Northrise Toastmasters Club 1988/72

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Role Objective

Conduct the Prepared Speeches and Evaluation section (the so-called "formal" part) of the meeting.

Description of Role

Conduct the formal speeches portion of the meeting. Facilitate the smooth introduction of and transition between presenters. Effectively announce presenters and give the audience all necessary relevant information. Assist presenters feel at ease as they arrive to speak.
(Note: in many countries the Toastmaster chairs the entire meeting and material from WHQ concerning the role will be based on this approach).


Preparation is very important. Each rostered presenter should be contacted during the week before the meeting especially the Prepared Speech presenters. This is done to ensure that the speakers have prepared their material and will be at the meeting to deliver.

A useful guide as to readiness, is if a speaker is able to supply you with detail on their speech including its title. You will need this for your introductions as well as the speech numbers and objectives.

The use of email is convenient, but not reliable. Note to whom you sent messages and from whom you get an answer. The trick is in the follow up. Once you've fired off an email (and made sure you’ve received a positive answer) or made a call and a speaker has said "I'm working on it", DIARY it.

On the Monday before the meeting, follow up your previous week’s phone call or email with a phone call to ensure your speakers are all still on track. Don't rely on email. If your email wasn't answered (some people are hopeless with email and spam filters can swallow stuff) ring them. If a speaker is vague about what they are doing, or they can’t give you a title (even if they change it later) then start to be concerned.

Every duty in a meeting can be covered by another member if there is a last minute drop out but the hardest to cover is that of a prepared speaker.

However, you'll get great results if you prioritize the few minutes that it'll take into your diary. Yes, ‘the FEW minutes’. People get freaked about making TM calls and think that they take huge time and represent a major task. Not true. They just require a bit of organisation.

Sadly, the unexpected comes along and not everyone does what you’d expect. Coping with it is the challenge. That’s what makes Toastmasters such a great training ground for the real world.

Inquire as to whether the speaker requires the lectern or any aids such as a whiteboard. You need to ensure these are available when the speaker needs them.

Contact the evaluators to ensure they will be at the meeting to perform their duty and that they have contacted the speaker they are evaluating and that they understand what is required of them. The General Evaluator and Table Topics Evaluator/s aren't your problem.

If you find a speaker or evaluator can no longer attend the meeting, contact the VPEd for a replacement.

Take a copy of the speech objectives to the meeting in case a speaker leaves their Manual at home. It is a lot easier to print off the speech objectives than try to cope with multiple manuals when you introduce speakers. This applies to either old or new C&L manuals and all the advanced manuals. The objectives are all available to download here.

Impromptus when we know there will be an impromptu, ie it is on the agenda, prepare a list of potential speakers in advance of the meeting. Your list should exclude ineligible newer members who have only given (say) three manual speeches, members giving prepared speeches at the meeting and members who have given impromptus recently.

Member manual progress and information re recent impromptus is available from the Achievement Record


These will be allocated for you in the agenda by the Chairman. For the standard 7 min speech plus evaluation there should be a 12 minute allowance. It pays to check this has been allowed and if the Timekeeper is relatively inexperienced, check they are comfortable with the procedure. This is particularly important when the times are non-standard eg for a Workshop.


Before your session starts, ensure there is a seat reserved for you near the lectern. Usually you will need to obtain a spare seat and position it up front ready for you to use during the presentations. Check that any speakers' aids to be used are available and ready for use.

When you are announced by the Chairman go to the lectern and take control of proceedings. For the next half hour or so your performance will be a significant ingredient of the success of the "formal" session.

Now the facilitation commences with first of all your formal address to the meeting, a very brief explanation of your role. It might be useful to give a brief explanation of the importance of the Toastmaster manual program.

Then proceed to introduce each presenter, announcing them as detailed below, in the correct order (hopefully the order in which they appear on the agenda);
Speaker 1
Speaker 2
Evaluator 1
Speaker 3 etc

You are responsible for removing (or replacing) the lectern, bringing on aids such as whiteboards and clearing away (and wiping clear) speakers aids after presentations. You will need to have some note of each presenters' preferences along with your notes on titles etc.

Consider using the full STA(note)TS approach to ensure that you cover all the ground for the introduction of formal speeches:

Speaker Name

Title of Speech


One or two (max) short introductory comments about the speaker

Number of Speech

Manual assignment number


Read from the Manual


Spell out the lights/times

Evaluators Name

Title of Speech

Speaker Name

You might feel that the Timing and the Evaluator are already detailed on the agenda, and thus their inclusion in the introduction is unnecessary.

Once you have announced each presenter, lead the welcoming applause whilst staying at the front until the presenter has arrived, greet them warmly with a handshake and smile and then retire to your strategically placed seat (see above).

Quick tip: The old advice of Grin Grip Greet usually works just fine. Smile your welcome, Shake their hand and Say hello warmly.

Try to think ahead as you listen to the presentations so that you are ready to facilitate each transition with minimal reference to notes. As each speaker finishes, lead the applause, make maybe one appreciative comment, rearrange the furniture etc if need be and then introduce the next presenter. The speaking position should never be vacated during your session.

The facilitative comment is a good opportunity for humour if that is appropriate and is your "thing" but is never the time for an overly personal comment or an observation that might impinge on the evaluator's territory.

Key points

  • Making sure your speakers are ready well before the meeting is critical.

  • Be prepared so that it all goes according to plan.

  • Use STATS (properly) or STAnotesTS.

Check List

For this assignment it is important that you develop your own check list. Attention to detail is important here. Newer Toastmasters should consider a detailed list of items in the correct order. Most of the information you need should be available to you before the meeting.

Desirable Outcome

A speech session that is presented without major stumbles is a great asset to the success of a meeting.

The manner in which this assignment is handled will reflect in the way members present their speeches. Through the warmth of your personality at the lectern, all speakers will have been put at ease.