The success of a club meeting depends on the program participants. In Toastmasters, you learn by participating. There are many roles to fill and all meeting participants play an important part in making the club experience educational and enjoyable. The following are the roles you will be called upon to fulfill and tips for doing a good job:
The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any overused words or filler sounds 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. As Ah-Counter you:
- Request a copy of the Ah-Counter’s log from your sergeant-at-arms. If a log is not available, be prepared to take notes.
- When introduced during the club meeting, explain the role of the Ah-Counter.
- In the Ah-Counter’s log, record overlong pauses, overused words and filler sounds relied upon too often by all speakers. Examples include: and, but, so, you know, ah, um.
- During the evaluation portion of the meeting, report your observations when called upon.
The grammarian plays an important role in helping all club members improve their grammar and vocabulary. As grammarian you:
- Introduce new words to meeting participants and monitor language and grammar usage
- Write down the language and grammar usage of all speakers, noting incomplete sentences, mispronunciations, grammatical mistakes, non-sequiturs, malapropisms, etc. Example: “One in five children wear glasses” should be “one in five children wears glasses.”
- At the end of the meeting, give your complete report when called on.
- Introduce a “Word of the Day” that helps meeting participants increase their vocabulary; display the word, part of speech, and a brief definition with a visual aid and prepare a sentence showcasing how the word should be used. Note who uses this word or any derivatives thereof correctly or incorrectly during the meeting.
One of the skills Toastmasters practice is expressing a thought within a specific time. The timer is responsible for monitoring time for each meeting segment and each speaker. As Timer, you:
- Acquire the timing/signaling equipment from the sergeant at arms and know how to operate it.
- Explain the timing rules and demonstrate the signal device if called upon to do so.
- Throughout the meeting, listen carefully to each participant and signal them accordingly.
- When called to report, announce the speakers’ names and the time taken.
- After the meeting, return the timing/signaling equipment to the sergeant-at-arms.
Toastmaster of the Day (TMD, for afternoon meetings)/Toastmaster of the Evening (TME, for evening meetings)
The TMD/TME is the meeting’s director and host. A member typically will not be assigned this role until they are thoroughly familiar with the club and its procedures. As Toastmaster, you:
- Acquire a meeting agenda from your vice president education.
- Work with the General Evaluator to ensure all club participants know their roles and responsibilities.
- Introduce speakers during the club meeting, including their speech topic, project title, objectives, delivery time, etc. during your introduction.
- Ensure smooth transitions between speakers during the club meeting.
Every speaker is a role model, and club members learn from one another’s speeches. As a meeting speaker, you:
- Prepare, rehearse and present a speech during the club meeting.
- Arrive early to make sure the microphone, lectern and lighting are working and in place.
- Discuss your goals, strengths and weaknesses with your evaluator prior to giving your speech.
Pitch Ideas Session Host
The Pitch Ideas Session Host replaces the Topicsmaster of a traditional Toastmasters meeting. As the Pitch Idea Session Host, you:
- Select topics or items in advance of the meeting that allow speakers to pitch for.
- Give members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting by assigning impromptu pitches.
- Don’t ask two people to pitch the same thing unless you specify that it is to generate opposing styles.
- Ask members to vote for the best Table Topics speaker.
Pitch Ideas Speaker
Pitch Ideas replaces the Table Topics of a traditional Toastmasters meeting. Pitch Ideas Sessions help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu request to pitch an item or idea.
- The Toastmaster will introduce the Pitch Idea Session Host, who will give a brief description of Pitch Idea Session and then call on respondents at random.
- Your response should should express your pitch clearly and succinctly, lasting one to two minutes.
- Your response should follow the format P-S-A: Problem, Solution, Action
Evaluation is the heart of the Toastmasters educational program. You observe the speeches and leadership roles of your fellow club members and offer evaluations of their efforts, and they do the same for you. As evaluator you:
- Ask those you’ve been assigned to evaluate what they will present and what they wish to achieve.
- Provide objective verbal and written evaluations for speakers.
- When giving any evaluation, offer praise as well as constructive criticism.
The General Evaluator evaluates everything that takes place during the club meeting. In addition, the General Evaluator conducts the evaluation portion of the meeting and is responsible for the evaluation team: the speech evaluators, Ah Counter, grammarian and timer. As General Evaluator, you:
- Ensure other evaluators know their tasks and responsibilities.
- Explain the purpose and benefits of evaluations to the group.
- Identify and confirm meeting assignments with the timer, grammarian and Ah-Counter.
- Confirm the club meeting program and/or checklist with the Toastmaster.
- During the meeting, take notes and report on all club proceedings to evaluate things such as timeliness, enthusiasm, preparation, organization, performance of duties, etc.