Each meeting follows an agenda that follow a typical format, with oppportunities for members to speak, perform, and be evaluated. Mentoring and specific roles play a part and allows for improvement.
While all members are called Toastmasters, the Toastmaster for the evening is nominated for each meeting. The Toastmaster is effectively the
MC for the evening and is playing the role of a great host.
The Vice President of Education organises the Agenda for the evening and liaises with the Toastmaster about this. On the night the Toastmaster needs to check for any last minute changes to the agenda and then communicate this at the meeting. They introduce and thank each speaker as they come to or leave the stage. The toastmaster Toastmaster is also focused on the meeting running on time.
When new members feel ready to take on this role they are invited to do so but this is not usually until after they have completed several speeches and their confidence has grown.
This part of the meeting is aimed at learning how to “think on your feet”.
The Table Topics Master (see below) has a series of scenarios or questions which he/ she puts to the other members in the audience. The Topics Master will then select a member at random to stand up and respond to the question for a period of about 1-1½ minutes.
Guests are invited to participate if they would like to, however the Topics Master will give the option to anyone present to not participate/pass if they wish to.
Project (or Prepared) Speech
On joining Toastmasters, new members receive one of the 11 specialised training Paths of their choice. Each Path consists of
5 Levels of increasing complexity.
Each Level consists of projects which all have a speech component. These are called Project or Prepared speeches. Projects and speeches vary depending on the chosen Path. All the learning materials and resources are available on line. Printed manuals are available.
The first Level 1 project speech for all paths is called “The Icebreaker” and simply calls for the new member to speak about a familiar subject – themselves. The speech serves as the member’s introduction to speaking in front of an audience and their introduction to club members.
The role of the speech evaluator is to give constructive feedback to the member giving the speech so that the member can improve their communication techniques.
The speech evaluation follows a standard three part format. The speech evaluator commends the speaker on those aspects of presentation which he or she felt were done well by the speaker. Next, the evaluator makes constructive suggestions for improvement ie recommendations. Finally, he or she will give a conclusion which summarise the main points and finishes the evaluation on a strong, encouraging note.
In this role a Toastmaster aims to give an evaluation of the meeting as a whole. He or she will note whether the meeting started on time and if enough preparation had been made beforehand. What was the feeling of the meeting -was it warm and friendly?
The general evaluator will give a constructive assessment of those roles not already evaluated ie the Toastmaster of the day, the Table Topics Master and Table Topics Evaluator, and the Speech Evaluators. He or she will ask for a brief report from the Grammarian and the Timekeeper during the general evaluation session.
Normally this assignment is given to a member who has completed a number of project speeches and has done a number of speech evaluations. Sometimes this assignment is carried out by a guest from another Toastmasters club.
In this important role the objective is to give feedback on time taken for speaking assignments, and to work in conjunction with the Toastmaster of the day to keep the meeting running on time.
This assignment is a good start for a new member.
Grammarian/ Um Er Counter
This assignment can also be done by a new member. It involves introducing a word for the day and giving the dictionary meaning (or meanings of the word). The grammarian notes the number of times the word is used by those at the meeting and also notes good and weaker usage of words and grammar.
The Grammarian may also take on the role of the Um/Er counter who keeps note of the “ums” “errs” and other speech irregularities and noises uttered by the members! The Um/Er counter’s job can also be done separately from the Grammarian’s job. The purpose of counting these and providing feedback is to help the member reduce or hopefully eliminate these bad speaking habits, so that they can improve their vocal delivery.
The purpose of this role is to test the listening skills of the members.
During the general evaluation session the harkmaster asks the members present a number of questions based upon what was said during the meeting. This tests their ability to listen actively to the speeches and other assignments done during the meeting.
This role can also be carried out by new members.
Sergeant At Arms
This member calls the other members to order at the start of the meeting and also after the break (if the club has a break during the meeting). He or she sets up the room prior to the meeting and greets members and their guests as they arrive.
The Sergeant at Arms (SAA) also arranges for food and drinks at club meetings and meals at speech contests.
Following is a typical Banyandah Toastmasters agenda:
Sergeant at Arms
Project Speech 1
Project Speech 2
Project Speech 3
Evaluate Speech 1
Evaluate Speech 2
Evaluate Speech 3
Table Topics Evaluation (odd numbers)
Table Topics Evaluation (even numbers)
Club Business and Close