A sample meeting is similar to a typical Toastmasters meeting, though it has a specific goal of introducing the Toastmasters meeting format to a group that has probably never seen it before! Your participation is the sample meeting encourages prospective members to join. The best way to showcase the benefits of Toastmasters is to prepare for your role. The sample meeting is by definition an example of a well-run Toastmasters meeting. Many club meetings make modifications to accommodate the club culture and specific needs of its members. Our sample meeting should be very strong in the basic format, and simple to minimize the need for explanation. If this group of inexperienced Toastmasters follows our exact example for the next 6 months to a year, it should set the foundation for strong, interactive and fun meetings.
What follows is specific encouragement on roles in a Sample Meeting. Most of these recommendations come right out of “Master Your Meetings” and “Think Fast” manuals. Some recommendations may be self‐explanatory. Some may not, so feel free to ask why. It is important that we are all working together to make a great first impression for this potential club.
A sample meeting is all about the needs of the soon-to-be Toastmasters. Maximize their opportunity to participate in the meeting. Keep it simple, succinct and light. No need to mention the optional meeting styles of various clubs or dive into lengthy team introductions. Trust that this new club will find its own innovative ways to meet their club needs. Please dress in a professional manner, as well – business casual is great (prefer no jeans).
The audience will learn the most from their own participation. That’s what Table Topics is for!
The agenda should be planned at least a week before the meeting. Distribute the draft agenda to the whole team. Notify the Team Leader as soon as practical if you can’t fulfill your role. This is our ONE chance to make a great first and lasting impression on this audience. Do your part ‐ with excellence!
Briefly introduce Toastmasters, CC and CL, timing cards, and the importance of evaluations. Keep your comments succinct and make it relevant to the group. Keep an eye on time to keep the meeting moving. As you close, summarize and give a call to action to become a member.
Joke Master and Speaker
Make it fun for you and the audience. Keep it simple, clean and high energy. Plan and practice!
Keep it simple and make the word easy to use. Try ‘Inspire’, ‘Communicate,’ ‘Passion’ or ‘Participate.’ Print the word in a HUGE font.
Get prospective members to become part of the meeting! Offer a simple question or topic, give everyone a few moments to think, and then choose someone at random. It’s okay if they decline, but present it as an opportunity to practice – those that get chosen are more likely to sign up!
Be specific – highlight a few positive items, give suggestions for improvement, and close with encouragement. That will give prospective members a great starting point. In each evaluation role, including Grammarian, find a balance of positive and constructive.
Again, thank you for contributing to the Sample Meeting. There is nothing as encouraging as visiting a club a year after chartering and seeing them modeling the great example that you showed them in the Sample Meeting. Prepare to be at your very best. Club startup is core to the mission of our district. The reward is enormous. All roles are focused only on setting this club up for a long‐term healthy life.
Club Growth Director (CGD@district31.org)