Mentoring Program


What is the Mentoring Program?

A program specially tailored for our new proteges:

  • To learn & understand Toastmasters’ Education Program
  • To start speaking with confidence

The new member will be assigned a mentor upon joining our Club. The new member being mentored will be called a protege, which is a more appropriate word than “mentee”.

How long is the Mentoring Program?

The Mentoring program is provided to answer any question linked to the club environment and help proteges successfully complete their first three speeches.

What are the benefits of Mentoring Program?

  • Better understanding of Toastmasters program
  • Guided path to achieve goals faster
  • Able to learn from more senior Toastmasters
  • Develop confidence and speaking skills
  • Increase protege satisfaction

Who is your Mentor?

A mentor is a more senior Club member who has completed at least 6 projects from the Competent Communication Manual.

What are the roles of a Mentor?

  • Introduce the Competent Communication speech program
  • Coach and assist protege to complete first 3 speeches
  • Provide encouragement and constructive evaluation to protege
  • Review protege’s progress
  • Help the protege to prepare for meeting roles if applicable

What do I need to do to be a successful mentor?

The 3 Stages of Mentoring

1st Stage – Getting to know each other & Toastmasters
Time frame: within 1st week of protege assignment

  • Get to know protege – what they want out of Toastmasters, find common interests, what are their concerns or fears.
  • Explain fundamentals of chapter meetings (speeches, evaluations, Table Topics etc)
  • Explain basics of CC & CL manuals & Toastmasters Education journey
  • Discuss protege’s Toastmasters goals – CC or CL and time frame to complete
  • Discuss the approaches to achieving CC or CL goals/awards
  • Explain speech booking system • Encourage protege to sign up for 1st Ice Breaker speech
  • Explain the TPCTMC resources available (email, Telegram, Facebook and the website).
  • Encourage them to connect and participate

2nd Stage – Coaching & Development

  • Discuss CC Project 1 – Ice Breaker speech – Objectives & speech timing
  • Provide feedback on protege speech content
  • Practice speech delivery with protege if possible
  • Continue to help with protege’s speech assignment for Project 2
  • Provide feedback and discuss after each speech delivery for area of improvement
  • Continue to help with protege’s speech assignment for Project 3

3rd Stage – Review & Support

  • Review protege’s progress after Project 3
  • Explain the meeting roles • Encourage protege to take up meeting roles under CL manual
  • Explain other opportunities with TI membership eg workshops, conference, speech contests. Highlight upcoming events
  • Discuss benefits & effectiveness of mentorship program
  • Encourage protege to consider becoming a mentor to new proteges

To benefit from this Mentoring Program, it is important for the Protege to be…

  • Open to feedback
  • Eager learner
  • Hardworking
  • Appreciative

New proteges can opt-out of the mentoring program or request a different mentor at any time by contacting the Vice President Education.

Mentor Interaction

Meeting The Protege

  • Take time to review your basic manual for the guidelines of your protege’s next project
  • Contact the protege a few weeks before a speech and review the project together. Although mentors can help proteges through email, or messaging, it is preferred that they can meet proteges in person. I also encourage communication outside of the club, but it could also be during the club meeting.
  • Some new proteges start to fear their next speech and regret their decision to join. Always encourage them to continue.
  • Follow up a week later to see if your ‘protege is having problems constructing the speech. Help with writing if needed, but don’t write their speech for them. Simply use questions to guide the protege through the speech. Questions should start with the speech, move to the main ideas behind it and then to the individual points. Brainstorm with the protege and explain how to organize.
  • Offer to listen as your protege rehearses the speech. Be sure to provide positive feedback – don’t criticize. Tell what you like, what might be improved upon and then show how to improve it. After the speech has been delivered, compliment the new protege and offer one tip on how to improve.
  • Sending a congratulatory note after the Icebreaker (or another major project) can go a long way toward building a protege’s confidence and usually is greatly appreciated. If the new protege was unhappy with the performance, send him or her a note of reassurance. This could make the difference between the protege giving up or continuing on the journey.
  • Offer some tips for controlling nervousness. If you don’t have any advice to offer from personal experience, a little research could benefit you, also. The best cure for nervousness is preparation and more preparation. The more prepared people are, the more likely they are to feel comfortable.
  • Many fledgling Toastmasters are concerned about giving their first evaluation. Flush out their fears by explaining the fundamentals of a good evaluation. The evaluation guide sent with the basic manual offers good tips.

Speech Preparation and Content

Typically for the first speech (Ice Breaker), the speaker will speak about himself or herself. Something about their life, their job, hobbies, interests, family, or any combination of these. The protege can usually find a topic for that first speech. Ensure your protege come up with an appropriate title for the Ice Breaker speech. Not all speakers have a title for their Ice Breaker speech.

For subsequent speeches, one of the most common difficulties for speakers is to find a topic for the speech.

There are two things to consider in selecting a speech topic.

  • Speech Project Objectives: Encourage your protege to read all of what the manual has to say about their next project. Highlight the objectives and encourage your protege to choose content that will enable them to meet the objectives.
  • Find a message. Many speakers have trouble finding a message. Personally, I encourage proteges to talk about their own experiences, their own passions, their own inspirations. Everyone has a lifetime of experiences and each of us probably experienced an inflection point or a reflection point sometime in our lives. That experience may have made all the difference. A trip down memory lane may recall messages that resound with the speaker. When a speaker begins with a message that they care about, they may be inspired to bring this message to life.

Orientating the Speaker

When a new Toastmaster is assigned to present their first speech, there may be a few things that are forgotten, usually because they may not have been told.

  • Introduction: Many first time speakers don’t know that they should prepare an self introduction for the Toastmaster of the Evening.
  • Lectern: Point out to your protégé that they do not need to speak at/behind the lectern if they don’t want to. For the ice breaker they can stand where ever they are most comfortable. I usually like to have a protege stand on the podium and look out at the audience during the break to get them comfortable with speaking at our mini theatre.
  • Props: Mention to your protégé that whenever they use props that need to be set up, they can either set it in place before the meeting, during the one minute of timed silence, or ask the SAA to set it up for them. They may choose any of these options over pausing to prepare their props after they are introduced.
  • Manual: Remind your protégé to remember to bring their speech manual with them the night they are speaking, and remind them to fill in the details of their next speech.
  • Speech projects: It is strongly suggested that your protégé present the speech projects in order so they may build on each skill being emphasized. However, if your protégé is preparing project 3 and would like to share research on climate change, it might probably be more appropriate to apply this speech toward project 7. Going in project order is preferred, but not required.
  • Timing: Encourage your protégé to be disciplined with their speech timing.
  • Avoid: Apologizing for any mistakes in the speech and avoid thanking the audience for listening

The first three Speeches

Ice Breaker (CC Speech 1)

Different individuals have an interesting range of responses to the Ice Breaker speech. Some find it easy since they are comfortable speaking about themselves. However, others may find it difficult. Providing your protégé with guidance on preparing for the Ice Breaker speech could very well help them get off to a great start in their speech manual.


  • Introduce yourself to the club. Members tend to love Ice Breaker speeches because it is often the only time we really get to know the new members. Encourage your protégé to focus on creating a clear beginning and ending and a body with a few main points. You might suggest they memorize the opening and conclusion, even if they feel the need to refer to notes during the body.
  • Acknowledging the fact that some people will have a really difficult time just getting up and speaking in front of others, the Ice Breaker project is designed to help the Toastmaster feel successful after just the first speech. It may help your protégé to understand that their basic goal for this speech is to just get through it, and that everyone in the audience will be cheering for them to succeed.
  • The beauty of the objective of the Ice Breaker is that it is appropriate for your protégé regardless of their background and it will help them chart a course for improvement over the next several speeches. The first speech helps members gauge the speaker’s current strengths so that they can make specific recommendations to help you improve.


Encourage your protégé to:

  • Ask for help. Make yourself available as a mentor to sit down ahead of time with your protégé to go over their speech, either on paper or for a speech rehearsal.
  • Practice. Practicing will definitely help alleviate nervousness. This is especially important if your protégé is not a native English speaker to help them avoid stumbling over certain words. Also encourage them to time themselves giving their speech.
  • Be realistic. Encourage your protégé not to get too upset if the speech is not performed with perfection.

Simple Outlines for the Ice Breaker

  • Chronological: For many people, speaking about their life chronologically is the easiest way to write and deliver a speech
  • Topical: Discuss a series of elements of your life to provide a “sampling” of your life.
  • Common Thread: select a common thread that runs through your life, and share stories where this thread appears

Organize Your Speech (CC Speech 2)

The ability to organize a speech effectively is a skill that your protégé will need for the rest of their Toastmasters experience and far beyond.


  • Select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand your speech. Project 2 focuses on organizing ideas to promote understanding of the message
  • Make the message clear, with supporting material directly contributing to that message. A good suggestion for your protégé would be a simple outline containing three clear points. A basic three point outline will be easier to follow.
  • Use appropriate transitions when moving from one idea to another. As a mentor you can probably offer your protégé some great tips on transitions. A few suggestions are use of pauses, key phrases between stories or a phrase that is repeated throughout the speech at transition points. I call this a mantra.
  • Create a strong opening and conclusion. Strong openings include a “hook” that will grab the audience’s attention from the very beginning. Hooks can include a shocking statement, statistic, or declaration, music or singing, movement (a demonstration, dance, or gesture), silence, joke, rhetorical question, anecdote, quote, among other things. Encourage your protégé to be creative. Strong conclusions tie back to the introduction and leave the audience with something to think about.

Get To The Point (CC Speech 3)

The skills learned in the third speech will help your protégé keep all of their future speeches focused. It helps the speaker stay on track and avoid going off on tangents, and can help weed out less important information to remain within the defined timing requirements.

The General Purpose: A Common Misunderstanding of Speech 3

  • Some Toastmasters assume that the general purpose of the third speech refers to the broad, simplified topic. If you read the lesson for the speech project, you’ll notice that is not correct. There are only four different types of general purposes and knowing exactly which one your protégé’s speech is will help them focus the speech content better. The four purposes are:
    1. To inform: educate the audience about something
    2. To persuade: convince the audience to consider or accept a different point of view or take action on something
    3. To inspire: motivate the audience to achieve a higher level of engagement
    4. To entertain: Get the audience to feel something


  • Select a speech topic and determine its general and specific purposes. After your protégé decides the topic they are going to talk about in their third speech, the general purpose should be easier to choose. The specific purpose should be simple and precise. Your protégé should be able to describe the specific purpose in a single sentence.
  • Organize the speech in a manner that best achieves those purposes. Some outlines will be more appropriate to a specific purpose than others. Your protégé might keep in mind that the last point a speaker makes tends to be the one the audience remembers the best, while the least remembered information is in the middle of the speech. Therefore, the most important, or convincing information should be saved for the end of the speech body.
  • Ensure the beginning, body and conclusion reinforce the purposes. One of the biggest challenges a speaker has is to stay focused. If you have a chance to review and comment upon your protégé’s speech draft prior to them giving the speech at the club, watch to make sure every point, sub-point, and example reinforces the specific purpose. If something is said that doesn’t support the purpose of the speech, highlight that to your protégé. Any diversion from the purpose may distract and even confuse the audience.
  • Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel. It might help your protégé to develop a reasonable expectation of their upcoming experiences by pointing out that nervousness may not necessarily be eliminated, but instead controlled. Remind your protégé about breathing techniques, using pauses to avoid speaking too quickly, proper preparation, and other techniques to help with nervousness.
  • Strive not to use notes. The manual suggests memorizing the introduction and conclusion, which is definitely a great suggestion. Pass on to your protégé the techniques that help minimize usage of notes, such as note cards, a simple outline, speech landmarks, visual aids, and other techniques. I personally like note cards.

Fear of Speaking

Occasionally you will have a protege who has a specific challenge to overcome. Extremely shy or introverted speakers may often feel the overpowering “flight” urge over the resolute “fight” urge when presenting a speech. This is why it is important for you as the mentor to be present for your protégé’s speeches. If your protégé appears to panic and perhaps ready to flee, take some action to make more comfortable. Suggest they talk directly to you as though they are simply having a conversation with you. Suggest deep breaths. Use a soft, calm voice to provide words of encouragement. Another situation in which your protégé might struggle is if they are overly attached to their words. Some speakers might want their speeches worded just right and forgetting their speech can become a traumatic experience. Regardless of the reason, if your protégé should leave the room in the middle of a speech or just after, follow them and provide comfort and encouragement. Take initiative if it looks like your protégé is getting ready to fear speaking again.


General Summary to Crafting a Speech

  1. Find a message that appeals to the protege. Reflect on any messages that they felt strongly about in the past. It need not be a personal experience but the experience they read about or watched.
  2. Focus on that message and brainstorm how that message can be delivered in seven minutes. What does the protege want to achieve in this speech? Discuss the possible purposes: inform, persuade, inspire or entertain.
  3. Craft some stories around that message. Personal stories are the most powerful and easiest to remember. All the speeches I have heard from the world champions of public speaking are personal stories. Think about 5 or 6 possible stories and select the ones that best fit the message.
  4. Find a common thread between the stories. They could be chronological, or topical or through a key mantra such as “I see something in you”. The common thread will help organize the speech and ensure a smooth transition from story to story.
  5. Refine the speech by removing extraneous details. This is where we have to be disciplined and not indulge ourselves but focus on the audience.
  6. Craft a beginning and an end that fits the message. Remember the end of the speech is the part usually best remembered by the audience.
  7. Further refine by rehearsing the flow of the speech and how it can be best delivered. Don’t simply focus on content but how that message can be best delivered (body language, gestures, vocal variety, language)…