Here are some answers to typical questions. If you have more, please feel free to contact us.
When and where do you meet?
We meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:15pm for 7.30pm. The meeting closes at 9.30pm. Venue: Terrace Room, York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA.
Click here for: Location map and transport links
Do you wear red coats, white bow ties, etc., and say, ‘My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen…’?
No, those are the Professional Toastmasters, who preside over dinner dances, weddings, product launches, award ceremonies and so forth. We don’t have any connection with them … although one of our advanced members is one!
If I come to a meeting, will I have to stand up and say something? Or can I just watch and listen?
There’s no obligation for guests to speak. We like to give our visitors an opportunity to say a few words and you don’t wish to that is fine. There will be a lot to see and a number of speakers to hear, most of whom joined Riverside because they were frightened of public speaking.
If I join, will I have to attend every meeting?
No, in a word. Come to the ones you can. You’ll find that regular attendance will help you to keep focused on achieving whatever goal or goals got you to join Riverside.
What is Toastmasters International?
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organisation. It helps members improve their communication and leadership skills, and in doing so builds their self-confidence. It is the largest and most successful organisation of its type in the world.
Toastmasters has a network of clubs which are run by their members – including volunteer committees. Read more at www.toastmasters.org
How long has Toastmasters International been around?
Toastmasters International was founded in 1924 and now has over 13,000 clubs in 116 countries around the world. As a member of Toastmaster you will be welcome to visit other clubs.
Why do people join Riverside Communicators?
People join in order to improve their skill in public speaking, presentation skills and to build their confidence.
What specifically will I achieve as a member?
By regular practice, you will learn how to make effective prepared speeches. You will also be able to make short off the cuff speeches and contributions to discussions. Most importantly you will also hone your listening skills. Whether you are a novice wanting to make speech at an up-coming family event or an experienced speaker wanting to gain more flexibility in your delivery, you will find what you need in order to achieve your goals. You will also have opportunities to develop your leadership skills.
How do you learn these skills?
When you join you receive training materials covering all aspects of speaking and evaluation (giving feedback). This kit includes a Communication and a Leadership Manual which reflects the years of experience Toastmasters has in helping people just like you. The Communication Manual takes you step by step through the art of making and evaluating speeches. The Leadership Manual encourages you to use the roles you undertake in meetings to develop various different leadership skills.
In particular you learn by doing. And your efforts are evaluated by your fellow Club members who give constructive feedback. You will be gradually introduced to the various roles within a Toastmasters meeting. Gaining proficiency in these helps build up your skills, confidence and flexibility.
There seems to be a lot to get through. Will I be able to do it all?
If you want to you will! And you won’t have to do it alone. Riverside is a friendly club, so there’ll always be people to help you. We also have a one-to-one mentoring programme — mentors can give you enthusiastic support, good feedback, help you time and rehearse your speeches, and offer you tailor-made guidance through the communication and leadership tracks. Having mentors is not obligatory, but they’re available if you want them.
How soon will I complete the Toastmasters programme?
Members progress at their own pace. Some move faster than others but everyone who joins Riverside Communicators and participates in the programme can be sure they’ll become a competent speaker. Your skills develop steadily. As your confidence grows, the situations that once terrified you are taken in your stride.
Is it expensive?
In comparison to various courses, seminars, programmes, cassette and video kits offered through the media, Toastmasters is the best value by far. In our opinion it is the most effective way to learn public speaking and build your confidence.
Membership is just £108 a year and an initial registration fee of £20. Better still, some employers fund these fees from their training budget.
Anyone over 18 may join. To see if it’s for you, just come along to a club meeting as our guest. Visitors can attend for free and will always get a friendly welcome.