Getting Started

DistrictMastheadThumb copyWhen you join Toastmasters International

 …you gain access to a vast library of online help to develop effective communication and leadership skills.  When you join our club, you get personal support as you work on speeches, hone evaluations and even take on contests.  Once you get into the program you may find some of the files in our club’s library Member Resources for helpful.

Scheduled for a role?  Look like a pro…The Shape of Evening Edition Meetings

Check out a Step by Step Analysis of each role, by clicking on Evening Edition Manual.

Getting familiar with the EVENING EDITION TOASTMASTERS agenda…the major and minor roles at each meeting weave together seamlessly, all formatted towards teaching you effective public speaking and leadership skills.  The roles are described in detail in the (Evening Edition Manual), a customized version of ‘A Toastmaster Wears Many Hats’, which all new members receive.  New members discuss goals and concerns with the VP of Education and gradually expand their horizons by beginning with the simpler roles and working up to the more challenging roles.  Here’s a brief description of each of the meeting roles.

The Sergeant-At-Arms arranges room and equipment for each meeting and serves as master host to introduce the evening.  This is an executive officer role, and we all chip in to help set up and put away equipment each meeting.

The Chairperson is the “master of ceremonies” for the program.  Being chairperson requires advance planning.  At the meeting, the chairperson reviews the agenda, poses a round robin question, and in general, keeps the program moving using a prepared agenda.

The Timer explains why timing is important, reviews the timing rules, keeps track of time for each participant throughout the meeting and alerts speakers with the timing lights.  A list with timing guidelines is provided. The General Evaluator will call for a report near the end of the meeting.

The Grammarian is called upon at the beginning of the meeting to present the “word of the day” (often related to the theme of the meeting) and encourages every speaker to use the word at least once during the meeting.  The Grammarian pronounces, defines, and then uses the word in a sentence, and notes usage of the word throughout the meeting along with errors in grammar, pronunciation, and word usage.  In addition, the Grammarian notes colorful phrases and exemplary word choices. The General Evaluator will call for a report near the end of the meeting.

The job of the Ah-Counter is to record “crutch words used as pause fillers” (such as “ah,” “uh,” “and-ah,” “so”) heard during the meeting.  The General Evaluator will call for a report near the end of the meeting.

The person offering Inspiration provides a 1-minute quotation, thought or personal story (possibly relating to the theme) to inspire the group.

The Humorist presents a 1-minute memorized funny story or joke story (possibly relating to the theme) that is in good taste.

The Table Topics Master prepares and issues original topics, then randomly selects meeting attendees (who are not otherwise in key roles) to respond in an impromptu manner.  Each Table topic participant is allotted one to two minutes to speak.  The Table Topics Master reminds the Evaluators of their roles.

The Toastmaster acts as the genial host and conducts the prepared speech section of program.  S/he introduces the Speakers including the title, project number, and the timing for the speech, and sets the stage for the Speaker.

Speakers prepare and present speeches based on Communications project objectives.  The speaker selects the subject of his/her choice, and follows the objective of the project outlined in the manual, and will be evaluated on how effectively this is done.  Speeches have specific time limits associated with them.

Evaluators give a verbal evaluation of the impromptu and prepared speeches (and provides written for the prepared speeches).  Verbal evaluations (two to three minutes) focus on speaker strengths, and offer specific suggestions for improvement.  The recommended sandwich technique starts and ends on a positive note.

The General Evaluator evaluates anything and everything that takes place throughout the meeting that hasn’t already been evaluated.  The General Evaluator asks for the timer, grammarian and ah counter reports and supplements their comments with appropriate advice and suggestions.   The General Evaluator critiques the Chairperson, Toastmaster, Topic master, and evaluators using the same positive, supportive, respectful, educational technique, i.e., in a manner that highlights areas of excellence and offers something to grow on.

About the Toastmasters International Program- FAQ