When You’re the Toastmaster

Before the Meeting

  • The Toastmaster job is usually reserved for members who have done all the other meeting roles. The VP of Education should only assign members who are qualified and ready for this position.
  • As soon as you find out that you are assigned the job of Toastmaster, put it in your calendar so that you will be prepared. I would also put in a reminder in your calendar to email/call all participants to remind them.
  • Ask each participant to respond back to you. Don’t assume that they will read the email and will be there. Sometimes you have to text or call to get a response from some people.
  • Tip – use an email that you check on a daily basis. You may even want to use a designated email for Toastmasters – johnsmith.toastmasters@gmail.com
  • If this is your first time as Toastmaster, get some help. Ask your mentor to help you with this role. If that’s not possible, then ask a senior club member to give you a hand. Have them sit with you at the meeting so that they can advise you as the meeting progresses.
  • Email members who are scheduled to remind them about their job duties. I’d suggest doing this as soon as possible since many members will not respond to your first email. I start emailing people on Thursday. Get a commitment that they are going to be there or find out who their replacement is. You can email all participants using Turbobase.com. Here’s a video on how to do that. If they don’t respond to emails, use your phone to find out their situation.Make sure you email or call everyone and make sure your Gen. Evaluator has made his/her calls. You want every slot filled before you arrive. Then be ready to fill-in as needed. Here’s a video on how to send an email to participants.
  • Email #2 – The day  before the meeting, send out another reminder email to everyone who is scheduled. Even though people may say they are coming, some still need to be reminded.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8XKtgbzyPI
  • Dress the part. Since you are in charge of the meeting you want to look sharp.
  • In general, stay behind the lectern and use the microphone.
  • Don’t leave the lectern unattended.
  • Make sure you know how to pronounce everyone’s name. If you’re not sure, ask the person who you are going to introduce.
  • The TOASTMASTER is responsible for each Speaker, the Invocator, Table Topics Master, Joke Master, Hot Seat, and GENERAL EVALUATOR to confirm their participation at the meeting. Don’t assume they will be there – get a confirmation from each. Note – if you use Turbobase to send out the confirmations, since you will be getting ALL the emails you need to coordinate with the GE.The GENERAL EVALUATOR is responsible for the Evaluators, the Competent Leader Evaluator, the Grammarian, Timekeeper, Vote Tabulator, Ah Counter, Greeter and Video Operator. Confirm with the GE that everyone is coming.
  • Watch your emails. There are going to be changes during the week and most people use email to make those changes.
  • It’s not your job to find replacements. The person who is assigned a job should find a replacement and notify you. You may have to remind them of this fact. Tell people to call or email specific people to try and trade dates or fill-in.
  • Write your own introduction and give it to the President either via email or hand it to them before the meeting.
  • Arrive at least thirty minutes early to get organized and have everything ready. Make sure the Sgt. at Arms has the room setup and everything is ready.If he/she is not available, you and the GE should make sure that all the tools are available.
  • Sit next to or very close to the lectern. You want to be able to move back and forth from the lectern as quickly as possible.
  • Learn how to pronounce each speakers name ahead of time. If you don’t know, ask.
  • You want introductions from the speakers.  If the speakers do not provide a written version, you will have to use the form in the equipment box to obtain the necessary information to introduce them. You can also download the form from the link above. Take a look the forms and make sure you can read them.
  • Make sure you print out the “Meeting Agenda.” It’s nice to actually print out copies not only for members, but guests also.
  • Here is the New Agenda for the 6 p.m. meetings.
  • These are the old forms and have both a one page and/or a two page option. You can find them at:  https://southcountytoastmasters.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/meeting-forms
  • The club’s meeting agenda is what you will use to run the meeting. You don’t need to come up with your own.
  • The Hot Seat person can be used to fill-in at the last minute. Don’t make the mistake of using the Hot Seat days ahead of time.
  • Practice at home. Just like a speech, you can practice being the Toastmaster and go through the program just as if you had an audience.

After You Are Introduced

  • Start the meeting with a minute or less of material to set the tone. You want to start the meeting with humor or a motivational statement, but don’t turn it into a speech.
  • STAY ON TIME – Find out how long each speaker is going to take ahead of time. If speakers are going to take longer than usual, you may want to shorten Tabletopics or cut the break. The goal is to end the meeting by 8 p.m.. Make sure Tabletopics is ended by at least 6:40.
  • After you introduce a speaker, you lead the audience in applause, you shake their hand and then step back and out of the way.
  • When you have the results from the voting, stop the Jokemaster and hand out the awards.
  • When handing out awards, you stay behind the lectern and have the winners come to you and hand them the award.
  • After each speakers basic introduction, ask their evaluator to give the goals for the speech.
  • Don’t repeat the speakers material. Even if you know a number of things about the topic, don’t give a speech about it. You are there to introduce the speaker and not give his/her speech.
  • After you introduce a speaker, wait at the lectern for them and then shake their hand and back away. Don’t leave the lectern with no one in charge.
  • After you do the basic speaker intro, you ask their evaluator to stand and give the speech objectives.
  • Then transition back to the speaker with speech title and “please help me welcome (Speakers Name)”
  • At the end of each speech give the audience a minute to fill out their evaluation forms
  • As Toastmaster you are there to facilitate the smooth and timely operation of the meeting. The main attraction should be the Speakers and not the Toastmaster so there is no need to go into a lengthy discussion at the beginning of the meeting .  Time should be saved for table topics and speeches.
  • When handing out the awards, wait at the lectern to hand out the awards.


Below is a speech that Howard did as a fill-in, last-minute speaker about the duties of a Toastmaster.


Here’s another good article from Toastmaster International.


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