When you are the Toastmaster…
Roseline Olomina, Advanced Communicator Bronze -More than 20 Speeches
I’ve been the toastmaster many times for different clubs. I think the most important thing to do as a toastmaster is to make sure the agenda is filled and that everyone knows what his or her responsibilities for the evening are. It’s my job to make sure everyone is as prepared as possible for the meeting.
Before the meeting I contact the speakers either by phone or email asking them about their speech titles and projects, I can also find this information on Easy Speak, our club management tool. Contact details for each member are also listed here.
I try to interview the speakers before hand so that I can introduce them properly. I normally say something about their private and professional life and then I try to lead into the topic of the evening by explaining why the speaker choose this topic and why I think the speaker can offer us a new perspective.
Since I’m responsible for the flow of the evening I also try to prepare some remarks to bridge the gaps between the program segments.
I prepare and print out the agenda, normally 10-15 copies are enough.
During the meeting I sit somewhere close to the podium and I also check for last minute changes. After the President’s introduction I start by describing the program and then I welcome the next person who has a role onto the stage with an applause. I always lead the applause and if I’m holding something in my hand, like the agenda or my notes I put it underneath my arm so that my hands are free.
I hand over the “power” to speak, by giving a firm hand shake to each person that enters or leaves the speaking area. I always pay attention to the time, I keep my mobile phone on silent close at hand, so that I can track the time and make necessary adjustments if needed to the agenda.
Being the Toastmaster is fun, it requires a lot of planning and organisational skill as well as being able to think on your feet to build on a joke or being flexible enough when to behings don’t go as planned. As the Toastmaster you color the evening with your attitude and set the stage for all speakers during the evening. It is an important job and stretches your comfort zone and imagination which is always very rewarding!
[warning]Signed up to be the Toastmaster at the next meeting? Click here to download a guideline with useful hints to do this important job.[/warning]