During your Toastmasters experience, you will have the opportunity to serve in many capacities. By participating in all functions, you will receive well-rounded experience in communication and leadership.
A major portion of each meeting is centered around three or more speakers. Their speeches are prepared based on manual project objectives and should last from five to seven minutes for projects in the basic Communication and Leadership Program manual and eight or more minutes, depending on the assignment, for projects in the Advanced Communication and Leadership Program manuals. Preparation is essential to success when you are the speaker.
After every prepared speech, the speaker receives an evaluation. After you have presented a few speeches, you will be asked to serve as an evaluator and will evaluate one of the prepared speakers for the meeting. In additional, to your oral evaluation, you will also give the speaker a written evaluation using the guide in the manual. The evaluation you present can make the difference between a worthwhile or a wasted speech for your speaker. The purpose of the evaluation is to help the speaker become less self-conscious and a better speaker. This requires that you be fully aware of the speaker's skill level, habits, and mannerisms, as well his or her progress to date. If the speaker uses a technique or some gesture that receives a good response from the audience, tell the speaker he or she will be encouraged to use it again.
The Toastmaster of the meeting will call on you to explain the timing rules. One of the lessons to be practiced in speech training is that of expressing a thought of a specific time. The timer is the member responsible for keeping track of time. Each segment of the meeting is timed. You should explain your duties, and report to the Club clearly and precisely. This exercise is an excellent opportunity in practicing communicating instructions - something we do every day.
The Table Topics Master
The Toastmasters program has a tradition - every member speaks at a meeting. The table topic session is that portion of the meeting which insures this tradition. The purpose of this period is to have members "think on their feet" and speak of a minute or so. The topic master prepares and issues the topics; originality is desirable as much as possible. Each speaker may be given an individual subject or a choice of subjects may be presented from which members can draw at random.
The General Evaluator
The general evaluator is just what the name implies - an evaluator of anything and everything that takes place throughout the meeting. The responsibilities are large, but so are the rewards. The general evaluator is responsible to the Toastmaster who will introduce you; at the conclusion of the evaluation segment of the meeting, you will turn control to him or her. You are responsible for the evaluation team, which consists of the timer,grammarian, ah counter, and table topics evaluator if your Club has one. The usual procedure is to have one evaluator for each major speaker, but this is not necessary. You are free to set up any procedure you wish, but each evaluation should be brief, yet complete. Methods for conducting the evaluation sessions are limitless. Review the Effective Speech Evaluation manual for ideas.
The main duty of the Toastmaster is to act as a genial host and conduct the entire program including introducing participants. Program participants should be introduced in a way that excites the audience and motivates them to listen. He or she keeps things moving smoothly. The Toastmaster creates an atmosphere of interest, expectation and receptivity.
The purpose of the grammarian is to note words and sounds used as a "crutch" or "pause fillers" by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections such as "and, well, but, so, you know". Sounds may be "ah, um, er". You will also keep track of the "Word Of The Day".
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