When You Are The Toastmaster

When You Are The Toastmaster

You will be leading the meeting and ensuring that everything is run smoothly, that speakers get the correct introductions and that the evaluators do their bit. Your energy, enthusiasm and engagement will craft and deliver a great meeting. The skills developed here are easily transferable to leading meetings in both professional and voluntary contexts.

General Pointers

  • Enjoy yourself, it’s your chance to the be the TV / Stage / Show presenter you always wanted to be!
  • Don’t worry if you get things out of sequence, there will be a helpful hint from the audience (probably your VPE or President!)
  • Smile and maintain lots of eye contact!
  • Be yourself – bring your passion and personality to the meeting!
  • Being the Toastmaster is an honour – you get to introduce the speeches that your fellow members have been honing for weeks!

Before Thursday

Meeting Preparation

  • Decide upon a theme for the meeting; think seasonal, think colours, think out-of-this-world. Previous examples include favourite colours, films, holidays, inspiration…If you have a particular theme, let the President know as they may work your theme into their introduction. 
  • Contact those members allocated roles for your meeting and identify any information they would like to be introduced with (within time limits – and no business plugs!)
  • Please ensure that you have all of your meeting preparation ready as there will be little free time before the meeting starts. If you don’t get an answer to a theme e-mail, be prepared to use a generic introduction.
  • Agenda printing will be taken care of by the VPE.
  • Print your own copy of the agenda – just in case of an emergency!

On Thursday

Before the meeting starts

  • Arrive at 6:30AM!
  • Confirm that all ballot slips and meeting agendas have been distributed
  • Confirm that Guest Host is ready to collect and count votes for awards
  • Run through the agenda and confirm that all speakers and members have arrived (click on the image to get a bigger view of it)
  • At 7:00, the TM and VPE will assess the agenda and establish suitable candidates to brief as reserves for any missing participants. The TM will then approach each candidate to encourage or persuade them to take on a particular role if the original participant doesn’t arrive. It is important that by 7:05 you have all of the roles accounted for or with a reserve ready to step in
  • Please note that although the VPE is usually present at all meetings, there might be cases in which they are not. If this is the case, you as Toastmaster have full responsibility to ensure the meeting runs smoothly and on time.  Please ask the President or another experienced member for help if you need it.
  • Latecomers may be allowed to keep their roles, for example, if the third evaluator were to arrive before the third speaker starts speaking. This is at your discretion
  • Confirm if all necessary equipment for use by the Speakers or the Workshop presenter has been set-up or when they will need help setting it up
  • Warm your hands up – you will be leading all of the clapping!

During the meeting

Early Bird Meeting Agenda


  • The meeting starts at 7:10 and concludes at 8:45
  • Please ensure you have clear communication with the Timekeeper to ensure the meeting runs on time
  • Familiarise yourself with the timing schedule outlined in the agenda
  • The times marked in red are key milestones – they must be hit if the meeting is to conclude on time
  • Ensure that your introductions do not take up too much time
  • If the meeting starts late, reduce the number of table topic speakers to hit the second milestone

Handing over the stage

  • Lead the applause – make sure your hands are free to do this
  • Shake hands with the person taking over from you. Wait until they have arrived on stage in order to do so. When you shake hands you are making “gift” of the stage. Let the audience see the “gift” change hands.
  • Walk behind the person when you leave the stage
  • When taking the stage back, anticipate when the speaker is about to leave the stage. Be on your feet to applaud, shake hands, and resume centre-stage.

Introducing the Meeting

  • The President will welcome all, inform them of the clubs purpose and hand over to you
  • Introduce yourself, and outline the theme, if any, that you have chosen
  • Refer to the agenda to outline the meeting plan
  • Remind the audience about mobile phone etiquette – off or on silent vibrate with calls taken outside the room if needed
  • Inform the audience of the fire exits and meeting points
  • Inform the audience about the upcoming vote for table topics, speaker and evaluator – you will request them to do so later

Introducing Roles

  • Thank and acknowledge the person handing over to you – “Thank you Mr/Madam President/Topics Master…”
  • Use the traditional Toastmasters address – “Fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests…”
  • To introduce, outline the role title and information about the member followed by their full name. “Our next participant is our linguist for the day. When I asked him about his favourite colour, he said blue because it reminded him of a great summers day. Please welcome our Linguist, Ralph Smedley!”

Introducing Speakers

  • Inform the audience of the speech project and objectives – point to the details on the back of the agenda
  • Example: “Our next speaker is delivering speech no. 10 from The Competent Communicator manual. When asked about her favourite colour, Hilary replied red – for it is the colour of victory! Delivering a speech entitled ‘Doing The Impossible’ – please welcome Hilary Briggs!”
  • In the case of advanced manuals, speakers may request additional information to be presented to the audience – this should be done within fair time limits
  • Remind the audience that you will ask them to provide feedback at the end of the speech

Requesting Feedback For speakers

  • Raise feedback slip
  • Ask the timekeeper for 1 minute followed by a ding
  • Remind audience of the suggested “Commend-Recommend-Commend” comment structure
  • Encourage the entire audience to participate – we like to give at least 50 comments to our speakers!
  • Ask the audience to sign their feedback slips so the speaker can follow up on point or ask for clarification later
  • Stand to one side of the stage while audience is writing. This is one of the most difficult stage skills – standing still, arms to the side, looking interested and appearing interesting!

Collecting Votes

  • Votes are collected for three awards – Best Table Topic, Best Speaker and Best Evaluator
  • The Workshop presenter is not included in the vote for best speaker
  • The table Topics Evaluator and Linguist (when on the agenda) are included in the vote for best evaluator – don’t forget to mention them
  • The votes are tallied up by the Guest Host and the certificates presented to the President who will award them at the close of the meeting

Final handover

  • Your last appearance will be to hand over to the General Evaluator
  • You have a moment to share your thoughts and thank your team for their help
  • The General Evaluator will hand over to the President

After the meeting

  • Review your performance with the member signing off your Competent Leader project. This week’s General Evaluator provides you with a Competent Leader evaluation. In return, please spend a few minutes during the meeting to provide the General Evaluator with a Competent Leader evaluation. In the event that they do not have their manual with them, you will find an evaluation form next to your name badge.
  • Bask in the glow of a job well done and enjoy breakfast!

Example Introductions

These are some of the introductions that previous Toastmasters have used.

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