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Reuben in the News
Evening Mail, 1996

The text of this article reads:

My Lords, ladies and gentlemen, pray silence for Mr Reuben Simeon Lynch, who has some hints and tips on a career as a toastmaster!

Reuben, aged 49, is believed to be Britain's only black professional toastmaster.

His friendly personality, beaming smile and impeccable manners combine to make him a popular choice for a range of functions and events.

He says: "The best definition of a toastmaster is that he is a Master of Ceremonies, surrogate host, management specialist, event co-ordinator, an expert in procedure, etiquette and protocol, a compere, diplomat, presenter, announcer and group organiser.

"That's quite a list but if you've prepared properly and have the right qualities it's a highly satisfying job."

Reuben, who is married with two children, aims to ensure that an event goes smoothly, with as little stress as possible for the host.

"The secrets of success is to be confident, do your homework and pay attention to detail."

Reuben's other top tips for aspiring toastmasters are:

  • Remember that everything you're doing is 'live' - you don't have a second chance to make a first impression.
  • Have some well known saying and phrases on hand in case you have to fill in time.
  • Learn to judge an audience and adjust what you say according to who is listening.
  • Greet everybody with a natural smile.
  • Project your voice and cultivate the art of speaking with different tones without sounding like you are ordering people about.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Be yourself.

He sees the job as more than just reading out a list of guests and announcing when dinner is served.

"From the moment I am employed for a function I am available to advise and help," he says. "For weddings I will meet the couple some time before the big day with a check list of 150 things I need to know.

"I assume that I'm doing the event from start to finish so if necessary I can put the couple in touch with people such as flower suppliers and car hire companies.

"I can advise them on wines, drinks and food for the reception, help them work out their budgets, and even write the speeches.

"If we meet at the reception venue we go through such things as seating arrangements and where the bride and bridegroom will greet their guests.

"My job is to give complete satisfaction."

Reuben's background of 22 years army service, the last ten as Officers' Mess manager, and Conference and Banqueting Manager at Chesford Grange Hotel has equipped him with a wealth of knowledge about speaking with confidence, catering and etiquette.

What he doesn't know, he researches.

"I use Debrett's for information about such things as Orders of Chivalry and other books to check on manners and forms of address."

Highlights of Reuben's career are entertaining the Princess Royal when he was Officers' Mess manager, officiating as toastmaster at the Holiday Travel Weekly awards in London and acting as MC at the opening of the Indoor Archery Championships at Birmingham's NIA.

His ambition is to train others in the art of toastmastering, perhaps eventually opening a school.

"I want to pass on my knowledge to other people," he says.

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