Guide to Toastmaster for the Evening

Responsibility for the evening’s programme becomes yours from the previous meeting. The VP Education will have prepared the programme in advance, so it’s your job to confirm the details and create an exciting and interesting meeting.

Preparation – Before the Evening

  • Consult the schedule so that you know who’s down to do what on the night.
  • Check if anyone has dropped out and replace them on the programme. You should aim to include 3 – 5 speeches – unless an advanced speaker needs more than 10 mins to speak, or unless there’s an education speech.If necessary, consult the VP Ed to ask if there are any backup speakers, keen to progress through their speeches quickly.
  • Send out an email reminding all involved in the meeting that they have a role, and ask them to confirm they’re still available.  Do this at least a week before the meeting, but preferably two weeks.
  • Get the speech titles as soon as you can from speakers.
  • Check times for speakers – especially advanced and educational.
  • If speakers need extra facilities, eg, projector, chairs, tables, flipchart, ask them to email the sgt @ arms with their request. 
  • When the speakers and evaluators have confirmed, ask the GE to match evaluators to speakers.
  • Check you have an intro for the people you are going to introduce.  Suggestions for how to introduce people include: asking them how long they’ve been a member of the club, what they’ve gained from Toastmasters, what their speaking goals are for the future. 
  • Agree with Table Topic Master how many topics they need to prepare.  Allow for 2 or 3 extras in case of speaker drop-outs.  Let them know how long the TT session can run for.
  • Check you know the correct etiquette for handovers and introductions.
  • If all else fails, call VP Ed for help – but don’t wait until the last minute!

On the Night

  • Arrive by 7:15pm at the latest.
  • Check Sgt @ Arms is setting up the room, and put the names of speakers / people with roles on the board.
  • Ask someone to evaluate you as TME in your CL manual.
  • Confirm timings with everyone.
  • Brief the timer on times for Speeches, Table Topics, and Evaluations.
  • Tick-off  people who have roles as they arrive. Be ready to replace anyone who doesn’t turn up.
  • Reserve a seat in the front row for when you’re not at the lectern.
  • Keep the pace moving.  The less you speak, the more opportunity for other people to do so.
  • Lead the applause.  Use a firm and confident handshake.  Smile!

Sample Agenda

7:30pm Sgt @ Arms opens meeting
  President presents notices & introduces you as Toastmaster
  Welcome members/guests & introduce the Agenda. Explain ‘HATS’ – Handshake, Applause, Timer, Slips. Introduce the timer (when explaining the ‘T’ of HATS). Explain briefly how to give feedback when explaining the ‘S’ of HATS. Ensure you explain that only members are eligible to vote. Introduce the Grammarian
  Introduce Education Speaker (optional)
  Introduce Table Topics Master for Table Topics session.
For each Speech Introduce the Speaker by saying a little about them – keep this short. Ask the Evaluator to read out the objectives, speech title, and timing (do not applaud). Confirm timing with timer. Invite Speaker to the front e.g. “Please give a warm welcome to Toastmaster Joe Bloggs with their speech entitled ‘Much Ado about Nothing’” Speech/Handshake. Thank the speaker & lead applause. Give people 1 minute to complete feedback slips – ask Timer for green light.
  Invite the audience to take a break for refreshments.
8:30-8:45 Break
8:45 Sgt @ Arms reopens meeting & hands back over to you as Toastmaster.
  Continue Speeches as before.
  Ask the timer if all the speeches were in time. Ask audience to vote for best Speaker, excluding anyone under/over time.
  Introduce the General Evaluator
  Speech Evaluations
  General Evaluation
  Grammarian’s report
  The Grammarian should then hand back to the President, as is usually the norm at MSC (although, according to the rules of TMI, there is no official protocol specifying a required order for hand-overs at the end of meetings).
  Thank the General Evaluator, Evaluators, Speakers, Timer and Sgt @ Arms
  Handover to President
9:45 President awards prizes for best speaker, evaluator, table topics, asks for comments from guests/members & any outside speaking engagements. President then closes meeting.


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