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Toastmaster Meeting Roles Explained:




As Toastmaster, you are responsible for the efficient planning and smooth flow of the meeting. Remember, planning is the key to success as Toastmaster. If you have planned well, your task will be fun. If you have planned poorly, your task will be an ordeal.


Before the Meeting:


Ask the VPE for program changes or if educational talks or other special events are planned.

§          Set a theme for the meeting.  This is an opportunity for you and the Table Topics Master to collaborate!  You are encouraged to rely on the Topics Master for help with the theme since that person has the more difficult job of creating appropriate questions.

§          Contact the Speakers to confirm they will speak. You need to get their speech titles, manual speech number, time limits for the speech, the objectives of the speech, and any information you need to introduce them.  The speaker also may ask you to standby to help move a flipchart or other equipment before the speech actually begins and at its conclusion.

§          Note:  If you have a change in Speaker, notify the Chief Evaluator who then tells the Evaluator of the change.

§          Determine the information you need to introduce other role players (except Evaluators) and contact them to get it.  Also tell all role players the theme.

§          Prepare an agenda for the meeting listing each role and the name of the person fulfilling the role. For speakers, include the speech title, manual and project name and number, and time limits. Feel free to be creative with the agenda and include elements appropriate to your theme. Bring about 20 copies to the meeting, ensuring the club secretary receives one for record keeping. 

§          Provide the Club President with information for your introduction.  Inform the SergeantatArms if any of the Speakers needs a special setup for the meeting.


General steps to follow during the meeting:


1.        After the President has introduced you, you announce the theme of the meeting and make some introductory comments..  This is a defining moment in your role as Toastmaster, where you set the tone of the evening. 

2.     Introduce the Grammarian, Ah-Counter, Time-keeper, and Vote Counter.  Give each one an opportunity to explain their roles.

3.        Introduce the Table Topics Master (TTM), shake his or her hand, and take a seat.  Upon concluding the Table Topics part of the meeting, the TTM will return control of the program to you.

4.        You are now ready to introduce the first Speaker.  Keep your Speaker introductions brief and don't give away any unnecessary information regarding their speeches.  Shake the speakers hand firmly and warmly and move to a seat.  Be ready to resume control of the meeting at the conclusion of the speech.   Follow the same steps with the second and third speaker.

a.       Note:  Ask the Timekeeper to time a 30-second break after each prepared speech to allow the evaluators time to make notes and the audience time to write comments to the speakers.

5.        Following the speeches, you will take control of the meeting and move into the Evaluation Segment of the meeting by introducing the Chief Evaluator.

6.        After the evaluations are done, now is the time to call on the Grammarian/"Ah" Counter for his or her report. This report should be no longer than two minutes. Then ask the Timekeeper for a report of the use of time at this meeting.

7.        Following the GAT (Grammarian, Ah counter & Timekeeper) reports, you will present the ribbon for best speech presenter.  You then ask the General Evaluator to present the best evaluator ribbon and the Table Topics Master to present the best table topics ribbon.

8.        Finally, return control of the meeting to the Chief Evaluator for the wrap-up..


Note:  The Toastmaster is responsible for initiating the applause after each participant has finished speaking.


Chief Evaluator


The Evaluation segment may be the most important part of the meeting.  Evaluation helps members improve their speaking, provides important feedback on effective control of a meeting, and gives everyone an opportunity to practice listening.  Use this opportunity to the best advantage of the Speakers, Evaluators, the club, and yourself.  The manual Effective Speech Evaluation has a wealth of information regarding evaluations.


Before the Meeting:


Contact the Toastmaster of the meeting to review the meeting schedule, special events, names of Speakers and their project numbers. Contact the Evaluators, confirm their Speaker assignment, and encourage them to contact their assigned Speakers before the meeting to discuss their speaking assignments.


During the Meeting:


When the Toastmaster calls on you, take control of the lectern.   Introduce your Evaluators one at a time by stating who they are and who they will evaluate. It is appropriate to thank each Evaluator when he or she is finished but avoid making value judgments or lengthy statements between Evaluators.


Your next duty is to evaluate the meeting and evaluators. Your objective is to assess the effect of their evaluation, NOT to reevaluate the speech. Indicate whether the evaluation was properly balanced. A good way to prepare is to do a minievaluation of each Speaker on a piece of paper and listen to each Evaluator. Did he miss something? Did she catch something or offer some exceptional hints? Say so during your evaluation. You are specifically expected to evaluate the President, Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, and the general flow of the meeting. Make your comments brief and to the point.


Finally, you award the Spark Plug Award to the member you thought showed the most spark, enthusiasm or originality. This is not necessarily the Toastmaster or the Table Topics Master, but it can be. Explain your reasons for giving the award to the person you have chosen, present the ribbon and return control of the meeting to the Toastmaster.


NOTE: You have about 15 to 16 minutes to conduct the entire evaluation portion of the meeting.



Table Topics Master


Table Topics is an educational and fun portion of the meetingif it is well planned. Refer to page 73 in your Communication and Leadership Manual for advice on being the Table Topics Master. Topics should give the participant an opportunity to be creative. Openended, thoughtprovoking questions or statements have worked well in the past, but you are encouraged to use your creativity.


Before the Meeting:


Work with the Toastmaster to set a theme.  Coordinate your topics with the theme.  Develop four or five questions of twelve words or fewer.  Avoid making the questions minispeeches about your views and avoid lengthy introductions or explanations.  Your objective is to give the members an opportunity to speak. 


PLEASE do not shock any nonToastmaster guests by calling on them.  That is, dont put a guest on the spot by asking him or her in front of the entire audience if hes up for Table topics.  Thats the best and quickest way to scare any guest away permanently!  However, visiting Toastmasters are ALWAYS fair game, and a special effort should be made to call on them if time permits.


Consult with the Toastmaster and the Chief Evaluator to determine any changes made to the schedule that may affect the time you have for Table Topics.  Finalize your list of participants as you see who arrives for the meeting, taking care not to select anyone who is playing a role.  The object is to reduce the number of unspoken Toastmasters; so pick members who will not otherwise have a chance to speak.   If you must call on someone with a role, be sure to not call on the Chief Evaluator, Evaluators, Toastmaster, or Speakers.  If you run short of people you may then call upon the Vote Counter, Timekeeper, and Ah Counter/Grammarian in that order.


During the Meeting:


When the Toastmaster calls on you, take control of the meeting at the lectern.  For the benefit of guests, preface the start of Table Topics with a brief explanation of the purpose of the session and re-introduce your theme, if any. 


Present the topic, announce the name of the person chosen to speak, and present the topic again.  The speaker will take control of the lectern, deliver a response to the question, and return control to you.  Thank the speaker and move on.  Do not give a minievaluation of each speaker.


At the conclusion of your session ask the Timekeeper if all speakers were within the time limits. Then review the names of the speakers, the topic on which they spoke, and ask members to vote for the person they believe did the best job at table topics.  Everyone, including guests, is encouraged to vote.


Return control of the meeting to the Toastmaster.



Watch your time. You have 15 to 18 minutes between taking control of the meeting and returning control to the Toastmaster.