Chairperson

The Chairperson presides over the opening ceremonies, business session and closing ceremonies. However, as Chairperson of the meeting, you are responsible for the smooth functioning of the entire meeting, making sure things happen on time (or as close to on time as possible!). Another important part of your function is setting the mood of the meeting.

Responsibilities

Before the meeting…

  1. Call Vice President of Education to find out what is on the agenda as well as the name of the Toastmaster. Call Toastmaster for biographical material to introduce him/her.
  2. Go to the Toastmasters website and, under the “MINUTES” link in the member area, check that the minutes for the previous meeting have been posted. This is the chairperson’s responsibility, in order to ensure that, at the meeting, at least one person will have read the previous meeting’s minutes. If you attended the previous meeting, you should also read through the minutes of the previous meeting, in order to look for any corrections that may need to be made.

Beginning of meeting…

  1. See if all meeting participants are present. If any function is unfilled, it is up to you to find a replacement.

Opening Ceremony

  1. Welcome everyone to the meeting. Do this in a lively, enthusiastic manner to maintain the upbeat tone set by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
  2. Announce any changes to the Agenda.
  3. Pick a Quizmaster for the evening.
  4. Spend about 2 to 3 minutes talking on some facet of the Toastmasters experience, whether it be the history of Toastmasters, the size of the organization or a personal story about what Toastmasters has done for you or other people you know. (Try to vary your comments since members have heard the story of Ralph C. Smedley many many times.)
  5. Introduce meeting officials. Invite those members who perform key roles in the meeting to rise as their names are announced and ask the audience to hold their applause until all officials have been introduced. Once finished with the introductions, invite these officials to take their seats as you lead the applause.
  6. Invite the Grammarian to explain his/her functions. Try to do this before you introduce the guests, so they may participate in using the word of the week.
  7. Introduce guests. Invite the guests to stand up and introduce themselves. Or should you have many guests, such as at a joint meeting, you might ask everyone to rise and simply state their name and club.
  8. Call upon the persons doing the Tip of the Day, Thought of the Day, Toast and Moment of Humour, in turn. Say something complimentary about each persons contribution.
  9. Bang the gavel on the lectern and declare the business session open.
    • Ask for the timing procedure for the Secretary and then the Secretary to read the minutes.
    • Ask if there are any errors or omissions in the minutes.
    • Ask the Secretary to make the necessary corrections.
    • Ask for a motion to approve the minutes as read or corrected.
    • Ask if there is:
      • Any business arising from the minutes,
      • Any old business,
      • Any new business,
      • Any reports by officers or members,
      • Announcements

    Proceed with these matters as briskly as possible so that the meeting doesn’t drag. If anyone brings up any new business that prolongs the Business Session, table it until the next
    meeting and hold off any announcements until the end of the meeting. (You might make an exception for Toastmasters visiting from other clubs specifically to make an announcement.)

  10. Bang the gavel and declare the business session closed. You don’t need a motion to do so.
  11. You now introduce the Toastmaster of the Meeting.
  12. Welcome the Toastmaster to the lectern while leading the applause. Shake his/her hand, then you return to your place but remain standing until acknowledged.

Closing Ceremonies

  1. When the Education Session has concluded, the Toastmaster returns control of the meeting to you. Make a few positive comments about how you felt the
    meeting went.
  2. Thank guests for visiting and invite them to visit again. Ask each guest to rise and comment on the meeting. If a guest demurs, however, don’t insist. Simply pass on
    to the next guest. Also, ask for the comments of members who have not spoken yet.
  3. Call on the Vice President of Education for the program for the next meeting or meetings.
  4. Give out the awards. We like to accompany each award announcement with a ‘drum-roll’, followed by a presentation if the ribbon to the lucky winner.
  5. If there are a large number of guests, let’s say more than five, ask them to help in cleaning up the room by emptying and throwing out their water glasses. This is specially important when there is an executive meeting right up after a regular Toastmaster meeting.
  6. If time allows, ask if there are any additional announcements or comments. If none, ask for a motion to close the meeting.
  7. Bang the gavel and declare the meeting closed.

Guidelines

As Chairperson, you are in charge! Do your best to keep the meeting on time. If members want to linger, they may do so after the meeting is adjourned.

Verify all functions are filled and find replacements before the meeting begins. It can create an impression of incompetence if you ask for a replacement from the audience during the meeting.

Avoid being dictatorial. Be firm, but polite. Toastmasters is a volunteer organization, after all, and the function of Chairperson is a valuable opportunity to learn how to lead
people effectively.

If someone makes an error, don’t embarrass him. Instead discuss the matter with him privately after the meeting.

References

  1. Communications and Leadership manual: How to Introduce a Speaker
  2. Chairperson manual
  3. Master Your Meetings: A Guide to Quality in the Club
  4. When You are the President