The Secret to Picking Advanced Manuals

Are you at the crossroads?

You’ve completed your first Competent Communicator manual, and it’s time to decide what advanced manual you’re going to do next. Toastmasters International will send you two free advanced manuals when your first CC is submitted by your vice president of education.  But how do you pick?

Advanced Manuals selection - is there a wrong choice?

What will you pick for your first Advanced Manuals?

Even with the revitalized education program looming, there’s no reason to avoid working on your skills today.   The Advanced Manuals have great value in teaching the skills you want to develop.  But how to pick?  Should you go with your gut instinct and get the Storytelling manual, or should your brain override and get Persuasive Speaking?

Here’s the secret – you can do both.  Yes, you know, the DTM requires 6 advanced manuals to be completed.


The 15 advanced manuals can be divided into two tracks – personal and professional.

Six of the advanced manuals are more about personal development – unless you’re planning a career in comedy.  These six advanced manuals

  • The Entertaining Speaker (226A)
  • Storytelling (226K)
  • Interpretive Reading (226L)
  • Interpersonal Communication (226M)
  • Special Occasion Speeches (226N)
  • Humorously Speaking (226O)

seem to me to be more personal than professional. Specialty Speeches (226E) seems to bridge between the two categories –  speech units on sales presentations and inspirational speeches in one manual. The professional advanced manuals

  • Speaking to Inform (226B)
  • Public Relations (226C)
  • Facilitating Discusion (226D)
  • Speeches by Management (226F)
  • The Professional Speaker (226G)
  • Technical Presentations (226H)
  • Persuasive Speaking (226I)
  • Communications on Video (226J)

are wide-ranging and can help you develop your professional speaking skills.

The secret is found in two questions.

  1. Consider your Toastmaster goals for a minute.  Are you interested in the Distinguished Toastmaster award?  From July 1, 2014, you’ll have three years to complete all the requirements, including the six advanced manuals.
  2. What do you want to accomplish?  Are you looking for specific professional achievements?  Or do you want to further your personal skills?

    Pick two advanced manuals - one personal, one professional.

    You can go both ways in your Toastmasters journey.

The answers to these simple questions will help you decide. Create a two track speech manual plan. If you’re here for professional reasons, then pick four of the manuals that will support those goals.  I think there’s a logical progression to the advanced manuals.  In my mind, the first one is always Speaking to Inform (226B). Speaking to Inform is one of the best of the advanced manuals.  It covers the basic speeches one may be expected to give – how-to presentations, fact-finding reports, analysis of resources – it’s the successor to the Competent Communicator. Regardless of what a Toastmaster’s goals are, I recommend this manual. From there, pick three other manuals that meet the professional goals. But on the other track, pick two manuals that will develop your personal skills and that you find fun. This then can be your plan to the DTM.

Professional Track Personal Track
Speaking to Inform The Entertaining Speaker
Speeches by Management Humorously Speaking
Facilitating Discussion Public Relations

But pairing a professional manual with a personal manual, you balance out the time working on your first two awards, maybe making a challenging or less interesting manual easier by working on the two concurrently.  Don’t really have an idea for an abstract concept speech but you’re on the agenda?  You can work on an after dinner presentation instead.

Allow this method to motivate you to finish both advanced manuals and get that next Advanced Communicator award.  By the time you reach the Advanced Communicator Silver award, you may have enough motivation to work through those last two manuals because the DTM is now in sight.

This is only one method to manual selection.  Everyone has their own plan.  There’s the equally logical “do every manual” and the random “What do I want to do next?” system.

Clubs that keep copies of all of the advanced manuals for their members to look over are clubs that encourage their members to work toward advanced awards.  I know that I used the manuals from one club to get started while I waited to receive mine from Toastmasters International.  In the end, I just bought a whole new set of manuals for the club and kept the older versions for my use.

I’d love to hear your method or reasons for picking the advanced manuals you selected, or a review of a manual from your experience.

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