_ Last week was my first time in the meeting role as Toastmaster. This is a role that I was really nervous about doing. It seemed like such a big responsibility and appeared to be a lot of work, prior to doing it. I must say that I was nervous through half of the meeting but then I just felt like things were moving along at a good pace. I realized that everyone is doing their part to make a successful meeting, there was no way I could screw it up that bad!
Here’s how I prepared. I looked up the role on the Toastmasters International website; there was a lot of valuable information. Our club has been good at collecting documents to help with meeting roles; we have a PDF that outlines the structure of the whole meeting. It outlines how long each segment should take, when to introduce other meeting support roles and even suggests some of the exact wording that could be used. If you don’t think you know enough about a role ask your mentor or the club executive they will get you what you need. I had help from my mentor who told me some of the information that wasn’t clear to me, she great! It took a couple hours to figure out introductions, research my topic and sort out how I would approach this information during our meeting. I practiced for a couple of hours as well, and tweaked the intros and topic segues so that it had better flow. I think in the future it will take less time to prepare, this was my first time after all.
The meeting topic was “Things We Can’t Live Without” it was interesting and there were a lot of angles that could be covered for intros and topic discussion. It made for a fun filled Table Topics session. One of the hiccups I learned was making sure the visual aides were set up before starting the meeting. I think if this happens to me again I’ll make sure that all speakers are set up before the meeting starts even if that means starting a minute or two late. I felt a little awkward when the meeting came to a stand still and equipment had to be tested and the Sergeant at Arms wasn’t ready to dim the lights. I also missed an introduction because I didn’t have it on my checklist, I thought I would remember. It is not that easy to remember once the meeting is going, and I relied a lot on the checklist. Overall I would say I did a decent job for a first time Toastmaster and I don’t think I will be as nervous the next time. It is one of the more challenging roles, you have to be prepared and organized. But I felt a real sense of pride when I finished right on time and that I pushed through my nervousness.
Blog written by Lese S.