Welcome First Timers!
People come to Toastmasters for all kinds of reasons and from a very wide variety of backgrounds. For newcomers, it can be somewhat intimidating to see people who have been through a book or two already and who seem like very polished speakers. You may think, "Am I in the right place? Do I have anything to offer?" Don't let yourself get caught up in lines of questioning like this. Everyone has been a beginner. Everyone has felt the initial nervous jitter. And everyone has wondered to themselves what on earth they were going to do for their first speech!
My advice about getting involved in this, try Toastmaster's out for two weeks. Partcipate when called upon and get to know everyone by name. Then put in your application, because the real fun begins once you are a member and you get your first two books in the mail. Then you will better see the structure of the club and how it will help you be the speaker you want to be.
Once you have the books, don't wait. Jump in with both feet. Open the books and review the material. You will need about an hour to familiarize yourself with the material, and about an hour to decide on the topic you want to write about.
When sitting down to prepare your first speech, don't settle on the first topic that comes to mind. Flesh it out. Freewrite about it for a bit and dig into the material. Find some valuable nugget of information or an interesting point or detail. Then structure your speech around it. Avoid a linear construction of time, as in, "first this happened, then that happened", and focus instead on the point you want to make. Think topics such as, "Love hurts, but I am strong," "Single is heaven, but children make happiness full." Spend about an hour on the construction, then another hour on refinement. This means you will have about three hours total invested in your first speech, not including what you have spent familiarizing yourself with the manuals. This way you will be prepared and confident when it comes time to deliver your first speech.
Best of luck to you newcomers! We are glad to have you and interested in what makes you, you. We love diversity and inclusion and look forward to all the good times to come.