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When can I visit?

Visitors are welcome to ALL of our meetings. There is no need to register or RSVP, just show up. Come alone or with a friend. During the meeting, we will ask you to introduce yourself. Please arrive early to sign our guest book and find a seat. Our meetings start promptly at 7:15 pm.

If I visit, will I have to speak to the group?

Only if you are comfortable. Visitors are asked to introduce themselves during the meeting. You will not be required to participate in any other way during the meeting. We’re a friendly group, so we may invite you to speak during the Table Topics. You should feel free to decline if you wish. Most visitors come for a few weeks to observe our meetings until they feel comfortable participating.

How is Crystal City Evening Toastmasters different from other clubs?

Many Toastmasters Clubs are employment based, but Crystal City Toastmasters is a community based club.  The Washington, DC  area is one of the most diverse places in the United States, drawing people from all over the world. Crystal City Evening Toastmasters celebrates this diversity with members from all over the United States and the world.

Why should I join?

If you choose to join us, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Weekly opportunities to acquire and build on your public speaking skills
  • Support and encouragement from your fellow Crystal City Evening Toastmasters
  • Improvement of your critical listening skills
  • Opportunity to hone your leadership skills through evaluation, mentorship, meeting facilitation, and serving as a club officer
  • Enjoyment of interesting member stories and shared wisdom
  • A sense of community and a network of diverse, intelligent people
  • A wide variety of resources and opportunities through the international Toastmasters’ community website, trainings, competitions, and conferences

What is the meeting format?

Most meetings follow this agenda:

  • At 7:15 pm the President calls the meeting to order and introduces the Toastmaster of the Day (TMOD).
  • The TMOD facilitates the meeting and welcomes guests.
  • Two or three members give prepared speeches (usually 4-7 minutes in length).
  • The Table Topics Master invites members to speak about short topics, or questions.
  • The Speech Evaluators give their evaluations of the prepared speeches.
  • The General Evaluator, Grammarian, Ah-counter, and Timer give their reports.
  • Club business is conducted.
  • The TMOD adjourns the meeting.

What are Table Topics?

Table Topics are opportunities for Club Members to speak extemporaneously for one to two minutes. The Table Topics Master brings a prepared list of questions or topics for other Club Members to speak about for 1-2 minutes. Members must speak if called upon. On occasion, visitors may be asked to volunteer for Table Topics, but they are not required to participate.

Are Table Topics scary?

Yes, and surprisingly, that’s why most members enjoy them. Table Topics sharpens your ability to think on your feet and under pressure. After some practice, you’ll find that public speaking is a lot easier than you once thought. The value of this portion of the meeting is that it allows participants to practice thinking on their feet, organizing their thoughts, and articulating them without prior preparation. These are essential skills to communication that we can all apply in our daily life.

What are the evaluations like?

The only way to improve our public speaking skills or our leadership capabilities is through improved awareness of our strengths and weaknesses. Evaluations provide us with this feedback as well as with constructive suggestions for improvement. A skilled evaluator will provide this feedback in a supportive way that encourages your growth as a speaker and a leader. There is an Evaluator for each prepared speech and a General Evaluator who gives feedback to the Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, Evaluators, Functionaries and meeting overall. Evaluation is key to our growth and success as individual speakers and leaders.

What are the fees for membership?

Membership dues include a new member fee and a prorated joining fee (depending on the month you join). After joining, membership renewals are $46 twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Membership dues pay for our meeting space, your manuals, and our fees to Toastmasters International. Please ask a member for more details about joining fees when you visit.

What happens after I join?

After joining, you will receive two education manuals – a Competent Communication (CC) manual and a Competent Leadership (CL) manual. The CC manual outlines your first 10 speech projects, while the CL manual outlines your first 10 leadership projects.

We encourage all members to complete both educational manuals simultaneously, alternating between giving prepared speeches and taking on various leadership roles during our structured meetings. There is no timeline to completing these manuals – it is a self-paced program. We’re here to help you enjoy the process and reach your goals.

How do I get a mentor?

When you become a member, the VP of Education will meet with you to discuss your speaking and leadership goals. They will gladly pair you with a mentor to help you get acquainted, prepare for speeches and other meeting roles, and help ensure you make timely progress. The mentor is your personal guide to getting the most out of your Toastmasters experience!