Meeting Roles

At any Toastmasters meeting, there’s more going on than just speaking!  There are several meeting roles that can be filled by Toastmasters members, each of which develops different skills.These are the roles as performed in our club:

Toastmaster – The toastmaster is responsible for running the first half of our meeting.  The Toastmaster introduces the Grammarian, the Timer, and each speaker in turn.  When the speaking portion of the meeting is over, the Toastmaster turns the meeting over to the General Evaluator.

Ah-Counter/Grammarian -The Grammarian is responsible for selecting a “word of the day”, which they pronounce, define, and use in a sentence.  Throughout the meeting, the Grammarian pays attention for usage of the word of the day.  They also note examples of improper language use (grammar errors, incorrect words, etc.), and count the use of “filler words”.  Filler words are words such as “um” and “ah”.  The Grammarian gives a report near the end of the meeting.

Timer – Working within a time limit is an important facet of public speaking.  Each speech has a time limit.  The timer tracks the time spent on each speech, and works the three lights (green, yellow, and red) that let the speaker know how much time they have left.  The timer gives a report at the end of the meeting, indicating how long each speaker’s speech took.

Speakers – Each speaker prepares a speech (typically between 5 and 7 minutes long) on a topic of their choice.  Each speaker also prepares an introduction, which is read by the Toastmaster prior to their introduction.  Subject matter is typically at the discretion of the speaker, with each speech serving to help the speaker improve some aspect of their presentation skills.

For example, a sample speech out of the basic manual may be “Research Your Topic”.  The point of this particular speech is for the speaker to prepare a well-researched speech, citing facts and other information gained during their research.  Within the given framework, the speaker is free to select any topic they like.

Speech Evaluators – Each speech has different goals, and an evaluator is assigned to rate how well the speaker achieved those goals.  The evaluator pays attention to the specific goals of the speech, as well as the speech in general.  A written evaluation is provided in the speaker’s manual, and oral evaluations are provided towards the end of the meeting.  The focus of evaluation is intended to be positive, both pointing out what the speaker did well and offering constructive criticism.

General Evaluator – The General Evaluator evaluates the meeting overall, and notes opportunities for improvement.  The General Evaluator, as a rule, tries not to duplicate the work of people with other roles.  They should, for example, refrain from providing evaluation on individual speeches as those have already been given by the Speech Evaluators for the meeting.
Table Topics Master – Table topics are one to two minute impromptu speeches about a given subject.  The Table Topics Master prepares several topics in advance, and requests volunteers to take one of the topics.  Since the speaker has no idea what the table topic is, this is a great opportunity for learning to speak “off the cuff”.  Preference in table topics speaking is typically given to members that have no other meeting role, or guests who would like to volunteer.

All of these roles are on a volunteer basis, so members get the opportunity to perform each different role many times throughout their Toastmasters experience.

If you’d like more information, please stop at a meeting! Guests are welcome. Visit Chippewa Valley Toastmasters!