The Meeting

Can we describe a Toastmasters event? Yes sure! It is much more interesting, however, to attend in person to one of our meetings to better understand how it works. A Toastmasters meeting is divided into three separate sessions:

  • Speaking Session – has as its protagonists two to four speakers that will change every evening and they’ve booked their talks with Vice President Education.
  • Table Topics Session – has as its protagonists the greatest possible number of Club Members and guests.
  • Evaluation Session – has as its protagonist the assessment team coordinated by the General Evaluator.

Here are the main “actors” that contribute to a standard Toastmasters meeting:

  • Sargeant-at-Arms – Tells the audience to be quiet, turn off cell phones or put them in silent mode, reminds us all, Club Members and guests, to abide by the rules of Parliamentary Procedures.
  • President – Open every Toastmasters evening, greets the guests; gives notices Club Member of the EXCOMM’s decisions (Executive Committee) for the performance of the Club; introduces the Toastmaster of the day, celebrates the progress of Club Members with the assignment of the pin and the official entry in clubs like Toastmasters to those who face the Ice Breaker; closes the evening.
  • Toastmaster of the day – is the “master of ceremonies” of every Toastmasters meeting: introduce each session of the evening and – for Speaking Session – also presents each character and the theme of the speech that will tackle these. It explains to guests the function and purpose of each section of the evening.
  • Speakers – Two to four, face increasing difficulty speeches according to the manuals, from basic to advanced.
  • Table Topics Master – he or she who manages the improvisation session, stimulating Club Members and guests to answer random questions.
  • General Evaluator – is he or she who coordinates the evaluation session of the talks. He introduces each member of the evaluation team.
  • Speakers’ Evaluators – are proportional to the number of speakers of the evening and have the task of assessing the “how” the speeches were given (the posture was relaxed or tense, eye contact, pauses well managed or nonexistent?) if the objectives have been achieved by the projects and make suggestions (points of improvements) to improve the exposure of the speeches.
  • Grammarians (Italian & English) – are those that evaluate the use of Italian and / or English language of any person who has spoken during the evening, catching both the virtuous use of the language and the misuse and providing suggestions for improvement.
  • Ah Counter – is he or she who finds the use of the “fillers” of the speech (the “ie”, the “look”, the “One moment,” the “here”, etc …), the voice of the aftermath, the “ehmmmm …” or “uhmmmm”.
  • Timer – is he or she who keeps the timing of the evening. Have we used our time properly, respecting the space that we had been assigned or have breached? And by how much?
  • Leadership Evaluator – is he or she who evaluates members for their leadership track (leadership manuals). The Leadership Evaluator is a silent role (has no place on the agenda).
  • Cameraman – is he or she who records with the camera every person who intervenes in the evening to enable them to improve.

* The basic manual is the Competent Communication, which includes 10 projects increasing difficulty after which you get the title of Competent Communicator. ** The advanced manuals are faced after reaching the level of Competent Communicator (Public Relations, Story Telling, Speaking humorously, Entertainment, to name a few). *** The basic Competent Leadership manual has nine projects that are based on so-called “soft skills” of Leadership (Listening and Leadership, Critical Thinking, Giving Feedback, Time Management, Planning and Implementation, Organization and Delegation, Development Facilitator skills Motivation, Mentoring, Team Building).