After a number of years watching many toastmasters at various functions including weddings and Masonic Ladies Festivals, Richard Palmer found that there was no common standard amongst those working in the profession. Although some toastmasters were excellent others were not demonstrating an acceptable level of professionalism.
Richard decided, having worked as a toastmaster and master of ceremonies, to formalise his training with The London Guild Of Toatsmasters. His intention was to become a member of a guild, or organisation of some sort and to demonstrate his professionalism, passion and ideals. Richard found the training did not meet his expectations and was not up to the standard he had hoped for. Services being delivered by some toastmasters were not to his exacting standards and were being delivered in a less personable manner than those which Richard feels his clients should receive and deserve. The standards have, in some instances, slipped even further, with less attention being paid to our uniform and the way in which toastmasters should present themselves to their clients and their guests.
Having worked to an extremely demanding and high standard in the IT industry, where things were either right or wrong and there was no room for error in regards to the services provided to clients, Richard decided to push for the ISO 9001:2000 now updated to ISO 9001:2008 standard for the administration of his business. This was to make sure that his clients would know what to expect even before the service was delivered. Part of this standard also includes ensuring that your client is satisfied after the work has been completed.
Richard found that even though there are some excellent toastmasters out there, there were no set standards or qualifications for toastmasters and each of the organisations that offer training for toastmasters differed in their training content, delivery and method of teaching. But more importantly some organisations representing toastmasters had either no code of ethics or in particular cases a code of ethics that did not meet Richard's high standards. Many of the organisations that represent toastmasters are no longer offering training by the organisation itself. Further, there is no longer term help and support for the individual toastmasters who wish to gain a higher level of professionalism
Relating to standards and our own Code of Ethics, it is somewhat flattering to see that some of our Code of Ethics have been adopted, word for word or with slight amendments by some other organisations. It is even more interesting to see that the Code relating to drinking whilst wearing our uniform ie. on duty, has somehow been forgotten.
As an example, toastmasters from a number of organisations are allowed to consume alcohol whilst working. At the English Toastmasters Association, we do not consider it professional to behave in this manner. We are at a function to look after our clients. Our clients expect us to look after them and we really do not believe that we would be in the best situation to offer excellence if we had been drinking. It is also interesting to note that more venues are insisting that contractors do not consume alcohol whilst working.
To raise the bar within the entire profession and to bring it into the 21st century Richard along with the other founder members, Linda Palmer and Russell Rainger, decided to start the English Toastmasters Association and registered the name as a trademark on the 25th March 2004.
To make sure the English Toastmasters Association did not suffer the pitfalls of other organisations, firm foundations were built during the first 3 years, and on the 19th April 2007 the association welcomed its first member, Andrew Morgan.
The English Toastmasters Association is now the fastest growing quality association for toastmasters and is the largest organisation for toastmasters in the world. We have a clear and set vision to raise the value and quality of services that toastmasters offer to their clients.
The English Toastmasters Association has become the largest, as well as working at being highest quality association for toastmasters. We are already the most active in terms of training and support for our members and will continue to push for higher standards throughout our profession.
The History of Toastmasters
For an interesting insight as to how and why the red jacket was first worn in London in 1894 by William Knightsmith, please go to the History of Toastmasters at www.toastmasterhistory.co.uk. We will be adding more information about our history and how our work has changed over the decades and where we feel that we are now! We will also try to give an insight into the future of our profession as we see it. Thank you for your interest and please remember that much of the information that will be found on this site is copyright.
English Toastmaster assisting the photographer at the Manor of Groves, Hertfordshire.
Photograph courtesy of
Essex wedding photographer
David Court www.courtoncamera.co.uk
For further information please call 01245 222392 / 07971 409977