Meeting Roles and Responsibilities
Fellow members. Raise your hand if you have gone through the experience of getting custom tailor made dresses or have seen an arranged marriage. What do you think is common in these experiences with toastmasters. The awkward state of being measured constantly. It is difficult to be the center of attention. You get a feeling that your flaws are getting exaggerated and they will get reported at the end. The thing about custom tailor made clothing and arranged marriages is that, you do it because you need support. Those suites fit better. You rely on the experience of others for some level of advice. Similar are the objectives of toastmasters. You can get an audience amongst a group of friends or at a family event but at toastmasters speakers don’t just get any audience, there is an entire team with a defined set of objectives to help you succeed. The successful club series at toastmasters helps to improve the club conduct by talking about the responsibilities of the various roles in the club so that we can help the speakers and they in turn can help us.
Here are the standard meeting roles that you would find in any toastmasters club. The toastmaster is the meeting manager whose role is to setup the agenda and to get it to flow. The toastmaster fills us the roles and introduces speakers. It is the responsibility of the toastmaster to warm the stage for the speaker and if the speaker is nervous to get on the stage, help him/her feel more comfortable. Topicsmaster has the responsibility of making the meeting more inclusive. Everyone has taken the misstep to come up to the meeting and they need to be punished with stage time. The topicsmaster has to figure out who has the least amount of stage time and needs to balance the usage. The most difficult part of a topicsmaster role is to keep the stage warm and exciting for guests to have the confidence to come up. They already took a major step forward and if the club needs to support them.
Then we have the speakers who should have planned and prepared their speeches. They hold the heart of the meeting and their energy makes the meeting fly. The General evaluator introduces the evaluators, gets the report from the functionaries and evaluates the meeting. The general evaluator has the responsibility of completing the feedback loop and should be well versed in the meeting conduct at toastmasters. Next are the speech evaluators who provide oral and written evaluations. The timer emphasizes on the importance of time while the grammarian checks the formal usage of language. The ah counter measures the interruptions in the speech.
Then we have the extended roles that we fill at Fair Oaks. This includes the Humorist who starts the day with a joke, the ballot counter who measures the votes and the word master which is a spin off from the grammarian role who counts the usage of the word of the day.
Additional roles present in other clubs or in the manuals which we curently don’t do at Fair Oaks include these. The Hear Master prepares 3 questions from the first half of the meeting and awards the most attentive listener. The Invocator starts the meeting with a prayer. The parliamentarian is a spin off from the general evaluator who understands the toastmasters bylaws and policies to help members. The Ha counter is someone we employ once in a while at Fair Oaks who counts the number of jokes where at least person laughed.
Apart from these there are club officers who help conduct the meeting. The Sergeant at arms sets up the meeting location and also returns it to the normal state after the meeting. The president helps the toastmaster ensure a functional meeting. As a leader, the president sets the mood of the meeting and does the opening and closing of the meeting and makes all announcements. The VP of Education charts the course of learning for everyone, helps us complete our assignments. This also includes the guests who don’t understand how toastmasters work. VP of PR makes the club known and maintains the website. VP of Membership performs the membership building in the club, conducts inductions and helps guests. The secretary maps the meeting minutes and is the archive of information about the officer and regular meetings. The treasurer takes care of all financial matters, the membership dues, the tax forms and the club solvency.
A lot goes on in a Toastmasters meeting. Coming together every Sunday is the beginning, continuing to be here is progress and conducting such wonderful meetings as a team is success at Toastmasters. Thank you.