FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are some common questions that people have about our club:
Do I have to be an entrepreneur to join?
For us, an entrepreneur is anyone who is interested in dynamic leadership and self-improvement. Our clubs attracts members from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, including business, technology, government, health care, law, science, and the arts.
Do I have to be affiliated with UC Berkeley to join?
No, the club is open to the community. Approximately half of our members have a Berkeley affiliation. However, we are especially encouraging to Berkeley students, faculty, and staff, because our club depends on the university’s goodwill in order to continue to hold meetings on the campus.
DO I NEED TO ASK PERMISSION OR PREPARE SOMETHING TO ATTEND A MEETING?
No, you don’t have to do any preparation, or notify anyone, in order to attend a meeting as a guest.
One section of the meeting is called “Table Topics”, where members of the audience are invited to give short impromptu answers to questions provided by the Table Topics Master. We will encourage you to participate, but please do not feel any pressure to do so if you are not comfortable.
HOW DO I JOIN THE CLUB?
To join our club, you should follow these steps:
- Attend several meetings, and get to know some of the members.
- Sign up for some of the less intensive roles, such as Table Topics Master, Grammarian, Humorist, or Speech Evaluator.
- Ask one of the senior members to be your mentor. A mentor is a veteran club member who will help to make sure you have all the support and information you need to succeed in Toastmasters.
- Fill out our Application Form, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pay your initial membership fee.
- Sign up for your first speech – an Icebreaker where you officially introduce yourself as a new member in the club!
How do I find a Mentor?
A mentor is a veteran member of the club who will give you the information and encouragement to help you succeed at Toastmasters. All of the senior members of the club will be happy to serve as your mentor. However, a mentor will want to see that you are enthusiastic, responsible, and dedicated to the program before accepting the role.
To find a mentor, you should introduce yourself to as many of the senior members as possible. Try to find common ground in terms of interests, values, and personality. Also, show your mentor that you are enthusiastic and serious about Toastmasters.
How much does membership cost?
The main costs for membership in our club is related to the main Toastmasters International organization (TMI). TMI charges $90/year, plus a $20 new member signup fee. The yearly fees are paid in two installments of 6 month each.
As of December 2018, our club does not charge any additional membership fees beyond the TMI requirement. Sometimes we may ask members to contribute for special projects such as Open Houses or speech contests. But these will be minimal, and should be considered more of a “suggested donation” than an absolute necessity.
How much does THE CLUB COMMUNICATE WITH MEMBERS?
Different TM clubs have different ways to communicate with their members – Facebook, WhatsApp, email lists of various types, and so on.
We have found that the most efficient method is to maintain an email list. When you attend the club as a guest, we will ask for your email address so we can add you to the list. Don’t worry – it is easy to unsubscribe if you decide you don’t want to receive emails anymore.
The list generates a small volume of traffic, usually 2-3 messages per week. We recommend you create an email filter to automatically place messages from the list into a special folder.
What’s special about your club, compared to all the other TM clubs?
There are a lot of great TM clubs in the Bay Area. Because of its location on the Berkeley campus, our club is able to attract a very diverse set of high-achieving professionals and students. In addition, our club has a special focus on entrepreneurship. Several of our members are technology entrepreneurs. And in every meeting, we have a special “Pitch” role where a member can practice sales and persuasion skills, an essential component of entrepreneurial activity.
Who SHOULD I ASK FOR MORE INFORMATION?
All of our members are ready and willing to help if you have questions. For questions about the membership process, please ask the VP of Membership. For questions about the Toastmasters educational program, please ask the VP of Education. For general questions, ask the President or any other club officer.
Do YOU PROVIDE LEARNING MATERIALS?
The Toastmasters organization has been around for decades, and in that time people from many different clubs have amassed an enormous volume of documents, tutorials, and videos about how to succeed at public speaking and in the various TM roles. You can find lots of this information with a simple web search.
WHat SHOULD I TALK ABOUT IN MY ICEBREAKER SPEECH?
Your first speech as a new Toastmaster is called an Icebreaker. It is an opportunity for your to tell the club about yourself, your interests, your background, and your personality.
This speech is actually a little bit difficult to do well, because the time limit means you will have to leave out a lot of important information. Many people end up reciting their resume – “I went to school at X University, then I started a job at Y company, …” That kind of speech usually does not grab the attention of the audience. You should tell us a bit about your background, but it’s better to tell stories that illustrate your personality and perspective. A good example is some event or experience from your youth that was very influential in shaping your current outlook.