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/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.
Prior to the meeting:
- Check with the vice president of education to find out if a special theme has been set for the meeting and if there are any program changes.
- Call the Table Topics Master to discuss his/her duties. Also provide the Table Topics Master with a list of program participants to ensure these people will not be called on for responses.
- 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 topis for this audience, etc.).
- Call the Master Evaluator to confirm the assignment. Ask the Master Evaluator to call the other members of the evaluation team (speech evaluators, table topics master, timer, grammarian, ah-counter, etc.) and remind them of their responsibilities.
- 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 careful preparation in order to have a smoothly run meeting.
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.
- Always lead the applause before and after the Table Topics session, each prepared speaker and the Master Evaluator.
- Remain standing near the lectern after your introduction until the speaker has acknowledged you and assumed control of the meeting; then be seated.
- Introduce the Table Topics Master as you would any speaker. If the Table Topics Master forgets to call for the timer’s report and vote for the Best Table Topics Speaker, you do it.
- Introduce each speaker in turn.
- At the conclusion of the speaking program, request the timer’s report and vote for Best Speaker.
- Briefly reintroduce the Master Evaluator. If the Master Evaluator forgets to call for the timer’s report and vote for Best Evaluator, you do it.
- While votes are being tallied, invite comments from guests and announcements (such as verification of next week’s program).
- Award trophies if your club does so.
- Request the joke of the day.
- Adjourn the meeting.