Monday, July 12, 2010

Roles at a Club Meeting

1. Toastmasters of the Evening
As Toastmaster of the Evening you face the task of introducing the other members of the program. If the Toastmaster does not perform his duties well, an entire meeting can end in failure. Therefore this task is not usually assigned to a member until he or she is quite familiar with the club and its procedures. The primary duty of the Toastmaster is to act as a genial host and conduct the entire program. Program participants should be introduced in such a manner as to prepare the audience to listen with excitement and attention. It is the Toastmaster who creates an atmosphere of interest, expectation and receptivity.

Before The Meeting
Call all role players beginning about a week before the meeting to remind them of their duties. Discuss these duties if necessary. Ask the General Evaluator to call the other members of the Evaluation Team (Speech Evaluators, TableTopics Evaluator, Time Keeper, Ah Counter, Language Evaluator).

Work with the Vice President Education to arrange substitute speakers if any assigned speaker cannot make it. Do this before the meeting.

Interview all speakers in advance to find out their speech title, manual project number, purpose to be achieved, time allowed, and something interesting about themselves, which you can use when introducing them.

Prepare introductions for each speaker. Refer to "How to introduce a Speaker" in the C & L manual.

Schedule the program so it does not run overtime. The meeting should start punctually at 7.30 pm and end punctually 10.00 pm. The business session follows after that.

Prepare remarks, which can be used to bridge the gaps between program segments. You may never use them but you should be prepared to avoid possibly awkward periods of silence.

At the Meeting
  • Arrive early in order to finish any last-minute details.
  • Check with the speakers for any last-minute changes.
  • Sit near the head of the table and have your speakers do likewise for quick and easy access to the rostrum.

During the Meeting
  • Thank the President and accept the gavel when you are presented as a Toastmaster.
  • Introduce the evening. Briefly explain Toastmasters, its purpose and history.
  • Call on the Table Topics Master to conduct the Table Topics session. At the end of the session, ask the audience to fill in their voting slips for the Best Table Topics Speaker.
  • Invite the Table Topics Evaluator to give his evaluation of the Speakers.
  • Call on the Humour Master to conduct the Humour session
  • Call for a 15-minute refreshment break at 8.30 pm.
  • Announce each speech title and speaker. Identify which C & L project the speaker is presenting and briefly describe the purpose of that project. Alternatively you may ask the General Evaluator to read the objectives of the speech, and the note to the Speech Evaluator.
  • Introduce each speaker in turn.
  • After all the speakers have spoken, call on members to fill in their voting slips for the Best Assignment Speaker. Speakers presenting assignments from the Advanced C&L manual should not be eligible for the Best Assignment Speaker award. If there are two or less speakers presenting their assignments from the basic C&L manual, there should be no vote for the Best Assignment Speaker.
  • Introduce the General Evaluator. He/She will then introduce the other members of the Evaluation Team.
  • After the General Evaluator finishes his/her session, return to the lectern, announce the Best Table Topics Speaker, the Best Assignment Speaker and the Best Speech Evaluator, then ask the Club president or any dignitary present to award the prizes.
  • Return control of the meeting to the President.

2. Table Topics Master
The purpose of the Table Topics Session is to have members and guests "think on their feet" by speaking for 2 minutes on one topic, without preparation. Each speaker may be given an individual subject or a number of speakers (preferably not more than 2) may speak on one subject.

The Table Topics Master leads this session of the club meeting, usually for 30 minutes before the refreshment break. Handled rightly, this can be the liveliest and most enjoyable part of the evening. Refer to "How to lead as Topicmaster" in the C & L manual.
This session should attempt to involve all those unscheduled to participate in other parts of the program.

Before the meeting
  • Check with the Toastmaster to find out if a theme meeting is scheduled. If so, prepare topics to carry out that theme. Otherwise, choose a wide selection of topics. Review "The Toastmaster" and other publications for ideas.
  • Find out who the prepared speakers, evaluators, General Evaluator and Toastmaster are so you can call on the other members first. Only if time permits at the end of the Topics session, should you call on program participants (speakers last).
  • When choosing your specific questions, select ones that will inspire the speakers to expound on them, or give their opinions. Don't make the questions too long or complicated - phrase them in such a way that the speaker will know clearly what you want them to talk about.
  • Keep your comments short. Your job is to give others a chance to speak, not to give a series of mini-talks yourself.

At the meeting
  • When introduced, briefly state the purpose of the Table Topics session and set the stage for the session.
  • Keep the program rolling; be certain everyone understands the maximum time they have for their response and how the timing lights/device works (if the Timekeeper hasn't already done so).
  • State the topic or question briefly - then call on a speaker.
  • Watch your total time! Check the printed agenda for the total time allotted to Topics and adjust the number of questions to end your segment on time (i.e. 8.20 pm). Even if your portion started late, try to end on time to avoid the total meeting running overtime.
  • At the conclusion of the Table Topics session, ask members to vote for the Best Table Topics Speaker and to pass their votes to the Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms.

3. Table Topics Evaluator
When introduced, briefly describe your role, which is to evaluate the table topic speakers. Do not evaluate the Table Topic Master or the topics, nor summarise the content of the impromptu speech.

Give brief evaluations on the speaking abilities shown by the speakers; since you are given 4 minutes, you may not be able to evaluate all speakers. This evaluation should focus on club members rather than guests.

4. General Evaluator
The General Evaluator evaluates anything and everything that takes place throughout the meeting. The responsibility is large, but so are the rewards. The General Evaluator is responsible to the Toastmaster who will introduce you. At the conclusion of the evaluation segment of the meeting, you will return control to him or her. You are responsible for the Evaluation team. The usual procedure is to have one evaluator for each major speaker, but this is not necessary. You are free to set up any procedure you wish, but each evaluation should be brief, yet complete. Methods for conducting the evaluation sessions are limitless. Review the Effective Speech Evaluation manual for ideas.

Before the meeting
Check with the Toastmaster of the Evening to find out how the program will be conducted and if there are any planned deviations from the usual meeting format. Remember; always be ready when the meeting starts.

Call on all the evaluators to brief them on their job and to inform them whom they're evaluating and what evaluation format you will be using. Suggest each evaluator call his or her speaker to talk over any special evaluation requirements suggested in the manual for the speech.

During the briefing, emphasize that evaluation is a positive, helping act. As conscientious Toastmasters, their goals must be to help fellow Toastmasters to develop their skills. Emphasize that in the act of evaluating, the self-esteem of the speaker should be enhanced or at least preserved.

Call on remaining members of the Evaluation Team (Timekeeper, Language Evaluator, Ah Counter, Table Topics Evaluator, as appropriate) to remind them of their assignments.

Prepare a brief but thorough talk on the purpose, techniques and benefits of evaluation for the benefit of the guests. Emphasize that as evaluators, you are not critics. Criticism is negative; evaluation is a positive experience designed to help people overcome weak habits and add power to good ones.

At the meeting
  • Ensure the individual evaluators have the speaker's manual, and understand the project objectives and how to evaluate it.
  • Greet all evaluators who are present. If an evaluator is not present, consult with the Vice-President Education and arrange for a substitute.
  • Verify each speaker's time and notify the Time Keeper.
  • Sit near the back of the room to allow yourself full view of the meeting and its participants.

During the meeting
Take notes on everything that happens (or doesn't but should). For example: Is the club's property (trophies, banner, educational material etc) properly displayed? If not, why? Were there unnecessary distractions that could have been avoided? Create a checklist from which you can follow the meeting. Did the meeting and each segment of it begin and end on time?

Cover each participant on the program - from the opening comments to the last report by the Timer. Look for good and unacceptable examples of preparation, organization, delivery, enthusiasm, observation and general performance of duties. Remember, you are not to re-evaluate the speakers, though you may wish to add something that the Evaluator may have missed.

Prior to the Table Topics, you may be asked to stand and brief the audience on your team's means and methods of evaluation. Precisely describe what way, and how your team will handle the function.

Identify the Table Topics Evaluator, Language Evaluator, Ah Counter and Time Keeper. Have these Evaluation team members briefly state the purpose of their jobs.

When introduced to conduct the evaluation phase of the meeting, go to the lectern and introduce each evaluator. After each evaluation, thank the evaluator for his or her efforts.

Wrap up by giving your general evaluation of the meeting, using the notes you took as suggested above. You may wish to comment on the quality of evaluations. Were they positive and helpful? Did they point the way to improvement?

5. Time Keeper
One of the skills practiced in Toastmasters is that of expressing a thought within a specific time limit. The Time Keeper is the member responsible for keeping track of time.

Before the meeting
  • Obtain a copy of the timing sheet.
  • Confirm the time required for each part of the meeting.
  • Write out your explanation of the timing rules in the clearest possible language and rehearse it.

At the meeting
  • Get timing equipment from the Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms (ASA). Be sure you understand how to operate the stopwatch and signal device.
  • Sit where the signal can easily be seen by all (back left of the meeting room).
  • During the meeting
  • When introduced, explain the timing rules and demonstrate the signal device.
  • Throughout the meeting, signal each program participant.
  • Record each participant's name and time taken.
  • When called to report by the General Evaluator, stand by your chair, announce the speaker's name and time used.

After the meeting
  • Return the stopwatch and timing signal device to the Sergeant-at-Arms.

6. Language Evaluator
Language evaluation in Toastmasters is viewed by some as a necessary evil. It can be a boring run-of-the-mill presentation or an incisive spicy analysis.
The Language Evaluator is the language conscience of the meeting. He has 4 minutes for his report. His role is to point out good and bad use of language, especially word usage, grammar and pronunciation. This evaluation should focus on club members rather than guests.

At the meeting
Listen carefully and take notes on
  1. Misuse of words
  2. Incorrect pronunciation
  3. Clich├ęs (overused phrases/words)
  4. Poor sentence construction
  5. Excellent use of language

Organise your language evaluation. Try new, imaginative approaches. If there is enough to say on one area of language, you could well focus on that area and develop in into a speech on pronunciation, word usage, or anything else.

Give illustrations. A few comments well developed and illustrated are better than many general comments that nobody remembers.

Consult a dictionary and a simple grammar book as final authority in doubtful cases of pronunciation or usage.

7. Ah Counter
The purpose of the Ah Counter is to note words and sounds used as "pause fillers" by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections such as "and, well, but, so, you know". Sounds or vocalised pauses may be "ah, um, er".

During the meeting
  • Listen to members (not guests) for such inappropriate words or sounds.
  • Write down how many each member uses during the meeting.
  • When called on by the General Evaluator, stand by your chair and give your report.

8. Humour Master
Meetings at times can become dull and over serious. The Humour Master is asked to share one or two jokes.

Before the meeting
  • Prepare more jokes than you intend to use. Sometimes a speech or comment before your joke may indicate which joke you should tell.
  • Practice each joke as you would a speech, and try to tell it without notes.
  • Avoid "blue" jokes or jokes aimed at race, religion or politics. Someone is bound to be offended.

At the meeting
  • Check with the Toastmaster of the Evening when you are to tell your jokes. He may decide to play it by ear, and call on you when the mood is appropriate.

9. Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms
The 2 Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms are jointly responsible for the physical arrangements at a Toastmasters meeting. Without him/her there would be chaos.

Before the meeting
  • Check with the club's Sergeant-at-Arms how you are to get all the necessary equipment in good time for you to fulfil your responsibilities.
  • Check with the Sergeant-at-Arms if the regular meeting fee (door fee) per head is to be collected.

At the meeting
  • Arrive by 7.00 pm.
  • Place the lectern at the head of the room. Place the gavel and speech prizes on the lectern and hang the club banner around the rostrum.
  • Place the tape recorder near the lectern. Rewind the Negara-ku tape so that it is ready to be played. Put someone in charge of starting the tape at the right time.
  • Place the plaques of the role players, papers, pencils and voting slips on the meeting tables.
  • Arrange members' badges, pamphlets, guests' and members' books at the reception table outside the meeting room.
  • ASA1 greet guests and members as they come. Get them to sign the attendance books and pay the meeting fee (door fee). Some members may have prepaid their meeting dues. They are listed on a separate sheet.
  • At 7.28 pm, ASA2 take the rostrum, ask everyone to be seated and announce that the meeting will commence in 2 minutes time.

During the meeting (ASA2)
  • At 7.30 pm sharp, welcome everyone to the club, introduce yourself and your role, and invite everyone to rise for the national anthem.
  • Have the national anthem played. After that ask everyone to be seated.
  • Invite guests to stand up and introduce themselves by telling everyone:
    a. their name
    b. their host
    c. their occupation
    d. any other information they want to share.
  • Lead the applause after each guest introduction.
  • After all the introductions, thank the guests and hand control of the meeting to the Club President.
  • Lead the applause and hand the gavel to the President.
  • After the Table Topics and Prepared Speeches sessions, collect the voting slips, and tabulate them.
  • Present the results to the Toastmaster of the Evening.

After the meeting (ASA1)
  • Hand over the evening's collection to the Treasurer.
  • Collect all club property and store in the appropriate place.

10. Assignment Speaker
A major portion of each meeting is centred on three or more speakers. Their speeches are prepared, based on manual project objectives, and should last from five to seven minutes for the basic C&L manual and eight or more minutes depending on the assignment, for the advanced C&L manuals. Preparation is essential to success when you are the speaker.

Before the meeting
  • Check the meeting schedule to find out when you are scheduled to speak. In order to derive the most benefits from the program, plan to speak from your manual.
  • Before your meeting ask the General Evaluator who will be your evaluator. Speak to your evaluator and share with him which manual speech you'll be giving. Discuss with the evaluator speech goals and personal concern. Emphasize where you feel your speech ability needs strengthening. Remember to bring your manual to the meeting.

At the meeting
  • Arrive early. Check the microphone, lighting, etc. before everyone arrives. Protect yourself from all of the problems that can ruin your talk.
  • Sit near the head of the table for quick and easy access to the lectern.
  • Carefully plan your approach to the lectern and speech opening.
  • Be sure that you give your manual to your evaluator before the meeting starts.
  • If you do not write your own speech introduction, make certain that the Toastmaster of the Evening is prepared to do so.

During the meeting
  • Give your full attention to the speakers at the lectern. Try to avoid studying your speech notes while someone else is talking.
  • When introduced, smoothly leave your chair and move to the lectern as planned.
  • As you begin your speech, always acknowledge the Toastmaster and the audience (Mr./Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, and guests).
  • Plan your speech closing as carefully as your opening. It is the finishing touch that will bring on the applause. Never thank your audience, but return control of the meeting to the Toastmaster of the Evening. Always wait for him or her at the lectern then return to your seat.
  • During the evaluation of your speech, listen intently for helpful hints that will assist in building better future talks. Pay attention to the advice of other members on improvement.

After the meeting
  • Get your manual from your evaluator. At this time discuss any questions you may have concerning your evaluation to clarify any misinterpretations.
  • Have the Vice-President Education initial the Record of Assignment in the back of your manual.

11. Speech Evaluator
After every speech, an evaluation is made. After you have presented a few speeches you will be asked to serve as an evaluator and will evaluate one of the prepared speakers for the meeting. In addition to your oral evaluation, you will also give the speaker a written evaluation from the manual. The evaluation presented by you can make the difference between a worthwhile and a wasted meeting for your speaker. The purpose of the evaluation is to help the speaker become less self-conscious. This requires that you become fully aware of the speaker's skill level, habits and mannerisms as well as his or her progress to date. If there is a technique the speaker uses or some gesture made that receives a good response from the audience, tell the speaker so he will be encouraged to use it again.

Before the meeting
  • Review carefully the Effective Speech Evaluation manual, which you will receive in your new member packet from World Headquarters.
  • Communicate with the speaker to find out the manual project he will be presenting. Find out the goals of the speech and what the speaker hopes to achieve. Find out exactly which skills or techniques the speaker hopes to strengthen through the exercise.
  • Evaluation requires exacting preparation if it is to be of value to the speaker. Study the objectives of the project as well as the evaluation guide in the manual. By actively listening and gently offering useful advice, you motivate members to work hard and improve. When you show the way to improvement, you have opened the door to strengthening their ability.

At the meeting
  • Look for the speaker and get his or her manual.
  • Meet briefly with the General Evaluator to confirm the evaluation session format. Then confer with the speaker one last time to see if he or she has any specific things for you to watch for during the talk.

During the meeting
Record your impressions of the speech in the manual along with your answers to the evaluation questions. Be as objective as possible. Remember that good evaluations may give new life to discouraged members and poor evaluations may dishearten members who tried their best. Remember always leave the speaker with specific methods for improving his or her speaking.

When introduced, stand and give your oral evaluation report. Begin and end your evaluation with a note of encouragement or praise. Though you may have written lengthy responses to manual evaluation questions, don't read the questions or your responses. Your oral evaluation time is limited to 3 minutes. Don't try to cover too much in your talk - possibly one point on organization, one on delivery, and one on attainment of purpose with a statement about the greatest asset and a suggestion for future improvement.

Praise a successful speech and specifically tell why it was successful. Don't allow the speaker to remain unaware of a valuable asset such as a smile, a sense of humour, and a good voice. Don't allow the speaker to remain ignorant of a serious fault or mannerism; if it is personal, write it but don't mention it aloud. Give the speaker the deserved praise and thoughtful suggestions in the manner you would like to receive them when you are the speaker.

After the meeting
  • Return the manual to the speaker. Add a word of encouragement to the speaker, something that wasn't mentioned in the oral evaluation.

12. The Tarik for the Soul Speaker
The speaker spices up the meeting on a subject to invoke the thoughts of the audiences within the 2 minute time-frame.

The speaker can bring up any self-improvement or self-realizations subjects.

(All the above explanation can be found in the Club Handbook that are provided to all new members of D'Utama Toastmasters Club)