Invocations, Pledges and Controversial Topics

Invocations and Pledges

Invocations and pledges are popular ways to open club meetings with an inspirational message. They are usually one or two minutes in length, are delivered by a designated club member, and are entirely optional.

If your club chooses to open a meeting with an invocation or pledge, always take care to respect the diversity of club members and visitors.

The decision to open a club meeting with an invocation or pledge 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.

Controversial Speech Topics

Members often hear "through the grapevine" that speeches concerning politics, religion and sex are forbidden by Toastmasters International because “such controversial subjects are not appropriate.”

This is not true. Toastmasters International does not prohibit any speech topic, content or language.

Toastmasters International recognizes that club members may learn much about the world around them from listening to others’ speeches on a variety of subjects. This variety can add interest to club meetings and stimulate thoughts and ideas. For these reasons, Toastmasters International does not place restrictions on topics, content or language in any speech.

Toastmasters International also recognizes that a club comprises a diverse group of people and recommends that members be mindful of this diversity, using good taste and sensitivity when selecting speech topics, content and language.

While Toastmasters International has no organizational restrictions along these lines, each individual club does have the right to limit speech subjects, content and/or language, with the consensus of its members. Club leaders should guide their members on how to observe good taste and sensitivity in the context of that particular club.

Club websites are useful vehicles clubs can use to advise members and guests of any policies that have been decided. Presenting information on a club website helps maintain consistency as leadership changes. Additionally, it allows transparency and clarity for club members so they can periodically review the established practices of their club.

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