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Role Descriptions & Meeting Signup

Here is the link for members to sign up for roles at our meetings: Zuriberg signup

Please find role descriptions for club meetings and committee members below. Click on the relevant tab to see further details

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[tab title=”Toastmaster” active=”active”]


It is an honor and a challenge to lead the meeting as the Master of Ceremonies, in Toastmasters terms the Toastmaster of the Evening. The primary duty of the TME is to act as a genial host, introducing speakers in a way that elicits the attentive receptivity of the audience.

Prior to the Meeting:

Most important! You are responsible for ensuring that roles for the meeting are filled and confirmed ideally at least 2 weeks in advance of the meeting. The VPE or other officer will notify you of the TME assignment ideally at least one month in advance of the meeting whenever possible.

You will see that as TME you are the “Meeting Manager”. This means that you have full rights to edit the agenda of the meeting, as well as to allocate speech slots and all roles, in the event that a confirmed speaker or functionary cannot attend.
If you need help navigating Easyspeak as the Meeting Manager, call the President, VPE, or VP of Membership, or another member you know has experience in Easyspeak. (It’s a great tool, but not always entirely intuitive.)

You may use Easyspeak to allocate roles, and then you should ensure that all program participants confirm their roles. In case of delay or doubt, please email or call members. Certainly write or call to confirm last-minute assignments.

It is common in an international club for work and other obligations to preclude attendance at the last minute. If a prepared speaker or other participant drops out at the last minute, ask the person in the “Hot Seat” to replace them. If more than one person drops out, approach other members in advance of the meeting.

At exceptional meetings when attendance is very low, around 10 people, feel free to omit minor roles (such as Listener or Grammarian), and opt instead to allot more time to Table Topics, for example.

Ask the speakers if they need the flipchart or the beamer. Inform the Sergeant at Arms (SAA) 3 days before the meeting

Print the agenda from EasySpeak on the day of the meeting and distribute it at the meeting. (approx. 30 copies–verify number of attendees in EasySpeak and add several extra for guests). Before you print the agenda, make sure that an extra 2 minutes is added to each speech segment, to provide the necessary time for introductions prior to, and club evaluations after, each speech. You can copy and paste the agenda into MS Word (or another program) to delete the information at the top of the Easyspeak page which does not need to be printed, but must be displayed in Easyspeak

Arrive no later than 20 minutes prior to the meeting to distribute agendas and discuss roles with participants

Upon Arrival at the Meeting

  • Verify that the room is arranged according to speaker/other needs
  • Distribute an agenda to each place-setting
  • Verify that all functionaries are present and that equipment is in working order (eg. timing device, beamer)
  • After the President opens the meeting, keep the schedule flowing according to the times listed in the agenda.
  • On rare occasions when no officer is present to preside at the meeting, invite the guests to stand and introduce themselves
  • Give a brief (1″) overview of the evening program, including any special theme (debate, contest, speech marathon, etc.)
  • Inform participants of any unprinted, last-minute amendments to the program
  • Use appropriate salutations/titles for all functionaries, including speech evaluators
  • The TME introduces the prepared speaker. The TME will announce the objectives of the speech, call the speaker on stage, say the title of the speech, repeat the title of the speech and say one more time the name of the speaker.
  • When the prepared speaker is finished, stand to shake his/her hand and ask the timer for 1 minute for club evaluations.
  • Then introduce the next speaker.
  • After all of the speakers have finished, ask the Timer if they all kept to their times, to verify that nobody was disqualified
  • Everyone who adhered to his speech time frame qualifies to be voted as “Best Speaker”
  • Ask everyone to cast their ballots for the “Best Speaker”
  • Invite the Jokemaster to tell a joke while people vote for “Best Speaker”
  • Break for dinner – we always want our dinner breaks to be minimum length 30 minutes so that all participants can enjoy their food.
  • Resume the meeting, inviting the Speech Evaluators to give their assessments
  • After the last Speech Evaluation, ask the Timer if all the Speech Evaluators were in time
  • Those who adhered to the evaluation time frame qualify to be voted as “Best Evaluator”
  • Ask everyone to cast their ballots for “Best Evaluator”
  • Adjust other meeting segments (Table Topics, for example) as required to ensure the meeting ends on time, keeping attendees and the Timer up to date with any unforeseen changes
  • Once the GE has finished his/her evaluation, introduce the Jokemaster, if applicable. When the Jokemaster is finished, make your final comment and turn the remainder of the meeting over to the President
  • On rare occasions when no officer is present to serve in the President’s role: invite the guests to stand and share their observations; address necessary club business; close the meeting.

After the Meeting

  • Ask an officer to sign your project record
  • At home again, enter the winners (Best Speaker, Evaluator, and TT Speaker) into the Easy-Speak agenda page, and close the meeting

Congratulations! This is an authoritative role which helps you to cultivate leadership skills and stage presence.

[/tab][tab title=”General Evaluator”]

General Evaluator

The role of GE is extremely important. This person is responsible for giving feedback on the entire meeting, including the performance of the Toastmaster of the Evening and all other functionaries. Feedback may examine administrative and organizational issues not addressed in any other forum.

Prior to the Meeting

  • Assist the TME in filling the evaluator roles. Contact all speech evaluators and other evaluation team members (Listener, Ah & Vote Counter, Grammarian, Timer) well in advance of the meeting. Ensure that they understand their responsibilities. Remind speech evaluators, in particular, that good evaluations consist of accurate, analytical feedback on the speech content and delivery.
  • Ask the Club President and TME if there is anything particular that they would like you to pay attention to during the course of the meeting.
  • Prepare a brief explanation of your duties and a list of your team members, so you can call on them when required.

Upon Arrival at the Meeting

  • Meet briefly with each functionary to ensure they are prepared for their roles.
  • Confirm that the timer is comfortable with the timing device and knows the time-limits for each part of the meeting and each speaker.
  • Make sure that each evaluator has the speaker’s manual and knows how to evaluate the speech and how to introduce the respective speaker.
  • Note how well the venue is prepared and if the meeting begins on time

During the Meeting

  • IN YOUR OPENING SEGMENT: Remind evaluators and members that the focus of speech and other evaluations should be analytical, useful feedback for speakers and meeting participants, not shows on the part of evaluators. Voting for Best Speech Evaluator should be based on the depth and usefulness of the feedback, not the flash of the evaluator’s performance.
  • Observe the meeting carefully and record your observations – include positive opinions and any recommended areas for improvement.
  • When called on by the TME, stand at the front and invite your team up one at a time (listener, ah & oh counter, grammarian & timer) to give their reports. After they are finished, give your report, in which you may include the following:
  • Flow and general conduct of the meeting (eg. Opened on time? Were program changes clear?)
  • Various functionary roles and reports (eg. Did the Timer maintain control; did the Grammarian make useful comments on relevant grammatical issues?)
  • Did evaluators offer relevant praise and useful feedback?
  • Sergeant at Arms
  • Overall performance of TME
  • Business and/or education sessions (eg. Too long/boring?)
  • Table Topics (eg. creativity, involvement of all who have not had a chance to speak, including guests if they choose)
  • Other general comments
  • Cede the stage to the TME

[/tab][tab title=”Speaker”]


A major portion of each meeting is centered around three or more Prepared Speakers. Speeches typically last form five to seven minutes and their preparation is essential.In order to prepare the speech, the speaker follows the assignments on her/his manuals

[/tab][tab title=”Speech Evaluator”]

Speech Evaluator

The Züriberg Toastmasters Club is committed to:

  • improving the evaluation process
  • providing adequate training and guidance to those wishing to evaluate others, and
  • recognizing the importance of evaluating all that we do.

A speaker receives an evaluation after every prepared speech. The importance and value of evaluations cannot be understated. The evaluation you offer could make the difference between a worthwhile and a wasted speech for the speaker. In addition to your oral feedback, you will also present the speaker with a written evaluation in his/her manual.

Evaluations help speakers improve, and are at the core of the Toastmasters program. Without them, speakers may not develop as quickly. An evaluator is required to be aware of the speaker’s progress to date, skill level, habits, and mannerisms. If the speaker employs a technique or gesture that elicits a positive response from the audience, tell him/her, so he/she will be encouraged to use it again.

Evaluations are also an additional opportunity to improve our own speaking skills.

Prior to the Meeting

  • Please download and review “202 Effective Evaluation” and “292A Evaluate to Motivate”, attached at the bottom of this page.
  • Evaluation requires careful preparation if the speaker is to benefit. Remember, the purpose is to help people develop skills in various situations, including formal speeches, discussions and meetings.
  • Talk with the speaker to find out which project in which manual the speech pertains to. Study the project objectives and the evaluation guide in the manual.
  • Review the speech objectives and what the speaker hopes to achieve in particular. Find out which techniques or skills the speaker hopes to strengthen & any weaknesses they wish to address.
  • Ask the speaker for information that you can use to introduce him. Excellent advice on introductions:

Upon Arrival at the Meeting

  • Talk to the General Evaluator to confirm the evaluation session format.

During the Meeting

  • Record your impressions and answers to the evaluation questions in the manual.
  • When introduced, stand and give your evaluation. Be as objective as possible. Good evaluations may give new life to discouraged members and poor evaluations can dishearten members who tried their best.
  • Always provide the speaker with methods for improving. For every criticism, you should offer a specific suggestion for improvement. Focus on 2-5 suggestions at most.
  • Try to begin and end with a note of encouragement or praise.
  • Don’t read out lengthy written comments. Your time is limited, so highlight the most important points. The oral evaluation is partly for the benefit of all meeting attendees.
  • Praise successful elements of the speech, and explain why they were successful. Give feedback about aspects of the speech that were impressive and contributed to the overall success, such as gestures, humor and personal stories.
  • Be honest and candid about perceived faults or distracting mannerisms.
  • Write, don’t announce, personal comments.
  • Overall, give feedback in the same way that you would like to receive it.

[/tab][tab title=”TableTopic Master” active=”active”]

TableTopic Master

It is tradition at Toastmasters that, whenever possible, everyone at a meeting is given an opportunity to speak. The Table Topics session is the part of the meeting which maintains this tradition. The Table Topics Master (TTM) calls on members with no roles, or with very minor roles, to speak impromptu. Table Topics speakers have 1-2 minutes to answer the question put to them by the TTM. The TTM prepares and issues the topics; originality is desirable.  Each speaker may be given an individual subject or a choice of subjects may be presented from which the speaker can draw at random.

Prior to the meeting

  • Find out who will have a large speaking role at the meeting (TME, GE, Evaluators, Grammarian) so you can call on others first.
  • When choosing your questions, select those that will inspire the speakers to expand on them, give their opinions, etc. Don’t make the questions too long or complicated. Phrase them in such a way that the speaker can clearly understand what you want them to talk about.
  • Keep your comments short. Your job is to give others a chance to speak, not to give a series of mini-speeches yourself.
  • Remember that Table Topics has two purposes: (1), to give everyone a chance to speak, especially those who do not have a role, and (2), to train people to speak extemporaneously.

Upon Arrival at the meeting

  • Be certain that the Timer knows the timing protocols for this part of the meeting. After the 2 minute limit is reached, the speaker is afforded a grace period of 30 seconds to finish.

During the meeting

  • Before launching into the TT questions, briefly state the purpose of the Table Topics session and how it is conducted.
  • Remind the audience that pausing at the front for 10-30 seconds before beginning a response is not only acceptable, but encouraged, to allow them to formulate a coherent statement. It is common TT contest practice.
  • Set the scene for your topics program. Keep your remarks brief but enthusiastic. Encourage the speakers to use the “Word of the Day”.
  • Keep the program rolling. Be certain everyone understands the maximum time they have for their response.
  • State the question briefly, BEFORE calling on a respondent. This serves two purposes: (1) it holds everyone’s attention as each one is thinking of a response in case they are called upon, and (2) it adds to the value of the impromptu element by giving everyone an opportunity to improve their listening and thinking skills.
  • Call on speakers at random. Avoid going around the room in order. Give each participant a different question. Don’t ask two people the same thing unless you ask each specifically to give the ‘pro’ or ‘con’ side. (Or unless you are approaching it as a TT contest practice session.)
  • Watch your total time frame. Check the printed agenda for the total time allotted to Table Topics and adjust the number of questions to end your session on time. Even if your session started late, adjust the number of questions so that the meeting is back on schedule.
  • Only if time permits at the end of the session should you call on members with meeting roles.
  • At the end of the session, ask the timer to report on those eligible for the Best Table Topics speaker award. Provide a quick summary of the eligible speakers and their individual responses. Then ask attendees to vote. Make sure that votes are passed to the vote counter.

[/tab][tab title=”Grammarian” active=”active”]


Being the Grammarian is truly an exercise in developing your listening skills. You have two basic responsibilities:

  • Introduce the Word of the Day at the beginning of the meeting (usually with a definition and examples of common usage). At our club, we acknowledge attendees’ use of the word by rapping lightly on the table.
  • Comment on the use of English during the course of the meeting. This includes commenting on good and bad grammar. Make recommendations when it is poor, and also highlight colorful, eloquent or exceptional usage.

Prior to the meeting

  • Select a ‘Word of the Day’. It should be a word that increases our vocabulary, a word that can be incorporated easily into everyday conversation, but which is different from the way we usually express ourselves.  An adjective or adverb is generally advisable, since they are more adaptable than nouns or verbs, but feel free to select your own special word.
  • In letters large enough to see from the back of the room, print or write your word on the flipchart along with a brief definition.  Prepare at least one sentence as an example of how to use your word.
  • Ask the General Evaluator (GE) if you should explain your role alongside your introduction of the word of the day in the beginning of the meeting. Prepare your role description, if so.

Upon arrival at the meeting

  • Place the flipchart at the front of the room where it can be seen by all.

During the meeting

  • When introduced, announce the ‘Word of the Day’, state its part of speech (noun, etc), define it, use it in a sentence, and request that anyone speaking during any part of the meeting use it.
  • Briefly explain the role of the Grammarian if agreed to beforehand with the General Evaluator.
  • Throughout the meeting, listen to everyone’s word usage. Note any awkward deployment or misuse of the language (incomplete sentences, sentences that change direction mid-stream, incorrect grammar, malapropisms, tautology, etc).  Write down who used the Word of the Day (or a derivative of it), noting those who used it correctly or incorrectly.
  • When called on by the General Evaluator during the evaluation segment, take the stage and give your report. Try to offer the correct usage in every instance where there was a misuse, rather than merely listing errors. Report on creative language usage and announce who used the Word of the Day (or a derivative of it) correctly or incorrectly
  • Please also acknowledge good use of the English language.

[/tab][tab title=”Listener” active=”active”]


The purpose of the Listener is to listen carefully during the meeting and make a note of interesting words or phrases (from speakers, evaluators, everyone). During the evaluation session at the end of the meeting, the listener has 2-3 minutes to repeat words and phrases to the audience. The audience tries to recall who said what.  This role helps the listener improve listening and note-taking skills, and helps the audience’s improve listening and memory skills.

Prior to the Meeting

  • Ask the General Evaluator (GE) if he/she will invite you to give a brief explanation of the duties of the Listener in the beginning of the meeting for the benefit of the guests. If so, prepare those your role description.

Upon Arrival at the Meeting

  • Get a pen and blank piece of paper on which to make notes.

During the Meeting

  • Explain the role of the Listener to the club if invited to do so by the General Evaluator (GE).
  • Throughout the meeting, listen carefully to everyone make a note of words and phrases that catch your attention. They can be common or unusual. This is up to you. Do not forget to write down who said what.
  • When called on by the GE during the general evaluation section, take the stage and repeat words and phrases to test the audience’s memory. Ask the audience to say who said what, wait until the correct name has been said, and confirm it. Then move onto the next phrase. You may wish to mix-up the order of phrases to keep people guessing. Your time limit is 2-3 mins.


[tab title=”Ah & Vote Counter” active=”active”]

Ah & Vote Counter

The purpose of the Ah & Vote Counter is to:

  • Note words and sounds used as crutches, voiced pauses, or pause fillers, by anyone who speaks during the meeting.  Words such as ‘and’ or ‘well’, ‘but’, ‘so’, ‘you know’ or sounds such as ‘ah’, ‘um’, ‘er’ may be inappropriate interjections. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase unduly.
  • Collect and tally all votes for Best Speaker, Best Evaluator, and Best Table Topics speaker. Confer with the Timer to make sure that all speakers were within their required time limits and have not been disqualified.

Prior to the Meeting

  • Ask the General Evaluator (GE) if he/she will invite you to explain the duties of the Ah & Vote Counter at the beginning of the meeting for the benefit of guests. If so, prepare your role description.

During the Meeting

  • Introduce your role to the audience if agreed to beforehand with the General Evaluator (GE).
  • Throughout the meeting, observe everyone (excluding guests) for crutch words, sounds and long pauses used as fillers (rather than as a necessary part of sentence structure). Write down how many crutch words or words each person used during all portions of the meeting.
  • When called on by the General Evaluator during the evaluation segment, take the stage and deliver your report.
  • Please also acknowledge people who used no filler words
  • Count the votes for Best Speaker, Best Evaluator and best Table Topic Speaker. Hand the results over to the president at the end of the meeting. He will announce the winners and award ribbons.


[tab title=”Timer” active=”active”]


Each segment and role is timed, and it is the timer’s responsibility track and record all times.

Prior to the Meeting

  • Ask the General Evaluator (GE) if he/she will invite you to give a brief explanation of the timing rules and signals at the beginning of the meeting for the benefit of the guests. If so, prepare the explanation.
  • Bring the CL manual to the meeting.

Upon Arrival at the Meeting

  • Get timing equipment from the Sergeant at Arms. Ensure you understand how to operate the stopwatch or signal device, and make certain that it is in good working order.
  • Sit where the signal device can be seen easily by all speakers (usually in the center of the meeting room).

During the Meeting

  • If agreed to with the General Evaluator, explain the timing rules and demonstrate the signal device.
  • Throughout the meeting, signal to each program participant the green, amber, and red times, according to the agenda (and including 30-second grace periods*). Record each participant’s name and time.
  • Be prepared to answer when the Toastmaster of the Evening (TME) asks you if the candidates for the best speaker, the best table topic speaker and the best evaluator are all within time (and therefore eligible for awards).
  • When the GE asks you to give your report at the end of the meeting, take the stage. Valid comments include everything pertaining to timing such as: whether or not the meeting started on time, whether some speakers or evaluators exceeded their time limits, whether the dinner break ended on time, etc.


If the speaker goes OVER his/her time limit by more than thirty seconds, he/she is disqualified from the “Best” vote. If the speaker speaks UNDER his/her time limit by more than thirty seconds, he/she is disqualified,

In Table Topics, the speaker has to speak at least one minute, no less.


[tab title=”Jokemaster” active=”active”]


Prior to the Meeting

  • Prepare two jokes to present during the club meeting, one anytime the Toastmaster of the Evening (TME) calls on you to fill a gap in the meeting segment before dinner, and the other either for after dinner or the end of the meeting.

Upon Arrival at the Meeting

  • Ask the TME when you will most likely be invited to present your jokes.

During the Meeting

  • When introduced, take the stage and entertain us!


[tab title=”Hot Seat” active=”active”]

Hot Seat

Your job is to fill a vacant role (usually speaker) at the last minute, in the event that anybody scheduled to perform a meeting role is absent. So be prepared to give a speech. In case you do not have to step in at the last minute the VP Education will schedule a speaker role at the following meeting.


[tab title=”Vice Sergeant at Arms” active=”active”]

Vice Sargeant at Arms

The Vice SAA serves alongside the SAA as the club’s ambassador, the first contact point for guests and members at each meeting.

Every member is obligated to be the Vice SAA at least 2x per year.

Prior to the Meeting

  • Consult with the SAA as to whether you should print any meeting documents or bring anything else to the meeting. See the SAA description in this Discussion Forum for all meeting materials.
  • Be prepared to arrive early (latest 45 minutes prior to the start of the meeting, generally 18:15) on the day of the meeting.

Upon Arrival at the Meeting

  • Arrive 45 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
  • Supplies are all the way upstairs in the closet of the Carolistube
  • Extract the name tags, name placards, table placards,
  • Arrange the room and equipment (with the help of the Vice SAAs):
  1. Club banner displayed in a corner at the front of the room
  2. Beamer and screen set up (with power and extension cords) if applicable
  3. First aid kit laid out
  4. 4-5 evaluation forms at each place
  5. An agenda (from the TME) at each place
  6. Ballots at each place
  7. A pen at each place
  8. Extra note paper on each table
  9. Table number placards on each table (so the waiters can read them to serve meals)
  10. Name tags and name placards laid out for members; blank name placards and name tags ready for guests, plus marker for writing
  11. Flipchart and markers set up for Grammarian (in corner opposite banner next to the stage)
  12. New Member Certificates ready for newly inducted members if applicable (tiny black leather case in the blue drawer)
  13. Give the timer (digital or analog) and time cards to the Timer
  14. Give the gavel and “best” ribbons to the President
  15. For special meetings, make sure the requisite materials are available and furniture/props arranged
  16. In particular for debates: The SAA should bring special debate ballots to the debate, ensure the 2 timer bells are available, and arrange to have 2 tables with 2 chairs each placed to the left and right of the stage area for the debate teams.

Get your own drink and glass and place them at your seat

Sit at the back of the room to quietly and discreetly greet and situate guests/members who arrive late

15 Minutes prior to the Meeting

  • Stand at the door with to greet guests and members
  • Ensure all members and guests order and pay for meals and drinks
  • Have guests write their names clearly in large letters on a name placards, both sides
  • Fill out a name tag for each guest.
  • Give guests a brochure
  • Help guests find a seat and introduce them to experienced members
  • Make a list of all guests, and give the list to the President before the meeting begins (for introductions)

After the Meeting

Collect and store all club paraphernalia — including unused evaluation forms, ballots, and notepaper — carefully in its proper bag/box/case, and return everything to the supply closet.