The success of a Toastmasters meeting depends on the program participants. 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. Some roles can be combined – for example, the Ah-Counter might also be the grammarian or listen for uses of the word of the day.
No doubt you’ve guessed that the speaking program is the centre of every Toastmasters meeting. After all, what’s Toastmasters without the talking? But members don’t just stand up and start yacking. They use the guidelines in the Competent Communication (CC) manual and the Advanced Communication Series (ACS) manuals to fully prepare their presentations. Every speaker is a role model and club members learn from one another’s speeches. Prepare and rehearse to ensure you present the best speech possible. Don’t insult your fellow club members by delivering a poorly prepared speech. However, it’s also true that no speech is perfect. More on Toastmasters International.
After every Prepared Speech and for each Table Topic the Speaker receives an Evaluation. The Evaluation you present can make the difference between a worthwile or a wasted speech for your Speaker. The purpose of Evaluation is to help the Speaker become less self-conscious and a better Speaker. This requires that you be fully aware of the Speaker's skill level, habits and mannerisms, as well as his or her progress to date. If the Speaker uses a technique or some gesture that receives a good response from the audience, tell the Speaker so that they will be encouraged to use it again. More on Toastmasters International.
The main duty of the Toastmaster is to act as the host and make introductions. Participants should be introduced in a way that enourages the audience to listen to them. The Toastmaster creates an atmosphere of interest, expectation, and receptivity. Usually this task will not be assigned to you until you are familiar with the Club and its procedures. More on Toastmasters International.
Table Topics are impromptu speeches. The purpose of the Table Topics section is to help members think on their feet and speak on a given subject for between one and two minutes. It also allows speaking opportunities for those who are not programmed for other roles on the Agenda. More on Toastmasters International.
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. You’ll also operate the timing signal, indicating to each speaker how long he or she has been talking. Serving as timer is an excellent opportunity to practice giving instructions and time management – something we do every day. More on Toastmasters International.
Being Grammarian is an exercise in improving your listening skills. You are supposed to comment on the positive and negative uses of English during the meeting. You are given the oportunity to introduce a new word or phrase and explain the correct use of it.
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.” These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners. The Ah-Counter role is an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills. More on Toastmasters International.