About to take the role of Toastmaster for the first time? Congratulations! The Toastmaster plays a big role in the success of a meeting. This role presents a great opportunity to practice both your prepared and impromptu speaking skills as well as, of course, your leadership skills.
The Toastmaster is the host and conductor of the whole meeting - setting up all of the speakers, evaluators, and attendees to participate successfully. Not sure where to start to be a successful Toastmaster? Here are a few tips.
Before the Meeting:
1. Review the Meeting Agenda
At ToastSpot, the officer sponsor finalizes the agenda, including gathering the prepared speakers' speech titles. As the Toastmaster, you should check in with the officer sponsor and review the meeting lineup, particularly the speakers.
2. Help the Officer Sponsor Fill Meeting Roles
If there are any roles open as the meeting time approaches, help find members to step up and take those roles.
3. Familiarize Yourself with the Meeting Structure
There are often a few new faces at a meeting. That is why you need to understand the meeting structure and and communicate it to all, so members know what to expect in the next hour. Here's an overview of the Toastmasters meeting.
4. Prepare Your Opening and Closing
Think about how you want to welcome participants and attendees, and how you want to close out the meeting. Add your own flavor to the meeting, perhaps pick a theme for the meeting or share a story of your own.
5. Prepare Your Introductions and Transitions
Part of your role as a Toastmaster is to keep the meeting running smoothly. That means having solid introductions for the speakers and transitioning smoothly between sections and speeches. For introductions, you can ask the speakers how they would like to be introduced, or simply share something you know about them or your relationship with them.
At the Meeting:
6. Arrive Early to Prepare
Arrive a few minutes early to set up with the officer sponsor. Confirm that all of your meeting participants are present before the start.
7. Introduce the Meeting Structure and Each Speaker
After you welcome all of the attendees, introduce the meeting structure so everyone knows what to expect. From there, introduce each participant and speaker before inviting them up to speak.
8. Keep Up The Energy, Including Applause
It may seem silly, but applause adds to the energy of the meeting and keeps the meeting moving on time. Lead the applause before and after each speaker.
9. Don't Leave the Presentation Area Empty
There should always be someone at the front of the meeting room. When you introduce a speaker, wait until they arrive at the front, shake their hand, and then leave the presentation area to turn it over to them. That way you never leave the front of the room awkwardly empty.
10. Make It Your Own!
Add your own flavor and have fun with your new role as Toastmaster!
Hopefully you'll have such a wonderful experience that you'll encourage your fellow ToastSpotters to sign up for the role of Toastmaster, and you too will sign up again!