Meeting Roles - a handy guide

Every speaker is a role model, and club members learn from one another’s speeches. Before the meeting: Prepare and rehearse the next assignment on your Pathways journey. The assignments have been developed to allow you to learn something new each time and then use your skills in successive assignments. Be in touch with your Mentor and your rostered Evaluator before the meeting. Discuss your assignment and goals, your strengths and weaknesses, and anything additional you would like covered in your evaluation. Confirm with your Toastmaster for the evening that you will be there. Otherwise, find someone else to take your role – for example, swap with another member who is rostered in the same role for the following meeting. Arrive early so you can relax(!) beforehand and not appear flustered or rushed. Print the assignment Evaluation Form from Pathways online and pass to your evaluator so they can complete their assignment. Discuss your objectives with your Evaluator, too. After your assignment, scan your completed Evaluation form and email to the Vice President Education.
Evaluation is the heart of the Toastmasters educational programme. You observe the speeches and leadership roles of your fellow club members and offer evaluations of their efforts. They do same for you. Evaluating others helps you learn, too. It improves your listening, critical thinking and feedback skills.
Before the meeting: Check with your Speaker. Review their assignment together. Ask what they want to achieve, and if there’s anything else in particular they want you to look out for.
During the meeting: Introduce the speaker and their assignment. The speaker may also wish to have you say something which helps set the scene, add to their credibility, or provide a context. Listen intently to the speech, so you can give feedback to the speaker in both verbal and written form.
Use this checklist:
Do not give a review of the speech (the audience has just heard it!)
Do not give a critique of the speech – give the speaker feedback of what you saw and heard
Do not give criticism – give positive support
Do not pass judgment on the speech or its content. Your role is to reflect back to the speaker how they came across to the audience
Do make your feedback relevant to the speaker’s objectives (their Pathways assignment)
Do start by reinforcing the strengths the speaker demonstrated, and recommend they continue building on those strengths
Do offer 2-3 points of recommendation of how the speaker could have better achieved the result they wanted, if applicable
Do help the speaker, by role-playing an example of the point you are making
Do structure your evaluation on a Commend-Recommend-Commend format. The speaker will learn what they did well, and what to work on next. Meet with the speaker afterwards to commend them again, and go through your written evaluation together.
When rostered for this duty, your role is to “host” the meeting and conduct the entire programme, including introducing each participant in her or his role. You should create an atmosphere of expectation and excitement, and make each person you introduce feel welcome and relaxed.
Before the meeting:
Review the agenda online at the club website and print and bring enough copies for everyone at the meeting, plus a few spares.
Check with the Vice President Education to see if there is any special theme or changes. It’s great to introduce your own theme, and you may adjust the timetable was you wish, but remember not to waste unnecessary time that takes away from other members’ speaking opportunities.
Contact all speakers, evaluators and members with other roles to ensure they will be present. If not, remind them it is their responsibility to fill the role (by swapping with another member). Check with the General Evaluator that they have their Speech Evaluators lined up and ready. Think ahead about what you’ll be saying to introduce each of the other participants in the meeting.
At the meeting:
Arrive early to finish any last-minute details.
Check with speakers and other assigned roles for any last minute changes.
Be ready to take control of the meeting, once you’re introduced.
Preside with warmth, sincerity, energy and decisiveness.
Take the club through an enjoyable journey and ensure members feel all is going well and is under control.
Always lead the applause after announcing the name of the next speaker and inviting them to the lectern. Remain at the lectern, welcome them, and then step back to let them shine!
On completion, lead the applause, thank them briefly and bridge to your next introduction.
FOBFO-ist (Table Topics Master)
Your aim is to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question or topic. We call it this session “FOBFO – Fear Of Being Found Out” to remind ourselves of the challenge of speaking to a topic without much notice, or about which you may not know a lot. It’s just like real life!
Before the meeting: Prepare a list of topics you want the members to speak to. It could be a cohesive set, or completely unrelated and random topics. It could follow the theme of the night if one has been set. is Your role is not to “stump” the speaker, but rather to encourage them to gain confidence in speaking off-the-cuff by successfully answering your topic.
Be sure to have enough topics to allow for an extended session, should there be any programme changes allowing you more time. Give topics to club members who have no other role on the night. Guests should be invited to speak only if all club members have spoken, and only after checking first if they want to speak.
At the meeting: Check the final programme to see who is speaking and who will be available for your session.
Introduce the objectives of your session and explain the timing lights and timing (1 or 2 minutes, depending on programme time and available speakers). Announce the topic, invite a member by name to come forward and address it. Lead the applause, welcome the speaker with a smile and a handshake, and step to the side to allow them to take centre stage. When they have finished, lead the applause, and allow them to return to their seat. Sometimes a brief word of commendation or support may be appropriate, but remember, you are not their evaluator.
FOBFO Participant
Always a fun part of the programme – never to be taken too seriously! FOBFO is an exercise in learning to think on our feet, which is helpful in everyday life.
When you respond to your Table Topic, take a deep breath, pause and dive in. If you’re stuck, repeat the topic. This will help get the cogs moving in your mind! If all else fails, simply change the topic and start speaking. Keep an eye on the timing lights. Finish on time, return to your seat, and enjoy the applause you have earned.
FOBFO Evaluator
Give brief, helpful feedback on the participants. Take about 30 seconds per speaker.
Using the P.R.E. format is very effective: one Point, (a commendation or a recommendation); the Reason why this was, or would have been, effective; and an Example to demonstrate what you mean.
Sergeant At Arms
Ensures the physical side of the meeting runs smoothly. If you’re doing the role in an Executive’s Sergeant At Arms’ absence, arrive early, set up chairs, lectern, banner, lights, name badges and other meeting materials including tea, coffee, milk and biscuits.
Check with Club President and Toastmaster for any special requirements.
Meet and greet guests. Make them feel welcome. Invite guests to check-in with their phone and email details. Write a name sticker for them, and introduce them to other members.
At 7.00pm call the meeting to order, welcome everyone and introduce the President.
The Grammarian plays an important role in helping all club members improve their use of the English language, grammar and vocabulary.
Before the meeting: Prepare a Word Of The Day, to help members increase their vocabulary. Bring a display of the word that everyone can see.
During the meeting: Announce the Word, give a brief definition and an example of how it should be used. While others are speaking, note great language use, grammatical errors, incomplete sentences, mispronunciations, etc.
In your report: Highlight use of the Word, effective language used, word pictures created, and briefly mention any errors. Plus, if time allows, give a brief overview of Umms, Ahhs, And So’s, and other fillers that may have hindered or distracted from clear, effective communication.
Time Keeper
Responsible for monitoring the time of meeting segments and helping speakers stay on track with the timing lights. Make a note of timings, and give a very brief overview of timing when invited to by the Toastmaster. This is a speaking opportunity. Be creative!
Tip: Come early, set up and familiarize yourself with the lights and timing device before the meeting commences. Check with the meeting’s Toastmaster and Speakers about their time requirements.
General Evaluator
Near the end of the meeting, the General Evaluator gives feedback on everyone not already evaluated – for example, Sergeant At Arms, Toastmaster, Grammarian, Speech Evaluators, Table Topics Master, Table Topic Evaluator and Time Keeper.
Was the meeting opened well? Was the Toastmaster warm and welcoming, did he/she introduce speakers well. Did they keep the meeting moving along? Was the Grammarian helpful? Did the Speech Evaluators give points of Commendation and some Recommendations, (with examples). Did the FOBFO-ist make it easy? Were the FOBFO Evaluations useful to the speakers?
As a new member you will find a more experienced member willing to mentor you. Your mentor will help you find your feet with the first few speeches, and doing the various club roles. In due course, it will be natural for you to mentor a newer member.

We look forward to welcoming you