All very well - but what, exactly, is Toastmasters?

A group of champion speakers, offering Toastmasters

If you asked members why they joined, most would answer along these lines:

  • I’m nervous about…..
  • I’ve taken on a new role or job…..
  • I’d like to improve my English….
  • I’ve been asked to speak at……
  • I’m not confident in …..
  • I want to improve in…..

Most want help because they are doing something different that involves communication and/or leadership. If that sounds like you, read on….

Toastmasters, at any given time, is around 300,000 people with similar reasons. What we do is summed up in our mission as members of a Toastmasters club:

We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

In short, we commit to helping each other learn – simple as that.

Our Guiding Principles

Any organisation needs a common vision, mission and set of values. Ours are set out below. They were originally laid down by our founder, Dr. Ralph Smedley, almost a century ago. The words may have changed – the intent has not.

For a brief look at our history, please click here.

To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.

We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

A “District” (New Zealand has two) is a grouping of no more than 300 clubs. Its mission is to support its clubs “by enhancing the performance and extending the network of Clubs, thereby offering greater numbers of people the opportunity to benefit from the Toastmasters educational program”. 

District leaders do this by:

  • Focusing on the critical success factors as specified by the District educational and membership goals
  • Ensuring that each Club effectively fulfils its responsibilities to its members
  • Providing effective training and leadership development opportunities for Club and District Officers.

In summary, providing the tools and advice to clubs to help them do their  job.

Everything we do is done with these in mind:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Excellence

Communication AND Leadership?

A very small number join to improve leadership skills – but a large proportion improve them anyway. Think of it like this:

  • You become a better communicator (or improve language skills)
  • More people listen to you
  • People start acting on what you suggest – they follow you
  • That means you’re leading them

That is why the two go together, because to quote Debasish Mridha:

To be a leader, you have to lead yourself first”. We can help with that.