About / FAQ

Visitors are welcome at ALL of our meetings. There is no need to register or call ahead, just show up. Come alone or with a friend. During the meeting, you will be asked to introduce yourself, but nothing more is expected. Please arrive early to sign our guest book and find a seat. Our meetings start promptly at 6:00 pm.

What are the meetings like?
In a 90-minute meeting, you will hear humorous and inspirational speeches, see people think on their feet with impromptu responses, and observe members giving one another praise and constructive feedback through evaluations.

Meetings start with an introduction from the Toastmaster of the day, followed by up to three prepared speeches by members. These speeches follow the guidelines of the Toastmasters manual, and are each generally five to seven minutes in length.

After the prepared speeches, the Toastmaster introduces the Table Topics Master. During Table Topics, members may be randomly called on to give short impromptu speeches (one to two minutes in length) in response to questions related to the theme of the day.

Following Table Topics, evaluations of the prepared speeches are given, and the functionaries (Timer, Grammarian, Ah Counter) give their reports on the meeting. Following this agenda helps our members to practice valuable meeting facilitation and time management skills.

If you come as a guest, you will be asked to introduce yourself, but nothing more is expected. You’re welcome to participate in Table Topics if you wish, but you’re under absolutely no pressure to do so.

What are Table Topics?
Table Topics are opportunities for club members to speak extemporaneously for one to two minutes. During the Table Topics portion of the meeting, the Table Topics Master poses a series of questions for other members to answer. Members must speak if called upon. If you’re a visitor, we’d love for you to volunteer for Table Topics, but you’re not expected to do so.

Table Topics questions are not designed to stress you out, but they are challenging, and that’s why members enjoy them so much. Indeed, no one gives a perfect answer to a Table Topics question the first time. But after some practice, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier than you thought. The value of this portion of the meeting is that it allows participants to practice thinking on their feet, organizing their thoughts on the fly, and articulating them without preparation.

What are the evaluations like?
Near the end of the meeting, each main speaker receives an evaluation from another member. These evaluations provide us with positive feedback as well as constructive suggestions for improvement. A skilled evaluator will give this feedback in a supportive way that encourages your growth as a speaker and a leader. There is an Evaluator for each prepared speech and a General Evaluator who gives feedback to the Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, Evaluators and Functionaries.

The only way to improve our public speaking skills and our leadership capabilities is through improved awareness of our strengths and weaknesses. Evaluation is the key to this growth and success as individual speakers and leaders.

How is Rainbow Toastmasters different from other Toastmasters clubs?
Rainbow Toastmasters is one of the few LGBT speaking clubs in the world and provides a safe place for members to share their personal stories. At Rainbow Toastmasters, you will experience more topics that are relevant to the LGBT community and a celebration of cultural and sexual diversity. An example of how Rainbow Toastmasters is unique among other Toastmaster clubs is that we are also a social club and spend time outside of our meetings to get to know one another and deepen our relationships.

Why should I join?
If you choose to join us, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Weekly opportunities to build on your public speaking skills
  • Support and encouragement from your fellow Rainbow Toastmasters
  • Improvement of your critical listening skills
  • Opportunity to hone your leadership skills through evaluation, mentorship, meeting facilitation, and serving as a club officer
  • Enjoyment of fabulous member stories and shared wisdom
  • A sense of community and a network of diverse, intelligent people
  • A wide variety of resources and opportunities including conferences, training seminars, and international competitions
  • Read Member Testimonials here

What happens after I join?
After you join, our VP Education will pair you with another member, who will serve as a Mentor to you for your first few speeches. Your Mentor will help you prepare for speeches and other meeting roles, provide feedback, and help ensure you make timely progress. Mentoring adds a personal dimension to the start of the process, helping ease new speakers into a situation they might otherwise find intimidating.

You’ll also be automatically enrolled in Toastmasters International’s Pathways Education Program. This program provides speech projects meant to help improve your skills and confidence. It’s self-paced, and is intended to give you structured guidance, tailored to your personal public speaking and leadership goals.

Many members like to space their speeches at least 4-5 weeks apart, though there is no predetermined schedule. You can take your time. However, we recommend that when you join you give your first speech–called the “Ice Breaker”–about a month later at the latest. Joining is a big step, but keeping momentum is just as important!

What are the fees for membership?
Membership dues include a new member fee and a prorated joining fee (depending on the month you join). After joining, membership renewals are $78 twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Membership dues pay for our meeting space, your manuals, and our fees to Toastmasters International. Please ask a member for more details about joining fees when you visit.

When and where we meet

All are welcome! Come join the fun! Rainbow Toastmasters is open to the public and guests are always welcome to attend our meetings free of charge. No need to register, just show up! We meet every Thursday from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Please arrive by 5:55 pm

St. Francis Lutheran Church
152 Church Street @ Market Street
(across from Safeway, one block from the Church Street MUNI station)
Ring the buzzer to Parish Hall #2 on the side gate for entry

St. Francis Lutheran Church
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Rainbow Toastmasters is a member club of Toastmasters International, a world leader in communication and leadership development with 332,000 members, in 15,400 clubs, in 135 countries.