Each Toastmasters meeting has an agenda with different roles to fill. Each week members are encouraged to try a new role. 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.
The main roles include:
Toastmaster – The emcee. The main duty of the Toastmaster is to act as a genial host and conduct the entire program, including introducing participants.
Timer – One of the skills Toastmasters practice is expressing a thought within a specific time. As timer you are responsible for monitoring time for each meeting segment and each speaker.
Grammarian (and ah-counter) – The syntax sentinel. One benefit of Toastmasters is that it helps people improve their grammar and word use. Our grammarian role is often combined with the ah-counter role. The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any word or sound 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. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I” or “This means, this means.”
Speaker – No doubt you’ve guessed that the speaking program is the center of every Toastmasters meeting. After all, what’s Toastmasters without the talking? But members don’t just stand up and start yakking. They use the guidelines in the Competent Communication (CC) manual and the Advanced Communication Series (ACS) manuals to fully prepare their presentations.
The CC manual speeches usually last 5-7 minutes. ACS manual project speeches are 5-7 minutes or longer depending upon the assignment.
Evaluator – People join Toastmasters to improve their speaking and leadership skills, and these skills are improved with the help of evaluations. Members complete projects in the Competent Communication and Competent Leadership manuals and you may be asked to evaluate their work. You will provide both verbal and written evaluations for speakers using the guide in the manual.
Table Topics Speaker – Table Topics continues a long-standing Toastmasters tradition – every member speaks at a meeting. Table Topics is about developing your ability to organize your thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question or topic. The purpose of this period is to have members think extemporaneously and speak for a minute or so on a topic you’ve selected.
General Evaluator – If you think of a club meeting as a project, then you can see the general evaluator as a kind of project manager. As the general evaluator you ensure the speech and leadership project evaluators know their responsibilities; supervise the timer, grammarian; valuate everything that takes place during the club meeting; and make sure each activity is performed correctly.