How Regular Meetings go :
At every meeting, we have four sessions: the Current Topics Session, the Table Topics Session, the Formal Speech Session and the Evaluation Session.
In the Current Topics Session, one of the members acts as the chairperson and is called the Current Topicmaster. She/he first speaks for a minute or two on a topic announced in advance. The topic can be about anything timely, for example, about politics, economy, environment, education, sports, art, music, society, etc. The Current Topicmaster then calls upon each member to talk about a sub-topic closely related to the main topic for two minutes. This session lasts for twenty minutes.
The next session is the Table Topics Session, which goes just like the Current Topics Session, with the main difference being that in the Table Topics Session, the main topic and the sub-topics are not announced in advance. They are announced only at the time of this session. Another difference between the two kinds of Topics Sessions is that Table Topics mainly concern something in our daily life and are normally easier to handle than Current Topics. This session also lasts for twenty minutes.
The third session is the Formal Speech Session, in which two or three members present their prepared speeches. The main difference between the above-mentioned Topics Sessions and the Formal Speech Session is that in the former we make impromptu speeches but in the latter we make prepared speeches. All formal speeches must be based on the Toastmasters Manuals published by the Toastmasters International and given to all new members. The first manual titled Communication and Leadership Manual, contains ten projects, and each member can follow it and present their speeches at her/his own pace.
How we progress :
When a member finishes the first ten speeches based on this first manual, she/he will be awarded the title, Competent Toastmaster, CTM, from the Toastmasters International, and then will work on the Advanced Manuals. When she/he finishes ten additional speeches based on the Advanced Manuals, she/he will be awarded the title, Advanced Toastmasters Bronze, or ATM-B. Like this, she/he may proceed and be awarded still higher titles, ATM-Silver, ATM-Gold, and then the highest, Distinguished Toastmaster, or DTM.
Speech Contests :
Toastmasters International holds its annual Formal Speech Contests at all levels, i.e., club (There are 67 clubs in Japan as of January 2005), area (There are 13 areas in Japan), division (There are four divisions in Japan), district (Japan is one district: District 76), and international (There are 10000 clubs and 80 districts in the world). The first and second prize winners at each level advance to the higher level. For instance, if you win the club contest, you will obtain a ticket to compete in the area contest. If you win it, too, then you will advance to the division contest, and so forth. In addition to the Formal Speech Contest, Toastmasters International holds other types of speech contests occasionally, e.g., Table Topics Contests, Humorous Speech Contests, and Speech Evaluation Contests. You are welcome to challenge!