What happens at a typical meeting of Leipzig Toastmasters?
For each meeting, we prepare an agenda to hold the assigned roles and events that will take place. We start at 7:10 pm and finish at approximately 9:40 pm. So with each meeting you attend you gain about two hours and a half of speaking and mostly listening experience.
A typical meeting runs like this:
The Toastmaster of the Evening opens the meeting, and throughout the evening, he or she will explain the agenda, announce speakers etc.
In the Introductory round everybody present briefly introduces himself or herself. Through this quick “warm-up”, guests get an idea who the present members are, and members get to know the guests.
The Toast of the Evening is proposed by a member, to any subject of his or her choice, and lasts 1 – 2 minutes.
During the Table Topics Session, people get an opportunity to give brief 1–2 minute impromptu speeches. A Table Topics Master has prepared 6–8 questions or statements, and calls members to give a brief spontaneous speech on this. Even you as a guest can give such an impromptu speech if you volunteer to do so.
Giving a Prepared Speech is a privilege reserved to chartered Toastmasters members. They have received The Competent Communication Manual which features 10 speech projects. Each of them focuses on one specific skill which you need in communication (e.g. how to structure a speech, how to use vocal variety, body language, or how to persuade an audience to accept or to do something). On a normal evening, 2-3 prepared speeches will be presented.
During a 30 minute break you can have some food which you can order from the hotel service staff before the meeting starts, and it is a nice opportunity to socialise. When the meeting resumes, board members will use a short business session to share important news about the club life.
Feedback is the big headline of the second half of the evening. A General Evaluator and a team of individual Evaluators will give a detailed and constructive feedback to every speaker of the first part of the evening. The evaluations highlight strong points of the speakers and give some advice on points to improve.
Timing: In “real speaking life” many speakers make themselves unpopular by speaking overtime. Keeping within the given time limit is a sign of respect for the audience. Therefore, clear timing instructions are given to speakers (e.g. an impromptu speech should last 1-2 minutes, a prepared speech 5-7 minutes, an evaluation 2-3 minutes etc.).
The evening ends with a Toast to Toastmasters International. Often, people then meet downstairs at the bar of the Seaside Park Hotel for some more chatting and socialising.
A sample agenda
This is a sample agenda representing our usual meeting structure:
|7:00 pm||Arrival of members and guests, members with special roles, like the Toastmaster of the Evening, arrive earlier, new membes are recommend to do so, too, to find out more about our club and how it works before the meeting|
|7:10 pm||Toastmaster of the Evening||Brief (10-20 sec.) member and guest self-introductions||5 mins|
|Meet and Greet||Toast of the Evening||1 to 3 mins|
|Toastmaster of the Evening||Introduction of the prepared speakers|
|1st Speaker||5 to 7 mins each, sometimes up to 10 mins, depending on type of speech|
|Table Topics Master||Table Topics - Impromptu Speeches||up to 20 mins|
|8:15 pm||Break||talk to other members and guests or enjoy your pre-ordered dinner downstairs in the restaurant||30 mins|
|Club Business & Awards||Business Session||5 to 10 mins|
|Toastmaster of the Evening||Introduction of the General Evaluator|
|1st Evaluator||Evaluation of prepared speech #1||2 to 3 mins each|
|2nd Evaluator||Evaluation of prepared speech #2|
|3rd Evaluator||Evaluation of prepared speech #3|
|Table Topics Evaluator (Odd)||Evaluation of odd-numbered Table Topics speakers|
|Table Topics Evaluator (Even)||Evaluation of even-numbered Table Topics speakers|
|Ah Counter||Report on Ah's & Um's||1 to 2 mins|
|Entertainment||Listening Post||2 to 3 mins|
|Timekeeper||Report on times|
|General Evaluator||General Evaluator's Report||3 to 5 mins|
|9:40 pm||End of Meeting|