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Your First Speech:

Soon after joining Capital Toastmasters I, the Vice President/Education will schedule you for your first speech. This is called the “Icebreaker” and is simply a short (4 to 6 minutes) introduction of yourself to the club. The members would like to know who you are, what you do, and why you have joined Toastmasters, but the content is entirely up to you. Remember, you are among friends, and everyone is rooting for you!

If you have not yet received your manual by the time you are scheduled to give your speech, you can print out the Official Guide to the Icebreaker. (Copyright material used by permission of Toastmasters International).


Frequently Asked Questions:

How much is it to join Liberty Toastmasters?
The fees are $20 (new member kit) and dues are $36 for 6 months (Which is prorated for new members to $6/month).

Where do we meet?
We meet at Terra Eclipse, 600 F St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20004. The closest metro station is Gallery Place / Chinatown (Red Line).

Who is eligible to join?
Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to join. Those under 18 are allowed to visit.

How many people attend meetings?
Our meetings usually have between 10 and 20 attendees.

What is a Libertarian?
In general, a Libertarian is a person who believes that government should confine its activities to protecting citizens from force, theft, or fraud. There are many shades of libertarianism, but we all share a common distrust of government.

How much of a time commitment is it to belong?
You are free to commit as much or as little of your time as you wish. The more time you devote to Toastmasters, the more benefit you are likely to receive. People only improve with regular attendance.

If I become a member will I be forced to give speeches?
No, you decide when and if you will deliver speeches.

What sort of guidance is there?
Toastmasters International publishes instructions and manuals on nearly all aspects of the program. Also, we all help each other.

Meeting Roles:

Toastmaster of the meeting

  • Almost any subject is suitable for a host opener: time of year, an amusing anecdote, something you have learned as Toastmaster, etc. Something cheerful or upbeat sets a good tone for the meeting.
  • Your opener should be 2 to 3 minutes. Do not turn it into a speech of 5 to 7 minutes! There is not enough time for an additional full speech.
  • While your opener is not a full speech, it is a mini-speech. Pay attention to structure, opening and closing, etc.
  • When you are done, say “Mr. President,” to signal that control of the meeting returns to the President. Wait for the President to come to the lectern again, shake his or her hand, and sit down.


  • You must time the Speakers, the Evaluators, and the Table Topics participants. It is useful also to time and give signals to the Host Opener and the Toastmaster Introducer.
  • Host Opener (2 to 3 minutes): green at 2 minutes, yellow at 2-1/2 minutes, red at 3 minutes.
  • Toastmaster Introducer (about 3 minutes): green at two minutes; yellow at two and a half, red at three minutes.
  • The Toastmaster of the Day is likely to ask you to explain the time signals. Do so briefly. Because the Host Opener and the Toastmaster Introducer will already have spoken, there is no need to mention the times for those.
  • Speakers (usually, but not always, 5 to 7 minutes): green at minimum (usually 5 minutes); yellow one minute later (usually 6 minutes); red at maximum (usually 7 minutes), with the speaker allowed 30 additional seconds to wrap up.
  • Evaluators (2 to 3 minutes): green at 2 minutes; yellow at 2-1/2 minutes; red at 3 minutes.
  • Table topics participants (1 to 2 minutes, unless shortened by the Table Topics Master): green at 1 minute, yellow at 1-1/2 minutes; red at 2 minutes.
  • Enter the time of each speech on your written evaluation form for that Speaker, so that the Speaker has a permanent record of the time.
  • When called upon at the end of the meeting by the Master Evaluator, report on the times for each Speaker or other participant in the meeting. When time is short, this report may be abbreviated (e.g., all the Speakers were within the time, except for ___).

Ah Counter

  • Count the verbalized pauses by each participant (ah’s, um’s, you know’s, etc.)
  • Report at the end of the meeting, when called upon by the Master Evaluator, on the non-verbal pauses.

Meeting Evaulator

  • Confirm that the scheduled Evaluators will attend the meeting and perform their assigned roles. If they cannot and if they have not found a replacement themselves, send out an e-mail to obtain replacements.
  • If at all possible, notify the Evaluators before the meeting of the speakers that they will be evaluating and the specific speech assignment (information that should be available from the TMOD). Recommend that they contact the Speaker in advance or immediately before the meeting to find out if there are any special points to which the Speaker wants them to pay attention and to make sure that the Speaker will bring his or her manual to the meeting and provide it to the Evaluator.
  • Introduce evaluators by name, and identify which Speaker her or she will evaluate.
  • Remind Speakers and Evaluators that the Evaluator should have the Speaker’s Manual in hand before the speech.
  • After the speeches, when control of meeting is turned over to you, call on the evaluators in turn for their evaluations.
  • At the close of the evaluations, return control of the meeting to the TMOD (for Table Topics), Timer’s Report, and Grammarian’s Report.
  • At the close of the Timer’s Report and the Grammarian’s Report, you will be called upon for your general evaluation of the meeting. Use this opportunity to comment, positively and negatively (if necessary) on the overall conduct of the meeting, including such points as meeting starting time, the performance of any participant (particularly Host Opener, TMOD Introducer, TMOD, and Table Topics Master, who otherwise will receive no feedback), the manner in which guests were greeted, etc. This is an ideal time for you to speak your mind on subjects concerning conduct of meetings, even subjects not pertinent to this meeting.
  • The time for your remarks should be 2 to 3 minutes.

Speech Evaulator

Each Evaluator reviews one of the formal speeches at the meeting. The purpose is constructive criticism to bring to the awareness of the speaker the effects of the speech, and strengths weaknesses in style, organization, etc., speech habits, etc. Evaluations are often the most valuable part of a meeting, not just for the Speaker but for all members. In our Club, evaluators stand and speak from their seats, but if you are close to the lectern or if your seat is badly placed, you may feel free to speak from the lectern. Evaluations should be two to three minutes in length.

Ten Commandments of Effective Speech Evaluation:

  1. Read the project objectives and evaluation guidelines.
  2. Confer with the speaker before the speech.
  3. Listen carefully.
  4. Recognize the Speaker’s strengths.
  5. Provide verbal reward for improvement.
  6. Suggest positive directions for growth.
  7. Recommend alternative actions.
  8. Reinforce the Speaker’s commitment to self-improvement.
  9. Be positive and supportive.
  10. Make the Speaker feel good about himself or herself.


  • Ask the Speaker what particular elements they would like you to critique.
  • Choose two or three major points and focus on those in your evaluation.
  • Be clear, concise, and diplomatic.
  • Observe: appearance, approach to the lectern, opening and closing, speech structure, gestures and eye-contact, vocal variety, adherence to manual objectives.
  • If the Speaker presented a Manual speech but did not meet its requirements, suggest that the Speaker repeat the assignment.
  • Remember that you are addressing Club members as well as the Speaker. Often the best evaluations call the attention of the Club members to the ways in which a good speaker achieved certain results.
  • When you finish your evaluation, you may say: “Mister [or Madam] Master Evaluator,” to signal that control of the meeting has returned to the Master Evaluator.

Table Topics Manager

  • Begin with a brief explanation of the purpose and nature of Table Topics (if the TMOD hasn’t done so). The Manual says that your introduction should take no more than one minute and that “[t]he purpose of Table Topics is to give all members not already scheduled on the program a chance to speak, not for you to deliver a speech.”
  • At our Club, Table Topics responders do not come to the lectern, but respond standing at their seats.
  • Remind everyone (if the TMOD or the Timer hasn’t done so) that Table Topics responses should be one to two minutes. If time is short, you can announce that response should be limited to one and a half minutes or to one minute (in which case you or the Timer should specify how the time signals will be presented).
  • Call on an experienced member first: it sets the tone for the rest of the responses.
  • Make sure to call on the Club members who do not have speaking roles at the meeting before calling on any guest, and try to call upon every such Club member, even though time is often short for Table Topics.
  • If you have time to call upon guests, invite the guests to participate, but put no pressure on them to do so.
  • Try not to embarrass the responder.
  • Avoid questions that have too many parts or subparts. Keep it simple!
  • Although our Club does not follow this practice religiously, it is good idea to ask your questions before identifying who should respond. That way, everyone has to listen carefully to every question.
  • It is useful to have with you a one-page list of all the members, on which you mark those with speaking roles and mark off those who are not at the meeting, so that you know who to call upon.


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