You’ve just joined Toastmasters, and have decided to take a meeting role. Great! You’ve decided that you don’t want to be a Speaker yet, perhaps because of one of the reasons described in Why Take A Role Other Than Speaker?. Here are some guidelines for succeeding in your first role:

  • Decide which role you’d like to perform. Some roles are definitely more appropriate for beginners! Ah/Um Counter and Timer are several of the great roles for beginners, while General Evaluator and Toastmaster should be reserved for more experienced Toastmasters. Your Vice President of Education should dissuade you from these roles until you gain more experience.
  • Review the role descriptions on Toastmasters International and this site. Decide if you want to use a script or even one of the logs provided by Toastmasters International.
  • Pay attention to the role holders at your meeting. How did the Grammarian decide upon that fantastic Word of the Day? Why did the Ah/Um Counter track those particular words? You may have noticed that some of the tasks performed seem slightly different from what’s on Toastmasters International. If you’re impressed or confused by any role reports, reach out to the role holder. In my experience, Toastmasters are friendly and are happy to help.
  • Watch some of the videos about Toastmaster Roles on YouTube. If you’re still confused, this can be a good resource.
  • Think about how you’ll introduce your role and report your results. As a role holder, you will be introduced early on by the General Evaluator. At the end, you’ll give a role report of your results. For example, let’s say you signed up to be an Ah/Um Counter. You could use the script on Toastmasters International to introduce your role. For Ah/Um counter, and most of the other roles, our club tends to report the Speakers’ filler words, followed by the Table Topic Speakers’ filler words, and finally the Evaluators’ filler words. Each filler word is reported separately. If no filler words were noticed for an individual, that is also reported.
  • Just do the role. Try not to procrastinate too much!. Like many things in life, you’ll only really understand something by doing it. It’s OK if you’re not perfect. You’ll improve as you gain experience.

Question: What was your first meeting role as a Toastmaster? As you can see, mine was a Timer. I’ll write more about that when I discuss the Timer role.