Take the stage from the first meeting - sign up for minor roles!

1. Thought/Joke of the day

The Toastmaster (host) will call you at the beginning to present your thought/joke. You will have 2-3 mins on stage, make sure your speech is aligned with the Topic of the meeting, which will be provided to you beforehand.

Thought/joke of the day is a perfect opportunity to practice your public speaking skills. Make sure you put some effort into practicing and rehearsing, so that you don't read from your notes. Try adding your vocal variety and body language skills to enhance your story line and lead to your punch-line effectively.

It is preferable to use your personal experience, avoid internet jokes. The thought or joke must be of good taste and should set the mood of the audience!

When you choose your thought or joke, pay attention to Toastmasters club rules: we do not discuss any themes which can result in polemics or debates among the club members and guests either during the meeting or after it. Therefore, we kindly ask you to choose a theme which is not related to:

  • Politics or any current critical political issues

  • Religion or any current critical religious issues

  • Gender discrimination (sexism)

  • Racial problems

  • LGBT social movements

  • 18+ content 

  • Any other issues that could hurt our members’ feelings or cause serious arguments.

2. Timer

Timer is the most important role in any meeting. As a Timer you will be:

  1. Explaining the timing rules when you are called out at the beginning of the meeting (up to 2 min).

  2. Controlling speakers’ time, table topics and break length during the meeting

  3. Presenting your final report at the end of the meeting (up to 2 min).


Before the meeting you will receive:

  • Timer's Tally Sheet where you will record speakers’ speech time.

  • Meeting Schedule using which you will be able to time break and table topics session length.

  • Timing signals to inform speakers how much time they have.


In the first part of the meeting Toastmaster will ask you to make a short explanation of your role. Please, prepare it at home and present in the clearest possible way. You can talk about the importance of time limits, and what each timing signal you show means. You will have no more than 2 min for it.

During the meeting you will be showing the speakers Timing Signals and writing down the length of their speeches in your Tally Sheet. In the Timer's Tally Sheet you will find the list of speakers' roles and the time limits for each of them. Make sure you are timing the speakers according to their project timing (different projects have different time limits). There are no more than 3 time limits for every role. For every time limit you will have a timing signal. Timing limits signs are as following:

  • Green: the speaker has reached the minimum time limit required for his/her speech.

  • Yellow: informs the speaker of reaching a particular point in their speech.

  • Red: the speaker has reached the maximum limit allowed for his/her speech.

In Table Topics session (the second part of the meeting) each speaker has three time limits:

  • Green: when the speaker reaches 1 minute (unless Table Topics Master specified otherwise).

  • Yellow: when the speaker reaches 1:30

  • Red: when the speaker reaches 2 minutes (unless Table Topics Master specified otherwise).

You don’t need to explain timing limits for the Table Topics session. This will be done by Table Topics Master.

When the speaker reaches their first time limit, show the green signal to him. Make sure he/she sees it. When he/she gets to the second time limit, use the yellow signal. And when it is the last time limit, show the red signal to the speaker and keep holding it until the end of his speech. Make sure the speaker sees all your signals clearly.

The Timer also keeps track of Table Topics and break total length according to Meeting Schedule. In case of running behind schedule informs VPO and Toastmaster who will decide what to do.

In the final part of the meeting, the General Evaluator will ask you to make a short report (up to 2 mins). You should make a general report of time usage and point out names of those who exceeded their time or did not reach their minimum time limit and state how long their speeches were. No need to mention those who made it on time. You could also make a comment on meeting’s start and end time.

After the meeting, please, give back your timing signals to VPO.

3. Ah-counter

Ah-Counter pays attention to all the filler words like 'well', 'but', 'so' and sounds like 'ah', 'um', 'er' used by all the participants when on stage. People often don’t realise how often they use these sounds, and your task is to help them become aware of it.

You will receiver Ah-counter's Tally Sheet. In the first part of the meeting Toastmaster will ask you to make a short explanation of your role. Please, prepare it at home and present in the clearest possible language. You will have no more than 2 min for it.

During the meeting you will be recording speakers' filler words and inappropriate sounds usage in your Ah-counter’s Tally Sheet. You should record the number of times they were used by each speaker. 

In the final part, General Evaluator will ask you to make a short report. You should present a general report of filler words and inappropriate sounds usage and point them out e.g. the filler word used most often today was “like” and the sound “eer”. Also, point out the people who used fillers more and/or less than others. For example, you could tell about the top 3 speakers who have used these words/sounds more frequently than others, and about the bottom 3 speakers who have used them the least. You will have no more than 2 min for your report.

4. Grammarian

As a Grammarian you have a mission to watch everybody’s grammar and appropriate word usage. Before the meeting get a special sheet from VPO, in which you will record all your findings.

In the beginning of the meeting, explain Grammarian’s role when you are called out on the stage (up to 2 min).

During the meeting, listen to everybody's word and grammar usage. Write down any awkward use or misuse of the language (incomplete sentences, sentences that change direction in midstream, incorrect grammar, incorrect words or their mispronunciation) and note who has done those mistakes. Do not write down every minor language misuse, only focus on the major mistakes.

At the end of the meeting, you will be called out by the General Evaluator to present your report (up to 2 min).

  • Stand up and present your report (which mistakes have been made). Try to offer the correct usage in every instance of misuse instead of merely announcing that something was wrong.

  • Report on and praise creative language usage.


Grammarian also has the role of a Word Master. This means that you should find an interesting word or phrase which is not commonly used and would be interesting to learn. Don’t go for totally uncommon words that would be hard to use.

  1. Before the meeting, write your word on the flip chart.

  2. During your role presentation as a Grammarian, announce the word of the day, explain it and give examples on how to use it.

  3. During the meeting count the word usage.

  4. When you are called for the final report, say how many times the word has been pronounced in total and who used it most often. Congratulate them!


©2019 by Moscow Business Toastmasters.