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Roles and Responsibilities


 These comments and explanations are based on experience in this club. They are a supplement to the several booklets published by Toastmasters International.


It is crucial that every person who attends a meeting be afforded a speaking opportunity. If meetings are started on time and kept on schedule every person can be offered a speaking opportunity, even on well attended mornings, without extending the length of the meeting unduly. Getting started on time is the Presiding Officer's responsibility. The Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, and Chief Evaluator should vigorously conduct their segments on time. The Timekeeper should give any of them a signal if it appears they are running slow.

If the Timekeeper can identify a reason for an overtime performance and can express it in a brief statement he should give it at the end of the meeting. (In this document "he" refers to both male and female members.)

All meeting preparations should be concluded prior to 7:00 a.m. the day of meeting. The Educational Vice-president should confirm well in advance, preferably at the preceding week's meeting, that the Toastmaster of the Day is aware of his assignment. Each segment leader, the Toastmaster, the Table Topics Master, and the Chief Evaluator should confirm that the participants who are first introduced by them are aware of their assignments. For example, the Toastmaster should confirm that the Pinahtroh/Grammarian, the Timekeeper, the speakers, the Table Topics Master and the Chief Evaluator, all of whom he first introduced, are aware of their assignments. When the Chief Evaluator contacts the individual evaluators, he should urge them to contact in advance, the speaker they will evaluate, to discuss with the speaker what the speaker is tying to accomplish and what the evaluator should look and listen for.

Persons who cannot keep scheduled assignments should obtain their own replacement, to avoid excessively complicating the duties of the Educational Vice-president. They should notify the segment leader who introduces them of the change. For example, a TTM who has obtained a replacement should notify the TM, since it is the TM who introduces the TTM.  Members who know in advance of absences should notify the EVP so they will not be scheduled.

Members are urged to attend every meeting, to observe how others conduct the various roles. When you are not scheduled, you are likely to speak impromptu (Table Topics) and repeated impromptu speaking appearances is a good way to become a relaxed and happy impromptu speaker.



The Presiding Officer calls the meeting to order promptly at 7:00 a.m. He then calls upon the Toastmaster of the day for the opening prayer and pledge of allegiance. The PO then recognizes any guests or visiting Toastmasters dignitaries. The PO then makes any announcements and/or conducts any club business, such as induction of new members, etc. and then asks members if they would like to share how participation in Toastmasters has helped them recently, either professionally or socially (AKA - Brags and Boasts). The PO then introduces the TM of the day and relinquishes control of the lectern, waiting until the TM has taken the PO's place, then takes his seat. At the conclusion of the meeting, the TM brings the PO back to the lectern. The PO then, thanks visitors and (time permitting) asks them how they liked the meeting, what or who prompted them to attend and a their impressions of the meeting. The PO then announces the Better/Best Evaluator, Table Topics and Speaker. The meeting should end promptly at 8:00 a.m. If there is additional business to come before the club and it appears that the meeting will run long, the members who must leave at 8:00 a.m. are given the opportunity to retire, and then the meeting can resume.


When called upon by the Presiding Officer at the start of the meeting, gives the invocation and leads members in the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Introduces the Time Keeper, the Pinahtroh/Grammarian, the two Speakers, the Table Topics Master and the Chief Evaluator, hence, he should confirm in advance of the meeting that the persons assigned those positions are aware of their assignment. The Toastmaster sets the tone for the meeting. When introduced by the Presiding Officer, he should in a few words attempt to create an atmosphere of interest, expectation and receptivity. The Toastmaster should plan and rehearse his presentation as carefully as he would a speech assignment. When introducing the prepared speeches, the introduction should be brief, witty and supportive. He should boost rather than roast (tell jokes about) the speaker. If the speech is a manual speech, this should be announced, together with the title of the speech and the time limits of the speech. The Toastmaster should remain at the lectern until the speaker has taken his place and has acknowledged the Toastmaster, usually with a handshake. After the speech, a brief-word of appreciation is good but a lengthy review is quite out of place.

At the end of the prepared speeches, the TM asks the TK if the speakers were within their allotted time. The TM then asks the audience to cast their vote for the Better Speaker, if there are two speakers, or the Best Speaker if there are three or more speakers.

It gives the Toastmaster's segment more cohesiveness if the presentations relate to a theme such as summer, vacations, or football, etc. This also seems to make it easier to find appropriate humor. The Toastmaster may want to coordinate with the Educational Vice-president and the Table Topics Master, to conduct a "Theme Meeting". If the Table Topics fit into the theme, so much the better. The TM then introduces the Table Topics Master. The TM waits at the lectern until the TTM arrives at the lectern and acknowledges the TM. The TM then circulates around the room, collecting the votes. He then tabulates the votes and notifies the Presiding Officer (in writing) of the winner.

At the conclusion of the evaluation portion of the meeting, the TM assumes control of the lectern from the CE. He calls on the Pinahtroh/Grammarian for his report. At the conclusion of the P/G's report, the TM makes a few closing remarks, then returns control of the lectern to the PO, and remains at the lectern until the PO has taken his place.


SPEAKERS (S-1, S-2, etc.)

Speakers give prepared speeches from either the Competent Communicator Manual or from one of the many advanced manuals available from Toastmasters International. Speeches from a manual are encouraged to allow the member to follow the Toastmasters Program and to receive the greatest benefit possible from participation. Non-manual speeches are discouraged. Competent Communicator Manual speeches should be given in the order in which they appear in the manual. Each successive speech builds on what was learned in the previous speeches. Manual speeches MUST meet the guidelines given for the speech in the manual, including the time limits and objectives, in order for the member to receive credit for the speech and progress towards the designation of Competent Communicator.

Subject matter for ALL speeches should be appropriate for "mixed" audiences. Upon completion of their presentation, speakers recognize the TM, and wait at the lectern until the TM has returned.



A principal goal of the Table Topics Master is to give every person not scheduled on the program an opportunity to respond to a Table Topic. One good way to do this is to prepare in advance a list of all the members (or use a copy of the Toaster) and note which members are on the schedule. All the others are eligible for a TT. If time permits, those with less taxing roles (Timekeeper, Pinahtroh/Grammarian, Toastmaster and Chief Evaluator) MAY be called on. Evaluators should NOT be called on and visitors/guests MAY be called on, with their prior consent. He should make note of last minute changes to the schedule that were announced by the Toastmaster at the beginning of the meeting. Table Topics questions may, but do not have to, have a theme or a common thread. The question should be stated briefly and in not more than 12 words, since this is the general rule in Toastmasters Contests. The time limit for responses should be from 1 - 2 minutes.


Table Topics are impromptu talks on subjects the participant is not informed of, until the moment he is called upon. Experience is one of the best teachers for participants to learn to respond to questions with an off-the-cuff response. It is recommended that the participant repeat the question, while he is formulating his answer, to better fix the question in his mind. This is the portion of the meeting that is flexible. The TTM should be prepared to cut the number of participants short, if he has consumed his allotted time and not all eligible members have had an opportunity to participate. At the end of the Table Topics session, The TTM asks the TK which participants were within the allotted time limit. TTM then asks the audience to cast their vote for the Best Table Topics participant. The TTM then returns control of the lectern to the TM. The TTM waits at the lectern until the TM has arrived at the lectern, then circulates around the room and collects the ballots. He then counts the ballots and notifies the PO (in writing) of the winner. If there is a two-way tie, the TTM votes to break the tie.

EVALUATOR (E-1, E-2, etc.)

Evaluators are responsible for giving the prepared speakers positive feedback on their presentations. If the presentation was from a manual, the Evaluator fills out the evaluation guidelines from the manual, which he has obtained from the speaker prior to the beginning of the meeting. The evaluation is an opportunity for the speaker to receive helpful hints on how to improve the presentation, as well as pointing out the things that the speaker did well. The evaluation should not be a synopsis of the speech. At the conclusion of his evaluation, the Evaluator recognizes the Chief Evaluator, and waits at the lectern until the CE takes his place. The time limit for evaluations is 2 - 3 minutes.



The Chief Evaluator's position is twofold. First, he introduces each evaluator, and then returns to the lectern at the end of the final evaluation. He asks the TK if the Evaluators were within their allotted time, then asks the audience to vote for the Better Evaluator, if there were only two Evaluators, or for the Best Evaluator, if there were three or more.  At this time, an audience member should circulate around the room and collect the votes, and deliver them to the CE's seat, to be tabulated by the CE on his return. The second duty of the CE is to give an overall evaluation of the meeting. He should pay particular attention to the way the Toastmaster, the Table Topics Master and the Evaluators performed their duties and may give some insight into how they may have done their assignments even better. The CE should not take it upon themselves to evaluate the speakers, as the have already received their evaluation. At the conclusion of the evaluation portion of the meeting, the CE recognizes the TM, and waits at the lectern until the TM has taken his place. The CE then returns to his seat, tabulates the votes for Better/Best Evaluator, and then notifies the PO (in writing) of the results.



The Pinahtroh/Grammarian does double duty. As the Pinahtroh, he is responsible for collecting the various fines levied against members during the meeting. First, he checks to make sure that all Toastmasters are wearing their TM pins. Second, he listens to all participants and keeps a running tally of their use of filler words or phrases (and so, ,ah, uh etc.). Third, he checks to make sure that the trophies have been returned by the winner from the previous week. As Grammarian he listens to all participants and makes note of their grammar, both positive and negative. He is also responsible for providing a word of the day and a joke.

The word of the day can come from any source and should be chosen as to improve or expand the member’s vocabulary. It is preferable that the word be written on a piece of paper, in letters large enough for the entire audience to see. It should give the spelling of the word, the pronunciation and part of speech of the word. To further clarify the usage of the word, the grammarian should illustrate the usage of the word in a sentence.

During the meeting, he should listen to the participants and make note of those who use the word of the day in their presentations. When called upon by the TM at the end of the meeting, the P/G should be prepared to give a report to the club, detailing those members who owe a fine for not wearing a pin 5 cents), the number of times

a member used a filler word (5 cents per time, with a maximum of 25 cents) and if there are any missing trophies, with a 1 dollar fine per week, for failure to return the trophy. As the Grammarian, he should report those members who used the word of the day, as well as those members who used other interesting, unusual or descriptive words in their presentation. Use of poor or improper grammar should be brought to member's attention, but should be done in a constructive way, to help the member improve.



The Timekeeper is responsible for making sure that the meeting runs on time. In addition to making sure that all participants (Speakers, Evaluators and Table Topics) are within their allotted time, the TK should make sure that the Table Topics Master does not go past his allotted time. The TK should be sure and familiarize himself with the operation of the timing device, prior to the start of the meeting. The TK should also check with the TM, to see if there are any speeches that require nonstandard times. Such speeches will require use of the Manual Advance feature of the timing device, and the TK should be familiar with how this feature works.

The timekeeper shall time the following roles:


·      Speakers – most speeches are 5-7 minutes however some are different lengths; you will need to confirm the length of the speech before the speaker begins.


                        Green:             5 minutes

                        Yellow:            6 minutes

                        Red:                7 minutes


The speaker has a 30 second grace period after the 7 minutes. So if they go 7 minutes and 30 seconds they are still considered ‘within time’.


·      Evaluators – Evaluations are 2-3 minutes. You do not time the Chief Evaluator, only the evaluators that are evaluating speakers.


Green:             2 minutes

Yellow:            2 minutes and 30 seconds

Red:                3 minutes


The evaluator has a 30 second grace period after the 3 minutes. So if they go 3 minutes and 30 seconds they are still considered ‘within time’.


·      Table Topics – Table Topics are 1-2 minutes.


Green:             1 minutes

Yellow:            1 minutes and 30 seconds

Red:                2 minutes


The speaker has a 30 second grace period after the 2 minutes. So if they go 2 minutes and 30 seconds they are still considered ‘within time’.


Note the time for each speaker. If a speaker goes over time do not interrupt them, just make sure that the red light is displayed and let them finish. You will be asked if each group of speakers is on time prior to votes being cast.