Each meeting is a group effort of over 15 people, with each performing a role to help make the meeting a fun, educational event. A description of each role filled at every meeting follows:
Starts the meeting with an inspirational, humorous or thought-provoking quote, then leads us in the pledge of allegiance.
The Toastmaster is essentially the emcee of the evening’s meeting. This role helps us learn to prepare and run an effective meeting within time constraints. The Toastmaster plans the meeting, selects a theme, prepares an agenda and ensures all participants are ready. They then lead the meeting, manage the flow and timing of the meeting, and introduce Table Topics Master, prepared speakers, and General Evaluator.
Table Topics Master
The table topics master role helps us learn to “think on our feet” and speak accordingly. This person prepares a series of questions loosely centered around the theme, and then selects members without other roles, and without advance notice (that’s the kicker!) to answer one of the questions in 1-2 minutes.
The evening’s speakers are the core of the meeting’s agenda. Serving as a speaker provides us with the greatest opportunity to practice and improve our public speaking skills. Each speaker prepares and presents a speech on a topic of the speaker’s choice. Speeches are usually 5-7 minutes, but may be longer.
Helps us learn to conduct more professional meetings, and improve our evaluations. This member leads the speech evaluation portion of the meeting, and presents a 2-to-3 minute evaluation of the quality of the overall meeting, the speech evaluations, and other major roles.
Evaluators help us improve our public speaking by providing immediate feedback for the prepared speeches. An Evaluator is assigned to each speaker, and they observe the prepared speech, analyze the content and delivery for areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, and present a 2-to-3-minute speech evaluation.
The Grammarian helps us expand our vocabulary and awareness of language usage. Presents a “word of the week” which we try to use in any speaking role. Observes language usage throughout the night and presents a report on errors members make in grammar, pronunciation or word usage.
The Ah Counter helps us eliminate those distracting, unprofessional “ahs,” “errs,” and “ums” in our conversation throughout the meeting. The Ah Counter utterances of any type throughout the night and reports totals for each member at the end of the meeting.
The timer/vote counter helps us learn to create and deliver speeches that meet a time specification. This member records the time duration of all table topics, prepared speeches and evaluations, and reports if the presentation was within the allotted time. They also conduct a voting process for Best Table Topic Speaker, Best Speaker, and Best Evaluator, collect and count the votes submitted by members and guests for the three “best-of-category” contests at each meeting.