Speechcraft case studies



If you are an experienced member, Speechcraft is a great opportunity for you to present the fundamentals of public speaking to non-members. It can be offered as an integral part of your club meeting or as a seminar-style program presented outside of your club. The content can be delivered in four, six or eight sessions.


In this section we have assembled a diverse range of examples of Speechcraft programs from District 71 and even drawn in an example from New Zealand! The hard won experience behind these case studies will be invaluable to those planning Speechcraft and very fascinating reading for us all. We have so far:

  • Patricia describes the program at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) and provides a clear guide for the mechanics of the course and her passion for it
  • Danny uses experience from Leicester Leaders to provide much of the strategic thinking needed for planning Speechcraft
  • Sandra reports from the ‘coal face’ as her Speechcraft within the company of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Ireland completes to rave reviews from the participants. They were left wanting more!
  • Pat and Teresa describe the Speechcraft in Clondalkin Toastmasters that used an innovative WhatsApp group to keep participants in the loop and engaged – many remained members and two did very well in the contests.
  • Billy describes the Speechcraft inspired Boot Camps he organized to help coach Plain Speakers back to health by opportunistically utilizing the very scarce manpower and financial resources. Three participants became members going on to become committee members.
  • Daniel, Sultan and Luc describe how Cambridge Speakers opened the door to Cambridge University with a Speechcraft for six masters law students which lead to a further inquiry which lead to the application to organized a new corporate club
  • Bob reflects strategically on Speechcraft Camulodunum Speakers run with the University of Essex Public Speaking Society revealing the mechanisms, constraints and opportunities of Toastmastering within Academia.
  • Daniel, Alistair, and Mike  provide a very insightful description of the innovative New Zealand concept of community based Speechcraft Clubs to be found in most major population centres

I love delivering Speechcraft

Patricia O’Reilly DTM, District 71 Director 2018-19

I’ve been delivering the Toastmasters Speechcraft Program for many years now. Three years ago the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) invited me to deliver Speechcraft to their students. The first session was so successful that I have delivered it twice a year since then and I’m looking forward to starting a new session on the 7th November. The students find it beneficial for:-

  • structuring presentations and speeches
  • delivering presentations and speeches with confidence
  • being more confident and professional at interviews
  • improving communication skills which is very important when they go on work experience

BENEFITS for the participants in a Toastmasters Speechcraft Program

  • Gaining confidence in public speaking.
  • Developing communication and language skills.
  • Learning to think quickly and clearly through practising impromptu speaking.
  • Learning how to effectively structure and organise a speech.
  • Becoming an effective listener.
  • Learning to give specific, positive, and helpful feedback.
  • Using body language and visual aids.
  • Exercising time management skills.
  • Get a completion certificate for their portfolio.
  • Get an excellent workbook.

Participants in the speechcraft program will learn public speaking and evaluation skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Why your club should run a Speechcraft Program

  • Grow club membership
  • Raise awareness of your club and Toastmasters in your community
  • Raise awareness of your corporate club and Toastmasters in your organisation
  • Use it with a view to be starting a new club in your community or in an organisation
  • Give members an opportunity to build leadership skills, develop mentoring skills, present educational sessions, and earn credit towards the DTM in both the traditional education program and the pathways program
  • Potential to earn money for your club (see below)

What’s involved

Over a period of 4-6-8 sessions in 1 or 2-hour meetings participants learn Toastmasters skills such as: –

  • How to structure, write and deliver a speech
  • Impromptu speaking
  • Listening & Evaluation

Sample Agenda

  1. Welcome
  2. Table Topics
  3. Speech presentations
  4. Speech Evaluations by coordinators
  5. Educational presentation
  6. Discussion of assignments for next session
  7. Adjournment

Can you charge participants a fee?

A Speechcraft program should at least pay for itself. You can charge a nominal fee to cover the cost of materials, refreshments, and room rental if applicable. TI suggests a fee between $10 and $25.

  • No individuals, educational institutions or other organizations may derive financial gain either directly or indirectly from the presentation of these programs.
  • Charging a fee can make the participants value the program more.
  • Any excess funds should be placed in the club’s bank to be used by the club for educational purposes.
  • BUT as an incentive for any participant who goes on to become a member, the club could reduce his/her membership by the fee already paid.


Speechcraft Workbook             Speechcraft Coordinator’s Guide

This year the District can support clubs running a Speechcraft or other community outreach program through the provision of advice and guidance, marketing and promotional materials, and Programme Kits worth over $30. For more information contact John Cox, Program Quality Director – jcox170894@aol.com.

What I love about delivering Speechcraft: –

Seeing students in DKIT who are often very self-conscious about speaking in public growing more confident, understanding how eye contact, hand gestures, movement and body language enhance a speech and relying less on “like” and “you know” when delivering a presentation or speech.

Leicester Leaders Speechcraft

Danny Banks, Area E6 Director

Speechcraft is an outreach programme offered by Toastmasters. It involves either 4, 6 or 8 sessions which are organised and delivered by club members. At Leicester Leaders Toastmasters we have delivered three Speechcraft courses and plan a further one next Spring. Two of the courses were held at our usual venue the third delivered to a local business.

The courses are great fun and both club members and course participants get lot out of it. The Speechcraft course we delivered was over four two-hour sessions which covered the basics of constructing and presenting a speech.

To help clubs, decide whether Speechcraft is right for you, I think you need to consider the following questions:

Why Speechcraft?

There are three possible reasons: to increase membership; to improve the club’s image within the local community and raise funds for the club.

In my club’s experience Speechcraft can be a very good vehicle for raising awareness but it doesn’t always generate many new members, and I wouldn’t think about it as a way of generating funds for the club.

What resources do we have?

Do we have sufficient members in our club to be able to deliver the course?

Who’s going to co-ordinate the course? This needs to be someone who has the time and enthusiasm for it, because they will have to do the bulk of the organising: booking the venue, arranging for people to deliver the different aspect of the course etc.

Do you have enough members prepared to volunteer for the 4/6/8 sessions and do you have anyone who is prepared to deliver the educational aspects of the course? (by the way it is an excellent way for members to earn credit towards Advanced awards; especially if they are working towards their DTM).

To deliver the course you will need club members to act as mentors to the guests and deliver educational sessions on such topics as body language, speech structure and so on.

Who is your target group?

Do you want to attract people from business, community groups, students? The answer to this question will determine when and where you will hold the Speechcraft course.

If you want to get more people from your local community then you may have to hold the session during the day. If you have a large company in your area and you think they might be a useful source of membership, then you might have to meet in the evening at a venue which belongs to the company. You may not want to target any specific group and have the sessions open to anyone in which case you could use your usual venue and the choose the best time available to your volunteers.

How much to charge?

This can be a tricky question.

Essentially you need to cover the cost of the manuals, room hire, refreshments etc.

You need to think about the participants you have, for example if you are offering the course to a community group made-up of unemployed people wanting to upskill, then you may charge differently from a corporate group where the employer is sponsoring the programme.

There is another issue about costs, as Toastmasters is a not for profit organisation, should we be aiming to make money? However, there is the argument that, if you charge too little, people may not value what you have and may not be attracted to your course.

I believe it depends on individual club situation and why you are putting-on the course.


I think this is something we didn’t do very well. The main benefit of Speechcraft is that it raises Toastmasters’ profile within the local community, we only really publicised it through our website. The next course we run we will use a greater variety of methods including the local press, Facebook, You Tube and all the other forms of social media.

I would advise any club to think about running a Speechcraft course. They are fun, and I believe do a lot of good for the organisation. They are challenging work but worthwhile and I would heartily recommend clubs organise them.

“Best course I’ve done in years” said Jeremy…

Sandra Losty ACS ALS Treasurer Lucan Toastmasters

“Best course I’ve done in years” said Jeremy while Niamh commented “who knew six weeks would make such an impact. It has been an excellent experience for me”. These are but two of the comments made by the staff of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Ireland who recently completed the Speechcraft programme.

Spear headed by someone who had Speechcraft experience who the sold the idea to the Human Resources Department after one staff member commented they were dreading doing a presentation to a large of staff in the company.

Lucan Toastmasters were delighted to be approached about facilitating the programme. Sixteen participants took part in the 6-week programme and they committed to breaking through this fear that held them back. Table Topics proved the most challenging element and the group wondered would they be given notice of the topics to prepare. ‘Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable’ became their mantra for the course. This also included a switch around in the layout of the room. Growing and stretching their comfort zone with each week.

Records of timings were kept throughout the course and a comparison was made between the first time they spoke impromptu and the last meeting. Almost all spoke for the whole duration of the time allowed at the end. What a wonderful way to measure progress.

Evaluations became more robust as they worked on organising their thinking within a brief period, something they were highly concerned about on week one.

This group finished excited about their achievements, their colleagues commented on how they had seen the difference in their confidence and what was surprising was how they got to know each other in a way not possible in the everyday work environment. The experience and benefit of ‘everyday’ leadership in taking on roles other than the speaking roles was huge learning curve with an appreciation of no job is too small or too big, all roles are required to make the experience work for the benefit of the whole group.

Next steps for this group? Well they wanted more of the experience they had were in contact with on Speechcraft and I am sure we will see some clubs have visits from a few. Who knows they may even convert into members of clubs in their communities.

‘Belt & Braces’

Pat Rooney CC, Clondalkin Toastmasters

Following the success of our first ever Speechcraft course in….. our second Speechcraft kicked off in early September, under the peerless coordination of Seamus Whelan and Mary McHugh, with support from Terry Mason and myself, Pat Rooney.

Much of our summer/autumn membership drive was geared specifically towards Speechcraft. It gave us a rich harvest of applicants for the course. We began on September 11th with 8 candidates. Life events resulted in two of the class members having to abandon the course, but the remaining 6 candidates laboured on through thick and thin and graduated on October 30th.

From even before the outset, our approach to recruitment and the conduct of the course differed from the previous Speechcraft. We made individual and, occasionally, repeated contact with all the leads generated by the membership drive.

Candidates were invited to the inaugural club meeting of the TM year, which was held on the week before the commencement of Speechcraft. As VPM, I gathered the new recruits together at the break and talked them through a brief induction to Toastmasters, Pathways, and the Speechcraft concept. Most of those who underwent this induction turned up the following week to commence the course.

One of the most innovative features of this class was that we set up a Speechcraft WhatsApp group from the outset. In addition to facilitating regular housekeeping bulletins, this enabled us to initiate and maintain a support channel and conversation with class members throughout the entire course. It’s a measure of the value of the group that, over the period early September – late October, over 500 Speechcraft-related messages were exchanged over the app. I’ve no doubt that this contributed greatly to group identity and cohesion.

Overall, the class of autumn 2018 performed and developed exceptionally well throughout their time in Speechcraft and, at the time of writing, all of them appear to be looking forward to continuing their Toastmasters’ journey as members of the Clondalkin club.

An indication of the quality of their work on the course is that two of the members, Julie Gorman, and Rosanna Kirwan, competed, and performed exceptionally well, in the club’s recent Humorous Speech competition. So, it is, I think, entirely fitting that this piece should conclude with the testimonials of Julie and Rosanna:

If you are looking to do a public speaking course, look no further than Toastmasters’ Speechcraft course. …. I really enjoyed the course and I looked forward to going every week. The people on the course were great. The mentors and the organisers were brilliant, always offering encouragement, support and giving insightful tips from each weekly speech. – Julie Gorman

I felt very safe in the Speechcraft class. A great idea for people to test the waters before graduating to the “big class”. I was so encouraged by everyone. My confidence spiralled. The evaluations were so respectful and helpful. – Rosanna Kirwan

Post script

Teresa Redmond Division M Director

Pat only joined Clondalkin Toastmasters (CTM) in Jan 2018 and has powered ahead in his speech development and has become a stalwart of the club taking on the VPM role this year, despite many other commitments to voluntary organisations. He has described his TM experience as the best fun he’s had, with his clothes, on for years!

The programme was delivered on a weekly basis (unlike the previous year which was fortnightly and began in Jan 2018, this year we began in the week after our first CTM club meeting in September) and, we took payment on the first night of class! These alongside the team’s commitment, but I think especially Pat’s unrelenting attention to keeping the course participants in communication on WhatsApp, supplying them with little tips, and guidelines as they proceeded through the course, was instrumental in building morale, confidence, and ownership within the group.

Encouragement and facilitating the lifeworld-getting-in-the-way was most important in retaining members. Course participants became members of CTM right from the start and thus had access to online Pathways and other TM resources and of course full club meetings.

As the course took place immediately before the regular club meetings when they coincided, (every second week,) the Speechcraft participants were encouraged to attend both.

Two successfully competed it our Humorous contest – one coming in 3rd place! One is now about to give her second pathways speech, one is signed up for her icebreaker in Pathways. And… we are optimistic for the others also.

Public Speaking Boot Camp (Speechcraft Inspired)

Billy Daly, Plain Speakers

We advertised with the poster on Facebook and Meetup. There was no flyers or newspapers used. Timing for publicity was only about two weeks which was short, but we wanted to get the people making new year resolutions on reflection this was very short timeframe also.

The idea behind it was to get a few new members for a then struggling club which I was coaching. The objective of Boot camp was: complete 3 speeches over 5 nights plus evaluations. Have the agenda filled for five weeks, have new speakers to inspire the existing members. I saw boot camp as a way of getting people who were up for a challenge.

We charged 50 euros and if the participants took up membership the 50 would be used as part payment.

On the night we had five for Boot camp, was expecting 10 so we split the meeting first half Boot camp second half regular meeting.

We also had two new members that first night I don’t know if it was from the publicity for Boot camp or not, but they both signed up on the night.

Of the five Boot camp participants three stayed on as members, one became a committee member and so did the other two that signed on that night which happened to be husband and wife.

On reflection the obstacles were, restricted resources for a small club. As each had to complete 3 speeches in a short timeframe each had to be coached individual (the first night was introduction) had we got the 10 this would have been impossible without more resources. For that reason, I think it’s more suitable for a bigger club.

I believe it is a good approach and would have no hesitation doing it again but only with lots of support.

Speechcraft at Cambridge University

Daniel Sandars DTM, PR Manager (Cranfield and Northampton Speakers Clubs) with input from Sultan Kus and Luc Moreau of Cambridge Speakers Club

In the summer of 2017 Sultan Kus, President of Cambridge Speakers Club, was attending Area H44 Club Officer Training at Cranfield University and remarked that her club had long wanted to work with Cambridge University, but the stalls at Freshers Fair cost hundreds of pounds. Members of Cranfield Speakers club, including a past District 71 Speechcraft chair, raised the idea that if Sultan offered to organise a Speechcraft that might open a door in. The strategy worked so with help planning drawn of Cranfield Speakers recent experience with Speechcraft Toastmasters from around Cambridge rallied together and delivered a program starting 27th October.

On the 15th of March 2018 six Law Students graduated from Speechcraft in a ceremony attended by past Region 11 International Director Teresa Dukes. Teresa remarked “Brilliant celebration for the Cambridge Union Speech graduates last night. All six did a brilliant job.” A sentiment extended by Division G Director Robert Brooke, a member of Cambridge Speakers club. “What a fantastic evening it was. Made me very proud of our amazing members, several with only a year or so of membership, taking up a big challenge [of delivering Speechcraft]. Not only taking the challenge but nailing it and setting a fantastic example to the rest of us.”

Cambridge Speakers club’s reputation was getting known. Soon after the club was asked to offer Speechcraft elsewhere in the University. A better strategy emerged -why not establish a corporate club? Cambridge Speakers and nearby ARM corporate club held a highly successful demonstration night on 17th October 2018 followed by the pre-chartering of a corporate club involving both Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press have been achieved. An application to organise a new club has been submitted.!

Photo credit Teresa Dukes

Public Speaking Society at the University of Essex

Bob Finch DTM, Camulodunum Club 5673.71

I have previously written about the way we use the Speechcraft Course as the basis of the Public Speaking Society at the University of Essex, so I have no intention of going over old ground again. What may be of interest is the more social aspect of the society.

There are an enormous range of nationalities represented across the student body at Essex, a couple of years ago 128 nationalities were to be found on campus. A good proportion are from Europe, but there are also many from the Chinese part of Asia. For many, if not most, there attendance at the University is their first authentic experience away from home and unlike UK based students, it is not easy to pop home for a long weekend. There is no doubt at all that the Mobile Phone has made an inestimable difference and as you move about the campus students are to be found in conversation in their native lounge, presumably conscious of the ‘time of the day’ back home.

But this is about the public speaking society. After just four weeks of this academic year the society is starting to gel not only as a public speaking club (in the terms that we Toastmasters understand) but also as a friendship group. Bonfire night celebrations on the campus led to the society executive committee inviting all group members to join with them as a group joining with the wider student body to watch the fun followed by a trip to one of the bars! After each of our meetings, which last a full two hours every Wednesday evening, the majority go off to one of the university bars where no doubt a few beers and wines are consumed, but the main outcome is a friendship bond, a form of pastoral care. People who a month ago were total strangers, and most of whom hardly meet each day, because they are doing different courses and living in various locations across the campus, are creating friendships from their membership of the Public Speaking Society

At the end of each term, before they all go their separate ways, parties are held, hoodies are bought and worn, contact details are exchanged – Facebook and similar are of course a modern way of ensuring continuing contact – did I mention that a former member is now the Barbadian representative to the United Nations in Geneva? Social Media is a wonderful way to maintain contact for as long as people want that.

This picture features a few of the group that finished last year, every one of them from a different country and four of them back with us this year and holding society officer status. These are the mentors of the new intake – we started with about 65 at the inaugural meeting, that is now whittling down with some of the not so keen dropping out but new ones arriving each week. By the end of this term the years membership will be stable (we have two members who are no longer students but are living and working locally now, using the computer expertise and speaking skills that they developed as students, who enjoy the interaction of the society meetings so much that they are enrolled as ‘honorary’ members).

If you have the time, and a conveniently located University of course, do please consider approaching your Students Union with a view to using Speechcraft as a tool to help develop speaking and social skills amongst students in your area, you should get great satisfaction from seeing young people developing their speaking skills as well as finding a social cohesion that they had not expected.

The Speechcraft Club

Daniel Sandars DTM, Public Relations Manager with contributions from Toastmasters Alistair Munro and Mike Diggins (District 72 Directories Officer)

In New Zealand they have developed the concept of the Speechcraft Club. These clubs are in the main population centres except for Wellington. The first one in Auckland (www.speechcraft.org.nz ) was the brain child of Toastmaster Alistair Munro.

Speechcraft distils the first stages of the Competent Communicator manual together with educational speeches into a high-quality training program operating over a defined time period. In contrast clubs offer an open-ended self-paced program where progress can be randomly limited by agenda capacity. All together Speechcraft can be a very attractive to non-members who have only a finite time schedule to invest in their learning and develop and want results!

From a Toastmasters perspective we can share a ‘bite size’ of our wonderful Toastmasters International world to non-members, which overall builds profile and often membership continues. Speechcraft participants who have completed the full eight session Speechcraft can continue with the Speechcraft Club or transfer their membership to a different Toastmasters Club. The Auckland Speechcraft Club has tweaked the timing requirements of their Speechcraft speeches to match those of the Competent Communicator manual to enable participants to have their first four Competent Communicator speeches credited. In the default Speechcraft Course it would only be a three-speech credit.

Alistair Munro adds “When the CL manual first came out, we attempted to incorporate it in the delivery of Speechcraft but found that most attendees at each meeting had their heads down writing evaluations, and few had their eyes up, actually listening to the speeches the Speechcrafters had worked so hard at to prepare. We also felt that the CL manual was a confusing distraction for people who tended to sign up for Speechcraft more their speaking, rather than leadership, development. What we did, however, is hand them their CL manual as part of the graduation ceremony in week 8, encouraging them to return and participate in subsequent courses, and not only continue their way through the CC manual, but also to embark on their competent leadership development journey.

We tried to offer advanced courses once, to deliver the rest of the CC manual in a training format (dubbed “201” for 8 participants for 3 additional speeches, and “301” for 4-6 participants and the final 3 speeches of the manual), but, while it showed early promise, after a couple of cycles, we struggled to fill the courses, and we determined that in Auckland the market dropped from 1.5 million people for the introductory course, to only 10 people for 201, and just 8 for 301. If there wasn’t a core of enthusiasm for people to move from one course to the next, we couldn’t fill the courses. We moved onto other ways to encourage participants to continue with us.”

Like Advanced clubs, Speechcraft clubs are very symbiotic to Community Clubs nearby. Speechcraft participants migrate towards membership of Community clubs to pursue the advanced educational tracks and membership benefits. Going the other way, experienced Toastmasters come in from the Community clubs as Dual members to provide the core Speechcraft club membership, executive committee, and trainers.

This is often easier said than done as Alistair notes “In our early years, we actively encouraged Speechcrafters to take their membership to other clubs at the end of the 8 weeks, in the confident belief that our core membership would be sustained by experienced Toastmasters who would enthusiastically seek us out, and join us, with a particular goal to develop their training skills. This later movement did not eventuate to the extent we would have liked, so since then – through to today – we take a truly even-handed approach: encouraging Speechcrafters to stay on with us, BUT if weekly meetings, or the training format, or Thursday evenings, or our CBD-fringe location doesn’t suit them for on-going membership with us, then we encourage them to seek out a community club that would suit them better, and we offer them guidance to this end from our Toastmasters network experience.”

How is all of this affected by Pathways you ask? Mike Diggins has made enquiries with World Headquarters and received the following reply I have notified the Leadership Team here at World Headquarters that the Speechcraft Kit is longer listed for purchase. I can confirm Speechcraft will not change but the material will eventually be modified to be aligned with Pathways. In the interim, the current material available for Speechcraft are the individual manuals in the online shop. It is my recommendation that members either purchase the coordinators guide or workbooks individually when conducting the program.” Mike’s current view is that “It should be possible to adapt Levels 1 and 2 of Pathways (without the mentoring project) to the Speechcraft course in the same way the CC is used now. Whether the completion of the course is equivalent to completing L1 of Pathways isn’t clear – but that would be the nearest point to what was done with the traditional programme.”

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