The thought, an inspiring quotation that sets the tone for the day’s meeting, is a welcome option in many clubs.  At our club, it is delivered by the Inspiration/Timer at the beginning of the meeting, and is immediately followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

If you are new to Toastmasters and are nervous about the thought of speaking in front of people, you can use this small but valuable role to build your confidence.

Before the Meeting:

Find a meaningful quotation, preferably one that relates to the day’s theme. You may prepare a brief introduction to the quote if you so desire.  Treat the Thought Of The Day as you would any other speech – craft it carefully and practice delivering it before the meeting.

During the Meeting:

At 7:30am sharp the Sergeant-At-Arms bangs the gavel to open the meeting. He will ask for the inspiration. Stand up and deliver your Thought Of The Day to the group. ( This can be done very well in less that 60 seconds and sometimes only 30 seconds. A lengthy Inspiration is NOT recommended).   The Sergeant-At-Arms then leads the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.


One of the skills Toastmasters practice is expressing a thought within a specific time.  As Timer you are responsible for monitoring time for each meeting segment and each speaker.  You’ll also operate the timing signal, indicating to each speaker how long he or she has been talking.  Serving as Timer is an excellent opportunity to practice giving instructions and time management – something we do every day.

Here’s how to succeed as Timer :

 Before the meeting:

You are already doing it! Read this Description of Role to refresh your memory.


On meeting day:

Arrive 5 minutes early. Retrieve the timing equipment from the Sergeant-At-Arms.  ( This is usually out but may be needed).  Be sure you understand how to operate the stopwatch and signal device. Test the signal device to make sure it works (Green light, Yellow light, Red light all turn on). Sit where the signal device can be seen by all.  (We have a table set up for this as a rule.)

The Toastmaster of the meeting will usually call on you to explain the timing rules and demonstrate the signal device.   (Usually only done when we have visitors attending but always for contests).  Throughout the meeting, listen carefully to each program participant and signal them.  Generally, Table Topic speakers should be +/- 15 seconds of allowed time; prepared speakers must be +/- 30 seconds.  However, these times may vary from club to club.  In addition, signal the chairman, Toastmaster or Topicsmaster with red when they had reached their allotted or agreed-upon time.  (We have a time sheet to instruct you of what light comes at what time.)  Record each participant’s name and time used.  When you’re called to report by the Topicsmaster,  Toastmaster or general evaluator, announce the speaker’s name and the time taken.  (Generally just mention if all qualified or who did not qualify to move along quickly).

After the meeting:

Return the stopwatch and timing signal device to the Sergeant-At-Arms.  In some clubs, the completed Timer’s Report is given to the Secretary so he/she can record it in the minutes. At Osceola Toastmasters, we simply put it in the recycling bin.

Take on this role and the new habits formed will serve you well in your private life and your career.  People appreciate a speaker, friend or employee who is mindful of time frames and deadlines!

Please click on button below to preview/print Timer’s Report Form