Brighton & Hove Speakers Club

Welcome to Education

This section contains information for you to understand how the club works, including the Toastmaster’s learning programme “Pathways”.

If you are a new member, you can get an outline of how to start off with the club in the “Your speaking journey” section below.

To aid your journey, Toastmasters International has also published its Navigator that provides essential information on how you can make the most of your time with us at the club.

Many people who walk through the door of Brighton and Hove Speakers can feel nervous and intimidated when they’re invited to their first Table Topics impromptu talk, so we’ve put together a simple little guide with some starting tips and ideas on “Speaking in Table Topics”.

If you would like some guidance in preparing speeches, take a look at the section on “Developing Speeches” to get you started.

Your development is the most important thing to us at the club, so we also hold workshops and skills sessions to help you on your speaking journey.

Your speaking journey

The guide below outlines how you can typically expect to start off with the club. As you begin your journey through the Pathways learning projects, you will also gain confidence by regularly participating in club meetings. We estimate that it could take you up to 6 months to complete Level One while attempting every speaking role in our meetings. You will progress at your own pace.

1. Start out gradually

Your journey in Toastmasters begins with a single speech, but it doesn’t have to be your Icebreaker. Instead, challenge yourself by regularly participating in the club’s meetings just to get a feel for how they flow without putting too much pressure on yourself.

Contact the Vice President Education to assign a buddy for you. If you already have someone in mind, then it won’t hurt to ask for that person either!

During these early stages, try your hand at being the meeting’s Timekeeper and then Warm-up Master, as these roles gradually introduce you to standing in front of the audience and contributing in a small way to the overall meeting.

You can then try the Sergeant-At-Arms, which involves you giving a small introduction but with the added responsibility of being the first person to open the meeting.

Should you feel the need to push yourself more at any time, then you could always join in as one of the evening’s Table Topics Speakers!

2. Give your first prepared speech

When you begin to feel more comfortable, then you should be ready to do your first project speech from Pathways. All Pathways learning paths begin with the same set of four projects, so there is no need to commit to a particular Path, if you hadn’t already done so.

Use this opportunity to deliver your Icebreaker speech, then give yourself some time to process the feedback and plan for your next speech. You could also discuss this with your buddy to work out a plan of action that’ll work with you.

3. Build momentum and confidence

You can then attempt the Table Topics Master role before going for the first big functionary role as the meeting’s Toastmaster. Don’t worry if you’re not up for hosting the meeting at this point, as you can always improve on your previous roles to bring your confidence up.

Continue on to deliver your next two speeches for the second project: Evaluation and Feedback, and use your experience from receiving feedback by scheduling a slot to give your first speech evaluation.

When you have given your fourth prepared speech (Researching and Presenting), you can celebrate your achievement in completing the first level of your selected Path, and if you’ve done everything up to this point then you’re ready to take on just about anything – well done!

4. Going beyond Level One

Continue to develop your confidence with regular role participation as you work your way through the Level Two projects. Every meeting in which you get involved is a chalk mark on your increasing experience and confidence as a public speaker.

One of the best things you can do to improve your speaking skills is by giving speech evaluations including Table Topics evaluations, as they hone your abilities in providing constructive feedback. You could apply these skills when you visit other clubs as their General Evaluator.

If you thought that you’ve seen the end of stage fright, then why not challenge yourself even more by participating in club, local area and division contests, which run twice a year?

5. Develop your leadership skills by serving on the club’s committee

If you are motivated to improve yourself with communication skills that you can apply to your personal and professional life outside Toastmasters, then consider becoming part of the committee team that ensures the quality and long-term success of the club.

Learning with Pathways

Pathways is the online learning system operated by Toastmasters International. It provides an exciting, flexible and interactive way to develop your skills and help others in the club develop theirs.

The platform uses online tutorials, assessment questionnaires and project assignments that you can deliver at our meetings to progress through your speaking journey.

There are 11 different Paths that provide you with learning to suit your needs and aspirations. District 57 provides a very useful resource  you can use to browse through the entire catalogue.

You access Pathways learning through Basecamp , where you can choose a Path and track your progress. When you visit Basecamp the first time, you can take a simple questionnaire to determine what path you would like to take.

All paths follow a structured curriculum of delivering prepared speeches with evaluations of them from fellow members at our club meetings.

More details on the available paths can be found on the “Pathways overview ” page published on the Toastmasters International website.

You can also take a look at our “Pathways Basics Guide” to take you through the early stages of the Pathways learning experience.