Porty Communicators - a Toastmasters International club

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ONE-OFF location: Charis House, Crossreach HQ

47 Milton Road


EH15 2SR

United Kingdom

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Porty Communicators is a new Toastmasters International club in Portobello, Edinburgh. We are a self-help group using well-proven methods to provide effective and affordable presentation and leadership skills training and practice in a friendly, supportive environment. Great practice for ace-ing job interviews or giving feedback to staff, running meetings, pitching for new business or giving presentations. Our members range from professional speakers to non-native English speakers and recovering stammerers. Everyone starts where they are and improves at Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is a not-for-profit organisation with over 90 years' track record of helping people gain confidence in public speaking and leading people. With 16,000+ clubs in 142 countries our eight communications and leadership qualifications are globally-recognised.

Porty Communicators meets for two hours twice a month - all for around £100 a year. This includes your training materials, a mentor and a monthly magazine, plus extensive feedback. Come along and see for yourself free of charge. You'll be very welcome.

For further details see:

For info on Toastmasters International and helpful tips see


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

Yes: 18 years +

What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?

On-street free parking, or no 15, 26, 45, 124 buses

What can I bring into the event?

Yourself and a pen.

What does Toastmasters International do?

We provide well-proven training, evaluation and support, to boost confidence in communications and leadership skills in a friendly and encouraging environment. We offer a unique combination of training and regular practice to embed skills in both public and impromptu speaking (aka as "thinking on your feet"), plus practical leadership projects.

What kind of people can Toastmasters help?

People of all ages and walks of life discover a need to boost their communications and leadership skills. Typical reasons people join Toastmasters in Edinburgh include:

  • Recently promoted managers who need to deliver team briefings and report to senior management
  • Job seekers that need to stand out at interviews
  • Self-employed people needing to pitch for new business
  • Networkers do better if they practice their introductions and develop impromptu speaking skills
  • Trainers that need to add interest to their programmes
  • Professional speakers who need an audience to try out new material
  • Post graduate students needing support to deliver their dissertations and vivas (oral examinations).
  • Non-native English speakers that need to improve communications skills
  • Wedding and other special occasion speeches often trigger a need to boost presentation skills
  • People needing to boost their communications confidence generally get lots of support and visibly improve at Toastmasters

How much does Toastmasters cost?

Toastmasters' club fees vary according to their running costs. The annual fee for Porty Communicators is £84 paid in two instalments of £42 - the first instalment varies depending on which month you join. There is also a one-off fee of £20 to cover registration with Toastmasters International.

What do I get from Toastmasters?

Apart from meeting new positive people on a self development journey, being entertained by the speeches and a good deal of fun, you also get:

  • Your training manuals
  • 4 hours per month training/practice/support at meetings
  • Advice from the club's vice president education and speech slots
  • Online project and progress tracking plus goal setting for your awards
  • A more experienced member as a mentor if you wish
  • Written feedback from everyone in the room after each speech
  • Oral evaluation of each speech by a more experienced toastmaster
  • Optional - get a member to video you on your smartphone so you can see for yourself
  • A monthly magazine with inspiration and useful tips
  • Invitation to join the Edinburgh Advanced Speakers club for more detailed feedback from your peers when you get your Competent Communicator award
  • Up to 8 globally recognised qualifications
  • International speech competition opportunities to shine at a club, area or country level, up to the world speaking championships!
  • Meet British and Irish Toastmasters to make friends, see winning speech-makers and attend workshops at the annual spring and autumn conferences
  • As a Toastmaster member you can visit thousands of Toastmasters clubs in 142 countries - see the club finder on site

How much time does it involve?

Porty Communicators meets every fortnight for 2 hours, so that's c4 hours of training, feedback and practice a month. Plus allow time to prepare and practice your prepared speeches and support roles using our communications and leadership training manauals. You proceed through the speech and leadership projects at your own pace, but it's a good idea to participate regularly, otherwise the feedback you get fades and your progress can plateau without practice. Many people diarise weekly toastmasters, using the same time-slot during the intervening week to work at home, reading the manuals and preparing for speeches and roles.

You will progress faster if you use your mentor to help you with your first three speeches.

When you deliver a prepared speech, you will get a written and a verbal evaluation from a more experienced Toastmaster, but do get someone to video your speeches on your smartphone so you can see your own speech performances for yourself. Plus read the feedback slips from members so you can see the overall consensus to help you decide what you need to work on first. It's quite difficult to correct more than one thing at a time. If several points for improvement have been mentioned, look ahead to see which projects you can use to tackle these later, to help you decide what to work on first.

Do I have to attend regularly?

Yes. As a member of Toastmasters, you promise to attend and participate as regularly as you can to maintain your own improvement momentum, and to help others improve. You'll learn a lot by helping others by performing the support roles. They also give you two additional opportunities to deliver mini-speeches: a prepared introduction plus a report at the end. You also get credits towards a leadership award.

How do get started?

You need to join a club to get your training manuals. And don't forget to ask for a mentor - someone a little further on in the Toastmasters' journey that you can contact for help with your first three speeches. They should be able to offer general advice and may be willing to give you feedback on a practice run-though on a Skype call, or meet you in person. Just don't leave it until the last moment if you want help as you won't have time to take their recommendations on board!

I'm terrified of public speaking - how can I control my nerves?

Public speaking is different from 1-2-1 chat or small group communications where you are used to getting encouraging responses as you speak. But that doesn't happen when you give a speech because an audience goes into "receive" mode when a speaker comes on. "Receive mode" often makes people's faces go blank or grim. This is really good news: it means they are listening hard. But if you not used to this, it's not surprising that you find an apparently stone-faced audience daunting! Now that you know what's going on, that will help a bit, but Toastmasters provides a lot more.

Toastmasters provides a safe place to regularly practice public speaking with support and constructive feedback to help you grow in confidence as a speaker and an individual.

It also helps to think of nerves as "excitement".

Plus: take a few calming deep breaths just before and during your journey to the stage. Then pause, look at the audience and take another breath before you start. This makes you look much more confident than you probably feel. To prove that, get someone to video your speeches at Toastmasters on your smartphone - it helps to know you look much better than you felt inside!

Plus have a look on TED talks for Amy Cuddy's excellent talk on scientifically proven ways to manipulate your hormones to boost confidence and reduce nerves.

Public speaking is scary - what's the easiest way to start at Toastmasters?

If you are not an experienced speaker why not start on the Toastmasters' Competent Leadership manual? That manual involves taking on meeting support roles to help other members. This gives you two short speeches at each meeting: to introduce your role and to give your report: great practice for getting used to an audience.

When you feel ready to start on the Competent Communications manual, book a speech slot and talk through your speech ideas with your mentor. You can then alternate performing meeting roles and delivering speeches to progress through both basic manuals and get onto the most useful part of the Toastmasters programme: the advanced manuals which allow you to work on a number of vocational speaking projects.

What qualifications does Toastmasters International offer?

You can gain eight globally recognised qualifications in communications and leadership from Toastmasters (listed below). Each award is recognised with a certificate and presentation. Your employer can be sent a copy of your award notification letter from Toastmasters International HQ on request.

The two starter awards are:

Competent Communicator - achieved after delivering 10 speeches (on subjects of your choice) addressing the 10 speech projects designed to cover the specific basics of public speaking.

Competent Leader - designed to boost soft skills such as analytic thinking, giving effective feedback, managing projects and events, time management, mentoring, motivating and managing people.

The three advanced communications qualifications each involve 10 speeches from your choice of vocational training manuals, plus specific education presentations:

Advanced Communicator Bronze

Advanced Communicator Silver

Advanced Communicator Gold

Advanced Leadership awards involve taking on increasing levels of responsibility, plus education, management and training projects:

For example,

Advanced Leadership Bronze - being on a club management committee + delivering education projects

Advanced Leadership Silver - becoming an area director responsible for helping up to seven clubs in an area (managing up to 56 volunteers: the 7 clubs' committee members) to meet their key targets for members' qualifications, club membership numbers and club administration. Plus deliver specified education projects

Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) - the final "gold" level for leadership is the Distinguished Toast Master (DTM) when all the other qualifications are achieved alongside recruiting and managing a team to deliver a High Performance Leadership Project (either inside or outside Toastmasters) + deliver specified education projects.

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ONE-OFF location: Charis House, Crossreach HQ

47 Milton Road


EH15 2SR

United Kingdom

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