Role of the Toastmaster of the Meeting


The Toastmaster of the Meeting is the single most important job in the Toastmasters' meeting. The Toastmaster of the meeting acts as the host to see that the meeting is fully organized, enjoyable for all, and runs smoothly from start to finish. The Toastmaster of the Meeting selects the theme for the Meeting.

IN ADVANCE: The Vice President of Education publishes a schedule (found on the back of the program schedule and in the newsletter.) The scheduled participants for your program can be obtained from these schedules. If any of your participants must cancel, you will need to find a replacement before the meeting. For speakers, such replacements should be made at least 3 days (preferably more) in advance. For other participants, 2 days may be ample time. If you are unable to find a replacement, call the Vice President of Education for assistance.

BEFORE THE MEETING: Provide the presiding officer with an introduction. This will help you set the pace for the meeting. You should also talk with the Vice President of Education to insure that all roles are filled.

SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR GUESTS: If first-time guests are present, very briefly explain the purpose of each segment of the program as you introduce that section. (For example, in Table Topics we practice impromptu speaking. This gives us experience in thinking quickly on our feet, organizing our thoughts and presenting these thoughts in a logical, coherent manner before the group.)

AT THE MEETING: The presiding officer will open the meeting and conduct the business session. The Presiding Officer will then introduce the Toastmaster-of-the-Meeting. The Toastmaster-of-the-Meeting should introduce the theme for the meeting with a short dissertation on the significance of the theme, background remarks, and some entertaining comments. It is perfectly acceptable for this to be a manual speech. Just let the Vice President of Education know ahead of time so an evaluator can be assigned.

Remember that you are the host for the meeting, so try to make everyone feel comfortable and glad to be there. Be sure to greet any guests present.

Then, introduce your staff of other program participants. The order in which you then call on them (with brief interesting comments of introduction) is:

x Ask the Wordmaster to give the Word for the meeting.

x Introduce and relinquish control of the lectern to the Table Topics Master.

x After Table Topics, ask the Timer for the time used by each Table Topics Speaker.

x Ask all present to vote for best Table Topics speaker and to pass their ballots to the Vote Counter. The meeting should not be halted for voting. Prepare a few appropriate remarks to fill-in while the audience is voting. "Dead time" at the lectern is also death to meeting continuity.

x Introduce each prepared speaker. Make sure that the introduction (unless otherwise requested by the speaker) includes the title of the speech, the speech number and manual, the speech purpose, the requested time and a few appropriate comments (less than 30 seconds worth) about the speaker. Call the less experienced speakers first.

x After all prepared speakers have finished, ask for a second report from the Timer.

x Ask the audience to pass their ballots for best speaker to the Vote Counter. Review the list of eligible speakers. (Only those who are making Communication and Leadership Manual Speeches (The only accepted speech type at Northwestern.) and are within the time limits are eligible for this honor.) Remind the audience to also pass their short written evaluations from the ballot to the speakers.

x Introduce and relinquish control the lectern to the General Evaluator who will conduct the evaluation session.

x When the General Evaluator returns control to you, be sure to do anything that the General Evaluator normally does - but overlooked. This includes:
- Obtain a report from the Word Master.
- Obtain a report from the Grammarian.
- Obtain a report from the Timer.
- Ask members to vote for the evaluator who gave the best evaluation.

When you have finished the above, thank your program participants and, like a good host, express your appreciation for having been the Toastmaster-of-the-Meeting. Finally, relinquish control of the meeting to the Presiding Officer.


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