Northrise Toastmasters Club 1988/72

Meetings: alternate Thursdays 6:45 am

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Chair

Role Objective

To facilitate a timely, positive, fun meeting

Description of
Role

Chairing is a pivotal role, a key ingredient in a successful meeting. Under the President's guidance the Chair runs the meeting and exercises overall control.
(Note: in many countries the Toastmaster chairs the entire meeting and material from WHQ concerning the role will be based on this approach).

Preparation

Preparation is critical. Every rostered participant should be contacted (except the speakers and evaluators, which are the Toastmaster's concern) well before the meeting (the preceding Saturday is good) to ensure that they will be there to do their rostered role and that they understand what is required of them. Check with the VPEd to reassign any roles which cannot be fulfilled by planned/rostered member and for which the rostered member hasn't .found a replacement.

Contact the Toastmaster a week before the meeting to ensure that all the speakers have indicated they will be speaking on schedule. Late speaker fall-out can be most disruptive to your planning.

Asking the Toastmaster early for the speech titles and manual speech numbers so that you can include them in your agenda sometimes acts as an accelerant in this process. The theory is that if she/he can't supply them they haven't done their thing or there is a problem, big or small. You of course have to keep faith by actually including this information in your agenda if you use this approach, but it does look professional.

Email contact doesn't always cut it; a few Toastmasters only download their email infrequently or don't use smart phones and don't always respond speedily. Texting isn't perfect either. Assume nothing. Waiting until the last minute to hear back from people is not smart - using the old fashioned phone can overcome this.!

Based on the responses to your contacts and the roster, prepare your agenda. Use one of the templates available in Word format from this site or create your own. If you use your own layout, ensure that none of the detail on the template regarding times etc is omitted. As a rule of thumb; for the standard 7 min speech plus evaluation there should be a 12 minute allowance.

The rostered order of speakers isn't necessarily intended as the speaking order and it is a good idea to reorder ths speakers and their assigned evaluators so that the junior speakers speak first and the remaing speakers present in seniority order.Watch for any glaring mismatches of evauators and speakers eg a new member evaluating a senior member's speech.

If the programme is to include a workshop or similar it is usually preferable schedule it before the formal speeches. All speeches by members other than workshops and impromptu speeches must be from a Toastmaster Manual.

If your Table Topics Master is inexperienced, consider emailing a copy of the agenda to them a day or so before the meeting suggesting they prepare a list of potential speakers from members who otherwise would not have speaking roles or formal presentations. It is important that every member at the meeting have a speaking opportunity if at all possible.

Minor point, if the General Evaluator wishes to be evaluated by the Leadership Evaluator, then the normal agenda order will need to be reversed ie the General Evaluator would then come first.

If you haven't done much chairing, email or fax a copy of the Agenda to the President well before the meeting and ask for their comments. In fact it is a good idea anyway, just in case of late breaking events.

Consider using a theme, eg Guy Fawkes or whatever is topical. Your agenda and maybe meeting your room decoration should reflect your theme and your Grammarian and Tabletopics Master can also be persuaded to use the theme in carrying out their roles.

Photocopy a copy of the agenda for each member and (say) half a dozen for guests and distribute these well before the commencement of the meeting. It is very useful to arrive at the meeting early to ensure that the room is prepared and then check off each of your participants as they arrive to be warned as early as possible of unexpected gaps in the ranks.

Timing

The meeting should start promptly at 6:50am and conclude at 8:20. Close attention should be paid to keeping to the agenda time allowances.

Procedure

When you are rostered Chairman, it's "your" meeting. You are in charge of the organising and running of it.

Once you have distributed the Agenda, check the arrival of every participant, check with the President and VP Ed to see if there is any business likely in the General Business session. Advise Hospitality of any special guests from whom a entry fee is not needed.

Confer with the Leadership Evaluator to see how many evaluations they will be doing. The time allocation for Leadership evaluations is one minute per evaluation - any time not required by them can be allocated to the General Evaluator. Advise the Timekeeper specifically. Advise the meeting of any changes when Agenda Changes comes up on the agenda.

Try to ensure the Sergeant at Arms calls the meeting together on time.

Once the President hands the meeting control over to you, thank him/her and greet the meeting. Advise the meeting that refuelling is okay up to the end of the break but preferably not after. If you think it's likely to be an issue, warn about turning off pagers and cellphones.

Then start to work your way through the agenda. If you have a theme introduce it at this point. If you have a detailed agenda then the sequence of events is plain.

You are quite entitled to decline to give meeting time to any items that crop up in general business of which you have not been forewarned. If you have a very full agenda, eg a lot of members present and thus a full Tabletopics session if everyone is to speak, then you may caution people wanting time, that time is at a premium. You may find it necessary to interject if any general business item becomes lengthy. With the President's help, you are the best judge of this.

Keep an eye on the Timekeeper, if he/she is inexperienced they may need some assistance.

You should always lead the applause as you introduce each segment of your program. As each presenter is announced they should be welcomed to the front with applause and similarly they should be appreciated with applause when the have finished.

Try to add a touch of warmth to the proceedings by adding one sentence facilitating comments between sessions on your agenda but do not comment in such as a way as to be personal or impinge on the General Evaluators territory. Don't overlook THANKING the presenter.

Make Sure as best you can that every member at the meeting has had an opportunity to speak. Roles such as Timekeeper are often overlooked when it comes to Table Topics. Make a note of who has been "overlooked" and try and fit them in at the end of the meeting (see below).

Should the Table Topics Master, near the end of their session, pick speakers who are on the agenda and there are other members who haven't spoken, you may need to intercede. Ideally all members will have spoken when they leave your meeting.

Time - If you are running over time you will need to apply pressure on all your presenters to "keep it brief" and remind the meeting at large periodically that "we are running a little behind time..."

Assess your position at the break and take it from there, don't wait until it's eight o'clock and you are 10 minutes behind. The meeting should not finish late and it is rude to prune the General Evaulator's time down.

If you finish the program per the agenda with time in hand (it can happen) plug the extra time with more Table Topics. If your TTM can't oblige, invent some yourself. Ideally these should be evaluated but prompt your TTE when you announce the session. Do not merely conclude the meeting early - Toastmaster meeting time is precious.

If in doubt at any time, check with Club President. If need be, stop the meeting until you have done this and you are clearer on how to proceed.

Key points

  • Preparation properly done makes life so much easier at the meeting by minimising unwelcome surprises.

  • It is your meeting and it is important that you facilitate it warmly while exerting control over the proceedings where necessary to ensure that each role is carried out appropriately.

Check List

Your agenda is your check list. If an agenda is properly prepared and everyone on it performs their role, your meeting should go well. Sadly, it is not a perfect world, but the President is always at hand to assist.

Desirable Outcome

Your meeting will have gone smoothly, any problems will have been sorted and the meeting will have run on time. Most important, the meeting will have been enjoyable.