Meeting Roles

Giving a prepared speech at a meeting is only one of the ways that the Toastmasters programme helps you to grow and develop.

In addition, there are a number of other essential roles that members are encouraged to take on to ensure that every meeting runs smoothly. In fulfilling the responsibilities associated with each role, you learn more. it’s a true win-win situation.

The Toastmaster of the Evening’s role is to act as the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the meeting.  You’ll be the link person who introduces the various roles and speakers. Your energy and delivery sets the tone for the whole meeting. 

Before the meeting

Choosing The Meeting Them.

1.  A meeting theme helps keep our meetings vibrant and fun.  Come up with your theme and then let the VPE know well in advance ( at least 7 days before the meeting) so that they can add it to the agenda  

2) Encourage the Warmup Master and The Table Topics Master to link their sessions to your theme.

3) prepare some relevant short snippets of information related to the theme that you can share with the audience throughout the meeting. e.g.  quotes, factoids, anecdotes etc.

Prepare your Opening Comments

Once you have been introduced by the club President, you are in control of the rest of the meeting. 

You will usually start by giving a short overview of the meeting structure and explaining the protocols like clapping or jazz Hands gestures before and after each speakers. This is for the benefit of visitors who haven’t been to one of our meetings before.

Introducing the Roles and Speakers

As the Emcee, you’ll want to create an air of excitement and expectation.  Introduce each role taker and speaker with enthusiasm.   To help achieve this may I suggest that you… 

  1. if possible personalise your introductions with an interesting fact about the person.  If you don’t know the person well, consider contacting them via WhatsApp or email to find out something interesting or quirky.
  2. Be positive and upbeat.  As mentioned earlier, you set the tone for the meeting so keep it energetic and enjoyable 
  3. Familiarise yourself with the agenda, role takers and speakers.  Give yourself time to prepare in advance so that you understand the order of speaking and the names of the people you will be introducing.
  4. Print off a copy of the detail agenda. EasySpeak generates two versions of the agenda. One is a shortened summary for the benefit of the attendees and guests.  The other is a Detailed Agenda that has all the intermediate activities like asking for a minute on the clock for audience feedback. It will guide you through all of your duties for the meeting. If you don’t know where to find it, ask the VP education
  5. Keep your introductions short and concise.
    There is usually a packed programme and a limited time so don’t hog the the limelight 

Liaise with your core team

To help you run the meeting you have the support of The Timekeeper, the Zoom Master, The Grammarian (language Evaluator), the Table Topics Master.

The timekeeper will help you keep an eye on the time but the ultimate responsibility for timekeeping is yours. If the meeting is running ahead of schedule you can allow extra time for the network break or more time for table topics.

The Zoom Master will usually control the technical aspects of the meeting such as muting participants, running the polls for best speaker, best table topic speaker and best evaluator. 

Enjoy the experience and, If in doubt, remember to ask one of the more experienced toastmasters or committee members for help.

The Sergeant at Arms role is to ensure the meeting room is set up in good time for the meeting and kick off the meeting at the start and after the break. They are assisted by the Welcome & Hospitality Role. 

Before the meeting 

It’s important to prepare for the role. Although this role might seem relatively ‘minor’, as the Sergeant at Arms is not on stage for a long period, your role in ensuring the meeting will go to plan is it’s actually very crucial! 

A well-prepared meeting room and strong introduction really sets the tone for the evening and will make you feel more confident about getting people to their seats. 

Prepare the meeting 

Please arrive in good time to be able to ensure the room is setup for the meeting, to allow you to relax during setup. The staff from the Lysses House Hotel will have placed the timekeeper table in the centre of the room with 2 rows of chairs on either side. A table at the entrance to use for welcoming guests to the meeting. They will also provide water, squash and occasionally sweets on a table at the side of the meeting for guests to enjoy during the meeting (if this is unavailable please request at reception). 

They should also have brought in our resources from the store room, if they haven’t this is in the Derby Room (come out of our meeting room and turn left), in here additional chairs and tables can be found if possible. 

You will need to setup the club banners, the primary banner which Alista and Paul are posing in front of below is positioned at the front of stage and the club ribbons are placed on it. Other banners should be placed outside the entrance to the room as an indicator for guests as to where the meeting is being hosted. 

Other items which need to be put out: 

Solent Speakers Toastmasters Club Role Profile – Sergeant at Arms 

Solent Speakers Toastmasters Club Role Profile – Sergeant at Arms 

Solent Speakers Toastmasters Club Role Profile – Sergeant at Arms 

➢ Welcome leaflets and name badges on the welcome table at the entrance to the 

meeting room ➢ Lectern, gavel and small banner at the front of the room ➢ Timekeeper’s traffic lights, bells, stopwatch and projector* on the centre table ➢ Marketing materials, club awards & certificates, stationery and newsletters on tables at side of the room 

*there is an extension lead to plug in the projector and plug on the left of the doors you can plug it in, please place chairs over the lead at the top of the stairs to ensure people do not trip 

During the meeting 

At the start

A couple of minutes before the meeting is due to begin, take the stage and announce to the room that the meeting is due to start and request that people take their seats as soon as possible. Remain at the lectern until everyone is seated and you are ready to begin. 

At 19:30: 

  1. Call the meeting to order, welcome everyone to Solent Speakers on behalf of the 

Toastmaster for the evening and the club president e.g. “Fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests, on behalf of our Toastmaster for this evening and our esteemed president I’d like to welcome you to Solent Speakers Toastmasters Club…” 2. Give housekeeping notices i.e. Location of toilets, fire exits (are we expecting a fire 

alarm?) and remind people to turn off their phones 3. Introduce the Club President for 1st Club Business or Introduce the Toastmaster for 

the evening. 

At the break: 

  1. Agree with Timekeeper and Toastmaster a time to resume the meeting 
  2. A couple of minutes before the restart take the stage and request that people take their seats as soon as possible. Remain at the lectern until everyone is seated and you are ready to begin. 
  3. Welcome everyone back for the second half, a reminder of housekeeping notices and then re-introduce the Toastmaster for the evening. 

After the meeting 

Assist with packing away the items that were unpacked at the start of the meeting, items that were set out by our hosts the Lysses House Hotel will be packed away by them. 

The Timekeeper is responsible for timing items in the meeting, and signaling at appropriate points. (The role is also known as the Timer.)

One of the skills in speech training is expressing oneself within a specific time. The Timekeeper helps those at the meeting practise this.

Prior to the meeting

Study the Agenda and raise any queries with the Toastmaster of the meeting. In particular, note the times of the prepared speeches.

Prepare an explanation of your role. Make it interesting – for example, google ‘time’ for a fascinating fact.

On arrival at the meeting

Get timing equipment from the Sergeant at Arms. Ensure you understand how to operate the stopwatch and timing lights, and test that they work.

Sit where the lights can be seen easily by those at the lectern.

During the meeting

When introduced, give a brief explanation of your role and demonstrate the signal device.

Throughout the meeting, signal each programme participant as required.

Record each participant’s name and time used.

When called to report by the Toastmaster, stand and announce the participant’s name and their actual speaking time.

When reporting on the time of each Table Topic, remind the audience in a few words of the subject. This is particularly useful if there is a vote for Best Topics Speaker.

Count the ballot slips for Best Speaker, Best Table Topics Speaker, and Best Evaluator then prepare the three small certificates and pass to the president for presentation before the end of the meeting. NB: In the event of a tie, you have the casting vote.

After the meeting

Return the stopwatch and timing lights to the Sergeant at Arms or place in the translucent storage box with the grey lid.

Grammarian (Language Evaluator)

The purpose of this role is to give everyone, whether member or guest, the opportunity to briefly speak and introduce themselves. See it as an icebreaker to the meeting.


Plan a question that every member or guest will be able to give a short impromptu response to.
Some previous examples have been;

  • What was the best thing that happened to you today?
  • What’s the weirdest dream you can remember having?
  • If you could offer us one piece of advice what would it be?
  • My Favourite Movie Character is…Who is yours and why?

As you can see, there is huge scope for what question you ask, so be creative!

Tip: Successful Warmups often have questions that will lead to upbeat, humorous or positive audience responses. Keep it light. Thereby creating a great atmosphere and tone for the meeting right from the start.


  • Familiarise yourself with the printed Agenda, who will be introducing you, and at what time.

  • You will be introduced by the Toastmaster, walk up, shake hands and begin with a normal Toastmaster introduction format similar to; “Good evening Club President, Fellow Toastmasters and Welcome Guests, my name is …..(name)… and I will be your Warmup
    Master for this meeting.”

  • Give a short introduction to the role of Warm-up explaining its purpose and why you decided on the question you will ask. (This should last about 30 seconds)Before asking your question, remind the audience of the following points;

    • Their responses should be no longer than 15-20 seconds
    • They can stand or be seated where they are
    • If anyone including guests would prefer not to speak they can simply say “PASS”. (Do not embarrass or try to persuade anyone who passes)
    • Start by asking someone, preferable, an experienced member, who is sat at the end of a row. Explain that once they have answered the person sitting next to them can automatically
      then speak. Everyone will then take their turn until everyone (including timekeeper) has answered.
    • After everyone has had the opportunity to speak, thank the audience for their participation,
      wish them a good evening, and hand back to the Toastmaster to introduce the next part of
      the meeting, shaking the toastmaster’s hand as you depart.

The evaluator role is at the core of what makes Toastmasters special. In the real world, the
opportunities to receive feedback for any form of communication we make are limited. At
Toastmasters we make a big thing of evaluating everything to help our members improve on
their strengths and weaknesses.

Your role as a Speech Evaluator is to provide a 1 to 3-minute verbal evaluation of your designated speaker during the meeting  followed by a written evaluation after the meeting. The latter requires that you  complete the official Pathways evaluation resource for their specific speech project. Email copy to the speaker after the meeting. 

Both evaluations should be thoughtful, constructive and encouraging. Solent Speakers is a safe and supportive place to learn without negative consequence.  Please keep that in mind when providing your evaluation.

Before the meeting

If possible, make contact with the speaker in advance of the meeting to introduce yourself,
wish them luck and discuss whether there is anything, in particular, they would like you to look
out for when they make their speech. They may also wish to point out specific criteria from
the speech guidelines they would like you to look out for.

Be sure to remind the speaker that they are responsible for providing the evaluation form
that relates specifically to the project they are undertaking and that providing it will make
tailoring the evaluation accordingly a lot easier.
TIP -If you need to find a specific pathways project evaluation form. You can find them all here.

At the meeting

At the meeting, you will be required to introduce the speaker and welcome them to the stage and after the speech, you will have time to prepare an Evaluation before giving it to the audience. You should ensure you:

Arrive in good time to discuss how you would like the speaker to be introduced
2. Obtain the evaluation form for completion
3. Prepare your introduction for the speaker including objectives for the speech

Introduce the speaker:

You will be invited by the Toastmaster to come to stage and introduce your speaker, set the stage for the speech by pointing out the objectives and explaining the project and where it is in the educational program e.g. “This evening Paul will be giving his Ice Breaker Speech
from The Strategic Relationships Pathway…he has asked me to look specifically at this body language”. It is important that you encourage support from the audience for your speaker as they come to the stage, lead the clapping and give control of the stage to the speaker with a strong handshake.

Prepare your evaluation:

There is a meeting break between the speech and your evaluation where you will have time
to prepare what you would like to say. Some tips for doing this:

1.Use the official Pathways evaluations form to assess the speech.

2. Use a methodology for your verbal evaluation e.g. 3-2-1, LOL, The Sandwich Method. These can be found on the internet or speak to the Vice President of Education who can provide you with pointers.

3. Focus on what the speakers has asked you to look out for and what stood out to you, remember it is your personal opinion.

Do not focus too heavily on completion of the formal requirements documents, do this after you have delivered the evaluation

Deliver your evaluation:

After the break, you will be invited by the Toastmaster to the stage to provide your
Evaluation. This is where the hard work you have done in preparing pays off.

Remember to focus on positive delivery, the goal is to boost confidence and enable development, not pick holes. It may be instinctive to face the speaker but you should do your best to deliver to the entire audience with your body language and eye contact supporting that cause.


After the meeting

Many of the Toastmasters educational paths acknowledge the evaluator role as part of the completion criteria, ensure that the VP Education recognises your achievement on the relevant portals

The Table Topics evaluator is similar to the speech evaluator role except that instead of evaluating one prepared speech, you have to evaluate several short impromptu speeches within a slightly longer timescale

You will typically have a total time of 6 minutes to evaluate between 4 and 6 speakers.

JUst like a speech evaluation the table topics evaluation should be thoughtful, constructive
and encouraging, 

Before the meeting

There is little you can do to prepare before the meeting other than review this article and make sure you have a pen and paper ready to make notes on each speaker when they are called.

At the meeting

Pay close attention to each speaker and look out for one specific think they did well and one improvement point that will help them next time they tackle a table topic.  You have approximately one minute per speaker so you’ll need to keep it short and concise so that you have time to comment on every speaker.

Prepare your evaluation:

We usually schedule the grammarians report immediately after the Table Topics session so that you have 3-4 minutes to gather your thoughts before being asked to present your evaluation.  That’s not very long but it is long enough.

Review your notes for each speaker and select one commendation and one recommendation for each. 

You can open by commenting briefly on the choice to table topics and their appropriateness.

You can conclude with a short summary,  a top tip, or something you learned from the table topics session overall.

Remember to focus on positive delivery, the goal is to boost confidence and enable development, not pick holes. It may be instinctive to face the speaker but you should do your best to deliver to the entire audience with your body language and eye contact supporting that cause.

After the meeting

Many of the Toastmasters educational paths acknowledge the table topics evaluator role as part of the completion criteria. Remember to enter the date you completed this role in Pathways Basecamp

The Table Topics Master’s role is to run a short impromptu speaking session within the programme. You’ll be expected to prepare, in advance, a series of appropriate questions to ask. 

Before the meeting

Choosing Table Topics

1) If the meeting has a pre-announced theme, as shown at the top of the agenda. Try, where possible, to link your topics in some way to that theme. 

2) Try not to make the topics too obscure or challenging, especially for less experienced members. The idea is to give everyone the chance to express themselves for between 1 and 2 minutes. 

3) If you are struggling to find topic ideas I recommend searching for Table topic ideas on Google 

During the meeting

Choosing your participants 

At Toastmasters, we try to give as many people as possible the opportunity to speak at least once during the meeting, unless they have advised us otherwise. To help achieve this may I suggest that you… 

  1. Approach the visitors either before the start of the meeting or during the networking break to ask them individually if they would be interested in “having a go.” Don’t tell them the topic but be positive and encouraging. 

  2. Nominate specific people rather than ask for volunteers. The people most likely to volunteer are the ones who are the most confident and who may have already spoken earlier in the meeting.

  3. Prioritise people who have not yet spoken in the meeting over those who have. Remember we want to encourage as many different people as possible to speak in public at our meetings. 

  4. Start by inviting someone who has done a table topic before and who is keen to have a go again, This will ensure your session gets off to a positive start. 

Timing/Number of Topics 

We usually have time for between four and six participants, depending on whether the meeting is running to time or not. Please remember to check the agenda beforehand and then speak to the timekeeper / Toastmaster on the night as to how much time/how many participants are realistic.

Be prepared to cut the session short if the meeting is behind schedule. 

In your intro, remind people that the target time is between 1 and 2 minutes, with a green light at 1 minute, amber at 1:30 and Red at 2 Min. Also, remind the speakers to address their response to the audience not to you. 

Enjoy the experience and, If in doubt, remember to ask one of the more experienced toastmasters or committee members for help.


The purpose of this role is to provide feedback on aspects of the meeting that have not been evaluated by another evaluator.  This can include general aspects such as room setup, welcome and timekeeping as well as comments on specific roles including Toastmaster, Sergeant at Arms, Timekeeper, Warmup Master, Speech Evaluators, Grammarian and Table Topics Evaluator.

Generally, this role is given to an experienced Toastmaster so they can compare against what should have happened. However, this can be a great role for a visiting Toastmaster, as comparisons between clubs can be made.

Skills which are developed by taking on this role include critical thinking, organisation, time management, motivational and team-building skills. 

Prior to the meeting 

If you are a visiting Toastmaster then let the Vice-President of Education know, so you can obtain points for yourself and Solent Speakers in the Club Ambassadors Programme. 

Study the agenda and if you have any questions ask the Toastmaster of the evening; this is particularly important when visiting another club where expectations of the GE may differ from your own club. 

  • Greeting all evaluators who are present and arranging substitutes with the Vice-President Education.
  • Briefing the evaluators and advising their role is to inspire the speaker and not destroy them. 
  • Providing a brief explanation of your role prior to your closing speech.

At the meeting

Ensure you arrive before 7.15 pm so you can observe if the room and equipment were set up on time, guests were welcomed and informed about the meeting format.

Throughout the meeting, you will need to observe what is going on, whilst simultaneously writing notes. You may want to use the interval to gather your thoughts. Tip: Check the agenda to see how long you have and adjust your comments accordingly. Your brief is quite wide, and it will probably be impossible to comment on every aspect of the meeting.  We recommend that you limit yourself to a few standout aspects such as structure, timing, audience reaction, quality of evaluations and things that should have happened. If an evaluator was particularly hard or missed something, this is your chance to correct it. Take the rose-tinted spectacles off and tell it as it is, in an original manner – there is always room for improvement in any club. 

After the meeting

If you have visited another club remember to have your photo taken to collect those points and never be afraid to offer further feedback.