Toastmasters – Roles in a typical club meeting

In my previous post on Toastmasters, I described a typical meeting. If that post was the overview of a play, this one is a description of the players. Here I will describe the roles that you can play in a typical club meeting and what is expected of you in order to play these roles effectively.

  1. Toastmaster of the Day (TMOD) – TMOD is the host of the meeting. TMOD plans for the meeting, decides the theme, confirms with everyone (especially the role players) for attendance and prepares the agenda. It is the duty of the TMOD to introduce the General Evaluator, Table Topics Master and the Speakers. As a TMOD, one should take the effort to know the people playing these roles in order to provide an effective introduction. TMOD should also know the projects the speakers are delivering and their time limits. Punctuality of the meeting depends on the TMOD to a great extent.
  2. General Evaluator (GE) – It is the GE’s responsibility to evaluate the overall meeting quality. GE introduces his/ her entire evaluation team and should therefore know all the role players in advance. GE should also know which role is being played for what objective of the CL manual for the role players to be effectively evaluated. GE supervises the Individual Evaluators, Grammarian, Ah Counter and Timer. GE should ensure that the evaluators know the speakers they would be evaluating, their speech projects, objectives and time limits. Last but not the least, GE should offer healthy, constructive feedback to all the role players to encourage them to participate in future meetings with enthusiasm.
  3. Table Topics Master (TTM) – TTM has one of the fun jobs in the meeting – to come up with creative, engaging, fun and easy topics on which the members and guests can speak impromptu. TTM prepares the list of topics in advance, trying to keep the ‘meeting theme’ in consideration. TTM should announce the purpose of TTM and call for a relatively experienced person for the first topic to ease the audience. The mode in which the topic is given and delivered can be made interesting as per choice. TTM should note down who is speaking on which topic so as to make it easier for people to vote.
  4. SAA – SAA arranges the venue, gets gavel, ribbons and other club properties to the venue and makes any other logistical arrangement needed. SAA also maintains the attendance register for the club members as well as the guests. SAA displays the club banner, the standee for meeting announcement, prints agenda sheets, voting slips, feedback forms etc.  (if not done by the TMOD)If any member has a specific requirement for the meeting, they should get in touch with the SAA.
  5. Speaker – Speaker should prepare the speech in accordance with the speech objectives given in the manual. Speaker should bring his/ her manual for evaluation and meet with the evaluator beforehand to discuss if he/ she would like them to look at specific aspect of their public speaking. Speaker should also meet the timer to ensure that the timer is aware of project specific timings.
  6. Evaluators – Evaluators can make or break speakers and therefore play a very important role in the meeting. Evaluators should meet with the speaker and understand their project as well as personal objectives. While the speech is being delivered evaluator should make their comments in writing to allow them to reflect on the entire speech while presenting their evaluation. At the end of the meeting, evaluators should fill the project evaluation page in the manual of the speaker.
  7. Grammarian – The grammarian has two major responsibilities. First – introducing the word of the day, a new word which everyone is encouraged to use in the meeting; and second, keep a tab on the grammar and language of all the speakers in the meeting. When called upon, grammarian presents his/ her report to the club taking precaution that criticism is directed on usage and not individuals.
  8. Ah Counter – Ah counter counts all the filler words used in the meeting by everyone and presents his/ her report when called upon to do so by the GE. Ah counter can also introduce funny and friendly ways to discourage members and guests from using the filler words such as – ‘ah’, ‘um,’ ‘so’ etc.
  9. Timer – Timer is critical to ensure that the meeting remains in time limits. Timer shows time cards to the speakers and role players based on the time alloted to them as per the agenda. For example for a 5-7 minute speech, the timer shows the speaker a green card at the end of 5 minutes, an amber card at the end of six minutes and a red card at the end of 7 minutes, 30 seconds post which the speaker must end the speech. Timer should keep the timer cards and a stop watch ready and sit at a place from where he would be easily visible but not distracting.
  10. Vote Counter – Vote counter hands over and collect voting slips to everyone in the room. He/ she reminds everyone to vote at the end of each section of the meeting for the best prepared speaker, evaluator, table topic speaker and role player. After collecting, he/ she counts the votes and informs the results either to the TMOD or to the club as decided.
  11. Listener – Listener may or may not be the part of meeting based on club’s choice, time limits etc. Listener complies a set of questions based on what is being spoken in the meeting and then asks these questions at the end as an incentive for active listening.

These, in short, are the roles played in a typical TM meeting. Please feel free to contact me should you want a detailed ‘responsibility’ page for each role player.

Coming up next – the TM role player report formats!


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