Frequently Asked Questions about Budapest Toastmasters

TMBudapest

Why Toastmasters?
Whether you’re a professional, a student, a stay-at-home parent, or whoever you are, Toastmasters is the best way to improve your communication skills. Toastmasters can help you lose the fear of public speaking and learn skills that will help you be more successful in your chosen endeavor.

You’ll listen better. You’ll more easily lead teams and conduct meetings. You’ll comfortably give and receive constructive evaluations. You already have some, or all of these skills.  At Toastmasters, you will enhance them.

At Toastmasters, members learn by speaking to, and working with others in a supportive environment. A typical Toastmasters club is made up of 20 to 30 people who meet once or twice a week for about an hour and a half. Each meeting gives everyone an opportunity to learn and practice the skill of communication.

How often are the meetings?
We meet regularly on every Monday evenings at 6.30pm. There is always a member of the Committee available before the meeting starts who can provide you with more details about the actual organization of the meeting and respond to your questions before the start.  We strongly encourage guests to come early and meet other members.

How long does a Toastmasters session last?

The session lasts 1.5 hours on Mondays while our Tuesday’s morning session lasts an hour. Afterwards many people often stay to have a drink and talk together.

Where do you meet?
At the CEU Business School. This venue will change after the 8th of August.  Click here for further information.

Do I need to pay anything if I want to visit a meeting as a guest?
No, you are not required to pay anything to visit a meeting of Budapest Toastmasters as a guest

In fact we actually encourage you to come and see for yourself how the meetings work!  However, to actively participate in meetings – to take a role or be a speaker – you need to become a member of Budapest Toastmasters or be an active member of one of the Toastmasters’ clubs around the globe.

What topics are discussed at a session?
Any!  There are no fixed topics to speak about.  A person giving a speech chooses subjects that he or she is interested in or familiar with.

What happens at a typical meeting?
The Toastmaster of the Meeting gives a short introduction to the meeting and presents the schedule. This is followed by the main part of the evening – the speeches. There are usually 3 prepared speeches and later, a round of unprepared impromptu speeches called Table Topics.

After the speeches there are evaluations (because in Toastmasters everything is evaluated!) and feedback to the speech-makers on what went well and how they can improve next time.

What´s a ‘Prepared Speech?’
When you join Toastmasters, you receive the Competent Communicator manual with your First Ten Speech projects. Each project calls on you to prepare a speech on a subject of your own choosing but using certain speaking principles.

Each manual project lists the objectives for that speech and includes a written checklist for your evaluator to use when evaluating the speech. Thus, if you’re scheduled to speak at a meeting, you generally pull out your manual a week, or two, in advance and put together a speech on whatever subject you like, but paying attention to your goals and the objectives for that speech. Then, when you go to the meeting, you give your manual to your evaluator and that person makes written comments on the checklist while you speak. During the evaluation portion of the meeting, your evaluator then gives an oral commentary on how they felt your presentation went. The purpose of the extensive preparation and commentary is to show you what you’re doing well, and what areas you can improve.

What is ‘Table Topics’?
Table Topics is fun!  It can also be scary!  Basically, it calls on members and even some guests, if they are willing, to present a one to two minute impromptu speech on a random topic not known to you until the moment you get up to speak!  A member of the club assigned to be Table Topics Master will prepare a few impromptu topics and call on members of the audience to stand up and speak on the topic.  Topics might include current events, or philosophical types of questions, or even wacky questions that most often lead to very humorous presentations.

The point is to get you used to speaking in front of groups and desensitize you to the fear most people feel – typically people find this scary to begin with but quickly enjoy it and find their fear of speaking in front of people disappearing, and their confidence increasing!

What is an ‘Evaluation?’
The Evaluation program is the foundation that Toastmasters is built on.

All prepared speakers, should have their speaking manuals with them and should have passed them on to the evaluators beforehand. During the speech and after, each speaker’s evaluator will be taking written notes and furthermore, plan what to say during the two to three minute oral evaluation.

Evaluation is tough to do well, because it requires an evaluator to do more than say “here’s what you did wrong.” A good evaluator will say “here’s what you did well and here’s why doing that was good, and here are some things you might want to work on for your next speech and here’s how you might work on them.” It’s important to remember that the evaluator is giving his/her point of view. Other members of the audience can, and should, also give you written, or spoken comments on aspects of your speech they feel are important.  By focusing on your development areas you will find each speech becoming better and better as you work through the first 10 speeches.

Why all the emphasis on time limits?
As noted above, speeches have time limits, Table Topics have time limits generally 1-2 minutes and evaluations have time limits of 3 minutes. The exception to this regards both Table Topics and General meeting evaluations. The timing is intended to keep the meeting on time and to put practical limits on various parts of a meeting.  This gets you used to speaking to a time limit, encourages your awareness of time, and encourages focus in your communication style.

Budapest Toastmasters use a set of traffic light cards to warn the speakers of the advancement of time. As an example:

  • If a speech is from 5 to 7 minutes: A green card will be shown at 5 minutes, Amber at 6, and Red at 7 (when the speaker must stop).
  • In two minute Table Topics, the cards would be shown at 1 minute, 1.5 minutes and 2 minutes respectively.

When the green card is shown, you’ve spoken the required amount, though you need not finish at this point. When the yellow card is shown, you should begin wrapping up. By the time the red card is shown, you should have finished your presentation.

The only time you are actually ‘penalized’ for going over, or under the required time is in speaking competitions; in speech contests you must remain within the interval, or suffer disqualification.

Do you have any further questions?
We are happy to answer your question, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to hearing from you!