You are the Emcee

The Toastmaster is a meeting’s director and host. You won’t usually be assigned this role until you are thoroughly familiar with the club and its procedures. If your club’s customs vary from those described here, ask your mentor or the club vice president education (VPE) for pointers well before the meeting.

Before the Meeting

Begin preparing for your role several days in advance. You can use the Toastmaster’s Check List to help you prepare. You’ll need to know who will fill the other meeting roles and if a theme is planned for the meeting. You’ll also need an up-to-date meeting agenda. Get this information from your VPE.

To help the Topicsmaster, create a list of program participants already assigned a speaking role so he or she can call on others first.

As the Toastmaster, you’ll introduce each speaker. If a speaker will not write his or her own introduction, you will write it. Introductions must be brief and carefully planned. Contact speakers several days before the meeting to ask about:

  • Speech topic and title
  • Manual and project title
  • Assignment objectives
  • Speaker’s personal objectives
  • Delivery time

You need all of these elements to create your introductions. Remember to keep the introductions between 30-60 seconds in length.

For more information about introductions see When You’re the Introducer (Item 1167E), Introducing the Speaker (Item 111) and The Better Speaker Series module Creating an Introduction (Item 277).

Of course, you want to avoid awkward interruptions or gaps in meeting flow so your last preparation step before the meeting is to plan remarks you can use to make smooth transitions from one portion of the program to another. You may not need them, but you should be prepared for the possibility of awkward periods of silence.

The Day of the Meeting: “The Big Show”

On meeting day, show up early. You’ll need time to make sure the stage is set for a successful meeting. To start, check with each speaker as they arrive to see if they have made any last-minute changes to their speeches – such as changing the title.

You and the speakers will need quick and easy access to the lectern. Direct the speakers to sit near the front of the room and make sure they leave a seat open for you near the front.

When it’s time to start the program, the club president calls the meeting to order. Sometimes he or she will make announcements, introduce guests or conduct other club business before introducing you.

When you’re introduced, the president will wait until you arrive at the lectern before being seated. (This is why you should sit at the front of the room.)

Pay attention to the time. You are responsible for beginning and ending the meeting on time. You may have to adjust the schedule during the meeting to accomplish this. Make sure each meeting segment adheres to the schedule.

Introduce meeting roles and ask for descriptions: Grammarian/ Ah Counter, Timer, Greeter/ Vote Counter, and General Evaluator

Introduce prepared Speakers

Introduce Topicsmaster

At the conclusion of the speaking program, request the timer’s report and vote for the best Table Topics.

Briefly reintroduce the general evaluator.

While votes are being tallied, invite comments from guests and announcements (such as verification of next week’s program).

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