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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J. Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

How does Toastmasters build better leaders? Through officer and meeting roles.

Four Toastmaster officers in front of club banner
Officers of the Tippecanoe Talkers Toastmasters Club

Have you ever served as an officer in an organization? Were you prepared to take on your role? What challenges did you face?

If you are looking for a safe and supportive environment to hone your leadership skills, look no further than Toastmasters. The foundation for building strong leaders is solid, the learning curve is not too steep, and a support system is in place to keep you on track.

Additionally, the learning and experience gained are easily transferable to other leadership roles. That is the purpose… to help you be a better leader in all areas of your personal and professional life.

What are the Toastmasters Officer roles?

Look at the photo above to meet our Toastmasters club officers: Cheryl, Barb, Ruth, and Conrad. The four of us fill the seven leadership positions for the Tippecanoe Talkers club.

  • Cheryl is our Treasurer and Vice President Membership.

  • I (Barb) serve as Club President and Vice President Public Relations.

  • Ruth is our Vice President Education.

  • Conrad is our Sargeant of Arms and Secretary.

Club officers fulfill the following responsibilities:

The Club President sets the tone for the club, provides helpful, supportive leadership for all club activities, and is the first to assume responsibility for the progress and welfare of the club.

The Vice President Education schedules members’ speeches, verifies the completion of projects, and serves as a resource for questions about the education program, speech contests, and club mentor program.

The Vice President Membership promotes the club and manages the process of bringing in guests and transforming them into members.

The Vice President Public Relations promotes the club, updates web content, and safeguards the Toastmasters brand identity.

The Club Secretary manages all club records, files, and correspondence, and takes the minutes at each club and Club Executive Committee meeting.

The Club Treasurer is the club’s accountant, managing the club’s bank account, submitting membership dues payments to World Headquarters, filing necessary tax documents, and keeping timely, accurate, up-to-date financial records for the club.

The Sergeant at Arms keeps track of the club’s physical property and meeting materials. They prepare the meeting place for members and stow the club’s equipment following meetings. They also have a role during business meetings, speech contests, and other special club events.

How does Toastmasters build strong leaders?

Leaders in Toastmasters are provided with clear directions for each officer role outlined by Toastmasters International in a detailed 60-page officer handbook. The Toastmaster International website has a Club Central portal with training tutorials and other resources.

Toastmaster officers are required to attend officer training twice a year provided by the Toastmasters leadership at the district level. These trainings are an excellent opportunity for officers to meet leaders in the same position in other clubs and to share ideas and get advice.

Every club has access to an area director who visits the club during the year and is available for officers to ask questions and seek help in solving problems as they arise.

At the club level, former officers coach new officers when passing the gavel and are available to answer questions throughout a term of office, which is one year. Officers meet regularly as the executive committee and support one another in fulfilling their roles.

In addition to serving as an officer, Toastmasters build better leaders as members fulfill the various meeting roles at each club meeting.

How do Toastmasters meeting roles build strong leaders?

Every Toastmasters meeting is structured to provide every member with an opportunity to practice their communication and leadership skills. This is through fulfilling the various meeting roles, which every member takes turns filling over time. Let’s look at each role:

The Toastmaster coordinates the meeting agenda in advance and hosts a large portion of the meeting. They create an atmosphere of interest, expectation, and receptivity. Serving in this role is great practice for moderating and leading all types of meetings.

As a meeting Speaker, you prepare, rehearse, and present a speech based on specific project objectives during the club meeting.

The Table Topics Master leads the Table Topics® portion of the meeting, providing speaking prompts to help train members to quickly organize and express their thoughts in an impromptu setting.

The General Evaluator is responsible for leading the evaluation portion of the meeting and coordinating the evaluation team.

A Speech Evaluator observes a prepared presentation and provides positive, constructive feedback during the meeting through a 2-3 minute speech, as well as a written evaluation form.

A Table Topics Evaluator observes table topic speakers and then provides oral feedback during the evaluation portion of the meeting.

The Wordmaster selects a word of the day, announces the word during the description of duties portion of the meeting, explains its usage, and then listens during the meeting for its use.

The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to listen carefully and keep track of when filler words are used throughout the meeting, reporting on their use during the evaluation portion of the meeting.

The Grammarian listens to the quality of the English language usage and reports during the evaluation portion of the meeting.

The Quizmaster formulates questions based on presentations and table topics and then quizzes attendees to see how well they listened during the meeting.

The Timer is responsible for keeping track of time throughout the meeting and helps everyone who participates practice being on time.

Each of these roles builds listening, speaking, and leadership skills. Each one is designed to help all participants be better speakers and leaders. By filling different roles at each meeting, every member builds skills in all areas.

Interested in building your leadership skills? Get more information about

Toastmasters or learn about our club, the Tippecanoe Talkers.

Take the next step… visit a club!   

“People are more willing to follow a leader who knows where he is going.” ~ Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, Founder of Toastmasters International

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