The main duty of the Toastmaster is to act as a genial host and conduct the day’s program, including the participants. The Toastmaster creates an atmosphere of interest, expectations and receptivity.
A major portion of each Toastmasters meeting is centered on one or more speakers who have prepared their speeches based on manual project objectives. These speeches last from 4-6mins for the Icebreaker; 5-7mins for most projects in the basic Communication and Leadership Program manual; and different times for projects in various Advanced Communication and Leadership Program manuals.
One of the lessons to be practiced in speech training is that of expressing a thought within a specific time. The Timer is responsible for keeping track of time for each segment and participant in the meeting. The Timer signals the participant with a green light when qualifying time has been reached; then at the mid-point with an amber light; and a red light will signal when 30 seconds remain.
Table Topics Master
The purpose of Table Topics is to have members practice “thinking and speaking on their feet” by responding extemporaneously for a minute or two on a topic chosen by the TopicsMaster. The TopicsMaster typically calls on club members who do not have an assigned role in the meeting.
Ah Counter and Who said What
The “Ah Counter” notes the use of words and sounds used as a “crutch” or “pause filler” by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections such as “and, well, but, so, you know” and sounds may be “ah, uh, um, err”, or other non-words used by the speaker. Listening is an important aspect of meetings that must be practiced. The “Ah Counter” notes facts that were presented throughout the meeting and then asks questions to ascertain the listening ability of the audience as a whole.
The Grammarian has two basic responsibilities. Firstly, to introduce new words to members by presenting a “Word of the Day” – a word that meeting participants can incorporate in their everyday conversations but is different from the way they usually express themselves. Secondly, to comment on the proper use of language during the course of the meeting
After every prepared speech, the speaker receives an evaluation. The Speaker’s Evaluator provides an oral and written evaluation using the guide for that project in the manual. The purpose of the evaluation is to help the Speaker become less self-conscious and a better communicator. Ideally, the Evaluator should take into account the Speaker’s skill level, habits, mannerisms and progress to date, to give positive and constructive feedback.
The purpose of TableTopics evaluation is to provide speakers with valuable feedback so that one can become more confident when facing impromptu speaking situations. TableTopics Evaluator highlights positive points and as well as development feedback which helps speakers to improve upon.
The General Evaluator evaluates anything and everything that takes place throughout the meeting, but especially the Evaluators. The General Evaluator is responsible for the Evaluation Team including the Ah Counter, Grammarian and Timer.