Have you ever wondered what a Toastmaster (or Master of Ceremonies) would do at your wedding, or why you would even need to hire one for your special day?
I have the pleasure today of being able to interview a professional Toastmaster, who has been involved in public speaking for many years.
I asked Ian if he would be willing to share an insight into his profession and how you might be able to utilise his unique skills at your wedding (or other special events).
Q – Hi Ian, thank you for taking the time to contribute to my blog. The first question I have is how long have you been involved in public speaking and more importantly as a Toastmaster?
A – I have been a professional speaker for 15 years and I am now into my 5th year as a Toastmaster.
Q – Are there any qualifications you had to achieve to become a professional speaker?
A – I am a Fellow of the Guild of International Professional Toastmasters. This guild was established by the queen’s own toastmaster, Ivor Spencer.
Q – What types of events do you attend as a Toastmaster?
A – I attend many events, but the main ones include Weddings (most cultures), Civic Events, Corporate Events and Charity Events.
Q – If a couple are looking for a Toastmaster, what are the top 3 things they should consider when choosing their Toastmaster?
A – Firstly, I would have to say Qualifications, a good Toastmaster will have completed a guild course. Secondly, it would be Experience, knowing the correct way to do things, yet also knowing how to disguise problems and correct errors without anyone knowing it ever occurred. I compare it to being a human Swiss Army Knife i.e. handle any problem quickly, efficiently and without fuss. Finally, I would say Recommendations from previous clients.
Q – How far in advance of the wedding day do you normally get enquiries from potential clients?
A – It can be anything from 2 weeks to well in excess of a year.
Q – How key are testimonials/referrals to your business?
A – Testimonials and referrals are crucial, as I mentioned earlier, this is one of the three most important things a potential client should consider.
Q – What type of equipment do you normally take with you to an event?
A – I would normally take with me, a uniform of Red Tail Coat and dress trousers etc. a Gavel and Block. A schedule of events for the day. Emergency Box containing pins, safety pins, cotton, pliers, glues, stapler, buttons etc.
Q – I am sure every wedding is different. How do you change your style to accommodate the many different couples you could be working with?
A – I start with an interview with the hosts, the Bride and Bridegroom should establish the style of wedding they want. Be it a traditional English wedding, a cultural event, or one of the many new variants. I always tell them, it is their big day, I will make it happen.
Q – What are the qualities the couple should look for in their Toastmaster?
A – I would expect a good Toastmaster to have experience, good rapport, sound knowledge and a very good sense of humour.
Q – What parts of the wedding will you take control of for the couple?
A – Before the Wedding Service, leading the Bride to the ceremony if needed, then everything after the wedding until the first dance or the happy couple leave.
Q – Toastmasters can be perceived as being quite bossy. However, all the weddings I have photographed, who have had a professional Toastmaster, have worked with the couple on how they want the day to go and not come across as bossy at all. What are your views on this?
A – The Bride and Bridegroom know exactly what is needed to control their guests. This will be established at the pre-wedding meeting where the style will be agreed. Good toastmasters know how to control a group, and with the information from the hosts, will use all of the tools in their armoury. Although this would be tempered with the overriding knowledge that this is a joyous day, and nothing should spoil it!
Q – Why should they have a Toastmaster?
A – To remove the stress from the client leaving them to thoroughly enjoy the day.
Q – On the Wedding Day, what is your typical schedule from start to finish?
A – I arrive at least 1 hour before the start. I check everything is in place and is ready. I confirm with the staff that I am on site and that they have no problems. I will then meet with photographer, videographer, DJ’s etc. I them commence to greet all arriving guests. Welcome the Bride and Bridegroom. Then I would announce the guests. I would then present the speakers as required. I will also ensure that everything remains on time. Finally, I will resolve any issues before they are noticed.
Q – Do you offer a contract, or how does this work once you have taken a client on?
A – Yes, I do offer a contract that will be discussed with the client at the booking stage.
Q – If you had one piece of advice to give to a client what would it be?
A – Enjoy the day comforted by the knowledge that everything is under control.
I hope that the knowledge shared by Ian will give you some sound advice on what to expect from your Toastmaster.
I have published Ian’s business details below, should you wish to contact him. I have also put together a short video on my YouTube channel showcasing some of his work. Please click here to watch the video.
Ian Pugh Toastmaster
If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.
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