THOUGHT OF THE DAY – INSPIRE, CHALLENGER AND MOTIVATE!
The thought, an inspiring quotation that sets the tone for the day’s meeting, is a welcome option in many clubs. It is usually delivered by a designated club member at the beginning of the meeting, and is used in combination with the pledge of allegiance in our club.
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, and prepare a brief introduction to the quote. Treat it as you would any other speech – craft it carefully and practice delivering it before the meeting.
During the Meeting:
If you agree to deliver the thought for a club meeting, arrive a little bit early to let the Toastmaster know that the role will be covered for the meeting. When called on by the Toastmaster, stand up and deliver your thought of the day to the group. ( I have found this can be done very well in less that 60 seconds and sometimes only 30 seconds.) Continue on and begin 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:
Contact the Toastmaster and master evaluator to confirm which members are scheduled program participants. Then contact each speaker to confirm the time they’ll need for their prepared speech.
On meeting day:
Arrive 15 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, make certain the timing equipment works and 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 with what lights at what times.) 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). Mention those members who are eligible for awards, if your club issues awards. (We should know our members so not really needed.)
After the meeting:
Return the stopwatch and timing signal device to the sergeant at arms. Give the completed timer’s report to the secretary so he/she can record it in the minutes (if this is done in your club which we do not).
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. (We need to focus on this are).
PLEDGE – LEADING THE PLEDGE FOR YOUR CLUB.
The pledge of allegiance, or other recognition of the club’s host country, is an optional (we do this) part of club meetings. It is usually delivered by a designated club member at the beginning of the meeting, and is sometimes combined with the invocation and/or the thought of the day. (Do your thought of the day first and then go right into the pledge.) If you are new to Toastmasters and you are nervous about the thought of speaking in front of people, you can use this role to build confidence while serving a small but important function for the club.
Before the Meeting:
Treat the pledge as you would any other speech – memorize it if necessary and practice delivering it before the meeting.
During the Meeting:
Arrive a little early to let the presiding officer know that the function will be covered for the meeting. When called on by the Toastmaster, stand up, face the flag and invite the club to join you in the pledge.