What is Toastmasters
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. When people hear the word “basement,” they’re more likely to picture mold and spiders than the birth place of a global communication and leadership training organization. But a basement in a YMCA in Santa Ana, California, is exactly where, in 1924, Dr. Ralph C. Smedley held the first meeting of what would eventually become Toastmasters International.
Dr. Smedley began working as director of education for a YMCA after he graduated from college. He observed that many of the young patrons needed “training in the art of public speaking and in presiding over meetings,” and he wanted to help them. He decided the training format would be similar to a social club. During the early 1900s the word “toastmaster” referred to a person who proposed the toasts and introduced the speakers at a banquet. Dr. Smedley named his group “The Toastmasters Club” because he thought it suggested a pleasant, social atmosphere appealing to young men.
When Dr. Smedley started The Toastmasters Club, members practiced speaking skills in a supportive, informal atmosphere. Word spread about Dr.Smedley’s YMCA experiment and soon people in other communities and even other states began asking for permission and help to start their own Toastmasters meetings. By 1930 the burgeoning clubs had established a federation to help coordinate activities and provide a standard program. In 1935, the organization officially became Toastmasters International after a speaking club in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, expressed interest in joining. Over the next six decades, the number of Toastmasters grew, and so did the need for a larger staff to serve them. Toastmasters World Headquarters relocated in 1990 to its new building in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, about 20 miles south of Santa Ana.
The evolution of its educational programs and resources are the essential elements behind Toastmasters International’s success and growth. Training has expanded from the 15-project manual, Basic Training for Toastmasters, developed by Dr. Smedley, and now includes other materials to help members develop skills in listening, giving feedback, decision-making, delegating and mentoring.
With more than 352,000 members in more than 16,400 clubs in 141 countries, Dr. Ralph Smedley’s “basement brainstorm” continues to thrive in the 21st century.
What is District 92
We have a new District 92 for Karnataka for the year 2020-21. Originally garnished on July 1, 2014 as District 92 from erstwhile District 82, District 92 grew in Karnataka and Kerala to give birth to 2 districts this year – New District 92 and District 121. District 92 is now a congenial blend of 8 divisions, 32 areas, more than 150 clubs and about 7,500 members. The District is an eminent part of Region 13 of Toastmasters International. Click here to know the alignment of our District 92.
District 92 boasts of being ever-soaring and exuberant having achieved the position of Smedley’s Distinguished District for the year 2019-20. Adulation for this feat is shared by members who have come from all walks of life: software professionals, managements/finance personnel, HR executives, trainers, homemakers, college students, doctors, & lawyers. Growth is ceaseless as the District continues to bring more clubs and members on its platter.