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Variety is the Spice of Life – an Educational Speech

Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 from Pexels


“Laura McHarrie, is here on her 2nd official visit to the club in her role as Area Director. Laura is close to getting her AC Silver award this year. This involves completing two education speeches. She is grateful to Ferndown Speakers for the opportunity to knock two birds with one stone and deliver a speech from The Successful Club Series.

The 11 speeches in The Successful Club Series cover the skills and standards of running a successful club.  Laura has been a Toastmaster at Casterbridge Speakers since 2008. During which time she has been to meetings from Hallmark to Hawksworth in Australia and hopes to share some tips from near and far with you on the subject of Meeting Roles and Responsibilities.

With her speech entitled Variety is the Spice of Life, please welcome Laura McHarrie”

Variety is the Spice of Life, That gives it all its flavour – William Cowper

From the outset a Toastmasters meeting may seem a little complex and confusing.  This list gives you an opportunity to get the gist before you come along. 

The Sergeant at Arms is the Toastmaster’s wingman.  He makes sure the room is set up ready for the start of the meeting.  He gives the names of the guests to the president and the Toastmaster of the evening.  He collects the voting slips and sets up the club awards.  He gives the two minute warning of the start and again after the break.  He opens the meeting with the domestics and hands the meeting over to the Club President.

The Club President welcomes members and guests to the meeting.  Her leadership sets the tone for the meeting, embodies the club values and advises on club business.  She will hand the floor onto the Toastmaster in charge of the meeting.

Whilst we are all Toastmasters, the Toastmaster of the meeting assumes the role of master of ceremonies.  Prior to the meeting, he ensures everyone is happy with their allocated roles.  He liaises with the speakers ensuring he has an appropriate  introduction for each. When he opens the meeting he explains the protocol and any key changes to the agenda.  He introduces the Grammarian and the Timekeeper to explain their roles

The Grammarian keeps a tally on the language that we use.  She listens for the colourful examples that that paint a metaphorical picture.  She also listens out for the crutches, the umms, ahhhs, sos and ands.  Oh and the cliches like … without further ado. She delivers her report later on in the meeting.

The Timekeeper keeps the Toastmaster and the other role players on track.  It is important that prepared and impromptu speakers learn the essence of time.  He will report on the speakers times throughout the meeting when called to by the Toastmaster.

Before the Toastmaster introduces the speaker, he asks the Speech Evaluator to explain to the audience, what the speaker’s project and objectives are. This helps the audience reflect on the key points for the speaker’s benefit and our own learning.

The Toastmaster then takes a minute to introduce the speaker to the audience.  This is the most important part of his role.  The introduction should place the audience in the right frame of mind to receive the speech.  The Speaker takes to the floor to deliver her prepared speech.

In this club before the break, the Vice President of Membership or her deputy gives a five minute outline of membership benefits.

Then, after the break the Toastmaster invites each evaluator to deliver their prepared feedback for the speaker for the benefit of the audience. This makes it great learning for all.

The Table Topics Master takes to the floor to offer all those who haven’t yet spoken to deliver an impromptu speech on a topic of her choice.

The Toastmaster calls upon the Grammarian and the Table Topics Evaluator to deliver their feedback (again) for the benefit of both the participants and the audience.  He then asks the General Evaluator to proffer her report on her Evaluator Team’s skills and her views on other key roles.

Finally, the President closes the meeting, celebrating with the best speaker, the best evaluator and the best table topics speaker as voted for by you the audience.


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