Meeting Roles

Sergeant at Arms

The Sergeant at Arms must arrive early to set up the meeting venue. He or she ensures that the flag, banner, and lectern are in place and that the other meeting officials and audience members have the necessary forms. After the meeting the Sergeant at Arms tidies up the room (everyone’s cooperation in disposing of any trash is appreciated).

Club President

The Club President officially opens and closes the meeting. If the Club President is absent, the next highest ranking club officer may stand in as acting President (usually the VP for Education).


The Grammarian listens carefully to every speaker and, at the end of the meeting, produces the grammarian’s report to recall good and bad uses of language during the meeting. The Grammarian is also responsible for noting which speakers in the Table Topics competition used the word of the day.

Ah Counter

The Ah Counter notes the use of “ums,” “ers,” and other fillers during the speeches and produces a report at the end of the meeting. At Tongue Tamers, the roles of Grammarian and Ah Counter are combined.

Vote Counter

After each of the three main sections (Table Topics, Prepared Speeches, and Evaluations) the members of the audience vote for the best performer in each category. The Vote Counter collects and tallies the votes. In the event of a draw, the Vote Counter casts the deciding vote (but does not tell anybody).


Most speeches have a minimum and maximum time as follows:

Table Topics: 1-2 minutes
Prepared Speeches: Usually 5-7 minutes
Evaluations: 2-3 minutes
General Evaluator: No time limit

The timer uses a green light to signal that the speaker has reached the minimum time, a yellow light to show that the speaker is halfway between the minimum and maximum time, and a red light to show that the speaker has reached the maximum time. At that point the speaker has thirty seconds to finish

The timer reports which speakers have met the time requirements for their speech.


The Toastmaster is responsible for organizing the meeting. During the week prior to the meeting, the Toastmaster ensures that all the meeting roles are filled, emails the agenda to the members, and, during the meeting, ensures that the meeting runs on schedule.

Table Topics Master

Prior to the meeting, the Table Topics Master (TTM) devises a list of topics or questions (usually on a theme related to topical events such as holidays). The TTM may also provide the “word of the day” to the Toastmaster. This allows the “word of the day” to be related to the evening’s theme. At the meeting the TTM will announce a topic or question and call upon a member of the audience to talk about it. The TTM should try to call on attendees who do not have other speaking roles and may call on guests (who have the right to decline).

Table Topics Speaker

When called upon, the Table Topics Speaker should try to speak for one to two minutes on the topic provided by the TTM. They should also try to use the “word of the day.” If the speaker has difficulty coming up with an impromptu speech about the topic, they are allowed to stray from the subject (sometimes quite a long way). The idea is to learn to think on your feet.

Opportunity Master

Unlike most other clubs, Tongue Tamers does not collect club membership dues. All of the membership dues go to Toastmasters International. To raise money for club expenses, there is an opportunity drawing and the Opportunity Master runs this portion of the meeting. Tickets are sold during the five-minute break, and the drawing takes place at the end of the evening. The purchase of tickets is optional and the price is 1 for $1.00 and 3 for $2.00. The individual with the winning ticket wins half the money collected.


Each week, two or three members prepare all aspects of a speech, including any visual aids, if necessary. At the meeting they present their speech. Usually the speakers are working from a speech manual, which provides specific guidelines for each speech. Before preparing a speech, the speaker should read the appropriate section of the manual and ensure that the speech follows as closely as possible to the guidelines in the manual. Often the guidelines will influence the subject of the speech.

Sample YouTube video of a humorous speech.


The Evaluator must listen carefully to the speaker and provide feedback about how the speech was delivered in both general terms and how it addressed the specific goals of that particular exercise in the manual. The speaker’s manual has a one page guideline that lists some of the issues to which the evaluator should be paying attention. The evaluator should provide a written evaluation in response to these questions and a 2-3 minute oral evaluation of the speech. Being an evaluator forces you to listen more critically to what you are hearing. You will also learn important leadership skills in providing encouragement and constructive criticism to the speaker.

The evaluation should begin by listing the positive points about the speech and then provide one or two areas for improvement. Finally, the evaluator should summarize the evaluation and, again, emphasize the strong points of the speech.

Sample YouTube video of an evaluation speech.

General Evaluator

Using the same structure as the speech evaluators, the General Evaluator emphasizes the good points of the meeting (perhaps a new member taking on an advanced role for the first time), suggests one or two areas for improvement, and provides summary of the evaluation.