The success of a Toastmasters meeting depends on the program participants. There are many roles to fill, and each job is designed to improve the members’ public speaking and leadership skills.
The Toastmaster is a meeting’s director and host. You won’t usually be assigned this role until you are thoroughly familiar with the club and its procedures.
the Topicsmaster gives members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting. The Topicsmaster challenges each member with a subject, and the speaker responds with a one- to two-minute impromptu talk.
If you think of a club meeting as a project, then you can see the general evaluator as a kind of project manager. As GE, your responsibilities include:
- Ensuring the speech and leadership project evaluators know their responsibilities
- Supervising the timer, grammarian, and Ah-Counter
- Evaluating everything that takes place during the club meeting
- Making sure each activity is performed correctly
No doubt you’ve guessed that the speaking program is the center of every Toastmasters meeting. After all, what’s Toastmasters without the talking? But members don’t just stand up and start yakking. They use the guidelines in the Competent Communication (CC) manual and the Advanced Communication Series (ACS) manuals to fully prepare their presentations.
People join Toastmasters to improve their speaking and leadership skills, and these skills are improved with the help of evaluations. Members complete projects in the Competent Communication and Competent Leadership manuals and you may be asked to evaluate their work. At some point, everyone is asked to participate by providing an evaluation. You will provide both verbal and written evaluations for speakers using the guide in the manual.
Invocation & Pledge
The invocation, a prayer or inspirational thought, is delivered by a designated club member at the beginning of the meeting, and is combined with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Because Toastmasters is a worldwide organization that includes people from many different religious groups, a non-sectarian approach is required, and the speaker should be sensitive to the diversity of cultures and religions in the audience.
If you are new to Toastmasters and you are nervous about the thought of speaking in front of people, you can use this role to build confidence while serving a small but important function for the club.
The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any word or sound used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and, well, but, so and you know. Sounds may be ah, um or er. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I” or “This means, this means.” These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners. The Ah-Counter role is an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills.
One benefit of Toastmasters is that it helps people improve their grammar and word use. Being grammarian also provides an exercise in expanding listening skills. You have several responsibilities: to introduce new words to members, to comment on language usage during the course of the meeting, and to provide examples of eloquence.
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. You’ll also operate the timing signal, indicating to each speaker how long he or she has been talking. Serving as timer is an excellent opportunity to practice giving instructions and time management – something we do every day.
At some meetings we start off with a joke of the day to provide a bit of humor and practice for humorous speaking. Some people are nervous about trying to include humor in their presentations. This role gives a member an opportunity to practice this valuable skill.
You never know if a Quizmaster has been assigned by the Toastmaster of the day to test our listening skills. The Quizmaster’s presence helps members learn to listen to details that come up during the course of a meeting. This skill can be quite beneficial in the professional and personal lives of our members.