Tips for the Toastmaster

The below is an outline of the Toastmaster’s duties during an evening.

General tips:

  1. To be a good Toastmaster be organised. Watch the Toastmaster during the previous meeting and note down what they do in each link (and anything they forgot to do).  This is crucial as running a smooth meeting is your most important job – things like having a good theme are secondary.

  2. When you choose a theme for the evening then try to keep it a simple one so that when you email everyone with your question it is easy for them to respond quickly.   Give a deadline for their expected response.  Send one more email out as a reminder to those that haven’t responded – after that feel free to make up their answers!

  3. Have small cards or notes (one for each time you will be speaking) and only look at and remember and focus on your next address.

  4. Reset the stage after each speaker: move the lectern to its default position, if the previous speaker used a flip chart then turn it to a clean page, remove any props etc.

  5. Encourage people to include their names on the feedback forms. Also let them know that they should hand feedback personally to the speaker.

  6. Sit in the front row by the aisle so you can jump up and down easily as people finish.

  7. Keep your links between sections short. You should always finish before the red light. If someone’s answer is really long and convoluted, shorten it.

  8. After you’ve introduced someone you should lead the applause and stay on the stage to shake hands with them before sitting down.  Same when they are finished

  9. During the one minute while people are writing evaluations for speakers stay up the front, look around and smile.  Hold the space.

Before the meeting:

  • Contact everyone who is on the programme to introduce yourself
  • You may wish to prepare a theme for the evening’s meeting, this can be connected with a link question that you ask of every speaker beforehand. This approach can help tie the meeting together.

On the night:

  • Check that all functionaries/speakers have arrived and know they’re performing a role
  • Secure stand-ins if required
  • Don’t worry about sticking too close to the timings given, they’re just a rough guide!

  • Where

    We meet at the Department for Transport at Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR (see map).

    Nearby underground stations are Pimlico, St. James's Park and Victoria.

    Non Member Guests

    Civil servants with a Common Access Pass or staff of public bodies working with DfT are welcome to attend. Known colleagues and friends of existing DfT staff can attend if signed in by that DfT member of staff and escorted at all times by that DfT member of staff.
  • When

    We meet every second and fourth Wednesday of each month (except December). Assemble in reception of Great Minister House at 18.15 to sign-in for a start at 18:30.

    Next meeting Wed 25th Sep