June 1, 2010

FAQ

Why should I join Toastmasters?
Most people join to develop their public speaking skills. Many people have a fear of public speaking, and the supportive environment we provide is the perfect place to learn to manage those fears. You may always have butterflies in your stomach, but you can teach them to fly in formation.

I want to attend a meeting. What should I do?
Easy. Just complete the short form on the Contact Us page and we’ll put you on our guest list and e-mail you complete information about attending our next meeting.

I am a guest. Will I be asked to speak?
Guests are asked to stand up and introduce themselves at the start of the meeting. At the end of the meeting, they are asked again to stand up to give their input on the meeting. During the table topics portion of the meeting, guests may be called on to speak on a certain topic for 30 to 90 seconds. If they feel uncomfortable responding, they have the option of passing.

What is the format of the meeting, and what is Table Topics?

Click here for information on our meeting format.

Can I bring food or drinks to the meeting?
No sorry. We’re not allowed to bring food into the meeting rooms. It is a professional environment and we are guests so I’m sure you can understand how important it is that we keep the room completely clean during our stay.

How many people usually attend a meeting?
It depends on the season, weather and other factors. There could be as little as 15 people, or as many as 25. On average, around 12 to 15 people attend our weekly club meetings.

What kind of people may I expect to find at your club meetings?
Our club attracts people from various career fields, age groups, and racial backgrounds. Guests have often described our group as energetic, fun, warm and supportive of each other. Several guests have also commented on the useful feedback our group members give. Feel free to come to one of our meetings and find out for yourself.

How do I join the club?
Please contact us and we will send you an application after you’ve been to a couple of our meetings. Just complete the short form on the Contact Us page and ask for an application.

How much is membership?
The one-time New Member fees (for registration, manuals, monthly magazine, etc..) are about $130, which is pro-rated every month. Then $99 regular dues for all members every six months, collected in September and April. Make checks payable to “Sierra Speakers Toastmasters”. Or you can pay via Paypal. Ask us how.

When are regular membership fees due?
Dues are collected twice a year, once in September (for the October to March membership period), and again in March (for the April to September membership period).

Hey, I just joined the club. Why do I have to pay my dues again?
When you first joined our club, you were asked to pay an amount that is comprised of two parts. Part, and in some cases, most of what you paid is for the membership initiation fee. The other amount you pay is for the prorated membership dues for the current membership period when you joined. You are now asked to pay the regular membership dues for the next, upcoming 6-month period.

I am scheduled to speak, but I am not ready or I have a scheduling conflict. What should I do?
It is your responsibility to notify the Toastmaster who is scheduled to host the meeting on the day you are supposed to speak, and try to find a replacement for your role. It is usually easiest to recruit a replacement when you give potential replacements more notice.

How is Toastmasters structured? What kinds of programs are offered to help me develop?

The Communication Track
This track is dedicated to improving speaking and listening skills. The core of the communication track is the Communication and Leadership Program manual (aka the “Basic Manual”), which contains 10 speech projects. Every new member is sent the basic manual and three other manuals: Your Speaking Voice, Effective Speech Evaluation, and Gestures: Your Body Speaks.

The Leadership Track
This track focuses on development of leadership skills through a variety of club activities. You can serve as a Club leader, developing skills in planning, training, motivating, and managing. You even can become a District leader, where these skills are further enhanced. You also can participate in the “High Performance Leadership: program, which requires you to conduct a project of your choice in which you serve as a leader. The program provides study material and activities to complete.

Why is the club called “Sierra Speakers”? Are you a bunch of hippy tree-huggers who belong to the Sierra Club?
When our club was founded way back in 1984, it was started by a couple guys who worked at the Sierra Club in their building located on Second Street near Mission, and our meetings were held in their conference room for about 15 years before we had to move out because there were no longer any Sierra Club members in our Toastmasters club. We kept the name of course but we are not associated with the Sierra Club in any way.