How to be Toastmaster of the evening

Before meeting

  1. Send out draft roster. Get this from VP education.
    1. Use this email template, feel free to add your own flair to this
    2. Confirm everyone with roles will be attending.
    3. Ask for each speaker’s project number and speech title.
    4. Check who will not be attending to add to apologies.
    5. Remind everyone to print our their Pathways evaluation sheets.
  2. Create agenda.
    1. Download template here.
    2. Edit the following information (this has been highlighted in the template, remove the highlight before sending out):
      1. Date of meeting
      2. Meeting number (check website for the current meeting date)
      3. Next meeting date
      4. Timing of meeting and roles.
    3. Contact VP education to add following meeting’s roster to second page.
  3. Chase up any members who haven’t replied.
  4. Send out agenda to all members – send this to our Google Groups email address (check your emails to see what this is, or log in at In this email remind everyone to print our their Pathways evaluation sheets and bring them to the meeting.
  5. Prepare your introduction to the group, and also for each speaker.
  6. Prepare remarks which can be used to bridge the gaps between parts of the meeting.
  7. Print agenda, 25 to 30 copies.

Things to consider

  • Many of the people in the room will be guests who may not have been to a Toastmasters meeting before, and also new members. Make sure that you’re carefully explaining each role, and also explaining why each role is important.

At the meeting

  • Arrive early to the meeting so you can handle any issues or absences.
  • Have a brief chat with the President or acting President.
  • Ensure all members with roles are present, if not, find replacement speakers.

During meeting

Introduce yourself and explain the role.

The main duty of the Toastmaster is to act as a friendly host and conduct the entire program, including introducing participants and the overall running of the meeting. Explain to the audience your role, and the meeting’s outline. Cover items including:

  • Housekeeping – Phones are off & bathroom location
  • Toastmaster’s mission
  • Breakdown of the meeting (formal speeches, joke, evaluations, tea break, Table Topics, etc)

Introduce Timer and Grammarian/Um & uh counter

Explain that it takes help to run a smooth meeting, and invite the Timer and Grammarian to the stage to introduce their roles.

Prepared speeches

Introduce everyone to the prepared speeches section of the night.

At the start of each speech
  1. E.g. ‘Our first speaker is doing her second speech from the competent communicator manual’. You may wish to ask the speaker if they want any special kind of introduction.
  2. Ask the speech evaluator to give the objectives for the speech project.
  3. Introduce the speaker, remembering to give the title of the speech. Lead the applause until they reach the lectern, shake their hand and return to your seat.
At the end of each speech
  1. Shake the speaker’s hand and congratulate them.
  2. Ask if the audience has any questions for the speaker. Ensure this does not go over time.
  3. Once the questions are over, thank the speaker and introduce the next speaker.
  4. It’s good practice to have a question ready for the speaker to get the questions started.

Joker’s wild

  1. Introduce a fun part of the night, the joke. Ask the rostered person to provide a joke, then offer the reigning champion to compete, and then offer other members to provide a joke.
  2. Hold a vote to see who is the jokemaster.


Introduce the evaluation part of the evening. E.g. ‘Evaluation and positive feedback is an important part of Toastmasters.  I’m now going to introduce …… who is evaluating ……’s speech. Please welcome…..


Explain that there will be a short tea break, confirming the time to come back, and asking the TT master to put their hand up and explaining that they will be coming around asking guests if they would like to partake in table topics. Explain where the tea and coffee is.

Table topics

Introduce this fun & informal part of the night, which is a great tool for learning impromptu speaking. Invite the Table Topics master up to explain the role and run the Table Topics section.

Introduce reports

Introduce the reporting section of the night, why we have reports, and then introduce the timer and grammarian for their reports.

Introduce the general evaluator, providing a concise explanation of their role.

After the reports

  • Thank everybody for their reports.
  • Thank the guests and tell them to talk to VP membership or a member if they have questions. Invite guests to come back.
  • Make a few positive closing comments on the session.
  • Return control of the meeting to the President.

Spicing up a meeting

Sometimes speakers pull out last minute which leaves a gap in the roster. As the Toastmaster it’s your responsibility to fill the gap with something to ensure the meeting runs smoothly.

It’s also nice to have some variety in our meetings from time to time.

Below are a few ways to spice up a meeting, or to fill in some free time.

  • Hold a debate – Bring up two people, or two teams of people. Say a topic and make one team ‘for’ and one ‘against’. Give each speaker one minute time slots. If it’s just two people, give them 2 or 3 turns. If it’s team, just one turn per person. If you’re bringing up guests, ensure you’ve asked them beforehand.
  • Memory Master – The Memory Master listens carefully to all speakers, noting down any points of interest, facts or other things that happened, along with the answer or correct version. Towards the end of the meeting, the Memory Master asks the audience to answer questions about what people said or did during the meeting. It can be a fun way to end a meeting and challenge the audience to remember points about the meeting. Download a memory master form here.
    Allocate a memory master when you are initially emailing the club if possible.
  • Reverse meeting – Everything is done backwards! The meeting begins with a general evaluation, followed by reports, table topics, break, speech evaluations, followed by speeches. This requires a lot of club participation and communication!
  • Google it! There are a lot of great ideas online.

Extra notes

  • Ensure you give every speaker a warm welcome by asking the audience to ‘Help you welcome….’ the speaker and lead the applause.
  • Shake the speaker’s hand when the are near you and then vacate the stage. You don’t want to leave the podium unattended and you don’t want the speaker to walk away without your thanking them – you probably want to situate yourself in the front row or close to the podium.
  • Reinforce that speakers should attempt to use the word of the day in their prepared and table topics speeches.