Toastmaster of the meeting
Toastmaster is the emcee of the entire meeting. It is the duty of the Toastmaster to introduce the theme of the meeting, review the agenda, introduce the Grammarian or Quizmaster, Timer, Invocator/Jokemaster, and General Evaluator, and finally to close the meeting on time. He or she sets the tone of the meeting and ensures that it runs smoothly. They think about ways to make a meeting unique. The Toastmaster is to act as the genial host who conducts the day’s program. Simply put, all depends on him or her, without a Toastmaster’s collide preparation the meeting is doomed to fail.
The role of Grammarian has two parts. The Grammarian listens for and keeps track of all the unnecessary words or noises that often find a way into our sentences when we speak. These sounds include: um’s, ah’s, lip smacks, repeated words, or fillers (unnecessary words used to bridge between points) such as: and, so, but, and like. The grammarian chooses a word of the day, which they explain to the club and is displayed throughout the meeting room, and if a member uses the word of the day they receive credit for that. The purpose of the Grammarian is to help us eliminate those unnecessary words or sounds as well as to broaden our vocabulary by introducing us to a new word.
The role of the Ah Counter is to note words and sounds used as pause fillers by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections such as “and,” “well,” “but,” “so,” “you know.” Sounds may be “ah,” “um,” “er.” The ah-counter’s job is also to note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I” or “This means, this means.” The intent is not so much to “catch” speakers using fillers, but more to help make them aware of crutch words that they may be using out of habit and that may take away from the impact of their speech.
The Timer records the length of each person’s speech and provides a visual sign to the speaker that the allotted time is about to expire. The Timer provides a visual sign by using a timing device with three lights green, yellow, and red. All Toastmaster speeches and reports are carefully planned to fit specific time periods so that we learn the art of time management.
During the scheduled speech portion of the meeting, Speakers present prepared speeches from one of the many Communication or Leadership manuals provided by Toastmasters International. The basic manuals provide structure and guidance to improve skills such as organization, vocabulary, vocal variety, and body language, while the more advanced manuals deal with topics such as leadership, persuasive speaking, and becoming an entertaining speaker. Speeches range from five to twenty minutes in length and have specific objectives.
At Toastmasters everyone is evaluated, because through constructive feedback we can all improve as speakers, which is what Toastmasters is all about. Evaluators provide constructive feedback in oral and written form. Evaluations are highly encouraging and provide a positive learning experience for all. Evaluations are done in the first and third person, so as not to single out the speaker and make them feel as though they are being attacked. Evaluators provide feedback of what they liked, what they thought could be improved.
Table Topics Master
The Table Topics Master helps members improve their impromptu speaking skills by asking members to speak for one to two minutes about a surprise topic usually surrounding the theme of the day. The purpose of table topics is to have members “think on their feet” and speak for one to two minutes. It is also meant to give people who do not have a speaking role an opportunity to speak. Guests are not required to participate, but are often given the option to if they feel comfortable doing so.
The general evaluator is just what the name implies – an evaluator of anything and everything that takes place throughout the meeting. This includes leadership, mood, quality, timing and evaluation of all participants other than the speakers. In addition, the general evaluator is responsible for the evaluation team, and for running the evaluation portion of the meeting. The General Evaluator comments on the overall meeting and may make suggestions on how to improve the meeting for the next time.