I have to say that when I originally qualified as a Professional Toastmaster, with the Guild of International Professional Toastmasters 4 years ago I had no idea of the places or the types of events the role was going to take me.
I originally trained to find something extra to do that could fill in around my “job” as a house husband looking after a young daughter. Little did I know, that I would hit the ground running and find that my working life would become so busy and in such a relatively short space of time.
It is not just how busy I have become, but it`s the sheer variety of roles that I play, that make my working life so interesting.
So let’s look at the last eight weeks of work and see some of this variety.
- Fundraiser x 1
- Awards Ceremonies x 5
- Installation Ceremonies x 2
- Weddings x 13
- Indian x 5 (4 Hindu 1 Muslim)
- English x 5
- New Zealand x 1
- African x 2
- Bar Mitzvahs x 2
- Conference x 1
- Soirees x 2
- Luncheons x 2
- Banquets x 2
- Other City Dinners x 3
- Training x 1
- Public Speaking Engagement x 1
- City Functions x 2
- Jailed and Bailed!
- Election of the Sheriffs
So clearly I have been busy.
Now let’s look at the variety of places I have worked in that time.
Ditton Manor, Great Fosters, Froyle Park, Northbrook Park, Syon Park, Forty Hall, Claridges, The Grosvenor House Hotel, The Bromley Court Hotel, Grange St Paul’s, The Landmark London, The Bournemouth International Centre, The Guildhall – London, Mansion House – London, St Elthelreda’s Church/Crypt – London, The Tower of London, The Institute of Directors, The Royal Society, Hylands House, Blenheim Palace, Skinners’ Hall, Leadenhall Market, Banking Hall& the Church of St Mary Le Bow – London, The Under Globe on the Southbank, Barber Surgeons’ Hall, Apothecaries’ Hall and The Meridian Grand.
Now while some of these venues and events sound very grand indeed and you might think must cost a small fortune (in one case this definitely was the case!) to be held in such wonderful surroundings, some were quite low key affairs but where the hosts had wanted to make sure that everything happened to time and that they were able to relax and enjoy their own event as much as their guests/clients/delegates. The money had been spent very wisely, ensuring that the other money and time they had invested in their event was not wasted by delays or disorganization.
Without a doubt, the most difficult thing to achieve when running large events is keeping them to time. This is especially so in the summer when the heat makes people naturally slower to move.
A prime example of this was the Awards Ceremony I ran at the Tower of London, where temperatures were upward of 28 degrees, even in the evening, and at every opportunity, guests went outside to “cool off”. However, with constant communication and guidance even those who had escaped the heat momentarily, didn’t miss a thing and the event ran exactly to time.
The last thing is, while I have not been dressed up on every occasion as a Toastmaster, many of the skills I use come from the exacting training that was given to me by the Guild of International Professional Toastmasters. The etiquette and protocol is vital to ensure that everybody is treated with the utmost respect and in the correct manner.
Every event is different. Every event requires a different touch and approach, and every event requires different communication skills to ensure its success. You can’t be taught all these things, but with every event that I do, the more I grow in experience and expertise, and as such the more I can put my clients at ease, allowing them to enjoy their event too.
James Hasler is a professional toastmaster, master of ceremonies and event facilitator, a Fellow of the Guild of International Professional Toastmasters. He is experienced in running all kinds of events from conferences, awards ceremonies, fundraisers, and weddings of all cultures that take place in the UK. He has worked with and for people from all walks of life, from the most humble to celebrities and even members of the Royal Family.