An ever-expanding list of questions and answers. You can
link to any specific question using the #ID hashtag at the end of
the URL, where ID is the ID of the question (for example,
www.agoraspeakers.org/faq.jsp#M01) and it will expand
Membership and clubs
M01 - How many clubs can I
You can join as many clubs as you want. There's no limit other
than your time and availability. Regardless of how many
clubs you join, the fees to Agora Speakers will remain the same.
However, please note that each club may charge their own fees to
offset club operation costs.
M02 - What is the minimum
number of members I need for starting a club?
The minimum number of members
for starting and maintaining a club is 8. We considered that
anything less could not reach the threshold of being called
M03 - Can I create a new club
where all the members are already members of other clubs?
Yes. In Agora clubs have a more "liquid" existence, and we also
favor the creation of clubs with specialized interests.
F01 - Why Agora Speakers does
not charge any fees?
We believe that until most of
the parts of system are available, especially the electronic
motion and voting system and the financial transparency module so
that people can see exactly where their money is going, Agora
shouldn't be charging any fees.
F02 - When will Agora Speakers
If everything goes according to
plan, that will happen somewhere near June or July 2017.
F03 - So is joining Agora
Speakers completely free now?
Although the membership fees
that Agora Speakers charges are currently waived, each club can
additionally charge fees to share the costs of operating, so the
answer to that question actually depends on the club you want to
F06 - Why not accept donations
or sponsors instead?
As of this date, Agora hasn't
still completed the legal registration process. Until that time,
Agora lacks legal personality, and donations or any income would
raise lots of financial, fiscal and legal issues that would need
to be tackled. At this point of time, it would be a waste of time
and resources dealing with them.
F07 - Is it possible at all
build an organization with such a low fee structure?
Yes it is. Most Agora members
come from other organizations that spend huge amounts of money on
executive compensation, travel reimbursements, real estate
investments, reserves and similar. Since Agora will not have any
of these (or they will be greatly reduced), our financial needs
are greatly reduced.
F08 - I'm an Agora volunteer.
Will my costs promoting Agora be reimbursed?
Cost reimbursements are a complicated issue right now.
First because Agora will not have the possibility to
reimburse anything until late 2017, and second because the rules
about what are reimbursable expenses and their limits do not
exist yet. The initiator and founder itself doesn't count on any
his expenses being reimbursed. By the time Agora will be capable
of reimbursing anything, it will be up to the Board of Directors
at that time to set the rules for such reimbursements
One of the reasons Agora exists is precisely due to the
inordinate amounts of money other organizations spent on travel,
which was completely unjustified. This doesn't mean that NO
travel will happen, but it does mean that very detailed thought
must be given on the subject to balance the needs of promoting
the organization and building clubs, without expenses getting
out of hand
E01 - I've already completed
some projects in a different organization. Need I start from zero
No. Agora Speakers recognizes
completed projects that match the learning goals and objectives
of projects from our own educational program, so there's no need
to do them again (unless you want to).
E02 - I've started a manual
from another organization. What are my options if I switch?
You have two options (not mutually exclusive) if you're
already following the manual of another organization:
1 Until the Agora Educational
Program is fully established, you can continue with that
program, as long as you legally own or have access to the
original educational materials you will be following. If, for
example, you're moving from Toastmasters, then you can continue
following the Toastmasters manuals doing these projects within
the framework of an Agora Speakers club. You would be switching
clubs, but keeping the educational program.
Of course, Agora will not be able to provide you with the
original certificate or title that you were pursuing, but we can
provide you with a certificate issued by Agora Speakers
2 You can apply for recognition, in
which case those projects that you have already completed that
match Agora projects in terms of goals, learning objectives and
acquired skills will be recognized and you will not need to do
them again. You would continue only with those Agora projects
that don't have equivalences in your old program. In this case,
you would be switching both clubs AND educational programs
E03 - Am I limited to doing
manual speeches in Agora?
As far as Agora Speakers is concerned, you can do any kind
of speeches as long as:
The purpose of the speech is your
personal improvement, education or practice
You have a very clearly defined and
written set of goals you want to achieve with that speech
The duration of the speech fits into
the availavble time in a meeting
In these cases, you need to provide your evaluation goals
and time limit to the club members - and especially your
evaluator and meeting timer - before the meeting, ideally
several days before it, so that you can receive proper feedback
However, please note that some clubs can limit the kinds
of speeches that can be done in them
E04 - Can I speak about
As far as Agora Speakers is concerned, you can speak about
anything. It's recommended, though, that you do it in good taste
and being careful with the different sensitivities existing in
Having said that, please note that clubs can vote to
restrict the kind of content they allow, so you should always
check with the club guidelines
Also, please note that your particular country may have
some specific legislation about the kinds of public speech
content they allow, and you should, for your own and your fellow
members' safety, ensure that you comply with these restrictions
E05 - Do I have to do the
speeches in the order in which they appear in the manual?
Yes, all speeches in all paths need to be done in the
specified order. The reason is that they have been carefully
planned to gradually increase in challenge and difficulty.
For example, it's pointless to lead a key company event,
if you have never even presented a speaker at a conference.
Trying to do advanced projects before you've done the more basic
ones not only greatly increases the chances of failure, but it
can also lead to frustration and anxiety for the next projects.
Also, most projects depend on experience and skills
learned in the previous ones, and each project is designed to
teach you one very specific set of abilities at a time
There are some optional projects in the advanced paths
that have their own set of requirements and could possibly be
done in any order, as long as their pre-requisites are met
E06 - Can I do more than one
speech per meeting?
In general, no, because you should receive, read and
"digest" the feedback given after each speech, and put it into
practice in the next one. This would be impossible if you do two
speeches in the same meeting, and the educational purpose of
making speeches would be lost.
However, there are a few very specific instances in which you can
do more than one speech per meeting, if they are not connected
in any way. For example:
One manual speech and one speech with
your own goals and purpose
Two manual speeches from unrelated
branches, provided that the pre-requisites for each of the
speeches have been met
One manual speech and a workshop
E07 - Do all speeches have to
Since Agora Speakers is focused
mainly on education, yes. All speeches of any kind (manual
speeches, non manual speeches, workshops, seminars, etc.) need to
be evaluated so that the speaker can improve.
Contests and Conferences
C01 - Will there be Contests
and Conferences in Agora Speakers?
Yes to both. We're aiming at two conferences per year at
Regarding contests, the following international contests
are being considered:
Public Speaking Contest
Humorous and Entertaining Speeches
Educational Speeches Contest
Improvisational Speeches Contest
Leadership Project Contest
However, at this stage we still have not determined yet
whether to have a golobal "worldwide top public speaker" that
competes in just that category, or whether the winner will have
to compete in all thematic contests and the one with most
"points" is proclaimed worldwide champion. Suggestions are
G01 - Is this a clone of the
While Agora Speakers draws inspiration from Toastmasters
International, National Speakers Association, Speaking Circles
and many others, it only uses them as a starting point.
Agora offers a much stronger educational program, much
more options when it comes to interaction with the real world
and has definitely much more ambitious goals than any of these
G02 - Isn't Agora violating
Intellectual Property Rights? Can they sue you?
There are three kinds of Intellectual Property Rights that
can be involved:
Copyrights. Ideas in
general cannot be copyrighted; they are protected only when
fixated to a specific medium such as a book, a movie or a song,
in which case the contents is protected.
All the materials that Agora Speakers uses have been
developed completely from scratch, based on the personal
experiences of their authors, as well as on the currently
available body of scientific research on the subjects of
public speaking, leadership, influence, persuasion, etc.
Therefore, there is no copyright violation of any kind.
specific combinations of words and/or graphic symbols can be
registered as trademarks. The protection is not universal,
meaning that it does not prohibit ALL uses of the names or
symbols, the most notable exceptions being simply referring to
the name in a descriptive or critical context.
Agora Speakers respects and recognizes the trademarks of
all organizations. That's why we have different names for some
of the meeting roles, like "Meeting Leader" and "Hot Questions
Master", since both "Toastmaster" and "Table Topics" are
registered trademarks of Toastmasters International, for
describe specific technological or business innovations that
are not obvious from the state of the art of the field in which
they are created, and of which there is no documented "prior
As for the meeting structure and roles, those hypothetically
could be patented as a "Business Process", but: - They
are not patented by anyone, - At this point they are no
longer patentable due to the huge number of "prior art" cases
(many other organizations and non TM clubs use the same
meeting structure and roles, and finally - Agora
Speakers is based in Madrid, Spain. The European Union does
not recognize the patentability of business processes.
G03 - Is this whole Agora
Since Agora does not engage in any sort of deceptive practices
and is completely transparent with a clear set of core
principles, competition is always good in any sector. It is
perfectly ethical to offer people a choice (especially a much
better one), and they are free adult individuals that can make
their own decisions.
G04 - When will X happen?
What's the roadmap for Agora?
Although Agora had been in the works since February 2016, it was
only unveiled and made public in late August 2016. We're
right now in a "launch" or "transition" phase until all the
pieces are in place and the organization becomes stable.
These are the milestones that we expect to happen:
The basic educational path is put in place (meaning :
the projects and their documentation is available and
published). This will happen in the first half of October 2016.
The educational program is now considered final as there has
been no feedback or suggestions for the last 2+ weeks. "Final"
should be interpreted as "what exists in the program should
stay as described", not that there can't be suggestions for
other advanced branches, new optional projects, fine-tuning of
existing ones, etc. Anything more complicated will have to go
through the review process in the bylaws.
In parallel, clubs can start forming and members
The organization finishes the legal registration
process and is officially launched. From a legal viewpoint, the
initial board must be the founders, as an organization cannot
be registered without specifying the physical people behind it,
or deferring them to a future election. As a non-profit,
registration requires approval by the Spanish Ministry of
Interior, which can take anywhere between 2 and 4 months. The
organization can operate during this time but it will lack a
legal personality, and as such, cannot hold bank accounts nor
be involved in anything money-related. So funding will continue
to be from the founder's private finances.
The software for voting and financial transparency is
implemented and tested. This will be done in parallel with the
previous items and our estimation is that it should be
available by April 2017.
Fees start being charged. We assume this will happen in
Once the above points are completed and the
organization has the minimum number of members and clubs set by
the bylaws, the motions process described in the bylaws kicks
into place. We expect this minimum number to be reached well
before the end of 2016.
A General Assembly is organized and elections are held.
We expect this to happen either 3Q or 4Q of 2017. Since the
provisions of the bylaws guarantee democratic participation of
everyone, even if they cannot physically attend the assembly,
the organization will be a bit more complex than a regular
conference in other organizations.
G05 - I don't like the way X
works in Agora. Can it be changed?
Until Agora Speakers is legally registered and the electronic
voting system is implemented, the organization is being operated
as a project, with a project management structure, the project
managers being the founders of the project. Feedback,
suggestions, ideas, etc. are welcome and are debated
cooperatively and usually incorporated almost immediately into
However, the above needs to be balanced with the need to
actually move forward, and as such, there are some things that
are now considered final for the time being and cannot be
modified. Those were either decided in the very early stages of
Agora, or were already debated in the public group. These are:
The Name and Logo.
The overall structure of the
Educational Program, the ordering of the projects and their
names and goals. However, optional projects or error
corrections can be suggested at any time, and new branches can
be developed as well.
Once the electronic voting system is implemented, as
described in the roadmap of the previous question, you can
propose to change anything you want, including any of the above
elements. You will need to suggest an alternative, create a
motion to change, seek endorsements and, if there is sufficient
support for your initiative, after a period of debate it will be
put to a vote, with all members being able to vote on it