Meeting Roles and Responsibilities

Contents

  • Toastmaster
  • Topicsmaster
  • General Evaluator
  • Evaluator
  • Timer
  • Ah-Counter
  • Grammarian
  • Watcher
  • Chat Monitor
  • Vote Counter

Toastmaster

The Toastmaster coordinates the meeting agenda in advance and hosts a large portion of the meeting. The Toastmaster should strive to excite the audience and motivate all to actively listen and participate. The Toastmaster creates an atmosphere of interest, expectation, and receptivity.

Before the Meeting

  • By Tuesday the week before the meeting, establish a theme and word of the day.
    • On the club website, navigate to the meeting agenda and click on the EDIT SIGNUPS button.
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter the information into the Theme and Word of the Day textbox.
    • Remember to click on the Save Changes button afterwards.
  • By Wednesday the week before the meeting, send the meeting agenda to all members.
    • On the club website, navigate to the meeting agenda, hover over the AGENDA tab, and click on the Email menu item.
    • A new page will open with the agenda details. In the textbox, add a personal message to all members.
      • Remind members to sign up for empty roles.
      • Promote the theme and word of the day.
      • Remind Speakers to enter their speech details and introductions into the online agenda at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
      • Ask each Speaker to send a simple response to confirm that they are still planning to speak.
        • If a Speaker does not respond by Friday, you may open the slot and announce the opportunity to all members by email.
      • Remind all members who signed up for roles to be present in the meeting room at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting. Otherwise, their role may be reassigned to another present member.
      • Once you’re ready to email your message, be sure to click on the Send button.

Day of Meeting

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting (7:30 p.m. EST).
  • 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting, confirm that everyone who signed up in advance for a role is present and able to perform.
  • Verify that the General Evaluator has assigned Speaker and Evaluator pairs.
    • Ensure that Speakers and Evaluators are aware of their pairings.
  • 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting, reassign any unclaimed roles to any member who is present and willing to participate.
  • Prepare a copy of the agenda, including all roles and speech introductions, for reference during the meeting.

During the Meeting

  • Act as a genial host and conduct the entire program.
  • Keep each segment of the meeting on time, adjusting and interjecting as needed to ensure that the overall schedule is maintained.
  • As a meeting host on Zoom platform, you should manage muting participants as needed.
    • For example, participants often forget to mute their microphones after speaking. You can mute their microphones to prevent unintended background noise while others are speaking.
    • In rare cases, a participant has exceptional difficulty unmuting the microphone when trying to speak. You may assist by turning this person’s microphone on so they can be heard by others.
  • Begin the meeting by introducing the theme and word of the day.
  • Explain the three-part meeting structure (prepared speeches, Table Topics, and evaluations).
  • Introduce each role holder, asking them to briefly highlight how they will perform their duties (Timer, Ah-Counter, Grammarian, Watcher, Chat Monitor, Vote Counter).
  • Describe the purpose prepared speech segment, then introduce each Speaker in turn.
  • Remember to ask the Timer for a report after all speeches are complete.
    • If the Topicsmaster or General Evaluator forgets to ask for the Timer report during their respective segments, you should ask for it at the soonest opportunity.
  • After each Timer report, ask members to send their vote via private message to the Vote Counter.
    • If the Topicsmaster or General Evaluator forgets to ask everyone to vote during their respective segments, you should ask for it at the soonest opportunity.

Topicsmaster

The Topicsmaster presides over the Table Topics portion of the club meeting. Table Topics helps members practice impromptu thinking and speaking. Table Topics provides members and willing guests an opportunity to speak during the meeting. During Table Topics, the Table Topics Master gives each participant a prompt. Subsequently, the speaker gives a 1-2 minute impromptu speech. Preference should first be given to members that do not have a meeting role. The Table Topics segment can sometimes be shorter or longer, depending on the flow of the meeting. Therefore, it is wise to prepare several prompts, even if they do not all end up being used.

Before the Meeting

  • Prepare at least five topics related to the weekly meeting theme.

Day of Meeting

  • 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting:
    • Identify any guests who need to give a 1-2 minute speech on why they want to join the club. This only occurs when a guest has attended at least two meetings and is in the process of applying for membership.
    • Ask any present first-time guests whether they would be willing to participate in Table Topics if called upon.

During the Meeting

  • Begin by introducing the purpose of Table Topics.
  • Always state the prompt first, then call on the name of a participant.
  • Prioritize participants in this order:
    • First, call upon any guests who are actively seeking membership and need to give a 1-2 minute speech on why they want to join the club.
    • Second, call upon existing members who do not have an assigned role in the meeting.
    • Third, call upon first-time guests who already indicated a willingness to participate prior to the meeting. Only call upon guests after all existing members without assigned roles have been called upon. Do not call upon guests who have not indicated a willingness to participate in advance.
  • If necessary, confirm with the Toastmaster whether additional Table Topics may be given after the first three have been completed.
  • Once all participants have spoken, remember to ask the Timer for a report.
  • Remember to ask members to send their votes via private message to the Vote Counter.
  • Return control to the Toastmaster.

General Evaluator

The General Evaluator evaluates anything and everything that takes place throughout the meeting. The General Evaluator is responsible for leading the evaluation segment of the meeting and coordinating the evaluation team. The General Evaluator’s own report should highlight extraordinary items, including the quality of the evaluations given by the evaluators. However, time is limited, so refrain from commenting on too many items.

Day of Meeting

  • 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting, confirm that all evaluators are present and assign Speaker-Evaluator pairs.
    • Make the Speakers, Evaluators, and Toastmaster of the pairings.
    • Encourage Speakers and Evaluators to privately communicate on any specific details related to the evaluation, such as special focus areas.
  • Make sure Evaluators are prepared to document their evaluation for the Speakers
    • Online evaluation forms can be accessed on the club website (login required) at https://op.toastmost.org/eval-forms.
    • Alternatively, Speakers and Evaluators may exchange digital forms by email.

During the Meeting

  • Begin by introducing the purpose of the evaluation segment.
  • Introduce each Evaluator, reminding everyone whose speech they are evaluating.
  • Once all evaluations are complete, remember to ask the Timer for a report.
  • After the Timer report, ask members to send their vote via private message to the Vote Counter.
  • Call on each member of the evaluation team to provide a 1-minute report (Watcher, Chat Monitor, Grammarian, Ah Counter, Vote Counter).
  • Give a 1-3 minute report highlighting extraordinary items or the quality of the speech evaluations.
  • Return control to the Toastmaster.

Evaluator

An Evaluator observes a prepared presentation, then provides feedback during the meeting. It is vital for the Evaluator to be professional in conduct, providing positive, constructive feedback for improvement that encourages the Speaker to continue practicing their skills. Feedback is provided through a 2-3 minute speech, as well as a written evaluation form. The oral feedback given by the Evaluator benefits all members in attendance, not only the individual who gave the presentation.

Day of Meeting

  • 10 minutes prior to the meeting, confirm your Speaker assignment with the General Evaluator.
    • Privately communicate with your assigned Speaker about any specific requests related to the evaluation, such as special focus areas.
  • Make sure you are prepared to document your evaluation.
    • Alternatively, you may exchange digital forms with the Speaker by email.

During the Meeting

  • Take notes during the presentation, complete a written evaluation form, and provide a copy to your assigned Speaker after the meeting.
  • When you are called upon by the General Evaluator, give a 2-3 minute speech highlighting what the speaker did well, areas for improvement, and specific recommendations for future improvement.
  • Maintain a positive tone while providing your feedback and focus on improving the speaking skills of all members, not on passing judgement or making commentaries about specific people or presentation topics.
  • See our blog for detailed strategies for effective evaluation.

Timer

The Timer is responsible for keeping track of time throughout the meeting. Expressing a thought within a specific time is one of the primary skills learned through the Toastmasters program. Therefore, the Timer helps everyone who participates during the meeting practice being on time.

Day of Meeting

  • Prepare a timing device, such as a digital app or physical stopwatch.
  • Prepare green, yellow, and red visuals to display along with the corresponding timings during the meeting.
    • You may display digital images on screen or hold up physical objects.
  • Ask whether any Speakers prefer auditory cues.
    • Although rare, if a Speaker asks for an auditory cue, you may tap on an object or give a subtle verbal notice for the corresponding times.
    • For example, people have used their voice, drums, drinking glasses, digital sound effects, and clickers in the past.

During the Meeting

  • Prior to the first Speaker’s introduction, confirm the speech timings with the Toastmaster.
  • Verbally report qualification or disqualification when called upon.
    • Exact times need not be announced verbally.
    • Instead, simply state whether all members qualified or highlight any specific disqualifications.
  • After each meeting segment (prepared speeches, Table Topics, evaluations), post the exact times for each participant in the chat window.
  • Optionally, you may use this worksheet to keep track of the details throughout the meeting.

Ah-Counter

Toastmasters members aim to eliminate the use of utterances, such as “ah,” “um,” “er,” “and,” “so,” and “you know,” among others. These crutch words and filler words undermine our messages and distract our audiences. The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to listen carefully and keep track of when these words are used throughout the entire meeting. In addition, the Ah Counter may take note of additional distracting language. For instance, a member might repeat a word twice (double clutch), such as by saying “I, I” to start a sentence, or repeatedly use the words “and” or “so” to start sentences.

During the Meeting

  • Listen carefully for the use of distracting language, such as utterances, crutch words, or double clutches.
  • When called upon, give a 1-minute report highlighting some of the most-used or most noteworthy instances of distracting language.
    • Ideally, you can also provide constructive suggestions to the club on how to improve this language in the future.
  • If necessary, use private chat to share detailed comments with specific participants.
  • Optionally, you may use this worksheet to to keep track of the details throughout the meeting.

Grammarian

Being Grammarian is truly an exercise in expanding your listening skills. The Grammarian listens for word of the day usage in addition to the quality of English language usage.

During the Meeting

  • Coordinate with the Toastmaster to ensure that a word of the day is established.
    • The Toastmaster should enter this information into the meeting agenda along with the theme, several days prior to the meeting.
  • At the start of the meeting, copy the word of the day, its part of speech, definition, and example usage into the chat window.
  • Listen carefully for the use of the word of the day throughout the meeting, keeping track of the total number of times it was used.
  • Listen carefully for English grammar and language usage throughout the meeting.
    • Do not only listen to correct flaws, but also to highlight exceptional usage.
  • When called upon, give a 1-minute report highlighting a few of the best or worst uses of the English language, as well as the number of times the word of the day was used.
    • Ideally, you can also provide constructive suggestions to the club on how to improve poor language use in the future.
    • Likewise, noting the techniques behind exceptional usage, such as metaphor or alliteration, can encourage additional usage in the future.
  • If necessary, use private chat to share detailed comments with specific participants.
  • Optionally, you may use this worksheet to keep track of the details throughout the meeting.

Watcher

The Watcher focuses on the visual portion of our online meeting space. The Watcher is responsible for noticing all meeting participants, not only speakers, and providing constructive feedback for improvement.

During the Meeting

  • Watch carefully for items, such as visual effects, body language, props, slides, backgrounds, framing, and video quality.
  • Use private chat to make participants aware of any issues and how to correct them in real time during the meeting.
    • For instance, if a member’s face is partially cut off from the camera, let them know immediately, so they can fix it.
  • When called upon, give a 1-minute report highlighting exceptional and problematic visual items observed during the meeting.
    • Ideally, you can provide tips on how all members can improve their future use of visuals based on these highlights.

Chat Monitor

The Chat Monitor facilitates the backchannel communications through the chat function of the online meeting platform.

During the Meeting

  • Whenever possible, be the first to answer any questions posed in the chat.
  • As needed, relay important information to Toastmaster.
  • Keep track of the most helpful, encouraging, and humorous posts throughout the meeting.
    • For instance, links to external resources or humorous observations based on what other members said or did make for good highlights.
  • When called upon, give a 1-minute report highlighting the most noteworthy items placed in the chat during the meeting.
  • Optionally, you may keep a running log of the highlights by copying relevant chat messages into a text file. At the end of the meeting, share the highlights back to everyone by copying the log into the chat.

Vote Counter

The Vote Counter collects ballots after each meeting segment (prepared speeches, Table Topics, and evaluations) by private chat message. The Vote Counter tallies the votes to determine the Best Speaker, Best Table Topics, and Best Evaluator of the day. The Vote Counter does not vote unless there is a tie. Only if there is a tie, the Vote Counter discreetly breaks the tie without announcing this fact.

During the Meeting

  • Use the chat to remind members to send you votes via private message after each segment.
  • Tally the votes for each segment to determine the winner in each category.
    • If required, discreetly cast the tie-breaking vote to determine the winner.
  • When called upon, announce the winner for each category, making sure to encourage cheering and enthusiasm among all meeting participants.
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