I was day chairman at a regional conference sometime ago, having to deal with a very rowdy crowd of toastmasters. After the morning tea break, the 500 or so people ambled into the hall, talking animately and generally taking their time about sitting for the next part of the program.
I used the gavel to not very good effect. The more I banged on the lectern the noisier the crowd became, raising their voices over the banging. They eventually settled down and I had to work extra hard at clawing back lost time to get everyone to the sit down lunch on time.
As I removed the lapel mic a very senior toastmaster in terms of tenure came up to me and said this:
“Regina, when people return to their seats after lunch, just stand in the centre of the stage and say nothing. This gets people’s attention faster than trying to shout over the voices and telling them what to do. You will show assertiveness by taking control of room in a quiet manner.”
After lunch I did just that – and as if by magic, the chattering died down quickly and people took their seats, looking at me in anticipation of the next part of the programme.
Last week I sketched out 5 Steps to Preparing for the Toastmaster of the Evening assignment. It is now the day of the meeting. I have found that the 6 pointers below combine very well with the preparation you’ve already done to ensure a polished execution of this very important assignment.
1. Arrive early – be there well before the meeting starts because there is much to do.
Remember to get a seat close to the front of the room where the lectern is. The speaking area should never be left unattended.
2. Speech titles and timing – if you haven’t already done so, remember to get the speech titles and timing of speeches from each speaker for your introductions of the prepared speakers. It’s also a good idea to know from which manual each speaker’s assignment is from and the level they are speaking at.
Ask the timekeeper to test the lights before the meeting to make sure that they all work.
3. Aim to educate – to provide clarification to visitors and new members, explain each part of the program as it is introduced, and its purpose.
In some clubs it is customary for the Toastmaster and the person assuming control of the lectern to exchange a handshake. This isn't required, but it's sometimes done to help new members recognize when control of the lectern passes from the Toastmaster to the speaker and vice versa - taken from article "Toastmaster - You are the emcee"
4. Pay attention to the time – it is your responsibility to ensure that the meeting keeps to the time on the program; adjust the agenda during the meeting (if the meeting is running over time) to ensure this happens.
5. Lead the applause – applaud the speakers from the moment they leave their seat until they get to the lectern, and when they return to their seat, until they are seated once again.
Remain standing near the lectern after your introduction until the speaker has assumed control of the lectern, then be seated. The general evaluator will introduce the other members of the evaluation team - taken from article "Toastmaster - You are the emcee"
6. Remember to have fun!
What techniques work for you when you’re Toastmaster of the Evening?
Share them in the comment section below so that together we can build a rich experience database.
Mozambican-born Portuguese South African; reflecting on travel, writing, editing, life, family and change that has social impact; chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher