You Want Me to be the Toastmaster Today?


Remember when you took the Pledge to be a full participant in your local Toastmasters Club? Perhaps you even recited the “Toastmasters Promise” if not required to also sing your club’s favorite song! One of those commitments was to “prepare for and fulfill meeting assignments”.
Last week I served as the Carrollwood Toastmasters Club #5083 Toastmaster of the Evening, an open role I filled just two days before our Wednesday evening meeting. I suggested that newer members and other members who have never taken on this role give it a try! I told my club that the Toastmaster just needs to choose a theme and the pick a Word of the Day to go with it! I know that’s an oversimplification. Newer members can touch base with their Mentors to feel more confident in serving as Emcee of the meeting.
The main purpose of the Toastmaster role is to act as the meeting’s genial host, introducing participants and making sure everything runs on time. The main responsibility of the Toastmaster is To give an introduction which sets the tone for the meeting. The club president or presiding officer introduces the Toastmaster at the beginning of the meeting so it’s good to send her/him your Introduction before the meeting (always bring a printed copy just in case!) Your Introduction should include a link to why you chose your Meeting Theme or Topic.
The Toastmaster selects the theme of the day. Choose a theme that will let the people’s imagination roam.  Contact each speaker to remind them they are delivering a speech. Interview them to find out something interesting which you can use when introducing them hopefully along with the theme.  For example if you chose your theme from This Day In History and it’s National First Love Day on September 18th include a sentence or two on the speaker’s first love!  Make sure you know their Manual and project number, Title of the speech, Time allotted and Speech objectives.
Participants ought to be introduced in a way that excites the audience and motivates them to listen. The Toastmaster creates an atmosphere of interest, expectation, and receptivity.
The Toastmaster is a meeting’s director and host. You won’t usually be assigned this role until you are thoroughly familiar with the club and its procedures or if you really like coloring outside the lines and challenging yourself. Ask your Mentor or the club’s Vice President of Education (VPE) for pointers well before the meeting.
Before the Meeting
Begin preparing for your role several days in advance. You can use the Toastmaster’s Check List at Toastmasters International’s website to help you prepare. You’ll need to know who will fill the other meeting roles and if a theme is planned for the meeting. You’ll also need an up-to-date meeting agenda. Get this information from your VPE. Some clubs have printed agendas for all participants while others use a white board. Oftentimes the individual times are posted to your club’s website.


As the Toastmaster, you’ll introduce each speaker. If a speaker does not write his or her own introduction, you will have to use your creativity to write a very brief one. Introductions must be brief and carefully planned. Contact speakers several days before the meeting to ask about:
 Speech topic and title Manual and project title
 Assignment objectives
 Speaker’s personal objectives
 Delivery time
You need all of these elements to create your introductions. Remember to keep the introductions between 60-90 seconds in length.
Think about how you want to welcome participants and attendees, and how you want to close out the meeting. Usually if you award ribbons the Toastmaster will unveil the names of the winners; (check if any ties) Best Topic winner, Best Speech winner, Best Evaluation winner. If there are Only Two in each category then you’re club is picking the “Better”.


For more information about introductions see When You’re the Introducer (Item 1167E), Introducing the Speaker (Item 111) and The Better Speaker Series module creating an Introduction (Item 277)
Of course, you want to avoid awkward interruptions or gaps in meeting flow so your last preparation step before the meeting is to plan remarks you can use to make smooth transitions from one portion of the program to another. You may not need them, but you should be prepared for the possibility of awkward periods of silence.


The Day of the Meeting: “The Big Show”
On meeting day, show up early. You’ll need time to make sure the stage is set for a successful meeting. To start, check with each speaker as they arrive to see if they have made any last-minute changes to their speeches – such as changing the title.


You and the speakers will need quick and easy access to the lectern. Direct the speakers to sit near the front of the room and make sure they leave a seat open for you near the front.


When it’s time to start the program, the club president calls the meeting to order. Sometimes he or she will make announcements, introduce guests or conduct other club business before introducing you. When you’re introduced, the president will wait until you arrive at the lectern before being seated. (This is why you should sit at the front of the room.)


Pay attention to the time. You are responsible for beginning and ending the meeting on time. You may have to adjust the schedule during the meeting to accomplish this. You introduce the Table Topics Master. At the conclusion of the speaking program, request the timer’s report and vote for the best Table Topics.
Double-check pronunciation. Pay close attention to time. Lead the applause.
Some Famous Toastmasters
Some well-known people from various fields have been Toastmasters. These include:

Tim Allen – Actor, star of television series, “Home Improvement”
Everett Alvarez – American POW during the Vietnam War; former Deputy Director of the Peace Corps and Veterans Administration
James Brady – Two-term press secretary for U.S. President Ronald Reagan; author of the Brady Bill,
Nancy Brinker – Founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary
Peter Coors – Chairman of Coors Brewing Company
Debbie Fields Rose – Founder, Mrs. Fields Cookies
Napoleon Hill – Best-selling author of “Think and Grow Rich;” presidential advisor
K.C. Jones – Former basketball coach for NBA team, Boston Celtics
Linda Lingle – Former Republican Governor of Hawaii
James Lovell – Former U.S. astronaut; missions included Apollo 13
Chris Matthews – Author and host on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews”
Leonard Nimoy – Was Actor and star of television series “Star Trek”
Walter Schirra – Late former U.S. astronaut; Flew in three space programs, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo


Daniel Rex’s Salary

Way back in 2014 I said in my Blog that I thought Toastmasters International CEO Daniel Rex’s salary increase of 19% year-to-year seemed rather “rich”. However, he apparently was given a new title which may have included increased responsibilities. The Toastmasters International (TI) 990 Form listed that 2014 salary as $395,724. In 2017 Rex reportedly had a salary of $582,000. Despite the fact that management and implementation of Pathways is i/m/h/o “horrible”, Daniel Rex now makes more than $600,000!
I can understand people getting upset at compensation they feel is too high and I can see where people view the World Headquarters as somewhat outdated. I have been in Toastmasters since October 1997 not because of the policy and procedures that emanate from TI but for how I grow as a speaker at my local District 48 Club, Carrollwood Toastmasters #5083. That includes videotaping speeches, excellent evaluations and friendships with individual members that are cemented at and after the meeting including the first Wednesday of the month when a handful of members (and guests) go out to Marlowe’s Tavern or Glory Days Grill for “Tavern Time”!
Up until 2018 I belonged to three local clubs in District 48 but I quit two of them for a number of reasons including the fact that as a Retiree since 2013, I don’t “need” Toastmasters for career enhancement, discontent with the confusion of Pathways and thoughts of using my time in other volunteer endeavors. I NEVER was asked via email or otherwise by TI or D48 why someone so long a member, had simply quit. What business allows their best customers to just leave with nary a word?
A DTM from one of the oldest clubs in Florida once told me of the bygone days when the local club Did Their Own Thing regardless of whether the Area Governor ever showed up for a visit. They created a professional environment that welcomed newbies as well as old-timers working together to get the Butterflies Flying In Formation! The real value in Toastmasters…where the rubber hits the road so to speak…is what happens at the club level and not just any club buy Your club!

The Carrollwood Toastmaster Role

Adapted from Mile Square Toastmasters ”Cheat Sheet” Guide

“Knowledge becomes wisdom only after it has been put to practical use.” – Albert Einstein

Introduction: This document is a 6-point plan to make the role of the Toastmaster as easy and relaxed as possible. For this to occur, the Toastmaster should read this document before the meeting, and refer to it throughout. This will provide guidance to the structure of the evening and make it an enjoyable experience.

The Role of the Toastmaster: The Toastmaster is responsible for running the evening’s meeting according to the agenda. All eyes are looking to you for coordination and guidance.

1. Preparation: At Carrollwood Toastmasters the Vice President of Education forwards the agenda to members a few days before our Wednesday evening meeting to confirm roles and fill open slots. At our club it’s the Toastmaster’s job to come up with a theme for the meeting. The sooner you do this the easier it will be for the Table Topic Master to have questions or quotes on theme. You may want to do a little homework on each speaker so that you can introduce them with something interesting. Contact the speakers a few days before the meeting to get their speech titles, timing, and any other helpful information including a bio or intro if they haven’t put that on the website.

Arrive 15 minutes early to arrange seats and welcome members. Note down any absent volunteers for roles on the duty roster which will be written on the white board in front of the room. Be sure that the Timer knows the allotted time for each speech and that she/he understands when to show the various colored lights or cards.

2. At The Meeting: The Club President or Presiding Officer will likely be the one to introduce you as the evening’s Toastmaster. It helps to have a brief introduction including perhaps why you chose the theme of the night.

3. Table Topics: Discuss with the Table Topics master who will explain how Table Topics is conducted – participants must speak for at least 1 minute but no more than 2:30 minutes. Ask the audience to vote for whom they believe was the best speaker during Table Topics, and ask them to note their choices on the ballots that have been provided by the Sgt. At Arms (after the prepared speakers and evaluators have been voted upon, members and guests will pass those ballots to the Table Topics Master for tallying). (Table Topics Master can encourage guests to participate while observing their Yes/No tent cards)

4. Prepared Speeches: Introduce the speakers by their names, summary of Speaker’s general background, and/or a summary of his/her speaking achievements. Tip: e-mail speakers in advance and have them answer a question or questions. You can use their responses in your introductions. On completion of each prepared speeches, ask for written feedback from the audience, to be given to the speakers using Love Notes or blank pieces of paper. Encourage signing these notes in case speaker(s) need further clarification). It helps the flow of the meeting if the passing of evaluations to each speaker is held until the end of the meeting. Be sure that the videographer is ready before introducing the next speaker. When all the speeches and evaluations have been completed, remind the audience to vote on the best speaker and best evaluator, and for them to give the slips to the Table Topics Master so those votes can be tabulated for awarding of Ribbons!

Finally, close the evening with something like, “I would just like to thank everyone for speaking tonight and I welcome the guests who are here for the first time. I look forward to seeing you all at the next meeting.”

• The meeting is enriched if your introductions are interesting, informative, and help us “get to know” the speakers/evaluators a little better.

• Introduce each speaker by his/her name. Check pronunciation beforehand.

• Greet each speaker with a handshake and lead the applause. Do the same on completion of the speech.

• Thank the speaker on completion of the speech and try to add some insight to what you’ve just heard (e.g. “I’ve seen/heard about that movie”, etc.)

• It helps to announce timings if the General Evaluator hasn’t already shared speech time parameters)

• You will announce the winner of Table Topics, Best Evaluator and Best Speaker (Check that ribbons are at the lectern. If not, see the Sgt. At Arms)

• Members with meeting roles should be present by 6:45pm or risk loosing their role for the evening. The Toastmaster needs to have roles confirmed before the start of the meeting for the meeting to run smoothly. Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, General Evaluator, Grammarian, Ah Counter, and Timer all need to be present at the start of the meeting. (If we’re short a speaker try encouraging a Back-Pocket Speech. Check with the Vice president of Education)
Members who are doing Prepared Speeches or Evaluations should contact the Toastmaster ahead of the meeting if they will be running late so they can retain their speaking role.
• The meeting will flow better if you mail out your cell phone number or email address to all on the agenda by Monday morning. This way if someone will not able to fulfill their role you can plan ahead of the meeting for this. (I like for the Toastmaster to confirm roles with Speakers while GE touches base with Evaluators)

Copyright 2006, by the Mile Square Toastmasters.
Updated by Jean O’Reilly, 10-23-06
Updated 8-8-19 to reflect Carrollwood Toastmasters best practices

Dave Kerpen’s 25 favorite likeable Leadership quotes

Dave Kerpen is a New York Times best selling author, serial entrepreneuer and global key note speaker!

1) “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway
2) “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” – Ralph Nichols

3) “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” -Robert McKee
4) “If you tell me, it’s an essay. If you show me, it’s a story.” —Barbara Greene

5) “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” -Oprah Winfrey
6) “Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.” -Lance Secretan

7) “As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth.” -John Whittier
8) “There is no persuasiveness more effectual than the transparency of a single heart, of a sincere life.” -Joseph Berber Lightfoot

Team Playing
9) “Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” -SEAL Team Saying
10) “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

11) “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll
12) ‘”Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

13) “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” -Ben Franklin
14) “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” –Charles Darwin

15) “The only way to do great work is to love the work you do.” -Steve Jobs
16) “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” -Albert Einstein

Surprise and Delight
17) “A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless.” -Charles de Gaulle
18) “Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” – Boris Pasternak

19) “Less isn’t more; just enough is more.” -Milton Glaser
20) “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo daVinci

21) “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” -Gilbert K Chesterton
22) “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

23) “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter F. Drucker
24) “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams
25) “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” —John F. Kennedy

Remembering Apollo 11

This Wednesday, July 24th Carrollwood Toastmasters weekly meeting will be an Open House. Networking and lite snacks 6:30pm-7:00pm. Then our meeting 7:00pm-8:45pm will be on the theme of Remembering the 50thAnniversary of Apollo 11 when man landed on the Moon for the very first time fulfilling the challenge laid out by President John F. Kennedy. Toastmasters is a Gift you give yourself. It’s not about chasing all the Butterflies away but rather getting them to fly in formation.

For Senior Retirees we keep our minds young while participating in impromptu speech (Table Topics) and prepared speeches which are typically 5-7 minutes long. You’ll learn all mannner of things by just listening to interesting speech topics or STORIES!..As a Member You speak WHEN you want to about WHAT you want! As someone with rich life experiences you can meet, interact and MENTOR other people who come to our weekly meetings. Each of us have rich experiences and lessons learned that can be of great value!

For me I literally got my non-profit job in New Port Richey in 2003 Because of Toastmasters. The ability to lead and influence others is a powerful tool in anyone’s resume. Before I left Long Island in 2003 I was Mentor to the brand new Hofstra University Graduate School of Business. The Dean considered requiring Toastmasters as a prerequisite to obtaining a Masters In Business Administration (MBA). He believed effective communications was a requisite for career advancement.

Toastmasters is self-paced and it isn’t just about giving prepared speeches! Mainly at Toastmasters we learn to be better listeners. People become more self-confidentwhen they learn these communication skills and your conversations become more interesting.

Your next wine and cheese party you’ll shine with all your new found knowledge! We do ask Guests to RSVP since seating is limited. Contact our VP of Public Relations at or our VP of Education at

Natural Storytellers

You are very effective as a Speaker when you tell a story as Kamela Harris did in last night’s Democrat Debate when she revealed she was that little girl on the School Bus.

If in your Toastmasters Evaluation you identify a speaker as that “natural storyteller” provide some details to encourage other Members. Also try to stay with the positives for at least 1/3 of your Evaluation before the “growth opportunities” that comprise the meat of your sandwich. Two or three suggestions in your verbal feedback work best. Others can be shared just with the Speaker in your written comments. Jim (District 48 2014 Evaluation Champion)

Try to avoid telling us too much what Anjan said and more How he delivered. Give us an example of his Colorful Language. Liked suggestions for Vocal Variety and Pauses (maybe give us a spot where a pause would have helped)
You can’t Speak For the Audience e.g. You caught OUR attention. WE were waiting.

What is nitpicking

I see some evaluators using the phrase “I am nitpicking.” Essentially what it means is that I couldn’t find anything wrong in your speech but am forcing myself to come up with a “small” and “insignificant” suggestion – “just for the record!” (In other words, the speaker was so good and the speech was so perfect, etc.!). This too is a form of cliché. Please avoid using this phrase!” – Originally by: Sam Mehta, DTM, PDG from Syracuse, NY