Toastmaster meeting roles explained
Performing roles are an important part of your Toastmasters journey and a great way for you to improve your leadership as well as public speaking skills. Below is a brief explanation of each of the meeting roles.
Taking on this role improves time management skills.
One of the skills Toastmasters practice is expressing a thought within a specific time. As Timer you are responsible for monitoring time for each meeting segment and each speaker. To perform as Timer, you:
- Acquire the timing/signaling equipment from the Sergeant-at-Arms and know how to operate it.
- Explain the timing rules and demonstrate the signal device if called upon to do so.
- Throughout the meeting, listen carefully to each participant and signal them accordingly.
- When called to report, announce the speaker’s name and the time taken.
- After the meeting, return the timing/signaling equipment to the Sergeant-at-Arms and give your timer’s report to the secretary.
Taking on this role improves organizational skills, time management skills and public speaking skills.
The Toastmaster is a meeting’s director and host. A member typically will not be assigned this role until they are thoroughly familiar with the club and its procedures. As Toastmaster, you:
- Acquire a meeting agenda from your Vice President Education.
- Work with the General Evaluator to ensure all club participants know their roles and responsibilities.
- Introduce speakers during the club meeting, including their speech topic, project title, objectives, delivery time, etc. during your introduction.
- Ensure smooth transitions between speakers during the club meeting.
Table Topics Speaker
Taking on this role improves confidence and impromptu public speaking skills.
Table Topics is a long-standing Toastmasters tradition intended to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question or topic.
- Table Topics typically begins after the prepared speech presentations.
- The Toastmaster will introduce the Topicsmaster, who will give a brief description of Table Topics and then call on respondents at random.
- When asked to respond, stand next to your chair. Your response should last one to two minutes.
Taking on this role improves vocabulary, grammar, critical listening skills and evaluation skills.
The Grammarian plays an important role in helping all club members improve their grammar and vocabulary. As Grammarian you:
- Introduce a “Word of the Day” that helps meeting participants increase their vocabulary; Display the word, part of speech, and a brief definition with a visual aid and prepare a sentence showcasing how the word should be used. Note who uses this word or any derivatives thereof correctly or incorrectly during the meeting.
- Monitor language and grammar usage and note the use of filler words like “um” and “ah”
- Write down interesting language and grammar usage of all speakers
- At the end of the meeting, give your complete report when called on.
Taking on this role improves organizational skills, time management skills and facilitation skills.
The Topicsmaster delivers the Table Topics portion of the meeting, which helps train members to quickly organize and express their thoughts in an impromptu setting. As Topicsmaster, you:
- Select topics in advance of the meeting that allow speakers to offer opinions.
- Give members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting by assigning impromptu talks on non-specialized themes or topics.
- Don’t ask two people the same thing unless you specify that it is to generate opposing viewpoints.
- In clubs presenting a Best Table Topics speaker award, ask members to vote for the best Table Topics speaker.
Taking on this role improves listening skills, critical thinking and positive feedback skills.
In Toastmasters, feedback is called evaluation, and it is the heart of the Toastmasters educational program. You observe the speeches and leadership roles of your fellow club members and offer evaluations of their efforts, and they do the same for you. As evaluator, you:
- Provide verbal and written evaluations for speakers using the Effective Evaluation manual.
- Ask those you’ve been assigned to evaluate what they will present and what they wish to achieve.
- Answer evaluation questions in the manual as objectively as possible.
- When giving any evaluation, offer praise as well as constructive criticism.
Taking on this role improves critical thinking, organizational skills, time management skills, motivational and team-building skills.
The General Evaluator evaluates everything that takes place during the club meeting. In addition, the General Evaluator conducts the evaluation portion of the meeting and is responsible for the evaluation team: the speech evaluators, Ah Counter, Grammarian and Timer. As General Evaluator, you:
- Ensure other evaluators know their tasks and responsibilities
- Explain the purpose and benefits of evaluations to the group
- Identify and confirm meeting assignments with the Timer, Grammarian and Ah-Counter
- Confirm the club meeting program and/or checklist with the Toastmaster
- During the meeting, take notes and report on all club proceedings to evaluate things such as timeliness, enthusiasm, preparation, organization, performance of duties, etc.