The Toastmaster is responsible for the final preparation and the running of the Tunbridge Wells Speakers meeting. The Toastmaster is the person who:
- Makes sure that all the speakers and functionaries are prepared for their role by motivating them to work as a team and put on a good ‘performance’
- Introduces all the functionaries, speakers & evaluators
- Creates energy and enthusiasm from the audience
- Is the main ‘face’ of Tunbridge Wells Speakers on the night and leads by example
- Makes sure the meeting runs seamlessly and on time!
Before the meeting, the Toastmaster needs to:
- Liaise with the functionaries to ensure they are available and briefed on how to carry out their roles. To facilitate this you will be copied into the emails sent to them.
- Find replacements if people drop out (the VPE may be able to make suggestions) but the Toastmaster needs to do the searching/contacting.
- Make sure that speech titles have been uploaded to EasySpeak by the speakers by the Monday evening prior to the meeting
At the meeting
Before the meeting starts:
- Try to arrive by 7 pm at the latest and check that all the required people are in place. If not, you will need to find replacements
- Brief the President on the final form of the programme & any last-minute changes just before the meeting starts.
During the meeting ‐ first half
- Where possible, ensure that any equipment is set up in advance or during a suitable break and be ready to assist with the equipment. The Sergeant at Arms will open the meeting, the President will do the welcome address and then introduce you as the Toastmaster to run the meeting
- When you arrive on the stage, remember to shake hands with the President and address the audience by saying, “Mr/Mme President, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests….”
- Conduct a brief introductory address, explaining your role. Announce any changes to the published programme. If the Sergeant at Arms hasn’t already done so, remind people to turn off their mobile phones etc.
- Then introduce a) the Timekeeper and b) the Grammarian. Both of whom should be asked up on stage to explain their roles (remember to use handshakes to ‘hand over the stage’)
- Briefly explain the purpose of the warm-up section.
- Following the Warm Up, explain that the meeting is moving onto the prepared speeches -‐ for the benefit of guests and newer members, explain briefly the use of the Manuals & Feedback Slips and their general benefits.
- For each speaker, give your prepared introduction which should be given in this format: Name + speech title, speech title + name. E.g. “Next up we have Joe Bloggs with his speech ‘Oh What a Wonderful Night’, with his speech titled ‘Oh What a Wonderful night, please welcome on stage Joe Bloggs”
- Lead the applause and don’t stop until the speaker is on stage; greet the Speaker, on completion of the speech thank the Speaker and then ask the audience to complete feedback slips (give 1 minute)
- After all the speeches have been completed, the evaluators will be invited to the stage to provide their feedback.
- Close the first half of the meeting and decide on the length of the break (10-‐15 minutes depending on whether the meeting is running on time). Make sure that everyone knows exactly what time they need to return to their seats.
During the meeting ‐ second half
- The Sergeant of Arms will open the second half and pass the running of the meeting back to you.
- Briefly remind the audience of what is on the programme for the second half, get members excited/looking forward to the Table Topics and explain their will be votes for the Best the Best Table Topic.
- Introduce the Table Topics Master but leave the explanation of the Table Topics to them as he/she will run the next section
- Following the Table Topics, ask the Timekeeper back on stage to give their report on the TT timings BEFORE the vote as this reminds people of all the participants
- Conduct the vote for the best Table Topic, ask someone to collect the slips and pass them to the President
- Introduce the TT Evaluator and explain the importance of this role
- Invite the Grammarian to give their report
- Introduce the General Evaluator & thank them on completion
- Hand the meeting back to the President to close the meeting.
NOTES & TIPS:
The Toastmaster is responsible for the meeting from when the role confirmation emails go out until the completion of the meeting.
- Before the meeting, the Toastmaster needs to prepare introductions for everyone. The meeting is enhanced if your introductions are short but interesting, informative and help us to get to know the functionaries and speakers better. Keep them brief! If you really want a theme then keep it subtle and unobtrusive. Typically the introductions will include:
– For Functionaries: the person’s name & a summary of their general background (e.g. is it their first time in the role? how long have they been a member? etc)
– For Speakers: Speaker’s name, a summary of background, speaking achievement history
– For Evaluators: Evaluator’s name & who they are evaluating, a summary of evaluator’s general background
- It is so important to prepare for the role and plan the steps you will follow, e.g. remember the 1 minute for feedback slips and the format for the vote. It is not necessary to announce timings as they are included in the programme
- Try and steer the proceedings and participants as briskly as possible to ensure the meeting finishes on time. But please don’t try to influence timings by publicly issuing instructions ‘from the floor’ unless an item is running badly over time. It’s a good idea to brief functionaries in advance (e.g. the TT Master during the break) but try not to interfere once they are carrying out their role
- The Warm Up has a tendency to over-‐run so make sure that everyone is briefed that they have just 15 seconds for their response and that the Timekeeper should ring the bell loudly and once their time is up!
- The Table Topics also have a tendency to over-‐run so do brief the Table Topics Master in advance to limit the number of topics by not starting a new one when the time allocated has been reached (refer to the programme) and the Toastmaster can gently & discreetly remind when the time approaches
- Always great each functionary with a handshake and lead the applause. (Keep clapping until they have arrived on stage to keep up the energy and to help relax the speaker/functionary) & do the same on completion of the item
- Finally, if you have not completed your Competent Leadership Award and still need this role signed up, you should A) make sure you have prepared for the role according to the relevant project objectives in the manual and B) give your manual to another member to fill in before the meeting starts.
There are a lot of elements to this role, so the key is to be prepared.
If all your team are well-rehearsed and briefed, it will make your role a million times easier!
Be professional in your approach but, most importantly, have FUN and enjoy it!