Brighton & Hove Speakers Club

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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.

Speaking time

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!