Moscow Toastbusters club is part of a non-profit public speaking organization Toastmasters International headquartered in the USA. Visiting the club meetings, members learn communication and leadership skills by practicing public speaking and working with others in a warm and friendly environment.
The mission of Toastbusters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.
Moscow Toastbusters club conducts its meeting fortnightly, on Wednesday (even weeks), from 7:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. at Nekrasovskaya library, located at Baumanskaya street, h.58/25 b.14 (8 minutes to go from Baumanskaya metro station), 502 room (5-th floor). A meeting fee is RUB 100 (as of February 2016). It is to be paid in cash or by card transfer for each meeting separately.
Becoming a club member
Starting from the first visit, a person receives the status of a guest. In order to become a club member, s/he is to deliver the first project from the Pathways called The Ice Breaker. To be allowed to present the ice-breaking speech, the guest should demonstrate a good command of the English language and accomplish any two tasks of the following four (each at a different meeting):
- Joke Master,
Also, the guest should be over 18 years old to become a member.
Upon meeting the above-written requirements, the guest who wishes to become a member of the club should approach the Executive Committee (EC) to join the club. The club Vice President Education finds a free speech slot for the guest to present the first speech. The VPE does his/her best to let the guest present the Ice Breaker in two months after the request is accepted. If the guest cancels his/her Ice Breaker twice, s/he has to repeat any two tasks of the following four (each at a different meeting):
- Joke Master,
By presenting the first speech a person becomes a member of Toastbusters club. The Executive Committee creates a new member’s profile on the club’s web site members page, registers him/her in Toastmasters International and receives access to the Pathways Educational system on the toastmasters.org. A new member should pay a $20 registration fee (an equivalent sum in RUB according to the actual currency rate), this fee includes the payment for the manuals. In addition to it, s/he is to pay a membership fee ($45 per 6 months; an equivalent sum in RUB according to the actual currency rate). The fee is to be paid for the number of months left before the end of the membership period (October-March, April-September). A new member should provide his home/office post address in order to receive the manuals.
The club Vice President Education (VPE) offers a new member to take part in the mentorship program and, if needed, assigns a mentor from experienced members. The mentor helps the new member to prepare projects No. 1-3 from Competent Communicator (CC) manual and orients him/her in the club.
Toastmaster membership fee is $45 per 6 months. This money is paid to the Toastmasters headquarters in the USA. The fee is paid twice a year: in March (for April-September period) and in September (for October-March period). The club Vice President Membership (VPM) is responsible for collecting membership dues.
Toastbusters club is a place free from discussions on any themes which are likely to result in polemics or disputation among the club members and guests during the meeting. That is why a member who presents any public speech in the club (manual project, Toastmaster performance, Table Topics session, general or personal evaluation, etc.) should abstain from a theme related to:
- politics or any critical political issue at the moment;
- religion or any critical religious issue at the moment;
- gender discrimination;
- racial conflicts;
- LGBT movements and issues.
Mentorship program has two basic goals. First, it helps in orienting new members of the club. Second, it helps existing members improve the leadership skills they already have and discover new ones. Mentors who take part in the program can have a respecting credit in Competent Leadership (CL) manual. Also, an actual mentor receives a status of Member in good standing. A Toastbusters club member can be a mentor for another Toastmasters club member.
program for a new member
A mentor helps a new member with preparing projects No. 1-3 from CC manual. Also, a mentor can provide the member with information about the club and the Toastmasters system for the latter to better understand the club’s potential and room for personal development. The club VPE offers a new member to take part in the mentorship program and, if needed, assigns a mentor from experienced members. It is recommended for a mentor to complete at least five projects more than the mentee. S/he keeps this status until the mentee gets credit for the 3rd CC manual project. The mentorship can be prolonged if both parties are willing to do so. Thus the mentor keeps his/her status.
program for an existing member
A mentor helps an existing member with preparing three speech projects. In order to become a mentee, a club member should apply to VPE or ask any club member directly. If needed, VPE assigns a mentor from experienced members. It is recommended for a mentor to complete at least five projects more than the mentee. The mentor keeps this status until the mentee gets credit for the 3rd speech project presented. The mentorship can be prolonged if both parties are willing to do so. Thus the mentor keeps his/her status.
Toastbusters club conducts various contests apart from regular meetings throughout the year. The rules for such contests are stated below.
Club inner speech contest
Conducting an inner speech contest is decided by the club EC depending on the current situation with the speakers’ queue. Depending on the contest type, the EC sets criteria for taking part in it. The EC should inform the club members on the contest date, rules, and participation criteria in advance. The contest is conducted on the basis of Speech Contest Rulebook (issued by Toastmasters International).
Club area qualification contest
Conducting an area qualification contest is decided by the EC together with the Area Executive Committee. The latter sets the date of the area conference which includes area contests. The former chooses the date for the qualification contest.
There are the following criteria to participate in the qualification contest:
- A member has completed 6 projects from CC manual by the date of the contest (if not stipulated otherwise in the contest rules);
- A member has paid membership dues in time;
- A member has the status of a member in good standing.
There are four ways to acquire the status of a member in good standing:
- A member performs at least one role in the Toastbusters club for three months before the month when the contest takes place. It shall be one of these roles: Toastmaster of the day, General Evaluator, Table Topics Master, Personal Evaluator.
- OR a member performs any role at a special club meeting for three months before the month when the contest takes place (apart from Joke Master, Grammarian, Timer, Ah-Counter).
- OR a member performs the roles of Contest Chair or Chief Judge at the club contests for three months before the month when the contest takes place.
- OR a member is an actual mentor by the date of the contest OR performed mentorship within 3 previous months.
The contest is conducted in accordance with Speech Contest Rulebook (issued by Toastmasters International).
Three winners of the club qualification contest take part in the area contest. If a member is not able to attend the area conference, the club EC can offer other contestants to represent the club at the area level.
committee shall have charge of all business and administrative affairs of this club and shall consider all matters concerning the welfare of this club. Decisions by the EC are not subject to public discussion (i.e., in speeches, Table Topics Discussions, etc).
Toastbusters Executive Committee (EC) consists of five officers with the club president serving as the chair:
- Vice President Education
- Vice President Public Relations
- Vice President Membership/Treasurer
Additional officer positions of Sergeant-at-Arms can be added.
Each officer post apart from the President is open for application by any Toastbusters club member. A member who has ever served as a Toastbusters officer can apply for the post of President.
The mandate term of the EC is one year, lasting from July 1-st to June 30-th of the next year. EC is elected by equal, direct, secret vote. Only the members of Toastbusters club can elect its EC and be elected as EC officers. The day of the election is decided by the EC and announced in advance. There is no minimum number of voters’ attendance at the election. Each EC officer is elected by the majority vote. In case of a split of votes, the current EC defines the winner itself.
The Toastbusters By-law comes into force from February 1-st, 2016.
In case of non-compliance of any provision in the By-law with the Constitution of Toastmasters International (TI) or any other official document by TI, the provisions by TI are applicable.
Toastbusters By-law can be amended by the club EC. An amended issue comes into force the next day after its announcement (i.e. posting on the club’s web site, mass mailing, etc). The EC should inform its members oncoming changes in the By-law in advance.