A typical Meeting has three main sections with several other activities occurring throughout.
The meeting is opened by the Sergeant at Arms, who introduces the Club President. One club member leads the members in the Pledge of Allegiance and then the President leads the members and guests in introducing themselves. The President then introduces the evening’s Toastmaster, who runs the evening’s meeting.
The Toastmaster introduces the people who have roles during the meeting before handing over to the Table Topics Master
1. Table Topics
The Table Topics Master has prepared a series of topics, usually with a common theme. He or she raises those topics one at a time and invites a member of the audience to speak for one to two minutes on that topic. The speaker should also try to use the “word of the day,” which is announced before the table topics contest starts.
Usually, the speakers do not have any major speaking role and, guests may be invited to participate. As a guest, you may decline the invitation if you feel uncomfortable.
After Table Topics, there is usually a five minute break when the Opportunity Master sells tickets for the opportunity drawing.
2. Prepared Speeches
Each week, two or three members prepare speeches, along with any visual aids they may need and present the talks at the meeting. The talks are usually 6-8 minutes, although advanced speeches may be longer.
After each speech, there is a minute for members of the audience to complete a short evaluation form. The form provides guidelines about the sort of things you should be looking at during a talk (and the sort of things people will be looking at when you give a talk.
Sample YouTube video of a humorous speech.
In addition to the short written evaluations, all speakers get a full evaluation. The evaluators speak for two to three minutes and start by listing the speaker’s strong points before suggesting one or two areas for improvement. The idea of a good evaluation is to provide the speaker with encouragement and advice.
After the speaker evaluations, we have the General Evaluator, who gives an appraisal of the meeting as a whole.
Sample YouTube video of an evaluation speech.
Club members vote for the best speaker in each section (Table Topics, Prepared Speeches, and Evaluations). At the end of the meeting the Toastmaster awards a ribbon to the winner in each category and may ask the guests for some short comments about the meeting.
The Toastmaster returns control of the meeting to the Club President, who will bring up any items of club business. After club business, the President thanks everybody for attending and adjourns the meeting.
Usually club officers and members will hang around for a few minutes and guests can take this opportunity to find out, informally, about the club. If you are considering joining the club, you should talk to the Vice President for Membership, who will be happy to help with membership forms.