Toastmasters began as a series of speaking clubs organized by Ralph C. Smedley during his time working for the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in Bloomington, Illinois, United States. As director of education at the YMCA, Smedley saw a need for the men in the community to learn how to speak, conduct meetings, plan programs and work on committees, and he wanted to help them.
Smedley decided to organize a club where they could learn these skills in a social environment, and the men responded well to the concept. He named the group the Toastmasters Club; “toastmaster” was a popular term that referred to a person who gave toasts at banquets and other occasions. The first unofficial Toastmasters meeting was held on March 24, 1905.
For more about Toastmasters International’s history, visit https://www.toastmasters.org/about/history.
Toastmasters International Envisioned Future
To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.