1. What is Toastmasters?
2. What can I expect at a Big “D” meeting?
3. How long does a meeting last?
4. Will I have to speak if I visit a meeting?
5. Where do you meet?
6. How much does it cost?
7. How large is your club?
8. How do I get started?
9. Will I have to speak at the meeting?
10. Can I bring a friend?
11. Do I need to RSVP before attending?
12. What is the cost to attend a meeting?
13. Can I order food and drinks during the meeting?
14. Is there a dress code?
15. Do you host events other than your meetings, such as social events?
16. I’m terrified of public speaking. Does this really help?
17. How can I find out more?

1. What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization has more than 250,000 members in more than 12,500 clubs in 106 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

Learn more about Toastmasters International here.

2. What can I expect at a Big “D” meeting?
Toastmasters meetings follow a generally similar structure, and Big “D” is fairly typical. We open our meeting each Thursday night at 6:30pm with an inspirational message and pledge of allegiance, followed immediately by a 15-20 minute business session. The purpose of the business session is intended to provide exposure to another form of public speaking, and it also gives us a chance to learn about correct parliamentary procedure for a meeting according to Roberts Rules of Order. It may sound a little dry, but rest assured that most of the time it’s interesting, entertaining and alot of fun.

Once the business session has been concluded, we move into the educational staples of Toastmasters: Table Topics, Planned Speeches and Speech Evaluations. Once the evaluations are concluded, we wrap up with various reports about the meet and end with awards for best table topics talk, best speech, best evaluation and overall Toastmaster of the Evening.

As a guest, you will be offered the opportunity to share your observations about the meeting at the end of the meeting, which can be as simple as “no thanks” to what most visitors say: “had a great time”, “more interesting than I expected” or “I had no idea it would be this much fun”.

3. How long does a meeting last?
Meetings are planned to be 2 hours long, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm

4. Will I have to speak if I visit a meeting?
No. You will be introduced at the start of the meeting strictly because we want you to know that you are welcomed. At the end of the meeting you will be given the opportunity to share your thoughts about the meeting if you choose to, but it’s purely optional.

5. Where do you meet?
Our standard meeting locatoin is at 8250 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas, United States 75206-1888. You can check out the map here. The meeting location varies occasionally, especially around holidays, when we hold special events. We recommend checking our home page a day or two in advance for any meeting location changes, or using our Contact Page if you are visiting us for the first time.

6. How much does it cost?
Dues at Big “D” are currently $75 per 6 month term. Of that, $27 is sent to Toastmasters International, and the remainder is used by the club throughout the year for periodic functions and extraneous expenses such as the annual xmas party, Officer installation party, etc.

7. How large is your club?
Our roster generally runs between 30 – 40 active members, and most meetings are attended by 25 – 30 people.

8. How do I get started?
The best way to get started is to come to a meeting, observe what Toastmasters is all about, and have fun.

9. Will I have to speak at the meeting?
No. Visitors are introduced at the beginning of the meeting, in which case you can simple stand. At the end of the meeting, you will be given the opportunity to share your thoughts if you like, but you are under no obligation to. You only have to come and observe how the Toastmasters program works, and enjoy our meeting.

10. Can I bring a friend?
Definitely! Visitors are always welcome to attend any of our meetings, to observe and to have fun!

11. Do I need to RSVP before attending?
Visitors are always welcome to attend any of our meetings, and no prior notice is required. If you let us know you’re coming, though, we’ll watch for you and ensure that you’re able to find us and are greeted, but you are welcome to come to any meeting that is convenient for you.

12. What is the cost to attend a meeting?
The cost for visitors is free. Members are asked to contribute a fee of $3.00 to help cover the cost of the meeting room. If you choose to order supper, the $3.00 is waived and you simply pay for your meal.

13. Can I order food and drinks during the meeting?
Food and drinks are available during the meeting. We ask that you try to arrive 10-15 minutes before the meeting if you plan to order food, so that our meetings can flow as smoothly as possible.

14. Is there a dress code?
No, there is no dress code. Many of our members will be in “business casual” attire since they come to the meeting directly from work, while others will be more casual (jeans, for instance).

15. Do you host events other than your meetings, such as social events?
Absolutely! One of the advantages of Big “D” is that we are a large enough club that we can and do host various events throughout the year. You can view our calendar to get an idea when our events occur, where they are held, etc.

16. I’m terrified of public speaking. Does this really help?
Absolutely. Not only will it help, it’s almost impossible to go through the steps in the program and not be more competent, more confident, and less afraid. The Toastmasters’ graduated exposure plan to public speaking is very successful, and it’s done in a very supportive environment. “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain”.

17. How can I find out more?
You can find out more by attending a meeting, or by contacting us via our Contact Page.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eric Lewis August 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I want to visit. It looks like fun!

Eric