Getting Started - Attending a Meeting
This page gives information about attending a Toastmasters meeting as a guest.
Finding A Club
Getting started with Toastmasters is an easy, three-step process:
- Find a club that meets when you have time to attend regularly
- Visit the club, without cost or obligation, to see the Toastmasters programme in action
- If you like what you see, ask to join
You can visit as many clubs as you like before you decide. Ideally, you should contact the club by email or phone advising that you are intending to visit at their next meeting. Whether or not you do this, it is a good idea to arrive a few minutes early.
To find contact details for a club, you can use a Club Finder - either the New Zealand or the International version, as you wish. The International one shows clubs closest to you on a map; you can use the "Search options" button to look specifically for community, or "open" clubs. The New Zealand one gives an idea of the culture of the club and is useful if choosing between several.
If you work for a large company, check if they are already supporting a club. Toastmasters is a great way to meet people in other areas of the company that you would not normally see.
Before the meeting
If you are a guest to your first Toastmasters meeting, you may have found out about Toastmasters from a number of sources:
- saw a club flier or poster;
- saw a newspaper advertisement or article;
- visited the club website, or the District Website Club Finder;
- word of mouth or by invitation;
- email enquiry.
Ideally, you should contact the club by email or phone advising that you are intending to visit the club at their next meeting. Whether or not you do this, it is a good idea to arrive a few minutes early.
During the meeting
The Sergeant at Arms or other nominated club officer meets and greets all guests. Make sure you let them know your name, and why you decided to come along to the meeting. They may also ask you if you would like to participate in Table Topics, and notify the Table Topics Master.
Make sure you sign the club visitor book, are issued with a Guest name tag, obtain a copy of the meeting's agenda, a Membership Application Form, and the club's information pack to take home.
You should be introduced to the Chairperson, President, and other club officers.
If you have arrived with an existing club member, make sure you sit with them. Otherwise introduce yourself to a club member so they can sit with you during the meeting and explain the procedures.
Let the Table Topics Master know whether you are willing to participate in Table Topics so you can be called upon to speak at the right time. You may be asked whether you wish to follow the theme of table topics, or just speak about yourself.
Go through the club's information pack with the VP Membership. This should contain for example, a pamphlet about the club, a Toastmasters Magazine, a Membership Application Form, payment options, and contact information.
Ensure the Chairperson correctly introduces you, or asks your sponsor to introduce you.
Make sure you circulate at break time. This is a great opportunity to get to know other members of the club, and to ask any questions you may have.
At the end of the meeting, you may be asked for feedback about how you enjoyed the meeting, and whether you will be returning.
After the meeting
You may receive a follow-up a few days later by phone or email and an invitation to the next meeting.
The chairperson for the next meeting should contact you and email the agenda to you if you have said you are coming, so you know where and when the next meeting is being held.
Enjoy yourself! Just relax, get to know the club members, and observe what happens at a meeting.
If Toastmasters is for you, then let the club know you are keen to join and they will start the membership process.
Want to know more?
When you are ready to join Toastmasters, have a look at:
How to Join Toastmasters
Why Join Toastmasters