Westside Toastmasters, For Public Speaking and Leadership Education

Serving Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, and Greater Los Angeles

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  • Toastmaster: The person who introduces key speaking roles, keeps the meeting running on schedule, and ties all the activities together. That person may also develop theme-oriented material delivered around the other speaking roles to add character and cohesiveness to the meeting.

  • JokeMaster: He/She starts the speaking part of the meeting with a joke to lighten the atmosphere. This provides good practice in developing verbal pacing and storytelling skills.

  • Table Topics Master: The first major portion of the meeting is to exercise our impromptu speaking skills and develop the ability to "think on your feet" in situations such as interviews, seminars, meetings, dealing with customers, etc. Members are given a question or topic and asked to speak about it for 1 to 2 minutes. Guests may also participate if they wish.

  • Prepared Speaker: In the days or week(s) prior to a meeting a prepared speaker will construct a speech, the topic of their own choosing, that addresses objectives and guidelines described in speech manuals. Each speech has specific objectives that vary from one speech project to the next. Speech projects are described in a basic Communications Manual along with a number of Advanced Speech Manuals.

  • Evaluator: A person is assigned to individually evaluate a Prepared Speaker. Each evaluator is alloted 2 to 3 minutes to deliver their comments before the group using guidelines from manuals for the speech projects. The idea is to praise aspects of a speech well-done and tactfully point out areas that in the evaluator's eyes could be improved upon in subsequent speeches.

  • General Evaluator: The evaluator of anything and everything that takes place during a meeting. He / She explains the purpose of evaluations and introduces evaluators for each of the Prepared Speakers. The General Evaluator also introduces the Grammarian and the Filler Word Counter so that they may provide their feedback respectively that was accumulated during the course of the meeting.

  • Filler Word Counter: The person who notes words or sounds used by most speakers as a "crutch" or "filler"; common examples are "ah", "um", overly generalized use of "like", or use of "ands" to construct super-long sentences that rightfully should be split apart -- you get the basic picture.

  • Grammarian: The person in this role comments on the incorrect use of the English lanugage near the end meeting. They may also point out what they thought was an excellent use of language -- where a speaker in any part of the meeting created a strong image in the mind of the listener, was colorful, or especially eloquent or articulate. This person also presents a "word of the day" to be used where possible by speakers in all parts of the meeting to help broaden our collective vocabularies. He / She reports at the end of the meeting who had incorporated the Word of the Day in their speaking roles.

  • Timer: The person who keeps track of the time (with stopwatch and three light system similar to a traffic light) for the impromptu Table Topics, prepared speeches, and speech evaluations. Many times in the real world it is required that we communicate the points of our messages within time boundaries. The timing approach during meetings helps us tailor our individual messages as practice for outside of meetings.