President Duties

These are tips from past-president George Kiser.

  • Be present at all or nearly all of the meetings. 
  • Dress nice; you are the first person any guest or new member sees speak at the meeting.
  • Have the outline for the business meeting and for end of the meeting with you at every meeting.
  • Bring the new member induction outline with you to every meeting – so you are not the reason a new member cannot be welcomed.
  • Don’t forget to ask ALL officers for reports – they are all important parts of your team.
  • Don’t forget to give members a chance to speak at the end of the business meeting, and at the very end of the meeting.
  • Come up with a SHORT quote for the end of the meeting; each meeting, no exceptions.  Try to make it fit the theme of the evening, a current event, or a “national day of ____” designation.  Or something inspirational, or that has to do with speaking or leadership.  Or something humorous.
  • Remember, you are in control of the business meeting.  It should not take up too much time and affect the time for the meeting, table topics, prepared speeches.  Those are why we meet.
  • If discussions get off point during the business meeting, or go on too long, it is ok to suggest that the issue be tabled for the next week.  Or that the Exec Board meet and come up with a recommendation.  You can’t always control what motion someone is going to come up with, but you can control how long the discussions last.
  • We loosely follow Robert’s Rules of Order.  There is a Motion, a Second is needed, if there is a second, you need to allow time for discussion before a vote.  If an amendment is made to the original motion, it has to be seconded as well.  If the amendment is seconded, you have to allow time for discussion on the amendment (and the motion with the amendment).  When you decide you need to guide the group to a vote (may not be technically Robert’s Rules, but you are the leader), you need to ask for a vote FIRST ON THE AMENDMENT.  If it does or does not pass, then you call a vote on the MOTION – as amended or as originally presented without any amendments (if the amendment vote failed).
  • Make sure you have a quorum before starting a vote, or starting discussion about a motion.  If you don’t have a quorum, you can’t take a vote so you may want to table the discussions for another meeting.  Don’t waste meeting time on a discussion that is not going anywhere. 
  • Make sure you know the rules for determining what constitutes a quorum and which active members do not have to be counted in order to make this determination.  Work with the Secretary to find out whether there is a quorum.
  • You, as President, cannot make a motion.  You cannot technically speak in favor of or against a motion unless you relinquish your gavel (relinquish your role as president) temporarily to speak.  I did not do this because I find it to be a mere formality, but it is part of the rule.  As President, you cannot propose an amendment to a motion.  As president, you cannot second a motion or amendment.
  • Be respectful to EVERYONE, even if you do not agree with whatever it is they are saying; even if they disagree with you or are rude.  You are the leader, you set the example, always.
  • Call the Toastmaster  the week of each meeting (or e-mail) and ask them how the meeting is shaping up, if all roles are filled, replacements needed.  You need to know of problems with the meeting before you get there so you can try and make sure the meeting runs smoothly.
  • Since you introduce the Toastmaster at each meeting, try and obtain an introduction from him or her that you can use at the meeting. 
  • You may consider telling the VPE that you do not want to speak during the time that you are President, or that you want to speak only X number of times.  As President, you will be plenty visible and will be doing plenty of speaking.  Also, it is not easy to prepare a speech with your constant Presidential duties.  I should have done this, but did not.
  • Set some REALISTIC goals that you want to accomplish during your term.  Think about how you want to accomplish them.  These are in addition to the normal goal of being a PRESIDENT’S DISTINQUICHED CLUB.
  • Let the Exec Board/Committee know what your goals are and ask them, each of them, if they have any goals for their office and/or for the club as well. If so, make them your goals too.
  • Let the Board know what you are thinking always.  You are a team for six months.
  • Convene, lead a meeting of just the Executive Board (officers) at least every other week.  Have items to discuss and let each of them bring issues or ideas up at the meeting.
  • Do not forget to ask for reports from any committees that are active.  You don’t have to ask for specific reports every meeting night, but if a report has not been given in a while, it might be a good idea to ask so that the committee is at least reminded that they may have work to do.
  • About one month before your term ends, put together a small, informal committee of three or so people (including yourself) to come up with a slate of officers who will serve as officers next term.  You will need to find new officers for each position.
  • You will be Officer at Large during the next term.
  • The VP of Education is expected to be the next President and should be on the committee.
  • The slate of officers needs to be announced at a meeting and you should ask for any other nominations for the offices at that meeting.  The slate will need to be announced (read) again at the next meeting and you need to open the floor again for any additional nominations.  You do not have to have a quorum for these two announcements.  The slate of nominations needs to have a second in order to nominate them before the vote.
  • On the third meeting, you need to conduct a vote on the slate of officers.  You need to have a quorum present to conduct the election.  Induction of officers usually takes place the meeting following their election, by a district or area official.  You do not relinquish your presidential duties to conduct the meeting until your successor is inducted.
  • Always give credit to someone else whenever you can.  You are not a politician, you are not vying for the next election; the more Toastmasters who receive recognition for what they do, the more Toastmasters who will want to do something. 

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