Competent Leadership: Guide to Roles

Leader manualTaking on a “functionary” role at one of our meetings is another excellent way to practice speaking skills. It also brings into focus other essential communication skills, such as listening, giving feedback, hosting and welcoming others.

Broadgate Speakers actively encourages members to undertake one of the many different roles available in the Toastmasters holistic education program between doing speeches. We see this as central to the success of the club and encourage you to be creative when taking on this responsibly.

We focus on keeping the meeting within 2 hours, it is the combined responsibility of all the functionaries to ensure this happens. 

Select from the list below to find our more information and refer to these guidelines when you have accepted a role at one of our meetings:

TIMEKEEPER
We aim to keep every meeting within 2-hours. You will work with the Toastmaster to indicate the times taken as follows:

FUNCTION
In a programme that can include contributions from 20 – 25 people, the control of timing is extremely important. This is also an important lesson for speakers to learn, both in and outside of Toastmasters: listeners always like a speaker who doesn’t over-run!

The Timekeeper’s function is to provide timing signals to most of the participants and to report specifically on the timing performance of topics speakers, prepared speakers and evaluators. The reports also remind the audience of the names of each person (and their subject).

PREPARATION
Using the most up-to-date programme as a checklist, review the activities to be timed – all timings are printed down the right hand column in the form: e.g. 3 / 4 / 5 is for the Green card at 3 minutes // Yellow  at 4 // Red at 5.  The card is held up at the appropriate time and kept up until superseded by the next colour.

AT THE MEETING
Aim to arrive 15 minutes before the formal start of the meeting to check the agenda/programme and familiarise yourself with the cards – we use the timing/stopwatch function on our phones to track the timings – liaise with an experienced club member if you need help. The cards and bell are stored on site – ask a club member to find them for you.

The bell is rung 15 seconds after the red card for a table topic or evaluation, and 30 seconds after the red card for a speech after which we applaud the speaker off the stage. The bell would not normally be used for the General Evaluator, unless they are in excess of the red card for at least 2 minutes.

1) Start timing when the President opens the meeting and for every subsequent function where timings are indicated.
2) After your introduction and each time you are called to the stage, go to the front, shake the toastmasters hand and take ownership of the stage.
3) Then explain the role of Timekeeper and the times on the programme and show the audience the cards.
4) Each time you are finished speaking, shake the toastmasters hand and pass back ownership of the stage before returning to your seat.
5) Keep a running record of meeting progress and a specific record of the times for each table topics speaker – with their names and subjects.
6) When called by the Toastmaster, briefly announce the names, subjects and times for the table topics speakers. This is an important opportunity to remind club members (new and old) of people’s names so that they can vote for their favourite speaker.
7) For reference keep a record of the time taken by the Topics Evaluator.
8) Report back with the names of each prepared speaker, their subject and time taken.
9) Report on the name & time of each evaluator including the Topics Evaluator and Grammarian.

Remember: The timekeeping role is a valuable speaking opportunity and it can be a challenge to bring some clarity and originality to it.

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SERGEANT AT ARMS
FUNCTION
You are responsible for ensuring each guest is well looked after before, during and after the meeting.

NB – this role is often one of the first to be offered when you are a new member. If you have any questions about the role or anything is unclear please contact your Mentor or a Committee Member who will be happy to help you.

PURPOSE
To ensure our guests feel they are visiting a welcoming and supportive club with people interested in them and their goals.

To encourage them to discuss their particular interests in developing their communication & leadership skills.

To provide relevant information about Broadgate Speakers and the benefits of the Toastmaster’s programme so they can see how and if they would benefit from visiting us again and joining.

To provide information about visiting again and, when appropriate, the procedure for joining.

To record guest’s contact details (unless they wish not to leave them) so we can tell them about future meetings.

To escort guests to the pub after the meeting to answer any questions that they may have and introduce them to our social side.

PREPARATION
Arrive at least 15+ minutes before the formal start of the meeting to assist with the room set-up (putting out the chairs, hanging the banner, putting up a sign in front of the church directing people to Broadgate Speakers etc.)

Chairs should be arranged in three rows of three chairs each side of an aisle (two groups of 9 chairs), the long table should be placed at the back of the room on the right (when viewed from the stage) and two chairs placed for the time keeper and other functionary (you may find it beneficial to take this seat yourself). If more chairs are needed a final row should be added shortly before the meeting begins to avoid latecomers having to find chairs and so disrupting the meeting. If you are juggling responsibilities: eg. engaging with a guest then ask another member for help with this.

Check that the welcome banner, guest book (+ pens), several copies of the introductory information sheet and the membership application form are readily available.
NB. The banner and guest book are stored in the meeting room in the small storage room at the back, you can download copies of the application form from the homepage of this site – bringing a few copies with you will ensure that you are well prepared.

When guests arrive
1) Introduce yourself to guests and try to engage them in conversation or introduce them to another member who can give them a simple explanation of what happens in a meeting and what we would like them to do i.e. listen to the participants, introduce themselves.
2) Encourage them to put their contact details in the guest file, give the information card, and introduce them to the President and VP Membership.
3) Before / in the break / after the meeting, ask them about their interest in the club / developing their communication skills etc
4) Provide relevant info about how we could meet their interests / objectives
5) Encourage them to return to another meeting and explain the wide range of meetings available all over London. Perhaps refer them to the London Speaker website.
6) Mention that we usually have a drink afterward the meeting in the bar and they are welcome to join us
At the end of the meeting assist in putting the chairs away and clearing the room. Retrieve the guest signing sheet and pass to the Vice President of Membership or Vice President PR (Ornela or Alex).

AT THE MEETING
When you are called to the front to introduce the guests remember to shake hands with the toastmaster and take ownership of the stage.

Then before calling upon guests to introduce themselves, first tell us why you decided to become a member yourself and why you chose to join Broadgate Speakers if you’ve visited other clubs. This is a valuable opportunity for our guests to relate to our members and understand why you decided to become a Toastmaster with Broadgate Speakers.
In order to keep within the allotted time, ask all the guests to stand up at the same time, this ensures that we “meet” all the guests. Ask them to tell us their name and answer a simple question (of your choice). Example of good questions are:

▪ Where have you travelled from today?
▪ What’s your favourite meal?
▪ Who do you think will be most surprised when you tell them you’ve come to this meeting?

Lead the applause enthusiastically after each person has spoken and ask them to take a seat – everyone should be applauded individually.

Once all of the guests have sat down, make a closing remark and then hand back ownership of the stage to the toastmaster by shaking their hand and then sit down.

During the break, retrieve the Broadgate Speakers sign from in front of the church.

It is the Sargent at Arms responsibility to collect and count ballot slips and inform President of each winner before the President is called to draw the meeting to a close. Please ensure that you have the appropriate ribbons/certificates to be presented – these are also stored in the hall. Contact a committee member if you are unsure as to where to find them. (As guest introductions normally follow after Table Topics voting, you won’t be able to count these until after you have introduced the guests).

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TOASTMASTER

FUNCTION
The Toastmaster is responsible for the smooth and timely running of the meeting, for introducing all participants except in the Topics session and for raising and maintaining energy levels through audience engagement and energetic clapping.

It is the Toastmaster’s responsibility to ensure that the meeting runs to time (make sure you have your watch on!) – we aim for the meeting to be finished within 2 hours. The President will open the meeting and introduce the Toastmaster and at the end of the meeting the Toastmaster hands back to the President who will close the meeting.

PREPARATION
The Toastmaster is responsible for choosing the theme of the evening. In order to introduce participants effectively you should contact all participants on the programme in advance of the meeting and ask them a question based on your theme and use it as part of your introduction. It is wise to request this information as soon as you are notified by the VPE of the meeting participants a few days before the meeting and give a deadline for responses no less than 1 day before the meeting so that you have time to fully prepare your introductions.
In order to keep the meeting to time, the Toastmaster will:

  • Lead the applause if bell rings when somebody has spoken too long
  • Speak les and cut down or omit all together the theme responses if running over time

AT THE MEETING – FIRST HALF
Arrive at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts and check on final preparations with all involved (and the President / Vice President Education (VPE) on any late changes).
Where possible, ensure that any equipment is set up in advance or during a suitable break – be ready to assist with equipment during the meeting.

Remember, after inviting members to the stage you must wait for them to arrive and shake their hand to pass over ownership of the stage to them. Likewise, when they have finished you must shake their hand and take back ownership of the stage.

The President will open the meeting and welcome the guests and then introduce you as the Toastmaster to run the meeting.
1) Make a brief introductory address and announce your theme, why your chose it and any changes to the published programme. Remind everyone to turn off mobile phones etc.
2) Using the most recently published programme as a checklist, introduce:
a) The Timekeeper – and then
b) The Grammarian
who should each be asked to explain their roles.
3) Briefly explain the purpose of table topics and introduce the Topics Master.
4) Call for the Timekeeper to report on the Topics session explaining that the audience should be paying attention to the names so that they can vote for their favourite
5) Ask the timekeeper to put 1 minute on the clock for the vote
6) Introduce the Table Topics Evaluator.
7) Announce a 10-minute break mentioning exactly what time you will return and be sure to restart on time

AT THE MEETING – SECOND HALF
1) Restart the meeting on time and try to raise the audiences energy levels – outline the programme ahead – Give an explanation of the value of preparing and delivering speeches, how the Manuals work, the use of the Feedback Slips etc
2) Introduce the first speech, its objectives, the speaker and the title of the speech, repeat the title and give a big welcome to the speaker with her/his name and loud applause!
3) Let the speaker hand back to you when s/he completes the speech and then ask the audience to complete their feedback – asks the Timekeeper to put 1 minute on the clock.
4) Repeat the process with subsequent speeches.
5) After the last speech and the 1 minute for feedback call back the Timekeeper for his/her report.
6) Explain the value of Evaluating and then introduce each evaluator with their name, whose speech they are evaluating and welcome them with their name and applause.
7) NB There are no gaps for writing feedback on the evaluators.
8) Move to the final reviews of the meeting and call on the Grammarian to give his/her report.
9) Call on the Timekeeper to announce the names, who they evaluated and timings of the evaluators again explaining that the audience should pay attention to the names so that they can vote for their favourite (include the Topics Evaluator and the Grammarian’s final report)
10) Explain the purpose of the General Evaluation and introduce the General Evaluator.
11) Conclude and pass control of the meeting back to the President. the meeting on time and outline the programme ahead – Give an explanation of the value of preparing and delivering speeches, how the Manuals work, the use of the Feedback Slips etc

NOTES AND TIPS
For the Toastmaster

The meeting is enriched if your introductions are short but interesting, informative and help us ‘get to know’ the participants a little better. Keep the links and introductions brief – this role is about facilitating others to speak, as well as yourself.
Typically, the introductions should include:

Introducing speakers:
Speaker’s name – Speech objectives (as defined in manual + any extras) –  Title of speech-  repeat it – Speakers name

Introducing evaluators:
Evaluator’s name – who they are evaluating – repeat Evaluator’s name

Always greet each official, as well as the speakers, with a handshake and enthusiastically lead the applause – do the same on completion of the item.

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GRAMMARIAN

FUNCTION
The Grammarian (alias Wordsmith) has three duties, which, in order of priority, are

  1. Report on the use of language throughout the meeting and especially comment on the most interesting, unusual or effective uses of language. If necessary, perhaps also mention any grammatical errors or ‘inappropriate’ use, such as bad language.
  2. Set a ‘word of the day’ and report on its use. Ideally, the word should not be in everyday use but not so obscure or unpronounceable that it is difficult to use.
  3. Report on hesitations (UM’s and AH’s) but only those that seriously distract from the speaker’s message.

AT THE MEETING
When you are introduced, shake the toastmasters hand, take ownership of the stage and then explain the role of Grammarian and announce the ‘word of the day’ giving its meaning and some examples of its use.  To assist the audience, display the ‘word of the day’ prominently wherever it will assist the audience and speakers to remember it. You might want one for the front and the back of the room and one on each side wall.

Once you have finished speaking, shake the toastmasters hand and pass back ownership of the stage before sitting down.

Listen carefully to all of the speakers making notes and report back with your findings and comments, when called upon towards the end of the meeting.

Word of the day
An adjective or adverb often works well as the word of the day (e.g. ‘active’ ‘actively’) as these are easier to use than verbs or nouns (‘act’/ ‘action’).

If possible please print out 5 copies of the word in large type on A4 paper and bring blu-tack to fix these to the wall in the room in the eye-line of the speakers. (There is often blu-tack on site – but it’s better to be prepared). Handwritten “signs” can be difficult for the speakers to read. Ideal locations for the word of the day to be displayed are the front, back and sides of the room.

NOTES AND TIPS
The length of the grammarian report at the end of the meeting will vary depending on the meeting as our goal is to try and complete the meeting within 2 hours so please check how long you have on the agenda before you stand up to speak.

During the meeting record several examples of effective language and use of ‘the word of the day’, choose and comment enthusiastically on a few of your favourites. You do not have to mention every participant, but should explain your reasoning behind your choices of language to report.

Do NOT publicly identify any speaker for overuse of ‘um/ah’ although you might like to have a quiet word in private with excessive offenders.

This is an important role, providing an excellent opportunity to develop good listening skills and the ability to transmit information and praise.

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TOPICS MASTER

FUNCTION
The Topics Master is responsible for running the ‘table topics’ session, the purpose of which is threefold:

  1.  To develop the skills of impromptu speaking
  2.  To provide a speaking opportunity for anybody who is not otherwise included in the meeting programme
  3. To generate some fun and raise energy levels

PREPARATION
Prepare sufficient topics to accommodate the number of topics speakers shown on the programme (usually 4-8). Make sure you have a few extra in case some speakers under-run or table topics is extended because of a speaker dropping out.

Our plans are based on 1.5 mins per speaker and no more than 2 mins per topic including your intro & applause etc. Be aware of your timing, club policy is to keep the meeting within 2 hours, if you are running over your time, you may not be able to accommodate all the speakers who have volunteered.

Any variation in format or timing should be agreed with the Vice President of Education and Toastmaster who will adjust the programme accordingly.

AT THE MEETING
Arrive at least 15 minutes before the formal start of the meeting in order to speak to members and guests as they arrive. Prepare a list of people wishing to participate in the topics session, giving priority to those who are not on the programme already.

1) When you are introduced, shake the toastmasters hand, take ownership of the stage and make a brief ‘scene setting’ address. If the Toastmaster has not already done so, mention the purpose of topics but then introduce the general theme of your session (perhaps in line with the theme chosen by the Toastmaster – you will have been informed of this in advance of the meeting). Your introduction should last no more than 2 minutes.
2) Call upon the topics speakers, as follows:
– An experienced Table Topic speaker who is a member first
– Followed by other club members who are not on the programme for the evening
– Willing guests who you have spoken to and agreed their participation before the meeting
– You may want to save an experienced speaker to the end to round up on a positive note.
WARNING: Do NOT exceed the planned number of speakers unless time permits and the Toastmaster agrees.
3) For each topics speaker:
Introduce the speaker by name* and describe the assignment (10 – 15 secs)
Applaud the speaker on to the stage, then shake their hand to pass over ownership of the stage before sitting down at the front whilst they speak.
Once they have finished speaking, shake their hand and take back ownership of the stage, thank them and then move on to the next question.
(*Try saving the speaker’s name until after describing the assignment – this is good for experienced speakers as it gives them a bigger challenge).
4) Finally thank all participants and hand back to the Toastmaster shaking their hand and passing back ownership of the stage.

NOTES AND TIPS for Topics Masters
Table Topics is particularly for those who have no other opportunity to speak during the meeting. Certainly do NOT include the Topics Evaluator, but you can substitute latecomers for those on your list who already have speaking roles.

Arrive early to speak to potential participants. (If possible, try to anticipate before the meeting whom you might encourage to participate).

Table Topics provide a good way for newer members and less confident speakers to start gaining confidence. Encourage and help them.

It should also provide opportunities for more experienced speakers to stretch their abilities so give them more demanding topics.

Have a wide selection of topics and adjust them according to the speaker.

Do NOT impose Table Topics on a reluctant speaker.

Subject matter is entirely the responsibility of the Topics Master but experience shows that a good overall performance is achieved if:
a) The topic allows the speaker to speak from his/her own experience.
b) The topics session follows a common theme (perhaps that of the Toastmaster’s chosen theme for the meeting) allowing the less experienced speakers to have some preparation time.

Table topics is supposed to be fun – try to set the tone by finding a theme or questions that are lighthearted.
Some Topics Masters prefer to set only ‘challenging’ topics which may result in excellent performances from a few speakers but frighten less confident speakers and guests. Take care.
Before the meeting, when deciding on the topics and try answering them yourself to see if they work!
Keep your explanations and instructions precise, clear and brief.
It is not necessary to announce timings as these are on the programme.
This is a creative role that is good for trying different variations on themes and it does give you a good opportunity to take control of part of the meeting.

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TOPICS EVALUATOR

FUNCTION
The Topics Evaluator is responsible for the evaluation of the Table topics segment of the meeting.

PREPARATION
We typically have 6-8 Table Topics per meeting in order to keep to our maximum 2-hour meeting policy but it can be more if the session is extended due to speaker dropout.

As you will only have about 20 – 30 seconds to comment on each speaker, you might want to decide in advance the particular aspects that you will be looking out for.

AT THE MEETING
Take notes on each topic and prepare a 20-30 second report on each.

When introduced by the Toastmaster, do NOT comment on the running of the topics session by the Topics Master as the General Evaluator will do this later.

Shake the toastmasters hand, take ownership of the stage and then comment briskly on each individual contribution – there will probably only be time for 1 quick commendation, 1 recommendation and then 1 or 2 final commendations.
Points that may be covered include:

Overall impression of the contribution / any obvious good or weak points
Good table topics strategy such as broadening out the topic, or focusing on one part of the question
Construction – did the contribution have a beginning/middle/end?
Did the contribution stick to the subject given?
Quality of presentation / confidence / eye contact / vocal variety, etc.
Quality of content / interesting / original / informative / humorous

You might want to make some general comments that were typical of several speakers and would help them improve their skills.

Make a brief concluding comment on your overall impression of the session before handing back to the toastmaster, shaking their hand and passing over ownership of the stage.

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SPEECH EVALUATOR

FUNCTION
Speech Evaluators have the important responsibility of evaluating individual prepared speakers.

Evaluators are usually quite experienced speakers who will have completed at least three or four prepared speeches.

PREPARATION
If this is one of your first evaluations, consider the advice given in ‘Effective Speech Evaluation’ (which should have been received with your New Member Kit and Manual) and ask more experienced members for advice and help.

Whenever the opportunity arises, attend an Evaluation Workshop that the club or Area will run from time to time.

BEFORE THE MEETING
If you already know the speaker, some reflection on their past performances may assist with your evaluation.

Get the speech number and title from the speaker and discuss their objectives, including any specific points the speaker may raise with you.

Familiarise yourself with the speech objectives beforehand (most speeches will be from the first manual, so you can read your own).

AT THE MEETING
Borrow the speaker’s manual for your written evaluation.

Listen carefully and record your immediate impressions – consider the questions in the evaluation guidelines and try to answer them.

The general format of evaluation that we use has become known as: COMMEND-RECOMMEND-COMMEND. In your oral evaluation, begin and end with encouragement and praise to reinforce the speaker’s strengths. Avoid direct criticism but make constructive and positive recommendations where there is obvious room for improvement. If you cannot think of anything they have done wrong, then comment on what they have done well that they could do even more of, or better.

Remember the public evaluation should be directed to the audience for their consideration and benefit, not just a discussion with the speaker. Refer to them by name or in the third person, avoid direct eye contact with them (this is a presentation to benefit the entire audience) and try not to use the word “you”. Keep to time – you can make additional points to them in person or by writing in their manual.

Complete the written evaluation while the speech is fresh in your mind and before the speaker leaves the venue. Talk to the speaker after the meeting to clarify and add any points and especially any extra recommendations.

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GENERAL EVALUATOR

FUNCTION
The General Evaluator is responsible for the evaluation of the entire meeting.

In practice, this means evaluating every participant, except prepared speakers who have individual evaluators and topics speakers who are evaluated by the Topics Evaluator.

For reference this is: The President, Toastmaster, Time Keeper, Grammarian, Topics Master, Sergeant at Arms, Topics Evaluator and Speaker Evaluators. The general format of the meeting, the venue and the welcome from club members.

PREPARATION
Using the programme, familiarise yourself with the structure of the meeting which may vary from time to time and may also be different from that used at other clubs.

You should also try to be familiar with the role descriptions as described above. Be aware that we try to be an informal club – e.g. there is no expectation of formal/business attire etc.

In particular, unlike some other clubs our General Evaluators work alone as observers of the meeting and not as managers of an evaluation team.

AT THE MEETING
Arrive early as the meeting starts promptly at the planned time.

Take notes on everything that happens (or fails to happen) at the meeting and pay particular attention to the overall management of the meeting as well as the performance of those taking on official roles.

Your report should comment on the quality of preparation, organisation, delivery and general performance of each individual.

Although the General Evaluator does not evaluate prepared speakers or topics speakers, you might occasionally want to add something important that an individual evaluator may have missed.

You should try to recognise and encourage examples of good performance but we also need recommendations on ways to improve what we do.

When called upon by the Toastmaster to give your report, you may want to begin with a very brief explanation of your role.

As General Evaluator, you should also set an example of good timekeeping. Check the agenda to see how long you have to speak and then try to manage your report accordingly to finish within the time. Often the General Evaluator will have 10 minutes, so there is very little time to comment on each person and in this case the card signals would be Green at 8 mins, Yellow at 9 mins and Red at 10 mins.

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