Be the Master of the Toast!

I'm a designer for a Fortune 500 Company in the Facilities/Operations Department - although we have facilities worldwide, there are almost 8,000 employees across campus in our city.  One thing I love is the variety of projects I work on and people I meet.  Recently, I was working on some changes in a Conference Room and I saw Toastmasters Club info on a whiteboard.  I didn't know we had a club on campus!

The thought of joining Toastmasters has arisen in my mind previously, fleetingly.  But seeing this piqued my interest and immediately I knew I wanted to join!  Felt COMPELLED to join - I had seen it for a reason!  To work on my skills, to improve.

This is now happening and I'll be sharing tips and thoughts through this process!   

The first "unofficial" Toastmasters meeting occurred on March 24, 1905, at the YMCA in Santa Ana, CA.  The meeting consisted of various participants speaking, much like the meetings that still are happening today!  Today, the Toastmaster's International organization is worldwide and consists of approximately 345,000 members throughout 15,900 member clubs in 142 countries.  

Toastmasters was founded by Ralph C. Smedley on October 22, 1924 and following his writing of the Manual of Instructions & Ten Lessons in Public Speaking, was incorporated on December 19, 1932.

The premise: 



I mentioned Toastmasters on Facebook (and in person!) recently to see if others had experience with the club and learned some people had never heard of it.  

Not this kind of toast... 😂


This is more like it!


But let's back up several centuries...

How did toasting come about?

The Latin word Prosit is derived from the German word Prost.  In short, this means "To you & your health."  The word toast came to be when spiced toast was added to wine for flavor - the quality of wine was not the best in the 17th century, so the spices flavored the wine while the bread was said to absorb some of its acidity.  It also filtered some of the yuck-o sediment that collected on the bottom of the glass.

The person toasting will gain the crowd's attention by an announcement or tapping on a glass.  This person will then honor those for which the event is happening, followed by raising the glass then taking a drink.  A toast may be humorous, somber, full of sentiment, or cross over into the realm of bawdy or insulting!    

The term "toasting" came about through symbolism, or metonymy.  When the term of one object replaces the other, by association.  A few examples are:

  1. I can't believe the Cubs actually won the Series!  (The Cubs is the name of the sports team, used in place of its individual members.)
  2. That will be a great dish to take to our work potluck!  (The dish is used in place of the actual food that you would be brining for the meal.)
  3. The pen is mightier than the sword.  (A tool is often used to signify the job it does.  This also means the spoken word is mightier than military force.)

There is an entire set of rules and etiquette surrounding toasting, in addition to superstitions, but we'll move on from here!

What's with the name, "Toastmasters International"??

As you may have guessed with my history and etymology lesson above, the group was named for someone giving a toast:  a toastmaster.  The person presenting that honor of leading a toast at banquets, weddings, and many other occasions.  I also mentioned above that the mission of this club is to improve communication, public speaking and leadership skills.   The end goal is for members to gain a greater sense of self-worth, self-confidence and personal growth.

The Toastmaster values resonate highly with me.  They are as follows:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Excellence

I found the great infographic below on the Toastmasters International website - it has a ton of really interesting info, so check it out!

If you would like to work on your public speaking and communication skills, you can check out their website.  I'll check in with you as I continue on my self-improvement journey!    

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See you next time!


Hi, my name is Chondra Rankin!  My passion is teaching and inspiring YOU how to become prepared to grasp the luxury of designing your life well - so you can live your life... your way!

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