Common Terms & Terminology

This glossary contains a list of common terms and acronyms used in Toastmasters.
Browse the glossary using this index

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Advanced Communicator (AC)

The Advanced Communicator (AC) was both an educational award and a series of manuals, covering more specialized topics than the Competent Communicator. Some of the AC manuals include Speeches by Management, Professionally Speaking, and Storytelling. Each AC manual has five projects, instead of ten in the CC, but each level of AC requires two of these manuals to be completed.

The AC award comes in three flavors: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, each having their own set of requirements.

AC replaced Advanced Toastmaster (ATM) in the mid-2000s.

Advanced Leader (AL)

Advanced Leader is an award that comes in two flavors as of the mid-2000s: Bronze and Silver. Bronze requires service as a club officer, and Silver requires service as a district officer (area director or higher). There are other requirements. 

AL requires the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader awards to be completed. AL has been replaced by the Pathways program.

Advanced Toastmaster (ATM)

ATM is the older form of the Advanced Communicator, replaced by the latter in the mid-2000s. It comes in Bronze, Silver, and Gold variants.

Ah-Um Counter

This meeting role can be part of the WAG, or it can be standalone. The Ah-Um Counter keeps a record of "verbal crutches" like ahs, ums, you knows, and so on. 

More information can be found in the RDG TM Meetings program. 


An area is a collection of 4-6 clubs that an area director is responsible for. Typically these are kept in the same geographical area. 

Officers should know what area their club is in, and be aware it can change from year to year with realignments.

Area Director (AD)

The area director (formerly known as area governor) is responsible for an area, helping to guide the clubs in the area to success.

Optimally, area directors should be a part of your club's executive meetings and be visiting your club once every other month (if not once a month). 

If you have issues with your club that are not being addressed by the officers, you may consider contacting your area director.


Club Officer Training (COT)

A Club Officer Training (COT) provides officers with the basics of how to achieve Distinguished Club Program goals as well as what roles and responsibilities they have. These typically are shorter than a Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) and may be conducted by a division, so they're recommended for more experienced club officers who can't attend the TLI.

Competent Communicator (CC)

The Competent Communicator (CC) was the starting speaking manual prior to the introduction of the Pathways program. It contains ten projects, starting with the Icebreaker and ending with Inspire Your Audience.

Though outdated now, the manual has some useful lessons.

Competent Leader (CL)

The Competent Leader (CL) was introduced in the mid 2000s, and was designed to help develop leadership skills by getting written evaluations for performing club-related tasks and roles, such as being an evaluator, Table Topics Master, and so on. Like the CC, it has ten projects, but requires you to complete a set of tasks for each project that cannot be done in one meeting. It has been replaced by the Pathways program.

Competent Toastmaster (CTM)

CTM is the older version of the Competent Communicator award/designation, replaced by CC in the mid-2000s. 

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