San Francisco Mandarin English Toastmasters (旧金山中英双语演讲会)

The first bilingual Chinese-English Toastmasters group in San Francisco

How to be an Awesome Toastmaster

When you are the toastmaster, you will gain experience coordinating and running a business meeting or technical conference. This can be one of your most rewarding experiences in your club work.

You are in charge! It is YOUR meeting. You can rearrange the agenda, try something different, etc. You may find that members are subject to unexpected commitments at the last minute, so you can adjust the meeting format in any way that meets the need. You can also assign tasks to any member present in order to fill all the jobs.

Prior to the meeting
Reminders and introductions:

  • Check with the Table Topics Master and agree on a theme for the meeting so that may be used in developing the Table Topics.
  • Contact each of the planned speakers at least a few days in advance to remind them that they are scheduled to speak. Interview them to find out the title, manual project number, time requested, objectives of the speech and some background on them to make your introduction.
  • Contact the General Evaluator and confirm their responsibilities. Ask the General Evaluator to contact all members of the Evaluation Team (Timer, Speech Evaluators, Ah Counter, Grammarian) and remind them of their responsibilities.
  • Prepare introductions for each speaker; it is an important part of your role as TM.
  • Prepare remarks to “fill the gaps” between program.
  • Evaluators: Let evaluators know whom and which manual speech they will be evaluating. Give this information to the General Evaluator too.

During the meeting
Agenda: Pass out a printed meeting agenda. If a meeting participant does not arrive, assign someone else at the beginning of the meeting. Remember, you are in charge! If members are shy about volunteering, then assign the role to someone.
Introducing speakers: When introducing a speaker, mention the manual and speech number, speech objective, speech title and target duration.
Shaking Hands: Whenever transferring the meeting to a speaker, evaluator, etc., hand the meeting off with a handshake. Allow the participant to pass in front of you (not behind you) as they take the floor. When they are done, they should return the meeting to you with a handshake, allowing you to pass in front of them. In other words, the person taking the floor moves to the front and is closest to the audience. This clarifies who is in charge at any given moment.
Clapping: After making an introduction, you start the clapping and keep it up until the participant has reached the front of the room and has shaken your hand. Clapping is for welcoming and thanking the participant. You set the supportive tone!
Time: Part of your job is make sure we start and finish on time. Ways to adjust the overall meeting time include limiting the number of Table Topics, asking the Table Topics Master, Grammarian, AH Counter, and General Evaluator to be brief, and abbreviating your own introductory remarks.
Guests: If guests or new members are present, please briefly explain the purpose of each participant as part of their introduction. For example, “the purpose of the evaluator is to give the speaker immediate feedback and to give the evaluator training in critical listening and impromptu speaking.”

After the Meeting

Make sure that the Vice President Education knows who spoke during your meeting and which manual speeches they gave.

Toastmaster Do’s and Don’ts:


  • Fill out the Agenda correctly.
  • Make copies of the Agenda and bring them to the meeting.
  • Be very sparing on the emails that you send out (No one likes to get a bunch of emails in one day about Toastmasters.)
  • Try to assign no more than one role per person.
  • To fill Grammarian and Timer roles, contact a new member that has no role assigned; if there are no new members – contact a member that does not have a role to perform at the meeting. We want to have as many people as possible participating in the meeting process — the more the members are involved in our meetings, the less they will tend to get bored and potentially walk away.
  • If a Table Topic Master role becomes available, start with a member that has a little bit more experience.
  • Make sure you are correctly pronouncing the name of everyone that you’re introducing.
  • Start the meeting on time if the President is running late. Also make sure you have the Club’s Mission Statement available, just in case.
  • Applaud and greet the speaker at the  lectern
  • Ask guests to introduce themselves, but keep introductions short.



  • Start the meeting late
  • Pronounce people’s names incorrectly.
  • Leave the Lectern without first turning over the position to the next speaker, shaking their hand, and saying Thank you** Mr. / Madam Toastmaster, or Mr. /Madam Table Topic Master, or Mr. / Madam Evaluator, or Mr. / Madam General Evaluator.


This entry was posted on May 15, 2012 by .


%d bloggers like this: