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FAQ

Q What is Toastmasters?

A Toastmasters is the world’s largest non-profit organization for public speaking, and leadership skills training.  There are now over 11,000 Toastmaster clubs throughout the world.  Some cities have more than ten separate clubs. Beijing has more than 10 clubs.

Q What can Toastmasters do for me?

A Toastmasters can and WILL prepare you to give effective presentations to large groups of people.
Toastmasters can and WILL give you the opportunity to practice and improve your leadership skills.

Q Why should I care?

A Making yourself “promotable,” skilled, and effective is the single best way to advance your career.  If your boss and your bosses boss, and his boss know that you’ve taken the initiative to improve your presentation and leadership skills, don’t you think you will be considered promotable?  You better believe it!

Q How can Toastmasters be so effective at improving my public speaking skills?

A Toastmasters has a very well planned out system of progressing people through the program.  (after all, there are more than 11,000 clubs all working on this system!)
Our weekly meetings are little more than practice sessions for members giving presentations.  We exist solely to help people practice. Don’t you think it would be better to make a mistake in front of a room of supportive people who are also working towards the same goal?  Or would you rather make your mistakes in front of your clients, or in front of your boss, or his boss, or his boss?

Q How can Toastmasters help my leadership skills?

A Toastmasters is completely run by volunteers.  These volunteers are responsible for administering the program.  If you get involved in this aspect of the program, you’ll need to motivate other volunteers.  If you can motivate and lead volunteers, you should have no problem doing so with paid staff!

 

Q How much does Toastmasters cost?

A New Member Fee is RMB250. Semi-annual dues are RMB600. We don’t issue fa piaos.

Q How can I get involved?

A Come to the Rich & BLCU at Qinggong Group Compound, No. 42 BaiiaZhuangDongLi.  Come any Thursday evening from 7pm to 9pm, and just watch a meeting.  After those two hours, it will be crystal clear how you can benefit from membership.  

 

Q What if I have further questions?

Contact anyone on our Executive Committee.

Q I have never attended a Toastmasters Club before. What should I expect?

A Welcome! As a guest in a meeting you will be able to see for yourself the different ways that Toastmasters can help a person to improve their communication and leadership skills. When you arrive, you will be met at the door by our club Sergeant-at-Arms (the person responsible for making sure that all of the meeting preparations are complete) and our Greeter. They will give you a name tag and guest information sheet (which you should complete and return to the Sergeant-at-Arms before you leave) and take you into the meeting room. The meeting will start at 7:00 pm sharp when our Club President calls the meeting to order. The President will then turn control of the meeting over to the Toastmaster, who will act as the master of ceremonies for the meeting that evening.

Our meetings typically have three sections. The first section is either an Educational Session (where one of the members will give a presentation on some aspect of communication, leadership or developing the club) or a Table Topics session. Table Topics allows members and guests to participate by giving short one-two minute speeches on a subject that they will not be given until they get up to speak. These Table Topics allow you to practice giving a response with very little time to think -- just like in a job interview. Most of our members find this to be one of the most enjoyable portions of our meetings.

After the initial portion of the meeting, the Greeter will give a short presentation introducing all of the guest (or at least those that are at the meeting for the first time) to all of the members. This gives everyone a chance to know a little about you before we take a break.

Following the break, the main portion of the meeting will begin. This section includes prepared speeches by members in the club and the evaluations of these speeches by other members. Speeches will be on the subject chosen by the individual speaker and will be targeted to focus on the specific skill they are trying to master. The evaluations will focus on the tasks the member is trying to master - not on the content of the speech, unless this is part of the objectives of the specific manual or project the member is completing.

There will also be a number of other reports on the meeting given by other members from the club. Included in these reports are the Grammarian's Report (on ways the speakers in the meeting could improve their English grammar), Word Master's Report (on how often the "Word-of-the-Day" was used by the various meeting participants), the "Ah" Counter's Report (on the number of verbal pause fillers used by different speakers and participants in the meeting), the Timer's Report (on the amount of time used by the different speakers in the Table Topics, Prepared Speeches and Evaluations), and a General Evaluator's Report (an all encompassing report of the things that were done well in the meeting and opportunities for improvements for the different participants in the meeting that evening). If things have gone as they were planned, the meeting should end at or near 9:00 pm .

Q I am just learning how to speak English. Will I be able to participate fully in the meetings?

A The entire program in our club is in English. Our club is NOT an "English Corner" where you can learn to speak English, but is a program designed to give added skills in public speaking, communication and leadership to people that already have a high level of English speaking ability. If you are just learning how to speak English, it is unlikely that the programs used in our club may be of benefit to you. You are welcome to attend as a guest and decide if the program is too advanced for you. In addition, if you are still not certain, please speak to one of our club officers, who will be happy to help you decide.

Q What do I have to do to become a member?

A To become a member in the China Capital Toastmasters is very simple. First, you should complete an application for membership (PDF version of the application form ) and give this to either the Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Education or the Club President. They will talk with you for a bit about the reasons you wish to join. If you have done this before the end of the meeting, you will be given a minute to tell our members why you would like to join the club. After all of the prospective members have given their one minute speech, they will be asked to leave with all other guests so our members can vote on whether they should be allowed to become a member of the club. All prospective members are notified within a few days of the outcome of this vote.

If the members of the club have voted to let you join the club, you will next need to pay the Dues (amount will depend upon the month you join, see the table for Fees) and New Member Fees (unless you are a Dual, Transferring or renewing Member from another club) to the Club Treasurer. Once these fees are paid (click here to review the fees ), you will be registered as a member with Toastmasters International and can begin to participate fully in the different roles and functions within the club.

Q How often will I be able to speak in a meeting?

A The roles (including speech slots) in our meetings are assigned on a rotational basis by the Vice President of Education. We do this so that all of our members have an equal opportunity to participate in the meetings. We do, however, accept volunteers to serve as back-up speakers and back-ups for the other roles in the meeting. If you are interested in being a back-up, you should discuss this with the Vice President of Education either at a meeting or by email.

Q When I become a member will I be given the topics for my speeches?

A The only speech project that a member is given an assigned topic is in the first project - The Ice Breaker Speech. All other speech projects will be on subjects of your choosing. The only guidelines that our club will give is that we would ask that you not speak on subjects or content that would include politics, religion, sex, or race, as these are subjects that are not appropriate for discussion in the club.


Q Are there any additional costs for materials or training in the club?

A With your membership fees you will receive the initial training manuals (Communication and Leadership) as well as some pamphlets to help you understand some basic skills in public speaking and meeting roles. In addition, you will begin to receive each month a copy of Toastmaster magazine, which has articles aimed at helping you to improve your speaking and leadership skills. From time to time there will be additional training given either in the normal meeting or outside of the meeting (usually on Saturdays). There is never an additional charge for training given inside the normal meeting and we try to avoid charging for outside training unless we have to cover the costs of a meeting room. There are additional training materials and books that are available to you as a Toastmasters International member through their online store located at their website. You can look at the materials available there, and if interested in purchasing one or more of the items, you may do so.

Q If Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization, why are the membership fees so expensive?

A When compared to the cost of receiving training on either communication or leadership at a one day seminar, the cost of membership in Toastmasters is really very little. Many outside seminars and trainings on communication skills will be at least 1000 RMB a day -- the same cost as a year's membership in our club. All of the fees collected by the club are used only for the club or to pay fees assigned by Toastmasters International. Approximately 1/3 of the membership dues goes directly to Toastmasters International to cover the costs of registration and your monthly subscription to Toastmasters magazine; the remainder stays with the club to cover the costs of our meeting room and various supplies we need to have on hand to provide a high level of educational material and meeting supplies.

Q Do the Executive Committee members get paid for their work in the club?

A None of the club officers are paid in any way for the work they do on behalf of the club. All of our officers are volunteers that are taking on the additional responsibilities of their roles so that they can grow and develop as leaders.

 

 


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