The Toastmaster role is similar to a Master of Ceremonies. You set the stage with your unique focus and energy. You coordinate and conduct the entire meeting, introduce participants and act as the host. This role is typically reserved for members familiar with the club and procedures.
Serving as Toastmaster is an excellent way to practice planning, preparation, organization, time management, facilitation, motivation and team-building skills as you strive to make the meeting one of the club’s best!
Before the Meeting:
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for this role!
Log on to Easy-Speak.org to assess if there are open roles that need to be filled. If there are, send a club email out to ask that members step up. Check back in a day. If there are still open roles:
- Contact the VP of Ed to for help filling speaking roles.
- Contact the scheduled General Evaluator for support in filling any open evaluation roles.
Contact each scheduled speaker (by phone and/or email) to obtain their written introduction. If they need guidance, encourage the following information:
- Speech assignment (Level, Manual, Speech number, Speech Objectives)
- Personal information giving insight to the chosen speech topic
- Information on why they chose this subject
- Information / comments that reflect the theme
- Special set-up information
Determine the Theme of the Day and fill it in on the Easy-Speak.org agenda. Think of ways to integrate the theme throughout the upcoming meeting.
Prepare a brief introduction to start the meeting, setting the theme for the meeting you envision.
Your goal is to preside with sincerity, energy, enthusiasm and decisiveness. Strive to begin and end the meeting on time. You may have to adjust the schedule during the meeting to accomplish this task. Ensure each part of the meeting adheres to the established schedule. Lead the applause before and after each speaker and session leader.
Arrive 15-20 minutes early to confirm the presence of each speaker and ask the General Evaluator to confirm the names of the evaluators (for each speaker’s introduction).
When introduced by the club president or sergeant of arms, go to the lectern, shake hands and take control of the meeting.
Here is the common flow of the meeting:
Provide a brief introduction to the meeting. Ask if there are any visitors, and ask them to stand up, tell the club their name and what brought them to Simply Speaking Toastmasters (make sure to write down their names). Set the stage with the Theme of the Day and introduce the grammarian and ask them to provide the word of the day.
Inspirator. Welcome the inspirator to the lectern, shake hands and allow 1-2 minutes for their message. Return when they finish.
Prepared Speeches. Explain the purpose of the Prepared Speech session. Introduce the speaker’s evaluator and ask them to provide a brief overview of the presentation goals and timeframe from their chair.
Introduce the speaker. Pass control of the meeting to the speaker with a handshake. Assist in setup as appropriate. After the speaker finishes, assume control of the meeting and lead the applause. Make a few comments to bridge smoothly to the next speaker. (This will come with practice.)
After the last speaker, make a few comments, ask the club members to vote for best speaker. Note: Keep an eye on the clock. It is important to stay on time. If time is short, limit your bridging and final comment.
Table Topics. Let the audience know you’re transitioning into the Table Topics portion of the evening and introduce the Table Topics Master to the head of the room. Shake hands.
While Table Topics is going on, pay close attention to the time. Communicate with the Table Topics Master halfway through by saying, “We have time for two more,” if that is the reality. When this portion of the meeting concludes, return to the front, and shake hands.
Ask for a Timer’s report to specify the times of the prepared speeches and the Table Topics. Explain the voting process and that after evaluations are complete, the audience may vote on Best Speaker, Table Topics and Evaluator.
Evaluations. Introduce the General Evaluator and allow them to lead this portion of the meeting, including the introduction of their evaluators. When this portion of the meeting is finished, return to the head of the room, shaking hands with the General Evaluator.
Concluding the meeting. Invite comments from the guests. Present awards. Conclude the evening with final comments or a thought for the day.