are always confident that the universal practices and rules of procedure, which Toastmasters International has developed for decades, will be used to induct them into the world of leadership, communication, and public speaking.

            Moreover, members are encouraged to learn from the mistakes of their colleagues. This is an important benefit because no one in this world can live long enough to make all mistakes and to learn from them. Additionally, some of the clubs within the organization produces newsletters. These newsletters provide valuable information that members can rely on to improve their leadership skills. They can also be used to supplement available educational program materials such as project manuals, and curriculum guidelines. Since 1933, the organization has been producing a quarterly publication, The Toastmaster Magazine. This publication is beneficial to members because it informs them about what clubs in other parts of the world are doing to improve the members’ leadership and public speaking skills.


            At Toastmasters International, members also benefit from both basic and advanced speech training (Frey, 2004). Similarly, the organization offers both basic and advanced leadership training. This means that it caters for all members regardless of the level of their competence levels in the realms of leadership and public speaking. Similarly, the organization uses various awards to promote excellence among members, both in their individual capacities and as club members, for example, the Distinguished Toastmaster AwardFrey, 2004). Additionally, regional conferences bring together members from different parts of the world in one forum. Other benefits for members include the availability of an email-based assistance portal, the introduction of competent leadership manuals, and accessibility to the organization’s e-learning platform, known as Toastmasters Learning Connection.

The Nearest Local Chapter of Toastmasters International

            The nearest local chapter of Toastmasters International is Tulsa Toastmasters. This is Toastmasters club number 148, and it was the first one to be opened in Oklahoma. The meeting venue for this club is Martin Regional Library. All members meet at this venue at 12 p.m. every first and third Wednesday of the month.

Membership Requirements

The first step in the process of becoming a member of Tulsa Toastmasters is to visit the club. By visiting the club, prospective members learn many things about how the club operates, its objectives, procedural rules, and administrative structures. The second step is to ask for information on membership from the membership president. The membership president should be able to supply the prospective member with the various membership application forms that he should fill out. The third step is to hand over the application form as well as applicable dues to the club’s vice president in charge of membership.

            For all Toastmasters International clubs, a membership fee of $20 is applicable. Additionally, every six months, members are required to pay an international membership fee of $36. In this regard, some variations may occur, thus it is important to consult the local membership president regarding the actual amount of international dues. Once clarification on all the requisite fees has been made, existing members must vote to either accept or reject the new member. Once the prospective member’s application to join the club has been accepted, he should send his fees and application to the World Headquarters of Toastmasters International. Within two weeks, the new member receives a New Member Kit from the organization’s headquarters via mail.

            In conclusion, Toastmasters International is a unique organization in terms of how it was established, how it operates, and the objectives it seeks to achieve. The idea of training people on how to speak in public and to lead others is indeed a noble one. Through determination and hard work, the organization has achieved tremendous success both locally and internationally. It is a good thing for people who are lack confidence whenever they rise up to speak up in public to join a local chapter of Toastmasters International. The organization provides an excellent model for the establishment of non-profit organizations that specialize in addressing specific challenges affecting the community.

It was very wise of Smedley to narrow down his focus on public speaking and leadership training. This way, Smedley overcame many challenges in terms of defining the scope of the organization’s mission. Unlike many non-profit organizations of today that lack clear focus in terms of areas of specialization, Toastmasters International has its work clearly out even as it seeks to extend the reach of its clubs to more locations within the United States and around the world.


Frey, S. (2004). Toastmasters: Because Public Speaking Skills Aren’t Debatable. London: Routledge.

Petrausch, R. (2002). Transformative learning in toastmasters international. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Slutsky, J. &Aun, M. (1997). The Toastmasters International Guide to Successful Speaking: Overcoming Your Fears, Winning Over Your Audience, Building Your Business & Career. New York, NY: Dearborn Financial Publishers.

Smedley, R. (1959). The Story of Toastmasters: Reminiscences of the Founder. Santa Ana, CA: Toastmasters International.

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