Toastmasters is not just about standing up and giving a speech, we also have many other opportunities to practice speaking in front of an audience that don’t involve delivering a speech. Here are a list of the many ways that you can help make a meeting happen and build your confidence and your presentation skills.
A key part of our meetings are the prepared speeches. Speeches are usually between 5 and 7 minutes in length and each speech has a learning objective which means that each time you give a speech you acquire a new skill that you can use in future speeches and presentations. Thus as you give more and more speeches you build your presentation skillset and you become more comfortable speaking in front of an audience.
Taking on this role improves confidence and public speaking skills.
For this role you choose a poem that you like and read it out to the audience. This gives you the chance to practice speaking in front of an audience without having to learn off a speech. It is one of the first roles that new members take to help them become more comfortable on stage.
Taking on this role helps you feel more confident speaking in front of an audience.
As Timer you have two aspects to your role:
- Timing – every speaking portion of the meeting has a time limit, it is the role of the timer to keep track of for the speakers, evaluators, tablic topics and all the other speaking roles. They will use the traffic light system to signal to speakers when their time is up.
- Explaining & Reporting – At the beginning of the meeting, stand up and explain the timing rules and the traffic light signalling system. Then at the end of the meeting the timer is called up to give a report on how well people kept to time.
Taking on this role improves time management skills.
Like the Timer, the Ah-Counter has two aspects to the role:
- Ah-Counting – The purpose of the Ah-Counter is make note of any filler sounds, overused words or other disfluencies that are used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and, well, but, so and you know and sounds may include the ever popular ah, um or er . These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners.
- Explaining & Reporting – At the beginning of the meeting, stand up and explain the your role as well as giving examples of the type of filler and crutch words that you will be listening out for. Then at the end of the meeting the Ah-Counter is called up to give a report on how people fared in avoiding filler words.
Taking on this role improves observational and listening skills.
There are three parts to the role of the Grammarian:
- Word of the Day – to introduce an new word to members and encourage them to use it during the meeting
- Listening – Record inappropriate or exemplary uses of the English language, noting interesting and creative language as well as language issues such as incomplete sentences, mispronunciation, grammatical mistakes
- Explaining & Reporting – At the beginning of the meeting, introduce the Word of the Day and explain the your role as Grammarian. Then at the end of the meeting give a report that celebrates the creative use of language, highlight the people who used the Word of the Day correctly and point out any grammatical usage that could be improved.
Taking on this role improves vocabulary, grammar, critical listening skills, and evaluation skills.
Table Topics Speaker
Table Topics is a long-standing Toastmasters tradition intended to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly as they respond to an impromptu question or topic. How it works is that the Table Topics Master will ask a question and then select a member to answer. If selected then the member has the opportunity to speak for 1-2 minutes on the topic. It can be challenging but it helps to prepare you for those unexpected questions that occur during business presentations.
This role improves confidence and impromptu public speaking skills.
The Table Topics Master facilitates the impromptu speaking section of the meeting, which helps members learn to quickly organize and express their thoughts in an impromptu setting.
As Table Topics Master, you:
- Create imaginative and fun speaking challenges for our members.
- Give members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting by assigning impromptu talks on topics in alignment with the theme of the meeting.
- The mark of an experienced Table Topics master is the ability to “connect” two speakers by commenting briefly on the previous answer and then smoothly linking (or bridging) that answer to the next question.
Taking on this role improves organizational, time management, and facilitation skills.
The Toastmaster is the most important role in our meetings. It requires a lot of preparation to prepare a theme and work with the participants to create a fun and educational evening.
- Choose a theme for the meeting.
- Make some opening remarks and speak a little about the theme of the meeting that day.
- Review the agenda making sure all roles are filled, and verify the speakers and their evaluators.
- Introduce speakers and the other participants during the club meeting.
- Ensure smooth transitions between speakers during the club meeting.
Taking on this role improves organizational, time management, facilitation and public speaking skills.
Evaluations are at the heart of the Toastmasters educational program. Evaluations are how we improve and grow as speakers. Every time you give a speech, you are assigned an evaluator.
As an Evaluator, you:
- Contact your assigned speaker before the meeting to learn more about their personal objectives and what they wish to achieve.
- Actively listen and watch the speaker as they speak during the meeting and make notes on their strengths and areas that can be improved.
- Craft a 3 minute speech to be given at the end of the meeting which will highlight the speakers strengths and provide recommendations to help the speakers improve further.
Taking on this role improves listening skills, critical thinking, positive feedback and motivational skills.
The role of the General Evaluator is to be the evaluator for the whole meeting, they help us improve our meetings so that we provide the best possible environment for our members to learn and grow as speakers.
As General Evaluator, you:
- Keep track of every thing that happens (or doesn’t, but should) during the meeting. Look for good and less than desirable examples of preparation, organization, delivery, enthusiasm, observation and general performance of duties.
- Craft a report to be given at the end of the meeting which will highlight the areas of the meeting that went well and provide recommendations on how we as a club can run even better meetings. Thus gives everyone who has a speaking role at the meeting the chance to learn what they do well and how they can improve on that role the next time they take it.
Taking on this role improves critical thinking, organizational skills, time management skills, motivational, and team-building skills.