A typical Toastmasters meeting is chaired by the Toastmaster of the evening and has three main parts:
- Prepared speeches: These are speeches that the speakers prepared in advance at home. The speeches are projects from either the Competent Communicator manual or from one of the Advanced manuals. The duration of the speech depends on the project. We typically schedule three prepared speeches in our meetings. After each speech, you are asked to fill out a short evaluation form to give feedback to the speaker.
- Table topics: These are impromptu speeches, that allow you to train your impromptu speaking skills. The table topics master of the evening typically prepares in advance four to six questions or statements on a topic of his/her choice. At the meeting, the table topics master randomly selects speakers in the audience who will then have one to two minutes to answer one of the prepared questions or comment on a statement. Members are expected to participate, while guests can decline if they prefer not to speak.
- Evaluations: These are evaluations of the prepared speeches. Each speaker has an assigned evaluator who will have two to three minutes to give feedback about the prepared speech. Evaluators highlight the strong points of a speech and provide suggestions for improvement. As for the speakers, after each evalution, you are asked to fill out a short evaluation form to give feedback to the evaluator.
After the evaluations of the prepared speeches, the general evaluator has three to five minutes to provide feedback on the general proceedings of the meeting. The general evaluator also requests the report from the grammarian and the ah counter. The meeting ends with the awards for the best speech, best table topic speaker and best evaluator.
In our club, each meeting, which typically lasts for 1h30, is followed by an apero to allow members and guests to chat informally.
For more details about the roles, please consult the meeting roles, and for more details on the structure of a meeting, please consult the agenda of the next meeting.