What Are The Meeting Roles?
There are several roles available at each meeting. Some are more involved than others. The objective is to give you the opportunity to speak in front of the group, whether you’re giving a speech or not. Personally, if I’m doing a speech, I don’t take on a role, I get too nervous and want to just focus on the speech. Others will take a role and give a speech the same night without a problem. It’s all about your comfort level, and how quickly you want to advance.
In Toastmasters you learn by participating. During the club meetings you have the opportunity to participate in many roles, and each one is a learning experience. Most Roles are signed up for in advance, so you have a week or so to prepare for them.
The Roles vary from club to club, and during the summer months, at our club, some of the roles are dropped completely out of the agenda.
The roles available at Kanata Innovation Toastmasters are (starting with the obvious), Speaker, Evaluator, Sergeant at Arms, Timer, Table Topics Master, General Evaluator, Toastmaster, Grammarian and Au-Counter, Joke Master and Quizmaster, Opening Thought and Closing Thought.
The major part of each meeting is centered around the speakers. Your speech is prepared based on your assignment in the Competent Communication or Advanced Communications series manuals.
There are ten (10) speech ‘projects’ in the Competent Communication manual, so if your goal is to do one speech a month, you will complete the manual in 10 months. Or if you’re super keen, you could do one a week and be done in 10 weeks! Or you can do anything in between, each member sets their own goals, so it’s completely up to you.
For each speaker, and Evaluator is assigned to evaluate the speech, giving not only a verbal evaluation for everyone to learn from, but providing a written evaluation in the speaker’s manual. Being an evaluator is your opportunity to practise your listening, critical thinking and feedback skills. The goal of being an evaluator is to help the speaker become less self-conscious and a better speaker.
Sergeant at Arms
The Sergeant at Arms is like the host of the meeting. You arrive early to help set up the room. You greet members and guests as they arrive. You call the meeting to order and advise the group of any last minute changes to the agenda or the roles. And then introduce the Toastmaster.
The Toastmaster is the Chairperson of the meeting. You introduce guests, explain the roles if guest are present. The Toastmaster also introduces most of the participants of the meeting, including the speakers, Table Topics master, General Evaluator, Word of the Week, Grammarian and Timer.
Provides a new and unusual word designed to enhance the club’s vocabulary. The Grammarian provides a definition and encourages members to use the word of the day during their presentations. The Grammarian will listen throughout the meeting for good and poor uses of language and also for use of the word of the day.
Following all of the speeches and evaluations the Grammarian has a chance to briefly give a report on good and bad uses of language, and how many times the word of the day was used.
In addition, “ahs” and “ums”, those awkward pauses many of us use when we speak aloud are counted. Members are encouraged to recognize the number of times they use these pauses and try to reduce them next time out. We are all guilty of this!
Table Topics Master
Table Topics is a regular Toastmasters activity where members are encouraged to practice impromptu speaking. The Table Topics Master provides topics which other members are asked to speak about for two minutes. The topics are not disclosed prior to the meeting and the participants are selected randomly during the Table Topic Session. Guests are welcome to try a Table Topic if they wish.
Speeches, evaluations and Table Topics responses are timed. This is done to encourage people to speak within a set time limit, preventing speakers from going on too long.
The General Evaluator evaluates the entire meeting so that everyone can reflect on where the group performed well and where we can improve the meeting next time. They also have time to evaluate the Evaluators and give them feedback as to the effectiveness of their evaluations.