Invocations and Pledges
The invocation, usually a prayer or inspirational thought, is an optional part of club meetings. It is usually delivered by a designated club member at the beginning of the meeting, and is sometimes combined with or replaced by the pledge and/or the thought of the day.
Because Toastmasters is a worldwide organization that includes people from many different religious groups, a non-sectarian approach is required, and the speaker should be sensitive to the diversity of cultures and religions in the audience.
If you are new to Toastmasters and you are nervous about the thought of speaking in front of people, you can use this role to build confidence while serving a small but important function for the club.
Before the Meeting
Prepare a brief invocation, no more than one minute in length. In your invocation, do not refer to a particular religious philosophy; make your reference universal. Treat it as you would any other speech – craft it carefully, memorize it and practice delivering it before the meeting.
During the Meeting
Arrive a little early to let the presiding officer know that the role will be covered for the meeting.
When called upon by the Toastmaster, stand up and deliver your invocation to the group. Depending on the customs of your club, you may need to step to the front of the room.
A pledge to the flag or other recognition of the host country is another optional part of Toastmasters meetings. Each individual member’s participation in the pledge is optional, and club leaders should ensure that members are not pressured into taking part.
Members decide at the club level
It is up to each club to decide whether or not to include an invocation, thought for the day, inspirational message, and/or pledge at each meeting. The decision is made by majority vote at a club’s business meeting when a majority of active members is present. Club leaders are responsible for arranging and abiding by this vote.