Meeting Roles at Best of Dallas Toastmasters
While most Toastmasters clubs have similar roles, each club does things a little bit differently. Here are the various roles that members take on at Best of Dallas.
The Toastmaster chooses the theme of the meeting, ensures that all roles are filled, sets the agenda, and keeps the meeting moving smoothly in the face of any setbacks. It is a challenging and rewarding leadership role.
The Presiding Officer (usually the club President, but occasionally another officer if the President is unavailable or filling another major role at the meeting) runs the business portion of the meeting, ensures that important announcements are made, and welcomes all guests.
Inspiration and Pledge
This person gives a brief inspirational message at the beginning of the meeting and leads the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Ah Counter makes note of crutch words used by members during the meeting, such as “ah,” “um,” and “you know.” Since we often fail to notice when we use these words, the Ah Counter rings a bell to alert us. This isn’t a punishment, it’s to draw our attention to our own speech patterns. As we say at Best of Dallas, “We ding with love.” Guests and visitors are exempt from ah counting.
The Timer/Vote Counter has two major roles. The first is to time speakers during Table Topics, prepared speeches, and evaluations. This helps us practice working within a given time frame, and also enables us to respect the time of our members and visitors by staying within our meeting period. The second role is to count the votes for Best Table Topics, Best Speaker, Best Evaluator, and Toastmaster of the Evening, and present the ribbons at the end of the meeting.
The role of the Grammarian is to make note of incorrect uses of grammar and pronunciation, and also of particularly powerful words or phrases used during the meeting. The Grammarian also chooses the Word of the Day and checks to make sure that it is used by members during Table Topics.
Table Topics Master
The Table Topics Master (sometimes called Topicsmaster) develops the questions used for Table Topics. She or he also keeps track of which members have large roles during the meetings, and first calls on members without other roles.
Speakers do what you might expect: give speeches! Each speaker prepares their speech in advance, and consults with their evaluator about the learning objectives for their speech.
Evaluators consult with their assigned speakers to ensure that they understand the learning objectives for the speech they are evaluating. They then provide both a written and verbal evaluation, highlighting accomplishments as well as offering suggestions for improvement.
The General Evaluator evaluates the quality of the meeting as a whole. Was it on time? Was it well-organized? Did it engage both members and guests? What could be improved for future meetings?
Despite the name, the Sergeant-at-Arms does not carry weapons–unless you consider the pen to be mightier than the sword. She or he arrives early to set up the room with ballots, pens, and other equipment necessary for the meeting, and stays late to clear things away. During the meeting, the Sergeant-at-Arms also collects comments and ballots, and moves the lectern and other props as requested by members who are speaking. Our Sergeant-at-Arms also opens the meeting at exactly 6:30 pm, not an easy feat with such a sociable group!