Toastmasters SIG roles

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Our goal is to provide members with opportunities to improve their listening, evaluating, speaking and leadership skills through a standard meeting format provided by Toastmasters International. Each of us, like you, has at sometime realized a need for improvement in our speaking or leadership skills. Many started with little or no speaking experience. The Toastmasters program is designed to help recognize and expand the skills you currently have while developing new skills as well. Our club provides a positive, supportive atmosphere in which to learn and have fun. Our meetings include duties that are performed on a regular basis. All positions are rotated within the membership to provide broad experience. Each duty emphasizes a particular area of communications - speaking, leading,listening or evaluating.

Roles in a Typical Toastmaster Meeting

  • Toastmaster of the Day
  • Prepared Speaker
  • Evaluator
  • Table Topics Master
  • Table Topics Speaker
  • General Evaluator
  • Grammarian
  • Ah Counter
  • Timer

Toastmaster of the Day The Toastmaster of the Day runs the meeting! Well before the meeting the Toastmaster selects the theme, confirms the speakers and duty holders before the meeting, prepares the agenda complete with speaker's specific objectives, times and speech titles. The Toastmaster is introduced by the Presiding Officer and conducts the majority of the club meeting activity. This role practices TIME MANAGEMENT (both in preparing for the meeting and running the meeting on time), PLANNING & IMPLEMENTING, FACILITATION, MOTIVATION, TEAM BUILDING, SPEAKING and LEADERSHIP skills.

Prepared Speakers Each Prepared Speaker works from a Communication & Leadership speech manual (Basic or Advanced Manuals) and has well defined and very specific goals and time criteria to meet. Most speeches in our club setting are 5-7 minutes long and on a subject of the speaker's choosing. Speakers may also be present modules from the BETTER SPEAKER, SUCCESSFUL CLUB, or LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE programs as part of their advanced award requirements. Our club standard is that every speech is a manual speech or a module speech. This role practices TIME MANAGEMENT, PLANNING & IMPLEMENTING, and SPEAKING skills.

Evaluators Using guidelines found in the manuals, each person serving as an Evaluator will provide both an oral evaluation of the speech to the club and a written evaluation to the speaker. This form of constructive critique is an essential skill for all managers and team leaders to develop. This role practices LISTENING, OBSERVING, CRITICAL THINKING, GIVING FEEDBACK, and MOTIVATION.

Table Topics Master The Table Topics Master calls upon members at random to make an impromptu 1-2.5 minute "mini-speech" based on the question just asked. This exercise helps members learn to “think on their feet” and speak extemporaneously. The Topics Master is encouraged to ask questions around the meeting theme. At the end of this segment, the Topics Master calls on the TIMER and the GRAMMARIAN reports to assess the Table Topics Speakers and if more than one speaker is qualified, the Topics Master calls for a vote. This role practices TIME MANAGEMENT, PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION, FACILITATION and SPEAKING skills.

Table Topics Speaker The Table Topics Speaker speaks extemporaneously for 1-2.5 minutes to a questions provided by the Table Topics Master. This role practices THINKING ON YOUR FEET, TIME MANAGEMENT, and LISTENING and CRITICAL THINKING skills.

Grammarian The Grammarian provides the word of the day to the Toastmaster well in advance of the meeting. during the meeting the grammarian listens closely for the use of the word. The word of the day is required for Table Topics and all members and guests speaking during the meeting are encouraged to use the word appropriately whenever possible. The Grammarian provides two reports during the meeting (1) at the end of table topics to help qualify the speakers, and (2) at the end of the meeting to provide feedback on all members who successfully used the word correctly. This role practices LISTENING an CRITICAL THINKING skills.

Ah Counter The Ah Counter listens closely for “ah,” “umm,” "and", "so" long pauses and other distracting interjections used by members speaking during the meeting. Except for prepared speeches, the Ah Counter alerts the speaker by sounding a buzzer. This is noise is excellent retraining device. The Ah Counter gives a report at the end of the meeting, when called upon by the General Evaluator. This role practices LISTENING skills. ( DID YOU KNOW? In some clubs, members pay a fine for their ums and ahs!)

He also observes each speaker’s posture & gestures noting particularly good posture and gestures, and rings a bell (except for prepared speakers) to alert the speaker to distracting posture and gestures. The Posture Monitor gives a report of their observations (both affirming and redirecting) at the end of the meeting when called upon by the General Evaluator. This role practices OBSERVATION skills.

Timer The Timer notifies participants when their speaking time is up using a stop watch and either Green-Yellow-Red colored cards or lights, like a traffic signal. To help keep the meeting on time, when a speaker is over time, the Timer stands to indicate to the Toastmaster to regain control of the meeting. This role practices OBSERVATION -and- LISTENING skills.

General Evaluator DURING the meeting, the General Evaluator is responsible for observing and evaluating both the content and the technical aspects of the meeting. The General Evaluator provides an oral evaluation summary at the end of the meeting, and calls on the Ah-Counter, Posture Monitor and Grammarian. AFTER the meeting, the General Evaluator also provides a written summary by email. These role helps develop skills for business and process accuity and reporting, and helps us keep the big picture of meeting management & coherent communication in the forefront. This role practices CRITICAL THINKING, CONSTRUCTIVE CRITIQUE, TIME MANAGEMENT, PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION, FACILITATION, MOTIVATION, TEAM BUILDING along with LISTENING and OBSERVING skills.