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Maungakiekie Toastmasters

Auckland, New Zealand

Our meetings

"It's only by getting a little bit good that you realise how much better you can be" - Lindsey Buckingham, guitarist/singer with Fleetwood Mac

Visitors are welcome at all of our meetings - at open, or demonstration, meetings we take things a little slower and try to show our guests how we get "a little bit good".

Toastmaster.

At a Toastmasters meeting, you'll see how you can help yourself learn to:

  • Handle a meeting well, to time, and good-naturedly
  • Introduce speakers effectively
  • Give those "can you say a few words?" short speeches on any topic
  • Help others improve by suggesting, rather than criticising
  • Improve your listening skills
  • Give a prepared speech with or without notes on a range of themes
  • ENJOY doing all the above

As a visitor to our Club, we aim to give you a taste of all of this. You'll see a full range of skills - members who have just joined as well as those who have been members for a few months, or years, or even decades. Some will be doing their roles for the first time - some, the tenth or more.

Many guests have listened to an experienced speaker and thought "I could never do that!". That's natural - we all think that way to start with. Then we start thinking "I'd like to learn how to do that" - and all you have to do is ask. Helping each other learn is our mission (it says so on our HomePage).

So if you'd like to turn "I couldn't..." into "I'd like to...", come and see us soon!

It's your chance to learn about Toastmasters - and change avoidance of speaking into enjoyment of it!

Frequently Asked Questions

"What is Toastmasters?"

Toastmasters is a non-profit organisation whose members help each other to improve their communication and leadership skills. As a member, you will work at your own pace through a range of assignments covering different aspects of speaking. These include general skills to use in any speech, and additional skills for those special occasions. Toastmasters is not a formal "teacher-student" style organisation, but a stimulating yet supportive environment. All roles are performed by members - people just like you.

"How would you describe the Toastmasters course?"

Toastmaster.

Strictly speaking, it's not a "course" - more a self-help group where you learn by doing, and by the encouragement of those who have been in the Club for a while. There are no "right or wrong" answers. There are short courses available (search on www.toastmasters.org.nz under "Speechcraft" for details) where you can do in eight weeks what takes a year at a Club. As with any such courses, though, they only work if you keep using the skills you've gained - and if you aren't sure you will do that, the slower approach of Club meetings is a better bet. Summing up Toastmasters? "Serious fun". We're all there to learn - even those who've been there a while never stop - but there's a great deal of laughter as well.

"Do I have to join if I visit the Club?"

No - although we'd like you to! There is no obligation on you as a guest of the Club to do anything you don't want to. There's no "hard sell", either; you can get an idea of what we do and how well this fits with what you'd like to do. There are no special "salespeople", either - we'll all try to answer any questions you might have.

"Can I visit more than once?"

Yes - we encourage you to. Some need more than one meeting to make up their mind. Meetings can vary in content, depending on the type of speeches being presented or their topics. For example, one meeting might be fairly serious, the next devoted to entertainment and humour. We also encourage you to take advantage of the speaking opportunities available to guests - something many prefer to do at the second or third visit, rather than the first.

"I don't want to speak - can I just come and listen?"

Absolutely - we don't ask any guest to do anything they don't want to. However you've come along to a meeting where we learn about public speaking - there are speaking opportunities for guests and we encourage you to use them if you wish. You'll very likely be asked if you'd like to try giving a short (one minute or so) speech; how you answer that is your choice.

Toastmaster.

"Do I have to speak about a set topic?"

Not for the speeches you prepare. You can talk about things that interest you, tell stories, or do whatever you like. The main aim is to get your message across and Toastmasters gives you "tools" such as body language, voice variation and speech structure to help you do this. The topic, though, is up to you - although it never hurts to ask for suggestions if you're not sure. The shorter, off-the-cuff, speeches do have topics chosen by the person running that session. Whether you stick to the topic, though, is up to you; after all, being able to "say a few words" on any topic is both a good skill to learn and great fun to do.

"I don't know what to speak about"

The answer is "anything you like". You always know the topic of your first speech; it's about yourself, to introduce you to the Club. Beyond that, it's up to you. You can always ask your mentor, or anyone in the Club for that matter, for ideas on a subject for a speech. Topic selection is also the subject of one of the educational sessions run occasionally as part of the Toastmasters program.

"How much does it cost to join?"

Like most club-based activities, Toastmasters has a joining fee that is payable once, and a subscription that is due every six months. The $50 joining fee registers you with the organisation - for life. Even if you take a break, even if you change countries, you only pay it once. The subscription varies with the Club as it covers items such as venue hire. Maungakiekie's is currently $100 for six months or $180 for a year. The subscription falls due at the end of March and September, but you can join at any time. Your first payment is then $50 plus $17 per month until the next half-annual subscription; for example joining in January will cost $50 + (3 x $17) = $101, and cover you until March.

"Are there any other costs?"

Not of membership, and all other costs are voluntary. Toastmasters offers a range of events for competitions, some of which have a small entry cost. There is also an on-line store at www.toastmasters.org (open to everyone, not just members) at which you can buy additional speech manuals and other items if you wish.

"What do I get for my money?"

Your subscription buys you :

  • Participation in the Toastmasters programme
  • A "starter kit" containing two project manuals, one containing speech projects, the other projects based on roles you perform at club meetings.
  • The starter kit also contains booklets on such topics as using gestures and body language, and speech evaluation
  • A monthly copy of The Toastmaster magazine, which gives valuable insights and hints on all aspects of public speaking and other Toastmasters activities
  • Your first two "Advanced" speech manuals are pre-paid for when you complete your first set of speech projects
Toastmaster.

"What happens when I apply to join?"

As with any application there is a form to fill in. Once you have done this and paid the initial fee (cash or cheque only, please - we cannot process credit cards), your application is complete. Membership is by invitation, so the Club needs to be told of your application and affirm the invitation by vote. At the next meeting, there will be a short induction ceremony, to present you with your "New Member kit" and welcome you to the Club. If you have chosen a mentor (to guide you though the first few speeches and Club duties) or asked to have one chosen for you, that will be done during the ceremony. At that point, your name will appear on the duty roster, to get you involved in Club activities as quickly as possible.

"How long does the course take?"

There is no set time - the essence of the Toastmasters program is that you go at your own pace. However, you can expect to be doing a prepared speech project about once every three months, so the basic 10-project manual (it's not strictly correct to call it a "course") normally takes two to two and a half years. If you have a speech you would like to give, but are not on the roster, you can ask to be put on the "Speeches Ready" list. This means you can be asked to speak if there is a spare timeslot at the next meeting. You can also gain credit by speaking at other Clubs (providing you arrange a written evaluation). However, Toastmasters is much more than speaking, and we recommend a balance between prepared speeches and other activities at meetings. You will gain most by taking your time.

"Do I have to come to every meeting?"

No - although we recommend that you do! Membership of Toastmasters can open other opportunities that restrict the time available for Club meetings, and most Clubs have members that attend when they can. To start, with, though, you should attend as many meetings as possible. If you can't come, remember to send an apology to the meeting Chairman (it's good business practice, as well) and arrange a replacement for any duty you may have. However, the essence of the Toastmasters program is that you go at your own pace. That means meeting attendance cannot be compulsory.

Testimonials

"I wished I had known about this organization earlier. Maungakiekie Toastmasters helped me to overcome fear of public speaking and gave me very practical tools to deliver effective presentations. I strongly recommend everyone to visit Maungakiekie Club and you will learn something new each meeting."

Maxim

 

"I joined Toastmasters as a way of improving my presentation and communication skills, particularly in the work setting. I initially joined a club in Hamilton when I worked there for six months. It was such a supportive and friendly club, I thought I would never find another club like that again when I came back from working overseas.

When I came back and moved to Auckland, I met a colleague at work who belonged to a Toastmasters club, (Maungakiekie), I was keen to join her at a meeting. Again the warmth and support from the Toastmasters members from day one encouraged me to join.

Two years later I can see my own self improvement in speaking before an audience. What I didn't realise when joining the club was that I would learn other important skills, like evaluating speeches, listening skills and how to run a meeting - all important skills for work and for myself personally.

Lastly the entertainment and laughter factor at Toastmasters meetings is enormous and I would recommend Toastmasters to anyone."

Jennifer

 

"I wasn't sure quite what to expect. I guess I thought the meeting would be quite formal. I didn't expect the warm welcome, the laughter, the enthusiasm or the overriding sense of fun!"

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