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, after at least three speeches. 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 — Email each of the program participants to remind them of their assigned role, and get assurance that they will attend and perform their role.
Call or email each speaker in advance to get a copy of their introduction. You should copy and paste the introduction into the agenda that you will prepare. The speaker’s introduction should include the speech title, manual’s project number, purpose to be achieved, and the time allowed in the project.
Some speakers will request a longer speaking time. Perhaps, for example, the project specifys 5 to 7 minutes, but the speaker may want 8 to 10 minutes. As a general rule, they will not be allowed the extra time. They need to learn to fit their speech into the time allowed for the project.
Create the Agenda –Once you have edited the template with the current date, Theme, and the names of the people assuming the roles, print about thirty copies of the agenda. Remember to adjust the times to fit the roles. Bring the copies of the agenda to the meeting so that each attendee will have a copy. (Use the Agenda Template)
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. You may have a theme assigned, or you may choose one of your own, although this is not necessary. If there is a theme, suggest that the Table Topics Master and Word Master use the theme if possible.
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. Remember as toastmaster, you are in charge. Ask for help if you need it.
Sit near the front of the room and have your speakers do likewise for quick and easy access to the lectern. Check to make sure that the people who are assigned roles actually show up. If they don’t show up to the meeting at all, or on time, you will need to replace them, if possible with someone else.
For example, if the grammarian doesn’t come to the meeting, or is late, you should assign that role to someone else who is there at the meeting. This isn’t done if the person who doesn’t show, has a formal speech role.
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. Make adjustments if needed during the meeting to end the segments on time.
Always lead the applause before and after the Table Topics session, each prepared speaker, and the General Evaluator. Remain standing near the lectern after your introduction until the speaker has acknowledged you and assumes control of the meeting; then be seated.