Below are some guidelines on where we think a person should be before they accept a role at a Toastmasters meeting. However, your skills and experience may vary and these are just guidelines. The rule of thumb is: sign up for a role if you feel you are ready!
Word of the day, timekeeper, grammarian and ah-counter
Go on and sign up for these roles when you have seen them in action. Through these roles you get to focus on one specific aspect of speaking and so it is a good way how to sharpen your own skills in these areas.
Table Topic Master
This is an excellent opportunity for you to try how well you can handle being a host for a small part of the meeting. In this role you need to prepare the speaking topics before hand. During the Table Topics you need to make people feel comfortable on the stage with you and you lead the applause!
Evaluators play an important role at our meetings. Recieving feedback on our performance is the reason most of us come to Toastmasters. This feedback should strive to be critical and constructive yet encouraging and motivating.
You are probably ready to begin evaluating others’ speeches if you have:
- Presented three to five projects from your Competent Communication manual.
- Performed a couple of other roles, for example Grammarian or Timekeeper.
In order to evaluator a speech from the Competent Communication manual, you should be at least one or two projects ahead of the speech you are evaluating.
If you are evaluating a speech from a more advanced manual, you should be an experienced speaker (though you need not necessarily have completed the same speech that you are evaluating).
Toastmaster of the Evening
You are probably ready for the Toastmaster of the Evening role if you have:
- Presented four or five projects from your Competent Communication manual.
- Performed a couple of other roles, for example Grammarian and Timekeeper.
General Evaluator (GE)
If you want to try this role, you are probably ready for it if you have:
- Served as speech evaluator several times.
- Performed other roles at least four or five times.
- Recommended: Serve as Toastmaster before you serve as General Evaluator.
After you accept a role, be sure to prepare yourself by reading the instructions and preparing whatever materials you might need.
Members also serve in different roles at every meeting:
- The Toastmaster of the Evening.
- The Table Topic Master.
- Table topic speakers.
- Assigned speakers (prepared speeches).
- Speech Evaluators.
- The Timerkeeper.
- The Grammarian & Ah-counter.
- The General Evaluator.
- (The Sargeant at Arms and the club President have fixed roles at the meetings, but occasionally another member may be asked to fill in.)
Participation by serving in meeting roles is an important part of the learning experience. Members get to practice leading meetings effectively, introducing speakers, handling unexpected changes, listening actively, giving constructive feedback in nice way, motivating others, and other valuable public-speaking and leadership skills.