On being the Toastmaster of the dayFeb 18, 2021 5:59 AM
The Toastmaster of the day is the master of ceremonies (MC or emcee) and the Toastmasters club’s titular role. It may seem intimidating at first, but it’s not as bad as you would think. A Toastmaster is responsible for several things.
- Ensuring that members confirm their roles for next week’s meeting.
- Creating and setting the agenda.
- Being the host for the meeting and introducing speakers to the audience.
At Mountain View Toastmasters, they also set the theme’s meeting and the tip of the day, which are ways of spicing up the meeting. The instructions for the club are excellent, covering all aspects an aspiring (or volunteered) member needs to know about the process.
The confirmation emails are probably the most labor-intensive part of the meeting. In an email thread, usually 4-5 days before the meeting starts, everyone is asked to confirm their roles. The most stressful part of this process is when a role still needs to be filled, or worse, someone drops out at the last minute. An email to the club’s mailing list can get this in order, where more experienced members often volunteer to fill void. Once roles have been confirmed and the relevant information gathered, it’s time to prepare the agenda before sending a reminder to the club with meeting details.
It helps to practice a little for the day (but you can get away with winging most of it 🤫). Here’s what I used to prepare for my most recent meeting as Toastmaster of the day.
The meeting goes by much quicker than you would expect. The first 3-5 minutes are dedicated to welcome the club and outline the meeting for guests. The rest of the meeting is transitioning between speakers. The Toastmaster fills in the odd gaps on the stage and ensures that someone always attends the podium (in the abstract now that everything is online). It’s odd how often I look at my watch or the clock during meetings; there’s pressure to be timely and ensure that meetings run to a high standard. Everyone does their part to make the meeting a success, so it ends up being a role that actually doesn’t require much effort once the gears start turning.
Being comfortable with running a meeting is applicable to professional settings. A fixed schedule, awareness of time, and some preparedness makes a meeting run smoothly. Some of the details are different in-person versus online, but the overall experience and stresses are similar. Taking on the Toastmaster role is an excellent experience to exercise some soft skills and help out with the club; volunteer if you have the opportunity.