During Club meetings there are a variety of roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled in order for our meetings to run smoothly.
If you have been assigned a duty, these tips may be useful to you.
The purpose of Wordmaster is to introduce a new word to the club.
Prior to the meeting select a ‘Word of the Day’. This should be a word that will help members increase their vocabulary – a word that people can incorporate easily into their vocabulary, but that they might not normally use. An adjective or adverb is suggested since each is more adaptable than a noun or verb, but feel free to select your own special word.
In letters large enough to be seen from the back of the room, print your word, its part of speech (adjective, noun, adverb etc.) and a brief definition. Prepare a few sample sentences showing how the word could be used.
During the meeting, keep a note of how many times you hear the word being used. When called upon by the General Evaluator, stand up at your seat and announce to the audience how many times the word was used.
The Competent Leader (CL) Evaluator is responsible for completing the CL Manuals of the following:
The above 3 people should pass their manuals to the CL Evaluator at the beginning of the night. For all others completing a project in their CL Manual - they pass their manual to a person beside them at the start of the meeting.
The purpose of a Timer is to help people to keep within their designated time limits. Every speech and evaluation is timed, as this helps people to avoid overrunning on a regular basis.
When the Toastmaster of the night asks you to explain the timings for the night, you should stand up and greet the room. This should then be followed by a short explanation of how the lights will be operated.
Something along the lines of:
"Madame President, Mister Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters and Welcome Guests. As you can see from this evening’s agenda, we have five speeches; two of which should run between 4-6 minutes, two which should run between 5-7 minutes and one which should run between 10-15 minutes.
For the 4-6 minute speeches, the green light will go on at four minutes, the orange light at five minutes and the red light at 6 minutes.
For the 5-7 minute speeches, the green light will go on at five minutes, the orange light at six minutes and the red light at 7 minutes.
For the 10-15 minute speech, the green light will go on at thirteen minutes, the orange light at fourteen minutes and the red light at fifteen minutes.
The Evaluations should all run between 2-3 minutes. At two minutes the green light should go on, at 2.30 minutes the orange light, and at 3 minutes the red light should go on."
Please remember to turn off the green light as soon as you turn on the orange, and to turn off the orange light as soon as you turn on the red light. Otherwise it can be difficult to see which light is on.
After the speeches, and following the topics session, the General Evaluator will speak, and will call upon you to read out the times of each speech.
After the evaluations, the General Evaluator will call on you to read out the times of the evaluations.
The purpose of Topics is to give everyone in the room an opportunity to speak, and to improve on their impromptu speaking skills.
The following is a list of things to keep in mind when you are Topicsmaster.
• Keep the questions clear and concise. Long winded introductions to questions take up time that belongs to the respondents.
• Try to balance light hearted and serious questions. Topics shouldn’t require specialist knowledge, but it is reasonable to expect people to have read at least the headlines during the week.
• Humour doesn’t exclude thinking. It’s possible to enjoy a laugh without trivialising the whole session.
• Stretch rather than type cast people. If everyone knows who is going to get the sports or music questions, people grow complacent.
• People who are already on the programme should comment, only when everyone else has had a chance.
• Limit responses to 2 to keep the answers impromptu. However, greater flexibility should be shown towards inexperienced speakers as giving a second or third response can be a good way for them to make an input for the first time.
Avoid the following areas, people may have ethical or professional reasons for not addressing in public.
For example, a question on cash in transit due to a recent security van robbery, could compromise a person who works either in security or in banking.
A question on politics, sex or religion might be small talk for one person, but a matter of deep significance for another. Respect differences.
Possible sources of ideas for topics:
Current affairs, global, national, local
Quirky stories from daily life
Themes – Valentine’s Day, Halloween, New Year
Traditions - Folklore
‘’The main duty of the Toastmaster is to act as a genial host and conduct the entire programme, including new participants.’’
(see page 66 in the new manual and page 75 in the old manual)
Before the meeting
Familiarise yourself with the running order of the meeting, e.g. by making notes in previous meetings.
It may be useful to prepare a single sheet checklist to have before you on the night (it is surprisingly easy to forget something when you are the Toastmaster)
Contact each speaker on your programme (Wordmaster and Poet/Jokemaster included) and also the Timer, Topicsmaster and the General Evaluator.
This is best done at least a week in advance of the meeting you are Toastmaster at.
If any cannot attend, telephone the VPE to discuss arranging a replacement as soon as possible
Remind the General Evaluator to confirm his/her evaluators.
Contact your Speakers again a couple of days before the meeting. Obtain a few details which will help in your introduction of the speaker, and the name of the speech.
Also check which manual they are working from, as you will need to know which stage objectives to put on the programme.
Prepare a programme for the meeting, handwritten or typed; around thirty copies is sufficient.
At the meeting
Arrive early and take your place at the top table
Following your introduction by the President, say a few words to set the tone of the meeting.
You may wish to add your welcome to any guests present. Mention who the General Evaluator is.
Introduce the Timer, Wordmaster and Poet/Jokemaster, leading applause for each.
On to the stage speeches, giving each speaker a personal introduction (not too big a build up, it can be hard to live up to).
For each speech announce the speaker’s name, the stage and objectives (make sure you have the objectives for both manuals),
the name of the speech and who the evaluator is. (It is surprising easy to omit one of these) If the speech is not a standard 5 – 7 minute one,
you will need to mention the time for the speech also. Lead the applause and remain standing until the speaker is about to begin.
At the end of the speech, lead the applause –perhaps say a brief word of appreciation as the speaker resumes his/her seat.
Allow one minute for the completion of evaluation slips before introducing the next speaker.
After coffee, introduce the Topicsmaster who will give a brief explanation of Topics for the benefit of the guests.
Signal to the Topicsmaster to wrap up slightly before 9.45pm. Thank the Topicsmaster and lead the applause as he/she resumes their seat.
Introduce the General Evaluator who will give a brief description of the purpose of evaluation and conduct the reports of the Timer,
Wordmaster and individual evaluators. On completion, thank the General Evaluator and lead the applause as he/she resumes their seat.
A few words in conclusion, perhaps a word or two of appreciation, greeting to guests etc., and hand back the meeting to the President.
A note on time
Meetings are supposed to run from 7.30pm until 9.55pm, with a 15 minute coffee break at 8.30pm.
The President will hand control to you at about 7.45pm and you should aim to return control to him/her at around 9.50pm.
Estimate how long the stage speeches will take by adding around three minutes to the net length of each speech to allow for introduction,
changeover and evaluation slips. Allow around 20 minutes for the Topicsmaster, then call on the General Evaluator at around 9.30pm.
If you are concerned about the time because of the number of the speeches on the night, have a word with the VPE before the meeting starts.
It can be intimidating the first time, but there are some comforts. The Club President will be beside you to help if you forget something important.
And you don’t have to get everything right first time – it’s a learning experience among friends and there are no penalties!
Yes, it’s your responsibility to prepare the meeting, introduce the participants, keep to time etc. – but the main thing on the night is to be the ‘genial host’.
Do it your own way. Relax. Enjoy it!!
"The General Evaluator is just what the name implies - an evaluator of anything and everything that takes place throughout the meeting."
(see page 65 in the new manual and page 74 in the old manual)
The week before the meeting
Phone each evaluator. Check that they will attend. Tell them the name of the Speaker they will evaluate and the stage of the speech.
Advise them to phone their speaker, especially if their speaker is a novice or if it is an advanced speech with special objectives.
They must also advise each evaluator to check which manual objectives they are working from.
If any of the team cannot attend, please call the VPE to discuss arranging a replacement as soon as possible.
At the meeting
Take notes as the meeting progresses – what was done well, and what could be improved on.
When called by the Toastmaster towards the end of the meeting, you take control of the meeting for the evaluation session.
Address the audience from the lectern, except when the individual speech evaluators are speaking, when you use the vacant chair at the top table.
Begin by briefly describing the purpose of evaluations, speech and general – (encouragement, feedback, and opportunities for improvement). This is primarily for the benefit of the guests.
Call for the timer's report and request the timer to time the speech evaluators. (Green at 2 mins, orange at 2min 30 secs, red at 3 mins)
Call the individual evaluators in order.
After each evaluation, you may wish to give a very brief comment on the evaluation, maybe one or two sentences. Typically, this might be a word of praise for what the evaluator did well and a brief suggestion for improvement. This is especially useful if you feel the evaluator has missed the mark (e.g. been over critical or omitted mentioning an important strength of the speech or suggestion for improvement), but bear in mind that it is not your role to give an evaluation of the speech itself. It will help your evaluation of the evaluators if you have recently read (or revised) the section in the manual on effective speech evaluation.
After the speech evaluations, call the timer to give a report on the evaluators timings. (You may wish to comment briefly)
The Wordmaster should also then be asked to comment on the use of the recommended word (from his/her seat)
Give your overall evaluation of the meeting. Typically, you might give an overall impression, followed by your evaluation of how the Toastmaster and Topicsmaster performed (as with all evaluation, allow for level of experience). Mention anything that has struck you as having been done particularly well, look for opportunities of appreciatio; Wordmaster, Jokemaster, Timer, replies to topics, set-up of room, level of humour, guests – any of these may merit mention.
Have you any suggestion of how the meeting could be improved? (Suggestion, not lecture!)
End on a positive note.
A note on time
Even if the meeting began on time, a four or five speech meeting must be run efficiently if it is not to seriously overrun.
The responsibility here rests with the Toastmaster and Evaluators, including you, the General Evaluator.
Your final duty is to present the Cicero for the best contribution, and ask the Topicsmaster to present the CATT Trophy for the best reply to Topics.
Awards are up to your own judgement, but should take account of experience of the speakers.
Following this, you hand control back to the Toastmaster and resume your seat.