Toastmaster (or Toastmaster of the Evening)
The Toastmaster is arguably the most important role of the whole meeting – you’re responsible for introducing everyone, keeping the meeting to time, explaining what’s going on, and keeping the energy up! A very rewarding role, it’s a lot of fun to contribute so much to the entire meeting.
Various speaking opportunities throughout whole meeting.
Before the Meeting
Take a look at the agenda beforehand and begin thinking about a theme you might like to reference throughout the meeting. Talk to the Vice President Education before the meeting in case there are any last-minute changes to the agenda. Keep a note of speakers/role-holders as they arrive. Ask speakers for introductions (name, speech title, speaking project, any background) to help you bring them up to the front.
At the Meeting
- You’ll be introduced by the President/Acting President – from then until the end of the meeting when you pass back control of the room, you are in control!
- Try sitting at the front of the room – you’ll be getting up to the front a lot;
- For each role-holder you’ll want to give a strong introduction – try ending on the person’s name and initiate applause “…now for our warm-up master, Alex Adams!”,
- Shake everyone’s hand to signal control of the room;
- Throughout there are a few opportunities to explain meeting conventions:
- Why do we shake hands?
- Why do we applaud so frequently?
- What do we use the evaluation slips for?
- When do we vote for best speaker/evaluator/Table Topics?
- What is the history of Toastmasters?
- Don’t worry if you trip over an introduction or a transition – the best thing about the Toastmaster role is you get to come back up throughout the meeting and try again!
- Be prepared to step in always – an evaluator might forget they were evaluating, a speaker might sit down after a few seconds or a guest might come in late. Remember, you are in control of the meeting.
- Preparing jokes, facts or other material throughout can help engage the audience and fill time between speeches.
- Don’t be afraid of mixing the format up or adjusting your approach as the meeting goes if you feel like it.
- Always remain at the front until another role-holder/speaker has taken control of the room.
- Don’t leave the front of the room empty!
- Most importantly, enjoy – this is the most demanding role, but also the most fulfilling. Enjoy your time at the front, and keep everyone’s energy up throughout!