This podcast features the young and engaging Toastmaster Jamie Paskin. He talks about how he got into the events industry, his unique style, how he works alongside event planners and his work as a ‘Voice of God’.
In this episode you will discover:
· What being a Toastmaster really means.
· The attributes a professional Toastmaster must have.
· How Jamie adds value with his own modern take on being a Toastmaster.
For Audio Transcript click here
JAMIE P: I think I would love to have my own Toastmaster academy, with a lot of little J.P. Toastmasters running around.
ANNOUNCER: Toby and James are involved in amazing events all over the world. You’re listening to the Planner’s Planner Podcast. Where top event professionals share real-world experiences and cutting-edge ideas. Sponsored by metropolisproductions.co.uk.
TOBY: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Planner’s Planner with me, Toby Goodman and…
JAMES: Me, James Eager.
TOBY: Excellent! This week, we spoke to our friend Jamie Paskin. He has a very interesting job in the events industry, in that he is a Toastmaster. And he explains all about what he does, where he came from… And perhaps, also explain a bit about how you might get into it if you’re interested in it, if you like the sound of what he does. That’s it really, let’s get on with the interview.
JAMES: Absolutely. All three of us in the room together. So, let’s take it away.
TOBY: Yeah, excellent. Here’s Jamie.
ANNOUNCER: The Planner’s Planner Podcast is sponsored by metropolisproductions.co.uk and metropolis-live.com.
TOBY: Jamie Paskin, welcome to the Planner’s Planner Podcast. How are you?
JAMIE P: I’m very well Toby, how are you?
TOBY: Very well. And, we’re here with James today as well as one off. Hello James?
JAMES: How are you doing?
JAMIE P: I’m good, James. You alright?
JAMES: Pretty good mate.
JAMIE P: Good stuff, good to hear.
TOBY: Right. So, we’ve worked together before… You’re a Toastmaster. So, we start at beginning… How did you arrive at becoming a Toastmaster?
JAMIE P: How did I arrive at Toastmastering? Well, that is a very good question to start us off with… So, I have been in and out the events industry for a lot of my life. I started off back in the old days of the clubbing industry. Used to do a hell of a lot of club promoting, guests lists – and that is where I’ve found my love for the events and entertainment industry. I’ve worked for quite a lot of different event companies over the years… From West London private companies to companies in South London, dealing with outdoor festivals and carnival management. So, I’ve got a whole experience of the events world, and little kind of pockets of it. I was approached five years ago by my best friend to be a MC at his wedding in Israel… As I was the best man, he felt I would be appropriate for the job of MC, because it’s much casual – weddings in Israel… And, he wanted me to do the job alongside my best man duties. I thought, it sounds great to me… I’m not fazed by these sort of things, he said: “You’re a confident guy. You’ve got the voice to do it. Give it a go.” So, off I went on holiday to Israel… Had an amazing time. The moment the wedding comes, I’m with my best friend and he says to me: “Don’t forget you’re MC today.” I was like, “Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. I’ve been having such a good time… But hey ho, I’m sure it’ll be alright on the day.” And, I turned up to the wedding and I met this Israeli wedding planner – whom we’ve gotten very, very well. And, I worked with her throughout the evening. She gave me a microphone, and said: “Get on with it.” And basically, whatever happened that night changed my life, I would say. Because, I felt very confident on the mic… I loved being kind of in control and directing people… And then, it was the next day, around the pool with the family and friends… And, people commenting on how good you were and how much you held the function together… And, you know, you were very natural at it. And, I even had a lot of people who were saying to me: “How long have you done this before?” You know, it’s good, it’s what you do. And, I was like quite taken aback by it… I’ve actually never done it before, it’s my first time. A lot of people were like, they couldn’t believe it… They were like, “No, he’s definitely done it before.” So, I came back home from holiday… Back down to reality. I think at that time, I was doing a big property job… And, I was sitting in an office, swiveling my thumbs, coming back down to reality… I said, what a fantastic holiday at my best friend’s wedding. And, I start thinking to myself: Maybe, I could do something with this MC role, this Toastmaster role… So, I did a little bit of research. And, I spoke to a lot of wedding planners and people I know within the industry… I found some Toastmasters, found out ways and means of going around becoming a Toastmaster… You know, my initial thought was: “It’s an older person’s job.” Which generally is, but maybe there’s a niche for a young, fresh Toastmaster in the circuit.
TOBY: So, how old are you?
JAMIE P: I’m thirty-three years old.
TOBY: Right. And so, when was that then? When you were how old?
JAMIE P: Well, I actually would say – I qualified as a Toastmaster and became a professional, three years ago. So, at the age of thirty.
TOBY: Okay, cool. So, let’s…
JAMIE P: So, at the age of twenty-eight, twenty-nine, where I started thinking about things.
TOBY: Wicked. So, let’s wind back a bit then… Lots of people in the events industry listen to this podcast… And actually, some of them won’t actually know exactly what a Toastmaster does. Probably, a lot of them will be aware of the types of role or whatever… But, you know, event manager, MC… You know, all these kinds of things, compare all those kind of things. So Toastmaster, do you actually… I know that you have to do some sort of specific training to do that and be in the… Is it a union or a…?
JAMIE P: Yeah, there’s a Toastmaster sort of governing body and stuff like that… But, that’s not necessary. That’s something you pick and choose. As in, who you train with and where you want to go about things.
TOBY: You did train to be a Toastmaster – which is really interesting. I’ve seen you in various events, delivering very different ways of being MC and kind of holding court, if you like. But, for those people who don’t know what a Toastmaster is – it’s a two prong question then, kind of, what is a Toastmaster and when might I need one?
JAMIE P: Okay. So obviously, I get that question asked a lot to me. And, to summarize what a Toastmaster actually is – a lot of people think: It’s a guy that just stands in there, in a red jacket making announcements at events. Which, half of that is true… But the other half of that, I would say, is a lot of stuff that I do… Generally, the clients and guests will not actually save the day. My strapline – which I came up with myself – is, “I am the glue that holds any events, irrespective of size or nature, together.” So, I am that middleman on the day. And, I work with all suppliers – whether it’s the photographer, the videographer, the wedding planner, the caterers, the bands, and so on and so forth. I make sure everything is kind of: making things go to plan, things are seamlessly going well, everything is all happening on time… Making sure that the band comes off from the set at the right time. So that enables for the first course, or the main course, and the caterer to come out the right time.
TOBY: Okay. So, that’s the kind of, that’s the “what” then… So, how does that happen? Because again, you know, going back to this whole thing – it’s about planning. And clearly, you don’t then basically turn up – as you did on your first job – and kind of, wing it. And obviously, you’re good at winging it…
JAMIE P: Of course.
TOBY: And, that’s kind of part of doing anything involved in events.
JAMIE P: Naturally.
TOBY: Because stuff happens, and you have to deal with it as when… But at the same time, someone has booked you and invested in your services – you’re going to have to prepare for that. So like you say, all those different suppliers that you’ve just mentioned… What do you do to plan for an event before you deliver it?
JAMIE P: So, when I get an initial inquiry from somebody… I would obviously, have a little chit-chat on the phone with them, find out more about what their function is… Obviously, the date, what suppliers they’ve got booked, what they haven’t got booked. My first thing is, I love to get a meeting with somebody. Because, the events world that I work in, and mainly all over the Winsford world – It’s a very personal industry. And especially, booking someone like myself as a Toastmaster for their event – it’s a personal thing. So, I want to see if I get along well with the client… So then, I want to make sure they get on well with me. I’m obviously, going to be working alongside them on the day. So once I actually have that meeting with them, and they do go ahead and book me… Then, I will be working and speaking with suppliers who are booked on that job. Depending on the size of the job, depending on obviously, the venue and the location… If I’ve worked with certain suppliers or I haven’t worked with certain suppliers before… I will maybe, set up a meeting with them if need be. I will introduce myself to them. Sometimes, you might have a wedding planner involved. So therefore, I will sit down with the wedding planner and we will kind of come up with the time sheet for the day… We will both put our own input in. And, that is generally the way I work when a client obviously, does book me. And then, leading up to the event… If we need to go to a site visit, and so on and so forth.
TOBY: Brilliant. Wow. Okay, so there’s a lot involved before you deliver them because, you’re bringing in suppliers together. When you get on an event sometimes – as we’ve kind of discussed in the past – that there can be people that… It might be that the client is right, you’re running the day. You’re going to do the announcements, you’re running the day. Other times, you’re doing the announcements but you’re not maybe running the day… And, that’s to do with pretty much – in my experience through Metropolis is – who’s actually provided the side of the final timeline… Is that right?
JAMIE P: Yeah, that is correct.
TOBY: So, do you – the guy that does the final timeline – sends it out? Or, have you done both? And, how does that differ?
JAMIE P: Yeah Toby, you’re a hundred percent correct. It changes all the time. You know, as I’ve said it depends most on the scale of the event. So, if you have a say, a big wedding – where you’ve got a wedding planner… Then generally speaking, the wedding planner will write and devise the actual time plan, the time sheet for the day. Sometimes, they will give it to me and I will look over it and make comments… Sometimes, I won’t make comments. Once again, it depends on who the wedding planner or the event company may be.
JAMIE P: So therefore, I don’t maybe have so much say in the time sheet… Because, the client has obviously spent a lot of money, put a lot of faith in the wedding planner or an event company. And therefore, they know what they’re doing as well as I know what they’re doing. So therefore, I’m more than happy to work along most suppliers, and work how they work. And, I don’t have a problem with that. But then, you’ve got the other into the scale where, a lot of people these days aren’t having wedding planners or event companies. And, a lot of people are doing their weddings themselves…
JAMIE P: Which is absolutely fine. You know, it’s 2015… There’s no problem with people doing weddings themselves these days, if they roughly kind of know what they’re doing. In that case, a lot of people will like… I would generally, get asked a lot more questions in that sense. They want a little bit more help with me –
TOBY: You’re right.
JAMIE P: – from certain suppliers, they kind of recommend. And, I will guide them throughout the day and I will guide them through their time sheet. For example, I was on a meeting literally, last week and that exact same thing happened… They’ve got no one on the day: they’ve got no wedding planner, they’ve got no event manager… So, I am that guy who is going to be pulling the strings on the evening. And I have written them a time sheet, I’ve given them ideas… I’ve told them how I think their day should run. Now, they’ve obviously got four, five, six months to have a look at it… Change things around, work out things. Obviously, then what happens is: when I write a time sheet, I save two most important people that you have to send that to, or three. Should I say: one would be the venue, two, the caterer, and three, the band. Because, they are the main people who are working against timings. Bands obviously, will have different sets… The venue obviously, needs to work. If it’s in-house food, for example… Then, you obviously need the venue to be working alongside their kitchens. If it’s an outside caterer, then they need to make sure they’re happy with their timings.
TOBY: Okay, cool. And, you pretty much – you know, from what I know of you as well – you pretty much just described a template of a wedding, really. When you’re talking about band, caterer, blah blah blah.
JAMIE P: Yes.
TOBY: So, did you ever work on non-wedding events? Did you ever worked on corporates?
JAMIE P: Yeah.
TOBY: What are other styles of events…
JAMIE P: It was great for me. I worked across a complete board of events these days, you know. I would say, initially the majority of my work is weddings, private events… I do a lot of Bat Mitzvahs and I do a lot of Bar Mitzvahs. I’m also doing a lot of corporate and a lot of charity work at the moment. So, I’m starting to pick up work from all sorts of sources… My name is obviously, getting out there… And, I love my variety of work. You know, anything can kind of take me anywhere. But I think, more of my planning and time sheet would generally come within the private event world – where you generally tend to find the corporate event world is very, very structured and they know exactly what they’re doing. A lot of these events may be annual dinners… So, these annual dinners – they’ve been doing them for say, twenty to thirty years…
JAMIE P: So, you know, they’ve got the same event company… They know exactly what they’re doing. They just want the “voice of God” coming in, all the Toastmasters, all the Compere … I generally give them a brief, give them my time sheet. I would have a glance through it. And, I think in all my corporate and charity work I’ve done today, every time sheet I’ve been given, I’ve never really had a cause to comment. Because, I don’t think there’s been a problem with it because it looks very professional and I’m happy to what I’m seeing.
TOBY: You understand what a corporate event time sheet looks like, and don’t need to deliver as much as it is less, but that’s not right. But, you don’t need to deliver as much of a service as if you’re working with a family on a wedding – which is kind of the emotional thing. If it’s just like you said, “voice of God.”
JAMIE P: Yes.
TOBY: Explain what “voice of God” is… How do you explain that to somebody from [crosstalk].
JAMIE P: Yeah. So, the “voice of God” in short in the events industry – they call it evoke, obviously, “voice of God.” I’ve done it quite a few times now, I really enjoy being the “voice of God.” Because, I’m actually not seen, I’m just heard. Where generally, I would sit in a gallery overlooking the main room… Or, sit in a sound booth… Or, with a production team.
JAMIE P: I generally, would have a set of headphones on with a microphone… And, I’m literally given a script. And, I’ve got someone who’s running the event literally, by the sides of me – giving me a thumbs up every time I need to speak.
JAMIE P: I say what’s in front of me, and happy days… You know, it’s a nice change being a “voice of God” because…
TOBY: And, you don’t have to walk around. And, you can kind of… [laughing] That’s cool, that’s a really nice variation.
JAMIE P: It’s a really nice variation, yeah. And the nice thing is, as much as I do love dressing up…
JAMIE P: And, I love wearing either my reds or my tuxedo or my black tails or whatever it is the client wants me in. Sometimes, it is nice with the “voice of God” I can turn up at a five-star hotel in a pair of jeans and no one sees me. [laughing]
JAMIE P: So, I kind of feel very relaxed and I enjoy doing that “voice of God” role.
TOBY: Yeah. Oh, that’s really cool. So then, if I wanted to… You know, if you can imagine people that are thinking about – they want a role in the event’s industry… And, they’ve heard what you just had to say about what being a Toastmaster is and they find that quite a lot more attractive than being a planner, or a specific planner… And maybe, they don’t have a kind of specific technical skills, i.e. caterer, you know, set designer… Whatever it might be.
JAMIE P: Photographer and so on…
TOBY: All that stuff. But, they’re people person – which you are the best kind of example of what a people person is you…
JAMIE P: Thank you.
TOBY: And someone’s thinking about it, you know. How do they go about it? What should they do? What are their first steps? Because, you kind of fell into it. And then, you did your research. So, if I was thinking the same: Okay, that sounds like a cool job. A bit of variation. It sounds like the number one thing you need… Maybe two things I’m picking up from you is: a lot of confidence, and an ability to actually be able to speak well.
JAMIE P: Toby, you’ve hit the nail on the head… Confidence is key. But, never be too overconfident. That is always what I speak to a lot of people about. And a lot of people… I get the question asked a lot: “Do you ever get nervous? Do you ever get shy?” Sort of thing… Shy, never. Because I don’t think you could be a shy Toastmaster, it just wouldn’t work. When I do my familiar jobs, a lot of the weddings these days… You know, I pretty much can go in there with my eyes closed and I could get on with the job. Because, I’ve done so many of them and I know what they’re doing. The corporate work and the charity work obviously, changes… You know, there’s lots of different speeches, lots of different-style announcements… So, it takes me out of my comfort zone. So therefore, I may get a little bit of stage-fright. But I actually like that, and I think it’s a very healthy thing to maybe get a bit nervous and to get a bit of stage-fright… Because as I’ve said, I’m thirty-three years old… I’m young, I don’t think it’s a good look to be overconfident in life… And you know, for me, on every single job, I’m always learning. So confidence, a hundred percent is key. And also…
TOBY: Ah, you’re talking about the difference of being confident and arrogant, aren’t you?
JAMIE P: A hundred percent, yeah. Definitely, confidence and arrogance – two completely different things, and that is the complete difference.
JAMIE P: I’m sorry, what was the other thing you mentioned?
TOBY: Speaking well.
JAMIE P: Speaking well. Yeah, of course. You do have to speak well. Up until, I had a Toastmaster who came and met me… I had a pre-interview before he decided to train me. I never thought about my voice being a “professional voice.” I think most people, whoever you are, whatever you do for a living… I don’t think people like the sounds of their own voices. Especially, when they hear it back on record or on the TV, or on a video or something. And, I’ve never really particularly loved the sound of my own voice. Even like a talk for Britain. [laughing] Actually, listening to it back in not what I love listening to.
JAMIE P: And then, It’s only until I’ve started the job… And, it’s funny because my Toastmaster straight away, one of the first things he said to me, within five minutes of meeting me: “You’ve got a very distinguished voice for being a Toastmaster.” I was like, really? I never thought about that before. And since that, I actually get it with quite a lot of all different people… You know, clients, friends, people I meet within the industry… “Ah, you’ve got a great voice.” And you know, it was only again back in the middle of last year where I worked with a new videography company… Really, really lovely guys. Very cool, very trendy guys.
TOBY: Who were they?
JAMIE P: They are a company called Demimotion.
JAMIE P: And, I’m sure you’ve heard of Demimotion. I’m sure you’ve worked with them before.
JAMIE P: Really lovely guys. Eastern European, I think maybe Russia… Not a hundred percent so sure.
JAMIE P: But, really, really nice guys… Very, very cool to work with, you know. They completely get the whole trends and the moving forward with weddings, and how things are videograph’d and so on and so forth. And they only turned around to me and they even Tweeted it and said that my voice sounds like Pete Tong… So, you know.
TOBY: So, that’s a young voice.
[back round: Now, do you want to open the window again?]
JAMIE P: Yeah, it is indeed. It is a young voice.
[back round noises]
JAMIE P: And I’m a big music fan as well. So, being compared to having a voice with a professional DJ like Pete Tong…
JAMIE P: I was like, I’ll take that all day long sort of thing.
TOBY: Cool. Okay. Wow, I’ve got a couple of sort of clooosing questions… But, let’s just reintroduce James Eager.
TOBY: Have you got any comments?
JAMES: Yeah. The word I associate with you is the word, “fresh…”
JAMIE P: I love the word, “fresh.”
JAMES: We do. I think I had maybe a couple of tea earlier…
JAMIE P: Indeed.
JAMES: It’s only in Britain, even I made a cup of tea can’t we?
JAMIE P: it’s nice.
JAMES: Can you just tell us a little bit about what you feel makes you feel fresh? Or, makes you unique? Because, you’re definitely putting a slightly different spin on things – which we like, indeed. Can you talk a little bit about that?
JAMIE P: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more with you James. Fresh is a word that I like to use a lot, because I believe this industry is all about being fresh. It’s a world which keeps changing… And I believe, to be in touch with the event’s industry and what’s going on – I think you need to be fresh… I think everybody needs to be fresh. I think you need to be coming up with new ideas the whole time. One of the big things for me of course, is my mind was a Toastmaster… I think a lot of people out there, they don’t exactly know what a Toastmaster is. And hopefully, after listening to this, people will have a better understanding. But I think most people, they think of the word, Toastmaster they think: big, balding, seventy-year-old man, red jacket, shouting and screaming, bossing people around. I hate that. That’s not me. I am young, fresh, cool, energetic guy. I like running around, I like to get my hands dirty… You know, I get involved with whatever needs to get involved with. It’s also my style of the way I speak… What I’m getting in feedback, I love it because this is how I always wanted to try to portray myself. A lot of my feedback from my clients is: “You’re really good Jamie, I didn’t even know you were there.” You were heard, but you were not seen… Everything was seem less, and it went very, very well. And that for me, makes me happy. Because, I don’t want to be that man with the red jacket, with a Gavel, banging on the glass or a table every two minutes.
TOBY: So, is there anything that specifically that you’ve sort of… I don’t know, maybe pioneered is a bit of a strong word… But, is there anything that you’ve maybe come up with that you would say: Well, that’s my thing. That’s a Jamie Paskin kind of fresh take on what Toastmastering is? For one of the word…
JAMIE P: [deep breath] Yeah. Well, there’s two things: One, – a lot of people ask me the question, especially my clients when I got to have meetings with them – Do you use the Gavel?
TOBY: What’s a Gavel?
JAMIE P: A Gavel is the word of the trade. But to most people, It’s a wooden hammer…
TOBY: Got you.
JAMIE P: And, that is basically to get peoples’ attention. And back in the day, with the history of Toastmastering… A Toastmaster would carry a Gavel with them the whole evening.
JAMIE P: And at every given point, every time there’s a speech, they would Gavel… And, they would have a block with them or they would Gavel on the table or whatever it is.
TOBY: So, to Gavel is to hit something with a wooden hammer?
JAMIE P: That is correct. To get peoples’ attention.
TOBY: Right, okay.
JAMIE P: I was bought very nicely – from one of my best friends – a Gavel as a good luck present when I started my career… Because, it’s a tool of the trade and it’s something I needed. I carry it around with me everywhere I go, and I have it at every job. I very, very rarely take it out in this day of age… I don’t like using it, that’s not my style. But, I know it’s there if I need to use it… I believe, I’ve got a loud and clear voice. So even if there isn’t a microphone, and generally, the only time I may Gavel is during reception – to call for dinner. And even still, I try not to use the Gavel. I try to just use my voice or a microphone if there is one. And the other – I would say – sort of thing that I’ve kind of come up with and created is, I think my energy… I like to create a buzz and an atmosphere when I introduce a bride and groom, and they have their grand entrance… Or a Bar Mitzvah boy or a Bat Mitzvah girl. It’s their very special day, the boy, the girl, or the couple. And, I want them to feel that it’s their special day. And I believe, that after they’ve had all their formal photos, and they’ve had their ceremony… Whether it’s a couple or a civil ceremony, or the Bar Mitzvah boy, the Bat Mitzvah girl – they’ve been in a synagogue and they’ve done their portions… It’s their time they have for partying. And, when they have their grand entrance and they walk into that room… And they see the wow of the room, and the bands, all the DJ are there… I want them to feel very special. And because, I’m introducing them into there… I try to create a buzz and an atmosphere. So, depending on the bands I’m working with, or the caterers I’m working with, or whoever it is… I try and bring everyone in, and I want to create a party atmosphere for all the guests.
JAMES: I love your passion. I think it’s infectious. What advice do you have for any younger, up and coming people who’d want to get into this?
JAMIE P: [deep breath] Patience. It doesn’t happen overnight… Think seriously if this is something that you want to do. The events industry as a whole, people love the work of events… They think it’s a completely glamorous industry… I do see a lot of fantastic venues, but it’s not all glamorous. [laughing] As you guys know yourselves…
TOBY: Oh, yeah.
JAMES: Been in plenty of kitchens myself.
JAMIE P: Plenty of kitchens, plenty of loading bays, plenty of time that you’ve got to deal with, plenty of cancels that we’ve got to deal with… But yeah, I think carefully, the events industry… I believe, anyone in it, it’s not just a job. It’s a lifestyle and a passion. And I think, you need that to succeed in the industry.
TOBY: And it’s quite anti-social actually as a job, isn’t it?
JAMIE P: It is indeed.
TOBY: And, they’re enabling other peoples’ social lives…
JAMIE P: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with you there. And, the great thing about that is: You’ve got to be that person who enjoys that aspect of it. If you’re nine to five, and you want to get home, and you want to sit on the sofa, and you want to have your normal social hours… Then, don’t be in the events industry. Because, it is a lot of weekends… It is a lot of evenings… And what I’ve found, which I love, and I know a lot of people do within the industry – you meet a lot of people, a lot of suppliers. And, you actually build up friendships and relationships with the suppliers. And, that is one of the things that I really enjoy about the industry.
JAMIE P: These people aren’t just people I tend to work with, I start to consider these people as friends of mine. The people who I will have throughout my life with me.
TOBY: And they’re also, people that run the same touchy timeline as you. So, that works with your social life – which is very different to a nine to fivers.
JAMIE P: Of course it is, a hundred percent. And, you’ve seen yourselves… You know, we’ve worked on a few jobs before. And you know you finished the job, and everyone lets their hair down. If you’re not in a rush to get home, we sit around and have a drink afterwards.
JAMIE P: That’s what’s nice about it…
JAMIE P: You kind of have that downtime.
TOBY: So, quick fire questions then for you… Smallest event you’ve ever done?
JAMIE P: Smallest event I’ve ever done… Wedding out in Essex, in the country… Thirty-five people.
TOBY: Wow! And, they still booked someone to announce…
JAMIE P: They did indeed. It was a half english wedding, half jewish wedding. So, I think they needed someone to kind of conduct things and make people aware of what was going on.
TOBY: Okay. So, that’s actually quite interesting… There’s an educational aspect to what you do. Because if you’re marrying, got involved in a wedding of a couple that are from two different cultures…
JAMIE P: Yes.
TOBY: You’re actually telling each side of the fence, if you like – what’s happening. And, if there’s a traditional thing going on…
JAMIE P: Yeah. Like a traditional dance, for example.
JAMIE P: You know…
TOBY: You’ll explain and make it inclusive?
JAMIE P: Correct.
TOBY: That is wicked. And that’s so important.
JAMIE P: Very important.
TOBY: And, that’s why even a party of thirty-five… You should consider booking a Toastmaster.
JAMIE P: Most definitely, because guests need to be informed. And, if you have two sets of guests from two different cultures or religions… They walk in there, and don’t know what’s going on. So they need that information, and they like to be informed and told of what’s happening.
TOBY: Okay. Biggest event then?
JAMIE P: Biggest event to date, I would say… Well I’ve done “voice of God” in the great room of Grove House, with over twelve hundred people.
JAMIE P: But biggest event, actually Toastmastering… I would say was probably a Greek wedding I did, where there were five hundred people.
TOBY: Wow! Ever worked with more than one of you then, the Toastmaster team?
JAMIE P: I have, I have indeed. On that event, there were actually two Toastmasters… There was a lead Toastmaster – which wasn’t myself on that occasion… I was actually brought in as a second Toastmaster to control the crowds, and to get people seated, and get people moved around; because you do need it for that amount of people.
TOBY: Well, that’s quite an accolade in itself – to be booked by another one of your team, if you like.
JAMIE P: [laughing] Indeed it is. So you obviously, must have had the confidence to go ahead and book me.
TOBY: Yeah. And you want to give him a shout out?
JAMIE P: Yeah. That was a guy called, Howard Robbins… He has been in the industry for many, many years. He’s actually got a generation of Toastmasters… His father was a Toastmaster, his grandfather was a Toastmaster also…
JAMIE P: He’s got a quite a bit of history, Howard Robbins.
TOBY: Yeah. And, he’s a lovely bloke.
JAMIE P: He’s a lovely guy.
TOBY: Okay. So smallest, biggest… So, your favorite event then?
JAMIE P: Ohh, favorite…
TOBY: I mean, the first one changed your life, right?
JAMIE P: The first one did change my life. I don’t think there’s a favorite… I think there’s quite a few. The first one, definitely I will never forget… I had my brother’s wedding last year, funny enough, in Israel. That comes up there very close – it was my brother, I was best man again… I was Toastmaster again… I enjoyed it, I loved it. I loved being in control of my brother’s wedding… I did the best man speech. That comes up there with quite a favorite.
TOBY: And, will you be Toastmastering your own wedding?
JAMIE P: I get that question asked to me all the time… What’s going to happen Jamie when It’s your wedding, who’s going to Toastmaster? Are you going to do it yourself?
JAMIE P: I think I would have to come down on that one and not be the Toastmaster of my wedding, and let someone else take the reins. But, I don’t think that’ll be too much of a problem because I think I would have to give that to… And, I’ve got to give him a shout out. To Mr. Robert Persell, he was the Toastmaster who trained me… He’s now not just a Toastmaster or a colleague, he’s now a friend of mine. And, you know, I owe everything to him for being a great teacher and teaching me everything I know.
TOBY: Yeah. And, another lovely bloke as well.
JAMIE P: Indeed.
TOBY: Okay. Dream venue then? The place that really works for you as a room?
JAMIE P: I have been very privileged in the coming up to three-and-a-half, four years of actually Toastmastering. Which obviously, in a lifetime is a very short time at the moment. I have done quite a lot of venues, and I think when I first started Toastmastering – I was like getting excited, and I wanted to work in a lot of hotels… I’ve pretty much ticked most of the London hotels off the list, as they say. I can’t deny it, I love working at the Dorchester… I love working at The Savoy… They are five-star, iconic Central London hotels – which had been around for many, many years. I’ve had lots of… Thousands of weddings or functions in them. Lots of famous people in there… And, their two ballrooms – which you feel really, really good about working in.
TOBY: And, when you’re going into those places… You’ll kind of fell like your part of the history of the place, don’t you?
JAMIE P: Oh, indeed. Yeah, because there is a lot of history with these things…
TOBY: And, you feel privileged…
JAMIE P: And, you can feel pretty privileged… You feel part of it. You know, people have performed in those ballrooms…
JAMIE P: And yeah, you feel like… You know, you’re working in one of these London hotels – you must be doing something right.
TOBY: Yeah. And it’s a buzz and it makes you feel lucky, doesn’t it?
JAMIE P: It is indeed.
JAMIE P: And second to that, you can’t be working abroad…
TOBY: Yeah, okay. Cool. So, anywhere that you haven’t worked that you’d love to work?
JAMIE P: Well, I haven’t worked at Claridge’s… But, I’ve actually got a job there later this year. So, I’m very excited about that…
JAMIE P: That should be a good fun.
JAMIE P: But, I probably would say I’ve covered most of London hotels… But then, if we’re going to talk about England, then I think we’re probably going to start talking about some of the beautiful palaces out there.
JAMIE P: I’d love to work in Windsor Castle, I’d love to work in Buckingham Palace – who wouldn’t, they’re iconic British venues at the end of the day.
JAMIE P: You know, if I ever get Royal work one day… Then, bring it on as they say.
TOBY: Yeah. Bring one on. And, what about… [crosstalk] [laughing] What about abroad? Any kind of…
JAMIE P: [deep breath] Abroad… I’ll go anywhere.
JAMIE P: I’ll travel all over the world to work. I would like to work anywhere. I know a lot of people who are doing a lot of lavish weddings in Dubai these days…
JAMIE P: I’ve never actually never been to Dubai…
JAMIE P: It’s a country which I’ll be interested in seeing…
JAMIE P: And, I’ve seen some spectacular sorts of wedding venues and beautiful places… And, I think that’ll be a pretty cool place to go and work.
TOBY: We’ve been there a few times and it’s nuts, yeah it’s great.
JAMIE P: Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard.
TOBY: It’s great. Yeah, there are some budgets to be spent. So, you are a happy guy… Are you happy for people to get in touch with you and ask you advice? About you know, perhaps…
JAMIE P: Most definitely. A lot of people can get in touch with me. I love a good chit-chat, a love a good chin work, you know. If you want to call me to book me, that’d be fantastic… If you want to call me just for a chat and just a bit of friendly advice and find out a little bit about what I can offer for your event… If that’s the case, you can give me a call: 07947-305355 or failing that, please visit my website: www.jptoastmaster.com.
TOBY: Brilliant. And they can find all the links, and we’ll put up your number there… Because, there’s a UK code that needs to be in front of that number as well.
JAMES: One last question…
JAMIE P: Go for it, James.
JAMES: Apart from taking up a list of castles in this country…
JAMIE P: Yes?
JAMES: What do you want to do next?
JAMIE P: What do I want to do next? Well, with my Toastmastering role…
JAMIE P: [deep breath] Being a young toastmaster and moving forward, and maybe in ten years’ time that a lot of the fantastic Toastmaster around today maybe finishing their careers… And hopefully, I’m at the forefront of my career. I think I would love to have my own Toastmaster academy, with a lot of little J.P. Toastmasters running around.
JAMES: Brilliant there…
TOBY: And, Jamie Paskin… Thank you very much, mate!
JAMIE P: Thank you very much Metropolis. Thank you very much for having me. It’s been a great time… Looking forward to working with you guys very soon.
ANNOUNCER: You’re listening to plannerspod.com.
TOBY: So, there it was. My interview with Jamie Paskin from jptoastmaster.com with a few little interjections from James there. James, how do you feel?
JAMES: Man, that guy, he has some passion doesn’t he?
TOBY: He’s certainly a ball of energy.
JAMES: I would say, enthusiastic is the word I’ll go for.
TOBY: Enthusiastic, but you know what… You need to be if you’re going to be the type of person that commands attention in a room full of people that sometimes are inebriated and just having a lot. Often, to take control in an event that’s a party – it requires that sort of forceful personality really.
JAMES: Yeah. But, there’s kind of a fun and playful side to that, isn’t there?
TOBY: Yeah. That’s the thing… He commands your attention and respect but not in an “old-school” kind of way that I think people associate Toastmasters with… So, he seems to strike that balance really well. We’ve seen him work a few times, that’s how he came in here… But, it’s a tough one – I wouldn’t like to do that job.
JAMES: No, but he’s definitely… Seems to want to take Toastmastering into kind of the next decade, doesn’t he?
TOBY: Yeah. That’s absolutely evident. What did you learn? I learned a few things in that conversation, definitely. What did you kind of discover about what he does, and what Toastmasters do?
JAMES: Well, what I found interesting was… Sometimes, he is just a glue which holds an event together and he’s working under an event planner. Sometimes, he’s the man who’s actually holding it together… And other times, he’s just “voice of God” isn’t he?
TOBY: Yeah, he’s the “voice of God.” So yeah, number one, he’s happy to work underneath someone else’s plan and event, if you like… And work with them. Number two, he’s happy to do an element of planning and does do an element of planning on his own… Number three, sometimes he comes in and just does the voice… And, read the script and has a kind of microphone and hides in the back round. So, what a colorful career you can have as a Toastmaster and MC.
JAMES: Yeah, and he’s just got that thing which I think is very evident in the events industry. We all worked some pretty anti-social hours, don’t we? And, it’s just the kind of… We’re all together as kind of – I’ll use this carefully, but – a sort of family, isn’t it?
TOBY: Yeah. He’s definitely in there, well known. And, good luck to him. You know, he’s really worked hard to kind of shake up the perception of what a Toastmaster is. We know him well, we know loads of people that use him, and we’ll continue to use him… And obviously, look forward to working with him in the future. And, it’d be really interesting to see if he does get that academy off the ground… I think, he’d be perfect for it. To help bring in little young Jamie Paskins into the world. [laughing]
JAMES: J.P. minis.
TOBY: J.P. mini, yeah. Like we have Metropolis mini, who’s going to have J.P. mini. “Sorry I’m not available, but you can have one of my small, three-foot Toastmasters…”
TOBY: That have bright red jackets or not, as the case may be. Cool. I think that’s it. Anything else to add?
JAMES: I’m just going to add, I don’t think if I actually ever seen him in a red jacket…
TOBY: Do you know what, no. I’ve only seen him in his red jacket on his website. He is definitely prepared to work with the client… And I think, that’s why we really like him. Because, we feel the same. So, if you do want to see him in his red jacket or not in his red jacket… You can find all about Jamie Paskin at his website, which is: j, yup, just checking… jptoastmaster.com. I would really love feedback on this one… Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for listening! Cheers James.
JAMES: Absolutely, just telling the guys what they have to do to get to comment on this… Check us out and follow us on Twitter, all that kind of thing. We’d love to hear from you. Itunes reviews, you name it.
TOBY: That’s right. And, next time we speak… James is going to use the word: absolutely… At least, half the amount.
JAMES: Now you’ve got me really self-conscious.
TOBY: [laughing] Okay cheers, see you next week.
ANNOUNCER: You’re listening to the Planner’s Planner Podcast. With Toby Goodman and James Eager. Visit plannerspod.com.
1:05 – James Eager says his first ‘Absolutely’!
1:52 – Find out about Jamie’s background and where he found his love for events.
2:30 – Discover the question that changed Jamie’s career path forever.
3:22 –How Jamie coped when he was thrown in at the deep end.
4:30 – Who Jamie approached when he decided to become a Toastmaster.
6:20 – Find out what a Toastmaster actually does!
6:50 – Jamie tells us his ‘strapline’ and what his vision of being a Toastmaster is.
8:10 – The steps that Jamie takes before he takes on a client.
9:10 – The ‘before’ actions Jamie takes when planning an event.
10:10 – How Jamie deals with other suppliers who may have control and the final say over the event.
11:22 – What Jamie does when there isn’t an event planner.
12:10 – Keeping everyone in the loop. How Jamie enables suppliers to perform to their best ability.
13:00 – Types of events that Jamie works on.
14:35 – Find out what a ‘Voice Of God’ is!
15:15 – Find out how Jamie gets paid for wearing jeans in a 5 star hotel!
16:40 – Jamie tells us what key attributes you need to become a Toastmaster.
17:30 – The fine line between confidence and arrogance!
19:00 – Why the voice is so important.
19:55 – Some people think that Jamie sounds like DJ, Pete Tong!
20:33 – James chimes in with a ‘fresh’ question.
21:05 – Why Jamie uses the word ‘Fresh’.
22:10 – The importance of being heard and not seen!
23:00 – Find out what a gavel is and why Jamie tries not to use it.
24:28 – The Jamie Paskin energy is about personalization and customer focus.
25:30 – Jamie’s advice for people getting into events.
26:35 – What you need to sacrifice to work in events.
27:40 – Find out what the smallest event Jamie has ever done.
28:20 – Inclusivity is the key especially at mixed events.
28:55 – The biggest event Jamie has worked at.
29:10 – Where Toastmasters can team up!
30:00 – Jamie’s favorite events.
30:30 – How Jamie will Toastmaster his own Wedding?
31:00 – Find out who trained Jamie.
31:30 –Places Jamie loves working.
32:40 – Find out where Jamie really want’s to work.
34:00 – How to get in touch with Jamie.
34:55 – What the future holds for Jamie.
35:30 – Closing thoughts with Toby and James.
39:37 – James Eager’s last ‘Absolutely’ of the show.