Meeting Roles

27_ClubMeetingsMembers can participate in meetings by volunteering for one of the following roles. If you have volunteered for a role, please read the corresponding description to prepare for the next meeting.


Every time we meet, one of our members delivers a brief 10 minute training session on their desired choice of topic. There is an absolute abundance of educational resources found on the TM international website so usually we simply pick one of them. And then we try to use the table topics to give us an opportunity to practice what we have just learned.


The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any word or sound used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and, well, but, so and you know. Sounds may be ah, um or er. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as ‘and’, ‘well’, ‘but’, ‘so’ and ‘you know’. Sounds may be ‘ah’, ‘um’ or ‘er’. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I” or “This means, this means.” These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners. The Ah-Counter role is an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills.

When you’re introduced by the Toastmaster, explain the role of the Ah-Counter.

Throughout the meeting, listen to everyone for sounds and long pauses used as fillers and not as a necessary part of sentence structure. Write down how many filler sounds or words each person used during all portions of the meeting.

When you’re called on by the general evaluator during the evaluation segment, stand by your chair and give your report.


On meeting day, retrieve the timing equipment from the sergeant at arms. Be sure you understand how to operate the stopwatch and signal device. Throughout the meeting, listen carefully to each program participant and time and signal them. Record each participant’s name and time used. When you’re called to report by the General Evaluator, announce the time taken by each speaker (speeches, evaluations and table topics. After the meeting, return the stopwatch and timing signal device to the sergeant at arms.


One benefit of Toastmasters is that it helps people improve their grammar and word use. Being grammarian also provides an exercise in expanding listening skills. You have several responsibilities: to introduce new words to members, to comment on language usage during the course of the meeting, and to provide examples of eloquence.

Several days before the meeting, select a “word of the day”. It should be a word that will help members increase their vocabulary – a word that can be incorporated easily into everyday conversation but is different from the way people usually express themselves. Adjectives and adverbs are more adaptable than nouns or verbs, but feel free to select your own special word. Prior to the meeting, email your word, it’s part of speech (adjective, adverb, noun, verb) its definition and an example sentence using the word.

When asked by the Toastmaster at the beginning of the meeting, announce the word of the day, state its part of speech, define it, use it in a sentence and ask that anyone speaking during any part of the meeting use it. Then briefly explain the role of the grammarian.

Throughout the meeting, listen to everyone’s word usage. Write down any awkward use or misuse of the language (incomplete sentences, sentences that change direction in midstream, incorrect grammar or malapropisms) with a note of who erred. For example, point out if someone used a singular verb with a plural subject. “One in five children wear glasses” should be “one in five children wears glasses.” Note when a pronoun is misused. “No one in the choir sings better than her” should be “No one in the choir sings better than she.”

Write down who used note those who used the word of the day (or a derivative of it) correctly or incorrectly.

When called on by the general evaluator during the evaluation segment:

Stand by your chair and give your report.
Try to offer the correct usage in every instance of misuse (instead of merely announcing that something was wrong).
Report on creative language usage and announce who used the word of the day (or a derivative of it) correctly or incorrectly.

General Evaluator

When introduced by the Toastmaster, they introduce the evaluator(s). After the evaluation(s), ask for reports from the grammarian, ah-counter and timer.

After the reports, give your evaluation of the meeting. You can comment on good and less than desirable examples of preparation, organization, delivery, enthusiasm, observation and general performance of duties.

You can also comment on:
The room arrangement
The greeting of guests and members
Promptness of meeting opening
The Toastmaster’s performance
The Table Topics Master and the Topics Speakers’ performance
The Timing procedure when needed
The Evaluators’ performance

After the meeting evaluation, introduce the Toastmaster.


When you arrive at the meeting, speak briefly with the general evaluator to confirm the evaluation session format. Then retrieve the manual from the speaker or leader and ask one last time if he or she has any specific goals in mind.

Record your impressions in the manual, along with your answers to the evaluation questions. Be as objective as possible. Remember that good evaluations may give new life to discouraged members and poor evaluations may dishearten members who tried their best. Always provide specific methods for improving and present them in a positive manner.

After the meeting, return the manual to the speaker or leader. Add another word of encouragement and answer any questions the member may have.


With TABLE TOPICS™, the Topicsmaster gives members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting. The Topicsmaster challenges each member with a subject, and the speaker responds with a one- to two-minute impromptu talk.


The Toastmaster is a meeting’s director and host. You won’t usually be assigned this role until you are thoroughly familiar with the club and its procedures. If your club’s customs vary from those described here, ask your mentor or the club vice president education (VPE) for pointers well before the meeting.

As the Toastmaster, you’ll introduce each speaker. If a speaker will not write his or her own introduction, you will write it. Introductions must be brief and carefully planned. Contact speakers several days before the meeting to ask about:
Speech topic and title
Manual and project title
Assignment objectives
Speaker’s personal objectives
Delivery time

You need all of these elements to create your introductions. Remember to keep the introductions between 30-60 seconds in length.


The Jokemaster adds a moment of fun to our meetings. Your role is to present concise and appropriate jokes. Your joke can also be an anecdote, or a personal humorous story.

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