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. Program participants must know and understand their duties so they can prepare for them. Each club has some leverage on how to arrange the roles and below is a list of the different roles we use during most of our meetings.
- Chair (aka Toastmaster)
It is the responsibility of the chair of not only to keep a smooth running meeting but more importantly to confirm all meeting roles prior to the meeting and make sure that each member fulfilling a role is prepared and has the resources to perform the role.
Toastmasters International Guide for the Chair
- Grammarian & Ah Counter
At our club the grammarian also performs the duties of the Ah counter. The grammarian decides on a word of the day, which all members participating in the meeting should try to integrate into their rhetorical contributions. The grammarian then looks out for good use of grammar and words and also listens for the more obvious grammatical mistakes during the meeting. Also the grammarian keeps track of the use of filler words like “ah”, “ahm”, “so”, “now”, “okay”, “and” and the likes. Towards the end of the meeting the grammarian then has a few minutes to report on the use of grammar during the meeting.
Toastmasters International Guide for the Grammarian and Ah-Counter
As speaker you prepare a speech from one of the manuals (Competend Communicator manual or Advanced Communicator series). Your main responsibility is to do due diligence on preparing and rehearsing the speech.
Toastmasters International Guide for the Speaker
- Speech Evaluator
The Evaluator should liase with the speaker before the meeting to find out the speech title and project number. This is also a great opportunity to find out any particular goals the speaker wishes to achieve with this speech and any areas of improvement that the speaker wishes to focus on. During the meeting the Evaluator introduces the speaker before the speech, then listens to the speech intently and prepares a written and spoken evaluation of the speech. Important things to remember are to keep an open mind, and most importantly to give an up-beat evaluation. While giving tips and recommendations on how to improve the speech are greatly appreciated, it is crucial to keep a positive tone during the evaluation. Otherwise it is easy to give a very negative and distructive review.
Toastmasters Interational Guide for the Evaluator
This is one of the simplest tasks of the meeting, and you get to play with the lights! Each section of the meeting is timed. For example a typical Table Topics speech should be between 1 and 2 minutes long. The green light goes on at 1 minute, the yellow light at 1m30s and the red light at 2m. The different participants should try not to exceed their alloted time beyond the red light. As timer you get a stop watch and the controls to the lights. Make sure to place the lights where everybody can see them, especially the speakers at the podium.
Toastmasters International Guide for the Timer
- Tabletopics master (aka Topicsmaster)
The Table topics part of the meeting should give those, who do not have a role during the meeting a chance at impromptu speaking. This section of the meeting is chaired by the Table Topics Master. It is his/her responsibility to choose five to six different topics which a person could talk about for up to two minutes. Topics should be fun and easy. A popular theme is to choose words or phrases which the speaker then must explain or take a stance to. Sometimes TT masters choose weird and unusual words which prompt speakers to invent funny definitions of those words.
Toastmasters International Guide for the Table Topics Master
- Tabletopics Speaker
If you are new to Toastmasters you can always choose to skip the topic presented and spend those two minutes talking about yourself, how you came to attend the meeting and why you are thinking about joining toastmasters. But once you have been to a few meetings you will just jump over your shadow and give the topic a go. And surely, once you have done a couple of table topics you’ll be looking forward to the challenge as they can be quite fun.
Toastmasters International Guide for Table Topics Speakers
- General Evaluator
While all speakers get an evaluation from their respective evaluators, the general evaluator gets to comment on all other participants of the meeting. His evaluation includes the running of the meeting and recommendations for the evaluators.
Toastmasters International Guid for the General Evaluator