Like many organizations, Toastmasters International has its own terms and acronyms. Newcomers to the organization can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of them all, so this glossary attempts to define as many of the standard ones as possible. (Click on a letter to expand the glossary.)
Please note that Speaker Gym is not affiliated with Toastmasters International in any way; nor is this glossary prepared or endorsed by Toastmasters International; nor is Speaker Gym responsible for any errors or omissions in this glossary.
- Acronym for Advanced Communicator Bronze
- Accredited Speaker
- A Toastmasters designation awarded to individuals who have demonstrated not just superior speaking skills, but also proficiency in professional speaking.
- Acronym for Advanced Communicator Gold
- Acronym for Advanced Communicator Silver
- Advanced Communicator Bronze
- The second earned designation in the Communications Track
- Advanced Communicator Gold
- The 4th earned designation in the Communications Track
- Advanced Communicator Silver
- The 3rd earned designation in the Communications Track
- Advanced Leader Bronze
- The 2nd earned designation in the Leadership Track
- Advanced Leader Silver
- The 3rd earned designation in the Leadership Track
- Advanced Toastmaster Bronze
- The second earned designation in the Communications Track prior to July 1, 2006; replaced by Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB)
- Advanced Toastmaster Gold
- The 4th earned designation in the Communications Track prior to July 1, 2006; replaced by Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG)
- Advanced Toastmaster Silver
- The 3rd earned designation in the Communications Track prior to July 1, 2006; replaced by Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS)
- Ah Counter
- A meeting role; the Ah Counter listens for members using um's, ah's, er's, and other "crutch words", and sometimes alerts the member by using some auditory device, like a bell or "clicker".
- Acronym for Advanced Leader Bronze
- Acronym for Advanced Leader Silver
- In the Toastmasters organization, a small (normally 4 - 6) group of clubs that are usually geographically close to one another. The clubs comprising an Area are managed by an Area Director.
- Acronym for Accredited Speaker
- Acronym for Advanced Toastmaster Bronze
- Acronym for Advanced Toastmaster Gold
- Acronym for Advanced Toastmaster Silver
- Basic Manual
- Common, unofficial name of the Competent Communication manual, the first manual in the Communications Track. Completion of this manual earns members their Competent Communicator designation.
- Chief Judge
- The individual who is in charge of judging and rule enforcement at contests
- Acronym for Competent Leader
- Club Growth Director
- The third-highest district officer; responsible for retaining and growing membership and clubs.
- Competent Leader
- The first earned designation in the Leadership Track
- Contest Master
- The emcee who conducts a contest.
- Acronym for Distinguished Club Plan
- Distinguished Club Plan
- A point-based achievement program through which clubs are encouraged to meet specified club growth and quality goals.
- Distinguished Toastmaster
- The highest designation which can be earned in the Toastmasters educational program; awarded to a Toastmaster who has earned both the ACG and ALS designations.
- The District is the highest unit of organization within Toastmasters International. Each District is responsible for the administration of a number of clubs, although Districts usually organize themselves into Divisions and Areas to facilitate club administration. Each District is administered by a District Director (DD).
- District Director
- The top officer in a District; responsible for setting district policy and administration of district activities.
- In the Toastmasters organization, a small (normally less than 10) group of Areas that are usually geographically close to one another. The Areas comprising a Division are administered by a Division Director.
- Acronym for Distinguished Toastmaster
- A club meeting role. At a club meeting, each speaker is usually assigned one Evaluator who provides verbal and written feedback to the speaker.
- Toastmasters has been described as "a safe place to fail" because of its policy of providing a "supportive and positive learning experience" in which members can develop their communication and leadership skills without fear of criticism.
- Filled Pause
- A filled pause is what you say when you don't have anything to say but you say it anyway. The most common forms are "ah", "um", and "uh", although unnecessary connectives ("and", "so", "and so", and so on) can also be considered filled pauses. Many clubs have an "Ah Counter" who notes the use of filled pauses during the meeting.
- General Evaluator
- A club meeting role. The General Evaluator conducts the evaluation portion of the meeting and evaluates the overall meeting itself.
- A club meeting role. The Grammarian listens for grammatical errors and exceptionally good word usage during the meeting, and reports on these unusual usages at the end of the meeting.
- Homer (Helen) Blanchard
- In 1970, Toastmasters did not admit females to its membership, so Helen Blanchard joined the organization under the name of "Homer Blanchard". Three years later, Toastmasters began officially admitting women and "Helen" Blanchard officially joined. In 1985 Helen Blanchard became TI's first female president.
- The name given to the first speech project in the Basic Manual. In their Icebreakers, new Toastmasters introduce themselves to their fellow club members.
- Acronym for International Director
- International Director
- International Directors, along with the TI officers, comprise the Board of Directors. One International Director is elected from each Region.
- Junior Toastmasters
- Membership in Toastmasters International is reserved for people at least 18 years old. However, Gavel Clubs (unofficially sometimes known as "Junior Toastmasters") are clubs which follow many of the educational procedures of TI, but do not adhere to the age-minimum of 18 years, nor do their members (“Gaveliers”) enjoy full membership benefits.
- Acronym for Lieutenant Governor of Education and Training
- Acronym for Lieutenant Governor of Marketing
- Lieutenant Governor of Education and Training
- Former title of the 2nd-highest District officer; renamed Program Quality Director in 2015.
- Lieutenant Governor of Marketing
- Former title of the 3rd-highest District officer; renamed Club Growth Director in 2015.
- Manual Speech
- Informal term for a Toastmasters presentation which follows the guidelines for a particular project in one of the Toastmasters manuals and receives a written evaluation (and possibly an oral evaluation at a club meeting) by a Toastmaster member.
- Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization, established for the purpose of helping members improve their communication and leadership skills. Although nonprofit organizations are permitted to generate "surplus revenues", they must be retained by the organization for its self-preservation, expansion, or meeting its stated goals.
- Online access
- Although Toastmasters didn't tap into the power of the Internet until fairly recently, Toastmasters magazine is now available online, and the new Pathways educational program offers many of its resources and guidance online.
- Toastmasters new educational program. First proposed in 2010 and launched in 2017, Pathways is being gradually introduced by Region, and will eventually replace the current educational program.
- The principal officer of a Toastmasters club. The President establishes and enforces club policy, and sets the tone of the club's activities.
- Program Quality Director
- The second-highest district officer; responsible for the administration and tracking of educational programs in the district and district conferences.
- In the Toastmasters organization, multiple geographically-associated Districts comprise a Region. Each Region elects one International Director to the Board of Directors.
- Round Robin Evaluations
- A form of evaluation in which multiple members (possibly even the entire club) evaluates a speech.
- Acronym for Sergeant-At-Arms.
- The club officer responsible for record keeping and communications with TI.
- The club officer responsible for the physical environment and logistics of meetings.
- Smedley, Ralph
- Founder of Toastmasters International..
- Table Topics
- A portion of a club meeting where participants practice extemporaneous speaking by responding to unexpected topics or questions.
- Table Topics Master
- The member who runs the Table Topics portion of the meeting.
- Abbreviation for Toastmasters International.
- A club meeting role. The Timer ensures that certain club activities (usually speeches, evaluations, and Table Topics responses) fall within accepted time limits.
- Abbreviation for Toastmasters Leadership Institute.
- 1. A member of Toastmasters International.
2. The Master of Ceremonies who conducts a Toastmasters club meeting.
3, The name of the monthly magazine published by Toastmasters International.
- Toastmasters Leadership Institute
- A 2 - 3 hour training program offered twice a year to members of Toastmasters International, especially club officers. Attendance at TLI by club officers is a part of the Distinguished Club Plan.
- The club officer responsible for collecting dues, forwarding collected dues to TI, and managing the club's finances.
- The three highest officers in a District: District Director, Program Quality Director, and Club Growth Director.
- Uh, um
- "Uh" and "um" are the most common forms of the filled pause, and the target of a club's Ah Counter.
- Vice President of Education
- The club officer responsible for planning the meetings and helping members reach their educational goals.
- Vice President of Membership
- The club officer responsible for welcoming guests, keeping track of visitors, and signing up new members.
- Vice President of Public Relations
- The club officer responsible for promoting the club in the media and publicizing meetings.
- Video Speech
- A contest for undistricted clubs and provisional districts that follows the same rules as the International Speech Contest. However, the video speech contest does not advance beyond the club.
- Acronym for Vice President of Education
- Acronym for Vice President of Membership
- Acronym for Vice President of Public Relations
- Word of the Day
- In some clubs, one particular word is designated the Word of the Day and members are encouraged to use the word during the meeting.
- World Headquarters of Toastmasters International
- Acronym for Word of the Day
- Even though Toastmasters has a minimum age (18) to join, some clubs welcome children of members at their meetings. Consequently, mature (X-rated) material is frowned upon.
- Youth Leadership
- Youth Leadership introduces the Toastmasters program to youth, typically in schools. Youth Leadership programs are conducted by members of Toastmasters. They typically consist of a set number (often 8) of meetings which resemble a regular Toastmasters meeting, but are conducted by the youth themselves (under the guidance of the Toastmasters Youth Leadership coordinator(s)).
- Common representation of sleeping or snoring, an activity which is generally frowned upon in Toastmasters meetings.