Toastmaster meetings typically take the following Structure:
- President Opens Meeting and passes control to Toastmaster for the Evening
- Table Topics Session 1
- Prepared Speeches
- Quick Tea/Coffee Break
- Table Topics Session 2
- Evaluations Session
- Meeting Close
For more information on the typical Structure of a Club meeting why not have a look at the Meetings Schedule where you can access agendas for some of the meetings that have taken place already this year.
The Toastmaster acts as the host each evening. The Toastmaster opens and closes the meeting, controls the flow of the meeting and passes control to the appropriate person accordingly. The Toastmaster also introduces all the speech participants. The Toastmaster is responsible for setting the atmosphere of the meeting and should make members and guests feel welcome.
TABLE TOPICS MASTER
The Topicsmaster allows members who have not been assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting. The Topicsmaster prepares a range of varying topics which are then assigned to members. Members talk for up to 2 minutes on a particular topic before the Topicsmaster will allow other members or guests to ‘Add-On’ by speaking/adding to the topic for up to 1 minute. The Topics session in a meeting helps members develop the ability to quickly organise and express their thoughts in an impromptu setting.
The General Evaluator evaluates everything that takes place during a meeting. As with all evaluations in Toastmasters, the General Evaluator will typically be positive in their evaluation of the running of the meeting and the duties performed by members. They can also make recommendations on any possible improvements in the structure or running of the meeting. The observations and suggestions help ensure the club is meeting the goals and needs of each member, as well as giving the General Evaluator themselves an opportunity to practice and improve skills in critical thinking, planning, preparation and organization, time management, motivation and team building!
An important part of each meeting is when approximately 3 members get the opportunity to deliver a short speech, typically between 5-7 minutes, that they have prepared in advance to the meeting. Their speeches are prepared in conjunction with their Toastmasters manual which guides them in the process of preparing each speech with a specific learning goal in mind. Preparation is the key to success.
Each prepared speech is evaluated later in the meeting. The job of the Evaluator is to provide feedback to the Speaker on their speech that evening. All speech Evaluations must be given in a Positive manner, using encouragement and praise, where the Evaluator highlights the positive parts of a Speakers speech. An Evaluator will typically offer suggestions in one or 2 areas where the Speaker can improve on their speech preparation or delivery. People join Toastmasters to improve their speaking and leadership skills, and these skills are improved with the help of evaluations.
One of the skills Toastmasters practice is expressing a thought within a specific time. The Timer is responsible for timing elements of the meeting such as speeches, topics and evaluations. The timer employs a traffic-light system of lights which give a visual indication to the speaker of how long they have been speaking. Serving as timer is an excellent opportunity to practice giving instructions and time management.
The Guest Greeter warmly welcomes each member and guest at the entrance to the room. This interaction immediately makes members and particularly guests feel welcome at a meeting. It can help remove any apprehension a guest may have in attending for the first time.
SERGEANT AT ARMS
The Sergeant At Arms is the person who helps organise and prepare the venue for the meeting. The Sergeant At Arms helps ensure that the meeting runs smoothly and amongst other things will prompt the venue staff on when tea/coffee should be readied for the meeting break.
The President of the club is tasked with planning, organising and managing the Toastmaster meetings that take place in any particular year. The President typically opens each meeting, making any relevant announcements before passing on control to the Toastmaster for the evening. The President also motivates members and as the representative of the club at district and international level the President provides leadership for the club whenever required.