Burrard Toastmasters
Vancouver's leading business-oriented public speaking club
Club Speeches

Meeting Roles

Greeter Toastmaster
Sergeant at Arms Evaluation Guidelines
Invocation Table Topics Evaluator
Wit Speech Evaluator
Timer Grammarian
Introductions Ah-Counter
Table Topics Master General Evaluator
 
Greeter
As Greeter, your duties are to arrive 10-15 mins before the meeting starts and greet members and guests as they arrive. Stand near the entrance and as people enter the room, shake their hands and welcome them to the club.
 
If the person is a guest:
- write down their name on a sheet of paper
- ask them to sign the Guestbook if they have not already
- hand them a club brochure if it is a first time guest
- introduce them to another member so they are not left alone
 
At the start of the meeting, you will be asked to introduce the guests. The Greeter is an extremely important role if we have a lot of guests. You are probably one of the first people guests will talk to and how they are treated in the first 60 seconds may determine if they visit us again or not. If you find you are having trouble looking after guests because there are so many of them, do not hesitate to ask a few members to help out.
 
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Sergeant at Arms
The Sergeant At Arms is an Executive position and this person will fulfill this role most meetings. If they are away, any member may be asked to fill in.

The jobs of the Sergeant At Arms can be divided into three sections, depending on where we are in the meeting.
 
Before the meeting:
- prepare the room for the meeting (ask other members to help)
  - in the lobby, ask the YWCA staff for the key to the AV room (Audio Video)
  - carry the big green box and the smaller binder into our meeting room
  - place extra chairs along the walls
  - put out glasses of water
  - hang up the club banner and ribbons
  - set up the timing device
  - put out the award trophies, Guestbook, brochures
  - help the Secretary set up the speech evaluation forms
- ask speakers in the second half if they need to use the lecturn
- reserve your seat near the lecturn
- close all doors right before the meeting
 
During the meeting:
- start the meeting by welcoming everyone
- ask people to turn off their cell phones
- hand control to the Chair
- manage the use of the lecturn; make sure it is removed during table topics and put back in place for table topics evaluations
- open the second half of the meeting
 
After the meeting:
- clean up the room, put materials back into the green box, and store it in the AV room
- put the glasses into the dishwasher
- return the key to the staff
 
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Invocation
The Invocation is a short speech that is supposed to inspire or motivate the audience. Since it is given at the start of the meeting, it helps set a positive tone for the rest of the meeting. There are several approaches to doing this role.
 
1. Tell a story. If there is a story you know (either real or fictional) that is inspiring and is relevant to Toastmasters, then this would make a good Invocation.

There are many stories you can find on the Internet. Here is one site you may want to visit: Inspirational Words of Wisdom.
 
2. Start with a quote and create an invocation around it.
 
3. Provide a personal story or experience. If there is something you have experienced or seen happen to someone that is inspiring, then this is a potential Invocation. One meeting, a member delivered an invocation where he talked about attending a funeral of another Toastmaster and what he learned from it.
 
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Wit
The role of the Wit is to add humour to the meeting and loosen the members up before we tackle Table Topics. Pick a joke that is funny and clean. We are a business-oriented club after all.
 
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Timer
Many members incorrectly assume it is the Timer who is responsible for whether the meeting ends on time or not. In fact, it is the Chair that makes the ultimate decision. Depending on how long the guest introductions are and the number of speeches we have in the second half, the Chair may decide to let some speeches go beyond their time limits. The Chair will ensure the meeting ends at 8 pm. The job of the timer is to simply time the speeches, and they may be asked by the Chair to bend the rules from time to time.

When introducing the role, you should start being providing a general comment about the importance of time and why we do it in Toastmasters. Then, tell the audience the timing rules. There are two sets of rules - table topics and everything else.

For table topics, speakers can speak for up to 2 minutes. When there is 1 minute left, the green light will go on. When there are 30 seconds left, the yellow light will go on and the speaker should begin to conclude the speech. When their time is up, the red light goes on. If they go 15 seconds over, they will hear 1 buzz. If they go 30 seconds over, they will hear 2 buzzes and then they will be clapped down.

For the other speeches, when there are 2 minutes left in the speech, the green light goes on. When there is 1 minute left, the yellow light goes on and when time is up, the red light goes on. Speakers will be buzzed once if they go 15 seconds over and twice if they go 30 seconds over.

The "other" speeches that you will need to time are prepared speeches and all evaluations. You do not need to time the Wit, Invocation, and Introductions. During the Table Topics session, write down each speaker's name, their topic, and speaking time. You will be asked to present the times after the session.

One important thing to remember is members doing their Ice Breakers will be timed but not buzzed.

When introduction this role, feel free to be creative. Timing is not the most exciting role on the agenda and any imagination you can put into it will be appreciated.
 
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Introductions (Table Topics Master, Toastmaster)
When introducing the Table Topics Master or Toastmaster, your objective is to introduce the speaker to the audience, and the audience to the speaker. Tell the audience why they should be listening to this person. A successful introduction should create excitement within the audience and make the person being introduced feel welcomed. Most introductions will contain general information about the speaker. However, not all of them will build up the person or give them credibility.

When preparing for this role, ask the person 1-2 days before the meeting some general questions (hobbies, interests, job, etc). Next, ask them questions whose answers will be used to build up the person. Some questions you can ask are:
- how long have they been in Toastmasters
- have they achieved any designations (ex. CC, CL)
- have they competed in any contests or won contests
- have they won any club awards (ex. Toastmaster of the Year)
- have they served on the club executive
 
If there is something that the speaker does really well (ex. they have an excellent vocabulary), then include it in your introduction. If you are a new member, you can ask an experienced member to assist you in your introduction. Over time, you will get to know the members better and it gets easier to introduce speakers without having to ask them any questions in advance.

Do not overpraise or upstage the speaker. Remember, they are the star, not you. Also, leave the person's name until the end and lead the applause.
 
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Table Topics Master
As Table Topics Master, you will be leading the club through a 20 minute Table Topics session. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for this role.

As Table Topics Master, do:
- tell us what Table Topics are and why we do them
- inform us how you will choose speakers (will you wait for volunteers or just simply pick speakers?)
- advise the guests they will not be picked but are encouraged to volunteer
- have 6-8 topics or questions
- choose speakers who do not have a speaking role
- have topics that anyone can answer
- lead the applause before and after a speech
- remain standing until the Table Topics speaker has spoken
- know what to do when control is passed between you and the Chair (stand, shake Chair's hand, accept or pass gavel)
 
There are some things to avoid when doing this role. Do not create topics or questions that are related to sex, politics, or religion. Table Topics are challenging enough. We do not want to make it harder by including potentially controversial topics. Do not pick on the Table Topics Evaluator to speak. Also avoid picking on members who will be speaking in the second half unless you have run out of members. Last but not least, if no one volunteers for a topic, just pick a member. Do not wait too long.
 
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Toastmaster
The Toastmaster leads the club through the second half of the meeting when members are delivering their prepared speeches. Like the Table Topics Master, this is a sizable role and adequate preparation is necessary if you are going to handle this role smoothly.

Before the meeting, find out who will be speaking in the second half and what their speech manuals, speech numbers, objectives, and titles are. Get some background information (hobbies/interests, job, education, goals, etc) on each speaker and include it in your speech introduction. Try to do this 1-2 days before the meeting and not 10 minutes before you have to speak.

As Toastmaster:
- briefly describe your role
- explain the manuals (Competent Communication, Advanced manuals)
- inform us each speech will be evaluated
- encourage us to provide written comments after each speech using the forms provided
- introduce each speaker properly (more details below)
- allow for 1 minute of silence between each speech for written comments
- call on each evaluator to evaluate their designated speaker
- lead the applause before and after a speech
- remain standing until the speaker/evaluator has spoken
- know what to do when control is passed between you and the Chair (stand, shake Chair's hand, accept or pass gavel)
 
When introducing the speaker, withhold their name and speech title until the end. Tell us the manual the speaker is working from, along with the speech number and objectives. Provide us some background information on the speaker. When you are ready to introduce the speaker, the correct procedure is to read the speech title followed by the person's name, followed by the name again, and then the speech title again.

For example: "Please help me welcome Three Simple Rules by Doug Griffin, Doug Griffin, Three Simple Rules"

If a speaker is delivering their Ice Breaker, you do not need to provide any background information since that is the whole purpose of the speech.
 
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Evaluation Guidelines
Evaluation is an important part of Toastmasters - for both the person being evaluated and the person doing the evaluation. For the person being evaluated, they will get valuable feedback and learn how to be better next time. For the evaluator, they will learn some valuable skills - how to listen, think critically, and deliver a speech with little preparation.

Below is a list of things to look for when evaluating a speech:
 
Content and Structure
- did speech have a clear structure
- introduction - did it effectively introduce the speech topic; did it create interest
- body - did it accomplish what the speaker had set out to do
- conclusion - did conclusion wrap up the speech properly; did it have impact
- were the transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion smooth
- was the speech appropriate for the speech objectives and audience
- did the speech have a logical flow; was it easy to follow
- did the speech have appropriate examples
- did the speaker personalize the speech
- was humour used effectively
 
Language
- was the language appropriate; did it enhance the speech
- did the speaker use descriptive, picturesque words
- did the speaker use ums, ahs, and filler words (ex. and, so)
- did the speech have run-on sentences
- were pauses used effectively
 
Body Language
- were facial expressions appropriate (smile, frown, neutral expression)
- did the speaker stand in one place or move around; did the speaker stand confidently
- were hand gestures effective
- did the speaker establish eye contact around the room
 
Other
- comment on volume, tone, speed, and vocal variety
- describe the speaker's composure - calm, confident, nervous, tense
- did the speaker engage the audience; did they hold the audience's attention
- was the speaker prepared
- did the speaker deliver the speech within the provided time
- was the speaker dressed appropriately
- if visual aids were used, comment on their use
- did the speaker have credibility or expertise on the subject matter
- describe your personal connection to the speech (did you learn anything, how did you feel after the speech, can you relate to the speaker)
 
When evaluating, always refer to the person being evaluated in the third person rather than the second person. For example, instead of saying "You used good hand gestures and you had good eye contact", say "John used good hand gestures and he had good eye contact". An evaluation is for the whole audience, not just the speaker.
 
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Table Topics Evaluator
The Table Topics Evaluator evaluates the Table Topics speakers. This can be a challenging role because you have to evaluate a number of speakers with little time to prepare. The key to a successful evaluation is not to provide a thorough evaluation of each speaker but to pick out 2 things the speaker did well and 1 point for improvement. Include some examples in your evaluation.

In addition to using the Evaluation Guidelines, look for the following things:
- did the speaker time the speech well
- how well did the speaker answer the question
- did the speaker answer the question right away or did they take their time
- did the speaker support their answer with appropriate arguments, opinions, and/or examples
- comment on the speaker's knowledge of the subject matter
- use the Sandwich technique described below to structure your evaluation
 
It is not the Table Topics Evaluator's job to evaluate the Table Topics Master. The General Evaluator will take care of that. At the end of your evaluation, you will present the Funniest Table Topic and Best Table Topic awards to the appropriate speakers.
 
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Speech Evaluator
The Speech Evaluator has the important role of evaluating a prepared speech. There are several evaluation techniques used, but the most common is the Sandwich approach.

With this technique, you will:
 
Begin with encouragement
- always begin your evaluation with encouraging words for the speaker
- if the speaker accomplished the speech's objectives, point that out
- using the Evaluation Guidelines, point out 2-3 things the speaker did well
 
Provide points for improvement
- comment on what the speaker could have done to make the speech more effective
- take into account the speaker's experience level
 
End on a positive note
- conclude by returning to the speaker's strengths
- save your most positive comments for last
 
Here are some additional resources you can use to help you prepare for an evaluation:

Evaluate To Motivate
Evaluation Frames
Speech Evaluation Tips
 
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Grammarian
The Grammarian provides the Word of the Day at the start of the meeting and encourages members to use that word. This word should be one that we do not use on a regular basis and be positive in nature. Make sure you put up the word, its definition, and an example of how to use it for everyone to see.

In addition, you will carefully listen to the language being used by everyone during the meeting and provide an evaluation at the end of the meeting.

The evaluation will include some or all of the following:
- examples of descriptive and picturesque phrases
- incorrect grammatical uses
- suggestions for improvement in language uses
- recognition of speakers who use the Word of the Day
 
The Language Evaluation Checklist is also a good guide to performing this role.

You can view previous Burrard Toastmasters Words of the Day here.
 
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Ah-Counter
The purpose of Ah-Counter is to note words and sounds used as "crutch" and "pause filler" such as ah, um, er, and, but, well, so, you know. You will signal speakers when pause fillers are used and report on the use of these words and sounds.
- prior to meeting, prepare a brief explanation of the duties of the Ah-Counter for the benefit of guests and members
- upon arrival at the meeting, get a pen, ah-counter form, and red card from resource bin
- during the meeting, use red card to signal speakers when they use "pause fillers" such as ah, um, er. We do not use red card to note "crutch" words such as and, but, well, so, you know. Note use of all "pause fillers" and "crutch" words in the ah-counter form.
- report on use of both "pause fillers" and "crutch" words
 
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General Evaluator
The General Evaluator is one of the most demanding, and one of the most rewarding roles, a speaker can undertake. You have eight minutes, in which to cram a lot of observations. Since you are the last speaker, after an extended session, you will give both members and guests a lift if you are somewhat light-hearted in your observations.

Certain roles receive feedback only from the General Evaluator, so it is helpful to touch on them first:

Timer
Invocation
Wit
Table Topics Evaluator

Toastmaster
Speech Evaluators
Grammarian (actually the Language Evaluator)

You are invited to make a choice and award a ribbon for the Best Evaluator of that evening.

The General Evaluator comments on the overall conduct of the meeting, with a view to how we can improve what our members and guests experience. A key question to bear in mind might be "what am I experiencing, and how could it be improved?" In this guise, you may comment on the Greeter, the Sergeant-At-Arms, the Introductions, the Ah Counter, and the President.

This document contains some suggestions for "service standards" in each role. You probably won't have time to cover them all, so just pick one item for each role. For each role, you may find it helpful to take the following notes:

What was good about the speaker?
Could the speaker improve ONE aspect of their performance?
What else was good about the speaker? Or,
What was interesting about the speaker? Did something strike you as funny?


Most of all, enjoy the role! We are all here to improve. Being able to cover a lot of people, and to give each of them encouragement, is a skill that refines with practice. Plan to touch on everyone lightly, instead of being rigorously thorough. As you gain skill, you will be able to suggest more improvements in the future.
 
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