A club meeting generally runs as follows:
- Speeches and evaluation
Members deliver prepared speeches that can range from 5 to 10 minutes each. Before a speech begins, the objectives are stated and meeting attendees are encouraged to fill out comment slips.
- Table topics & evaluation
In life, we can’t always prepare for everything. Table topics helps us practice ‘thinking on our feet’ by inviting members and guests to answer questions with no preparation. (Guest participation is encouraged but not required).
- Timer and Grammarian Reports
Towards the end of the meeting, the Timer and Grammarian each deliver verbal report on everyone’s performance throughout the night.
- Guest Comments
At the end of the meeting, guests are encouraged to provide comments or observations.
Below is a list of club meeting roles and their description. The best way to get the most out of Toastmasters is to participate, so we encourage members to fill the different roles.
The chairperson is formally in charge of the meeting. S/he sets the tone and theme, introduces many of the people who will be speaking, and generally keeps the meeting on track and on schedule.
There’s nothing worse than a speaker who drones on and on… so in Toastmasters we have a timer, whose role is to remind speakers when they are about to run out of time.
As with traffic signals, a green light indicates proceed. An amber light indicates proceed with caution (you’re almost out of time). And a red light says ‘stop.’ The timer may lead applause to remind a speaker if s/he fails to respond to the red light.
Poor grammar can detract much from your message, whereas clear pronunciation and descriptive language will greatly enhance your effectiveness as a public speaker. The grammarian strives to help everyone improve his or her grammar by keeping a sharp ear open. The grammarian also suggests a word of the night that each speaker is encouraged to use.
Also, meaningless filler phrases and words, such as you know and ah, consume time and can frustrate the audience. The Grammarian will keep his or her senses peeled and fingers counting throughout the meeting, busily tracking the filler words of all speakers.
Inspirator, Jokester, and Toastmaster
These roles aren’t always filled at every meeting, but as an Inspirator, Jokester, or Toastmaster, the speaker can develop skills in planned short-speech manner.
Table Topics Host
Similar to the Chairperson, the Table Topics Host conducts this portion of the meeting. The host has prepared questions in advance. These questions may relate to the theme of the night or be customized for individual members. The host may also have speakers draw questions. You never know what can happen at a Table Topics session!
The table topics host is also actively developing her or his listening skill. As the session progresses, s/he will pay careful attention to each answer and use the material to ‘bridge’ the gap between speakers.
Table Topics Evaluator
While the Timer, Grammarian and Wizard will also be monitoring each Table Topics speaker, there is also a Table Topics Evaluator. This evaluator will be paying attention to the speaker’s general performance including:
• vocal variety
• body language
• speech content
While all attendees are provided with comment slips, the speaker also receives formal written and verbal evaluations from a designated member. The speech evaluator records their comments in the speaker’s booklet and then delivers a 3 to 5 minute verbal evaluation.
Everyone one should have feedback. And up until now the chair and evaluators have been working diligently in their roles. At the end of the meeting, the General Evaluator provides feedback on the performance of the meeting in general, the Chair, and all other evaluators.