Northrise Toastmasters Club 1988/72

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Toastmaster

Role Objective

To facilitate a timely, positive, fun meeting.

Description of Role

Toastmaster is a pivotal role, a key ingredient in a successful meeting. Under the President's guidance the Toastmaster runs the meeting and exercises overall control. 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.

Preparation

Preparation is very important. Each rostered presenter on the roster 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 always reliable. Consider using your phone. It is essential to follow up and get confirmations from all participants.

If you receive an apology that person should have found their own replacement but if that hasn't happened for some reason, contact the VP Education or Rosterer to see who is the most suitable member to approach to fill the role. Not every member is sufficently experienced to fill every role.

On the Monday before the meeting, follow up your previous week’s phone call or email to ensure your participants are on track and aware of what is required of them, particularly new members. Assumptions can be dangerous.

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.

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.

Based on the responses to your contacts and the roster, prepare your agenda. Use one of the template available in Word format from this site.

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.

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.

Take a copy of the speech objectives to the meeting. These are available from the Pathways section of the WHQ website or ask the speaker to email them to you. If a speaker is still using manuals, the objectives are all available to download here.

Impromptus usually are only used in the case of a last minute absence. When this occurs, prepare a list of names of potential speakers, one of which to be drawn from a hat to be the impromptu speaker. Your list should exclude ineligible newer members who have only given (say) fewer than three manual speeches, members giving prepared speeches at the meeting and members who have given impromptus recently. When we know there will be an impromptu, ie it is on the agenda, consult the VP Education for detail.

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

If you haven't done much chairing, email 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. Optionally, you can email the agenda to all members.

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 6:00am and conclude at 8:20. Ensure the Sergeant at Arms gets you off to a prompt start. If the Timekeeper is relatively inexperienced, check they are comfortable with the lighting procedure. This is particularly important when the times are non-standard eg for a Workshop.

Procedure

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 formal presentations. Check that any speakers' aids to be used are available and ready for use.

It is referable for you to run the meeting from your seat next to the President and the formal session from the front ie from the lectern.

Before the Break

If you think it's likely to be an issue, warn about turning off pagers and cellphones. Guests should be advised about the availabilty of food and the whereabouts of toilets.

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.

The Formal Speech Session

The formal speech facilitation should commence with your very brief explanation of your role.

Then proceed to introduce each presenter and evaluator in agenda order.

You are responsible for removing (or replacing) the lectern, bringing on aids such as whiteboards and clearing away (and wiping clear) speakers aids after each presentation

Use the full STATS approach to ensure that you cover all the ground for the introduction of formal speeches:

Speaker Name

Title of Speech

Attributes

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

Number of Speech

Manual assignment number

Objectives

Read from the Manual

Timing

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.

General

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

  • use STATS

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. You may well need to add your own notes.

Sadly, it is not a perfect world, but the President is always at hand to assist.

Desirable Outcome

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

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.