A hallmark of effective speakers is the ability to express themselves within a specific amount of time. Members rely on the timer to pace speeches and practice adhering to a time frame. The timer is also responsible for tracking every part of the meeting agenda.
The timer’s role is fundamental to the success of every meeting. However, keeping a meeting on time is a shared responsibility between all members of the club. The timer is merely the reference point for the person speaking to know how long they have been talking.
Below are a few tips for the next time you take on the role of timer:
Before The Meeting
- Confirm the time allotted to each prepared speech with all speakers.
- Ask speakers for any unique timing cues (especially speeches from advanced manuals that may have multiple parts)
- Write your explanation of timing in the clearest possible language and rehearse it. For the benefit of guests and new members, be sure to emphasize timing rules and how timing signals are given
Upon Arrival at the Meeting
- Check that the timing equipment is working properly and that you are comfortable with its use
- Double check timing on the agenda, in case there were changes for time
During the Meeting
- When introduced, explain the timing rules and demonstrate the signal device.
- Signal speakers as to the timing of their speeches and roles
- Record each members time they used to complete their speeches and roles
- Give times at the end of the meeting
After the Meeting
- Return the timing equipment to the sergeant at arms.
The importance of reporting the time aloud to everyone, especially to the speakers, is to allow the Toastmasters a chance to realize how much time they actually spent on the stage – which can be either longer or, shorter than what they expected when preparing/rehearsing their speeches.
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