The main duty of the Toastmaster is to act as a genial host and conduct the entire program, including introducing participants. If the Toastmaster does not perform the duties well, an entire meeting can end in failure. For obvious reasons this task is not usually assigned to a member until he or she is familiar with the club and its procedures. Program participants should be introduced in a way that excites the audience and motivates each member to listen. The Toastmaster creates an atmosphere of interest, expectation and receptivity.
Handing over the floor:
Whenever a speaker takes the floor to speak, whether it is a role player, speaker, evaluator etc., you should shake hands to hand over the floor to them, stand at the side until they begin to speak then sit down. When they finish, stand up, shake hands again, thank them and take back the floor.
As Toastmaster, you must always lead the applause. If you do not begin to applaud, the audience will be half-hearted about it and that’s embarrassing for the speaker.
Prior to the meeting:
- Organise food and drink to bring for supper.
- Check with the vice president education to find out if a special theme has been set for the meeting and if there are any program changes.
- Call all speakers in advance to remind them that they are speaking. Interview them to find out their speech title, manual project number, purpose to be achieved, time requested, and something interesting which you can use when introducing them (job, family, hobbies, education, why this topic for this audience, etc.).
- Prepare introductions for each speaker. A proper introduction is important to the success of the speaker’s presentation.
- Prepare remarks which can be used to bridge the gaps between program segments.
You may never use them, but you should be prepared to avoid possibly awkward periods of silence.
- Remember that performing as Toastmaster is one of the most valuable experiences in
your club work. The assignment requires preparation in order to have a smoothly run meeting.
- See below for ideas from “Information to Obtain to Introduce Speakers Effectively”.
At the meeting:
- Arrive early in order to finish any last-minute details.
- Check with the speakers for any last-minute changes.
- Sit near the front of the room and have your speakers do likewise for quick and easy access to the lectern.
During the meeting:
- Preside with sincerity, energy, and decisiveness. Take your audience on a pleasant journey and make them feel that all is going well.
- Study the Agenda carefully so that you do not miss any Timekeepers Reports or invitations to vote.
- Always lead the applause before and after each presenter.
- After your introduction of another presenter, remain standing near the lectern until you have shaken hands – signifying your hand over of control of the meeting – then be seated.
When another presenter has finished, shake hands again to signify that control of the meeting is returning to you.
Information to Obtain to Introduce Speakers Effectively:
Here are questions you may want to ask the speakers, either over the phone or via e-mail:
“I am doing the role of Toastmaster on (DATE) and I need some information about you so I can introduce you properly. Please take the time to answer these questions. Thanks for your help.”
- Why did you pick this topic?
- Is there anything specific you would like me to say to introduce this speech?
How this role helps you:
- This role will help you to enhance your leadership and management skills.
- This role will help you to enhance your time management skills.
- You will practise speaking off the cuff throughout the evening.
- You may have to deal with unexpected interruptions, hecklers or emergencies.
- You will learn to keep calm, be diplomatic.
- You can use it to advance your CL manual for projects 4,5,7,8 and 10.