Meeting Roles

If you are fulfilling a meeting role for the first time, these resources may be helpful:

Toastmaster of the Day:

  1. The Toastmaster of the Day is the "emcee" and sets the tone for the meeting, so plan to say a few words on the theme and think about how to transition from one segment to another.
  2. Since you will be introducing the speakers, email them beforehand to ask about any background information they want you to include in the introduction. Also ask for the length of their talk as this will help you plan the agenda.
  3. If the supporting roles aren't filled by Tuesday, email the club to ask for volunteers. (To check if supporting roles are filled, see the club spreadsheet. To email the club, use the address <>.)
  4. Use the agenda template (also linked under "Member Access" on the right side of the club website) to make the agenda, and print out copies. Remember to change the listed timing for speeches if necessary.
  5. On the day of the meeting, follow the agenda to guide the flow of the meeting.
  6. Take control from the presiding officer. Introduce the theme. Welcome any guests and describe the meeting format. Ask the supporting officers to describe their roles.
  7. Introduce each speaker and thank them after they have spoken. If there is more than one speaker, remind the audience to vote for their preferred speaker.
  8. Introduce the Table TopicsMaster and pass the meeting to them.
  9. Take control of the meeting from the Table TopicsMasters, and summarize the talks to help people vote if the TopicsMaster has not done so.
  10. Give control of the meeting to the General Evaluator.
  11. Take control back from the General Evaluator. Make closing remarks and pass control to the Presiding Officer for announcements.

TableTopics Master

Official TM checklist available at:

1. Before the meeting

Come up with a theme unless it has already been decided
  - discuss this with the Toastmaster
  - all themes, no matter how absurd, are allowed

Make up questions
  - prepare 5-7 questions, but have 1-2 backup if only one prepared speaker
  - traditionally in ascending order of difficulty

2. During the meeting

Start with 1-2 sentences about the theme
Ask the question
  - be brief to squeeze in more questions
  - repeat the exact question so everyone hears it clearly

Pick someone to answer
  - pick people without roles -> people with minor roles -> others
  - guests should be picked in the middle
    - never pick a guest as the first speaker
    - allow guests to back down but strongly encourage them to try
    - no more than 1-2 guests unless all toastmasters without roles have spoken
  - preserve the element of surprise
    - pick person only after asking question
    - asking for volunteers is a bad idea except for guests
  - it's ok (good idea) to decide beforehand who to ask
  - save difficult questions (towards end) for experienced speakers
Transition naturally from answer to next question
  - eg "We have just heard about the ills of gambling addiction. Speaking of ills, healthcare costs..."
  - this can be very difficult without some preparation
  - an alternative is to summarize the previous speaker's response with a witty 1-liner
Conclude the segment with closing remarks
  - remind audience who spoke on what
  - get audience to vote

3. Things to watch for

Control time
  - Table Topics is the more flexible segment, can grow or shrink based on time alloted
  - 1 speaker -> stop at 6.50pm (7-8 questions)
  - 2 speakers -> stop at 6.45pm (5-6 questions)
What makes a good (or bad) question?
  - ask something that people do not normally expect ("what is your favourite color?")
  - preferably without outside knowledge ("what do you think of the presidential debate?")
    - this might be ok if that knowledge is available to everyone ("what do you think of food on the Drag?")
  - something that is opinion based rather than factual ("what is the square root of 4?")
  - over-asked 'good' table topic questions:
    - "which superhero power would you most want to have?"
    - "if you can live in any city you want where would it be?"
    - "describe a time when you were exceedingly brave and regretted it"
  - note that speakers are allowed, even encouraged, to not answer the question directly but talk about a related idea
    - eg "I don't eat on the Drag often because I am a fan of Japanese food. The best Japanese food...."

4. Alternative Table Topic formats
Once in a while we like to try something different:
- Whose line (improv)
- Group storytelling
- Debate
- Courtroom
- Brainstorming
Make sure Toastmaster is on board, and think through things carefully, before trying anything new!

[More meeting roles to follow]