The club President declares the meeting open with a brief address and, afterwards, having presented any awards or tokens of gratitude, closes the meeting with club notices and announcements.
The Toastmaster has one of the most challenging roles, responsible for seamless continuity of the entire meeting and for introducing all participants.
Sergeant at Arms
The Sergeant at Arms arrives early to set up the venue and ensure that all equipment and literature is available. During the meeting, introduction of guests is another formality.
The Timekeeper helps everyone adhere to allocated timings, a vital skill in all forms of public speaking and communication. Signalling by visual and audible means, the timekeeper lets each participant know when time limits are approached, reached or exceeded.
The term Linguist, as oppose to Grammarian, is someone who studies to understand how language works as system from a scientific point of view (linguistics). As well as choosing a “word of the day” that all performers will attempt to use during the meeting, the Linguist comments positively on the flow of language and commends those speakers who’ve been particularly eloquent by including grammar and figures of speech with which they demonstrate the beauty of the English Language.
On alternate weeks a member presents a six minute workshop on a subject relating to the skills associated with Toastmasters.
The Topics Master’s job is to get people thinking on their feet by calling upon volunteers to stand centre-stage, for about a minute, to speak on a surprise topic, question, theme or scenario.
Without criticism is not just for the benefit of the speaker or functionary whose performance is being described. Everybody in the room can benefit from the remarks of the evaluator. This often involves a minute of ‘recommendations for improvement’ sandwiched between two minutes of commendations. The individual speaker learns of personal achievement and all attendees learn to emulate the high points and consider the suggested improvements.
The Topics Evaluator’s job is to provide helpful feedback to the topics speakers, briefly commending their strengths and suggesting a possible area for improvement.
Evaluator (of prepared speeches)
Each speaker is assigned an evaluator who provides structured, formal, feedback.
General Evaluator [GE]
The General Evaluator – often a visitor from another club – considers: the venue, the greeting, the ambience, the roles performed by all the functionaries listed above. The GE presents an unbiased opinion of all that transpired during the meeting.
Members of the audience are encouraged to be participants by observation, feedback and, randomly, being called out to present a table topic. Enthusiastic applause is welcomed. Personal opinions are invited by voting for the best Table Topic Speaker, the best Prepared Speaker and the best Evaluator. Further opinion in the form of written feedback for the main speakers is also requested.