The Toastmaster of the Day role terrifies people. I know it definitely terrified me. The thought of standing up in front of huge crowd for an hour can leave you in a cold sweat.
I was even more intimidated by the role because I’ve seen so many phenomenal Toastmasters handle the role deftly with grace and charm; neither of which I possess. I would look upon these speakers with awe wondering how they did it.
However, now that I’ve performed the role enough times, I can hands down say it’s perhaps the most exciting and thrilling role to do.
First Time, Preparation and Success
More than a year ago I was forced to handle the role, but rather than get stressed out about it I decided to jump in, get prepared and just handle it.
My Area Director sat me down, gave me some amazing guidance which I wholeheartedly accepted. I also watched many YouTube videos about how to handle the role. I wrote my script, I learned it well and I practiced incessantly.
All my preparation paid off because the session went beautifully. Fortune favors the dude who studies fifteen hours of YouTube and listens to the Area Director. The session flowed, the jokes landed and everyone had a great time.
I was really proud that day. I was really proud that had overcome something that absolutely scared the heck out of me.
Some of the biggest things I’ve learned
To date I’ve done the role at least ten times, and the last time I did this role a couple of days ago. It was perhaps my best performance as Toastmaster of the Day! I really felt so at ease doing the role, so I thought I’d share some of the biggest things I’ve learned.
Focus on the Members
The first time you do the role, you are scared witless because your thoughts are always on how you are going to perform in front of a group of people. That’s not helpful to anybody.
Rather focus on the helping the members participating in the session. Craft your script and theme towards providing a comfortable space for people to practice their skills; give speakers big introductions, lead the applause, acknowledge when someone has done great and always keep the energy high.
Toastmasters is always about team work!
Leverage the Team
Typically you might think that the Toastmaster of the Day runs the entire event. This is not so. In fact you get an entire team helping you run the event.
I actually go so far as to mention this whenever I am Toastmaster of the Day. I make it known to the guests and members that Toastmasters is always about team work.
As a novice Toastmaster of the Day I would always ask the timekeeper to let me know during their report if I’m running on time. This helps so much me keep to the agenda or change things if I need.
The Table Topics Master is like a mini Toastmaster of the Day leading a big section of the agenda by themselves. It is always one of the most enjoyable parts of the agenda and takes a huge amount of work off of the shoulders of the Toastmaster of the day. Furthermore if you’re someone who enjoys being a Table Topics Master and have become comfortable with it, then you should think about doing the Toastmaster of the day role.
Likewise the General Evaluator can be a huge boon to the Toastmaster of the Day because they too are like a mini Toastmaster handling a big chunk of the agenda. In fact I would say, if you’ve handled Table Topics master role and the General Evaluator role them you’re definitely able to handle the Toastmaster of the day role.
I have also seen many outstanding Toastmasters take simple roles like Grammarian and Ah Counter and evolve them to super fun parts of the agenda by being creative. I’m continually amazed at how interactive and engaging these roles can be. This really helps the Toastmaster of the Day keep the energy high.
Leveraging the team is critical when it comes to doing the Toastmaster of the day role; so know your team, make sure they will be there on the day, and enlist their help for an Amazing event.
Be Ready for things to go Wrong
Things going wrong is not a bad thing. It is a Great thing!
This is wonderful because it trains a Toastmaster of the Day to roll with the punches.
Things always go wrong. That’s life. You can’t change that. However, what you can do is learn to be okay with the setbacks and just flow with it. People will come late, someone might not make it or you may experience a technical issue . Just flow with it, maintain communication with the team before, during and after the session and everything will turn out fine.
Be okay with things going wrong, and you’ll be okay!
Know the Script
Ultimately all Toastmaster agendas at various clubs are the same. They might change here and there, they might differ in a few ways; but ultimately the agenda is the same everywhere you go.
The script associated with that agenda becomes so important because it allows you to navigate the agenda and the event. If you know the script extremely well then its just like doing a series of speeches. It’s just like doing what you have already done before.
Particularly when things go wrong as previously mentioned , if you know the script then its easy to roll with the changes. You can then skip a part if the script, or ask the Table Topics Master to reduce their time or shift speakers around. Knowing the script gives you the confidence that you’re well versed in the material and that you can accommodate changes.
Know the script, and you can go with the flow.
The Toastmaster of the day role is now one of my favourites. I know the material so well that I’m comfortable handling any session. I’m not stressed out by things that can go wrong, but most importantly I know that I’ve always got an amazing team that can help me produce an fantastic event.
Photo by rob walsh on Unsplash
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