Toastmasters began as a series of speaking clubs organized by Ralph C. Smedley during his time working for the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in Bloomington, Illinois, United States. As director of education at the YMCA, Smedley saw a need for the men in the community to learn how to speak, conduct meetings, plan programs and work on committees, and he wanted to help them.
Smedley decided to organize a club where they could learn these skills in a social environment, and the men responded well to the concept. He named the group the Toastmasters Club; “toastmaster” was a popular term that referred to a person who gave toasts at banquets and other occasions.
The first unofficial Toastmasters meeting was held on March 24, 1905. Much like Toastmasters meetings today, the participants took turns leading and speaking at each meeting.
The Toastmasters Journey
Once the new YMCA building was christened in April of 1924, he was able to introduce the idea of Toastmasters to his colleagues, and organize the Toastmasters club that eventually became Club No. 1 of Toastmasters International. The first meeting was held at the YMCA building on October 22, 1924
Doha Toastmasters Club, the first club that introduced “toastmastering” to Qatar, was born in the year 1996 and chartered on 1st January 1997. The credit for starting the club goes to Manoj Megchiani, who formed the first toastmasters club in Qatar.
A renowned speaker, the late Fazel Bachooali and a prominent Doha socialite, Ronnie Mendoca offered all assistance to Manoj. The 20 charter members elected Fazel Bachooali as their first President. That was the beginning. The club has never looked back since then
Doha toastmasters club is the first club to start the Gavel club, “Doha Gavels club (DGC)” and the first school-based gavel club Birla Gavel club in Qatar; to impart communication and leadership skills among children in the age group of 12 to 18 years.
DGC produced many Champion speakers and our Gavellier have won many championship for youth in public speaking.
2012, Doha Club celebrated 15th anniversary
Doha toastmasters Club will conduct 450th meeting in 2017
January 2017 – Doha Toastmasters club will celebrate its 20th anniversary
“As it was the first club in the country, I had to train the members in all aspects of Speaking, Evaluation and Table topics. Therefore, my experience with the club is simply that of a Father with his first-born child, the first word, the first smile, the first walk, the first medal“. Recalls Manoj of these formative years
All the toastmasters in Qatar owe it to pioneer toastmasters of Doha toastmasters Club for being groomed into what they are today. 20 years have passed by. But the club continues to lead the toastmasters’ movement in Qatar, thanks to their vibrant and diverse membership and committed leadership.
The club is honoured with the Presidents Distinguished Medal continuously during the last 20 years, by Toastmasters International USA.
The club conducts short term programs like Personality development /Youth leadership programs (YLP) for adolescents; and speech craft program for adults.
The club has supported the formation of many other clubs in Doha, and coached and mentored many prominent clubs.
The club now has a pool of veteran and distinguished toastmasters who are now prominent leaders in their professional field. In the past the club was honoured to have the Indian ambassador of Qatar as a member.
It’s no surprise that Doha Toastmasters Club is one of the largest and most popular clubs in the city.