The success of a Toastmasters meeting depends on the program participants. There are many roles to fill, and each job is designed to improve the members’ public speaking and leadership skills. Program participants must know and understand their duties so they can prepare for them. Some roles can be combined – for example, the Ah-Counter might also be the grammarian or listen for uses of the word of the day.
When saying Grace, keep your prayer short. Instruct everybody to stand and bow their heads before you begin.
Toast to TMI
When called upon to give your toast, keep in mind your time limit – 4minutes max. Your speech may include a brief history of where toastmasters started, you may include a testimony of how toastmasters has been of benefit to you. Once you are ready to give the toast, instruct all to “charge your glasses and stand”. Everybody will remain standing and applaud the speaker until the speaker is seated.
One benefit of Toastmasters is that it helps people improve their grammar and word use. Being grammarian also provides an exercise in expanding listening skills. You have several responsibilities: to introduce new words to members, to comment on language usage during the course of the meeting, and to provide examples of eloquence.
The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any word or sound used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and, well, but, so and you know. Sounds may be ah, um or er. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I” or “This means, this means.” These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners. The Ah-Counter role is an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills.
One of the skills Toastmasters practice is expressing a thought within a specific time. As timer you are responsible for monitoring time for each meeting segment and each speaker. You’ll also operate the timing signal, indicating to each speaker how long he or she has been talking. Serving as timer is an excellent opportunity to practice giving instructions and time management – something we do every day.