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The job of the Toastmaster is to plan, organize and conduct the meeting in accordance with the schedule.  The Toastmaster sets the tone for the entire meeting so care should be taken to choose a positive theme and to bring a sense of energy to the meeting.  We have all seen outstanding meetings - and some that were not-so-outstanding.  Often, the determining difference is the energy and enthusiasm with which the Toastmaster begins the meeting.


  • Be organized!

  • Have an orderly Agenda.

  • Contact all persons on the schedule to remind them of their duties and to tell them the Theme of the Day – particularly important for the Table Topics Master and Grammarian.

  • Get speech title, manual, and number for the speech from each speaker for inclusion on the Agenda.

  • Get the Word of the Day from the Grammarian for inclusion on the Agenda.

  • Select a Theme of the Day that will tie things together and help to set a mood of excitement and anticipation.

  • Be energetic!

  • Remember to lead the applause as each speaker or helper is introduced.

  • After each speaker, thank him/her and ask the audience to take the time to write a comment to the speaker.

  • Always see that the lectern is attended – an empty podium looks awkward.

  • At the conclusion of the Master Evaluator’s remarks, remind everyone to vote, call for appropriate helpers’ reports, call for the joke of the day, present the ribbons and turn the meeting back to the President.


The importance of being organized and energetic cannot be overstressed – with those two things, everything else will fall into place.

Ah Counter


The job of the Ah Counter is to watch for, note, and “ding” the use of extraneous words and/or sounds used as a “crutch” or “pause filler” during the meeting.  This includes “ah”, “um” or “er”, and inappropriate interjections of words like “well”, “you know”, “so” or “and.”  Also, note and “ding” “doubled clutches” like “I…I” or “the…the”.  Long pauses may also be noted and “dinged”, but be certain that the speaker is not just pausing for effect or to let the audience assimilate a point.


  • Prior to the meeting, check with new members who are working on their first five speeches:  at their option, they may elect not to be “dinged” during the speech.  Otherwise, they will be “dinged.”  The bell is a very useful tool and should not be withheld unless requested.

  • During the meeting, note all extraneous words or sounds for the final report, and “ding” the offender on a timely basis.

  • At the conclusion of the meeting, report, by member, all extraneous words or sounds.




The responsibilities of the grammarian are 1) to introduce new words to members, and 2) to comment on the use of language (vocabulary and grammar) during the meeting.


  • Prior to the meeting, select a “Word of the Day” and prepare a visual aid that members may see during the meeting to encourage the use of the Word of the Day.

  • Check with the Toastmaster to determine the theme for the upcoming meeting-consider tailoring the Word of the Day to the theme of the meeting.

  • Place the visual aid where it may be seen from the podium.

  • At the beginning of the meeting, announce the Word of the Day and explain it clearly.  Be sure to use it in a sentence.  Try to select words which will prove useful in daily communications.  Toastmasters suggests using adjectives or adverbs but any useful and appropriate word will suffice.

  • Encourage all members to use the Word of the Day.

  • Throughout the meeting, listen for incorrect or poor grammar and language usage, for excellent and interesting grammar and language usage and for the Word of the Day.

  • At the end of the meeting, report on both the good and the bad, and cite those who have used the Word of the Day correctly.





  • Get timer and cards from Sergeant at Arms.

  • Make sure you know how to operate the timer.

  • Make sure you sit where you can be seen by the speakers.

  • Continue showing the card until it is time for the next one – it is the responsibility of the timer to ensure that the speakers see the cards!

  • Return timer and cards to Sergeant at Arms.


Speeches have a minimum and a maximum time which are two minutes apart.  Show the green card at the minimum time, the yellow card one minute later and the red card at the maximum time.  A speaker qualifies 30 seconds before the minimum time and is disqualified 30 seconds after the time and subject to clap-down.


Table Topics run from one to two minutes.  Show the green card at one minute, the yellow card 30 seconds later and the red card at two minutes.  A Table Topics speaker qualifies 15 seconds before the minimum time and is disqualified 15 seconds after the maximum time and subject to clap-down.


Evaluators have from two to three minutes.  Show the green card at two minutes, the yellow card 30 seconds later and the red card at three minutes.  A Table Topics speaker qualifies 30 seconds before the minimum time and is disqualified 30 seconds after the maximum time and subject to clap-down.

Vote Counter

The Vote Counter's responsibility is to tally the votes for the categories of:

  • Best Speaker

  • Best Table Topics Respondent

  • Best Evaluator

The vote counter does not vote except to break a tie.

When called upon by the Toastmaster, the Vote Counter will announce the winners in each category.


When the vote counter is on Zoom here is an easy step-by-step way to use the online Poll counter.  

  1. Login a little early and ask the Host (Margret this time) to make you the co-host. 

  2. Once this is done you will see a new icon at the bottom of your Zoom window that says Polls.

  3. The Host will pre-fill the selections, i.e. Best speaker, etc...

  4. Then you can select the Polls and launch the one you need.  You will see the results and be able to record them.  (no one else sees them).

  5. Also, you will need to record the results from the live room (the hotel group).  We will text you these on the Zoom chat window, so watch for them, too.

Table Topics

Table Topics is that portion of the meeting that ensures Toastmasters’ tradition that members without a role speak at every meeting.  This also provides the member with valuable practice in thinking quickly on his/her feet.

  • Check with Toastmaster for the theme of the day and consider using it as a guide.

  • Plan ahead – put some thought into your questions in advance.

  • Identify Toastmaster, Master Evaluator, Speakers, and Evaluators and start with the others first, giving preference to those with no assigned roles.

  • Use questions that will give the speakers an opportunity to expound on them; don’t use tricky or limiting questions.

  • Explain the twofold purpose of Table Topics:  1) to get everyone to speak, and 2) to help people learn to think on their feet.

  • Keep your comments brief – your job is to get others to speak!

  • Keep questions brief!  Don’t ramble on - you will lose the members’ attention.

  • Ask the question – then identify the speaker.

  • Remind people to use the Word of the Day.

The times for Table Topics are as follows:

Green Card:  1:00    Yellow Card:  1:30     Red Card:  2:00     Tolerance:  ±15 seconds

When finished, call for the timer’s report, the grammarian’s report, and then ask the members to vote, listing the names of the qualified participants.  Then yield the podium to the Toastmaster.

General Evaluator

The role of the General Evaluator provides a general evaluation of the overall meeting and introduces the individual evaluators of the speakers.  

The General Evaluator’s comments about the meeting, like the Evaluators’, should commend, recommend and commend – remember to keep any criticisms constructive.

 General Evaluator’s remarks might include the following:

  • Did the meeting start on time?

  • Was the meeting room properly prepared?

  • Did the Ah Counter use the bell appropriately?

  • Was the Word of the Day appropriate?  Could the Grammarian define it and use it properly?

  • Did all of the “helpers” do their jobs properly?

  • Did the Table Topics Master explain the purpose of Table Topics and ask appropriate questions?

  • Did the Toastmaster provide a clear Agenda and an appropriate Theme of the Day?  Did the Toastmaster set the stage for a positive and energetic meeting?

  • Did the Evaluators do an effective job?

At the conclusion of his/her remarks, the General Evaluator should:

  • Call for Timer’s report.

  • Call for a vote for best Evaluator.

The General Evaluator cannot only provide praise, constructive criticism, and direction but can also keep the energy level of the meeting at a high level.


The role of the Evaluator is very well described and discussed in the pamphlet entitled Effective Speech Evaluation which you received along with the primary speech manual when you joined Toastmasters.  If you haven’t read it, take the time to find it and read through it – it deals with the subject very well.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • You should be familiar with the speaker, his/her progress through the manuals, which manual he/she is speaking from, and the stated purpose of the speech he/she is giving as well as the title and subject of the speech he/she is giving.  Make time to talk briefly with the speaker in advance.

  • When you talk to the speaker before the speech, ask also if there is anything in particular to which the speaker wants you to pay special attention, e.g. pacing, nervousness, gestures, etc.

  • Remember that the evaluation process is not just for the benefit of the speaker – it is also a valuable experience for the evaluator and gives him/her valuable practice in delivering praise and constructive criticism on short notice.

As a general rule, remember to:

COMMEND                                       RECOMMEND                                    COMMEND

The times for Evaluations are as follows:

Green Card:  2:00

Yellow Card:  2:30

Red Card:  3:00

Tolerance:  ±30 seconds

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