Functionary Responsibilities:
Functionaries play a vital role in each meeting every week. If you are on the schedule to play a role as a functionary please scroll down to see what your responsibility will entail and if you have any questions for that duty, contact your Toastmaster.

The Toastmaster calls everyone on the agenda for the week ahead.  Start this on either Monday or Tuesday to remind people of their particular task.  Find a replacement for any scheduled functionary that cannot attend.  Speakers should let you know in advance but it is wise to call them on Monday or Tuesday (just in case).  Find out who is preparing the agenda so you can review.  Enough copies for the meeting also need to be prepared in advance of the meeting (usually 25 will do). Check with the VP of Education about the agenda.

Stand and lead the group into an invocation; could be a prayer, special inspirational thought, etc. and then face the U.S. Flag and start the Pledge of Allegiance.  You will start with, “Please stand” and once the pledge has been concluded, everyone will know to be seated.

 Ah Counter
Stand and state that your duties are to note words and sounds used as “crutches” or “pause fillers” such as “ah’s and um’s” by anyone who speaks during the meeting.  NOTE: Icebreaker speeches (first-time speeches do not count).  At the end of the meeting you will be asked to give your report.  Some clubs impose a minor monetary infraction like ten cents, (different in every club) for every “violation” as a reminder.  We no longer observe fines as we prefer to encourage not punish effort.


Stand and state that your duties are to introduce new words to members, and to comment on the use of the English during the meeting.  You will then choose a word of the day from either a dictionary or a word card, read the word, read the definition, and use it in a sentence, place a placard where the members can see it and keep track of its usage during the meeting by the other members along with noting other anecdotes of interesting grammar of the English language from members you hear throughout the meeting.   You will be asked for a report at the end of the meeting.  Infractions for not using the word of the day will be a .25 cent fine. (Just kidding)

Vote Counter
Collect the votes after each round of Table Topics, Speeches, Evaluations, and Most Improved.  Count them and place the name of the winner on the appropriate ribbon for each category. As vote counter you do not vote yourself. If there is a tie then you choose the winner. You can flip a coin if you wish but there is only a single winner for each ribbon. At the end of the meeting you will be called to come up and present the ribbons. It is not necessary to say the voting was close or that it was a landslide. Present the ribbons in any order you like but save the Best Speaker for last. There is one other duty of the vote counter and that is to collect the comments that everyone writes down after each speech. Make sure you have collected all the comments and then place them in front of the speaker. If you see someone still writing that may mean that they are finishing writing a comment but be careful not to be fooled waiting for the evaluator who is writing in the speaker’s project book.

The Timer monitors the length of speeches, evaluations, and table topics, giving a report after each program segment. To provide visual cues for the speakers, the Timer operates a set of green, yellow, and red lights.
   No timing for Master Evaluator or Toastmaster.  Table topics are normally 2 minutes; with the green going on at 1 min amber at 1:30 and red at 2 min. with 15 seconds to wrap it up before disqualification.  For speeches, (check the length from the manual, each will have its own set limit).  For example, if it’s a 4-6 minute speech (as is usual for Icebreaker speeches), the green light goes on at 4, the amber at 5 and the red at 6 allowing the speaker 30 seconds to wrap it up. Evaluations are always 3 minutes; green goes on at 2 min. amber at 2.30 and red at 3 minutes.  Evaluators also get 30 seconds to conclude.

Table Topics Master

The Table Topic Master sets the pace of the Table Topics section of any meeting.  Generally speaking, topics are brief questions, not yes or no, more open ended questions offered to a few guests (never asking a guest to begin, only asking if they may want to participate) and after seeing a first few participate, you can ask a guest a question but give them the right to decline.  However, anyone can decline for any reason although it’s preferable to not or to state a reason (such as: I’m a Speaker today or I have a laryngitis” are both good reasons.  And remember the topic asked by the Master doesn’t even have to be the topic the participate speaks about – the participant can take that and “roll with it”.  Example: We once had a topic of the “right to bear arms” (talking about the Constitution) but the participant wanted instead to talk about “baring his own arms” and showed us muscle instead!  While it is not the expected reaction, if a participant absolutely doesn’t wish to talk about something, it’s a “thoughtful” way to take it in another direction.  Thinking “on your feet” basically is what this session is really all about anyway.  The point is: Expect to set the stage for fun, and expect it.  Keep the topics to a minimum, pick just a few individuals.  Each topic shouldn’t exceed 2 minutes 15 seconds, watch the time.  Introduce each participant by name only after the topic is asked…then direct that question to who is chosen, get a Timer’s report at the end of the session and bring back the Toastmaster or re-introduce (as in a Master of Ceremonies) the person who brought you to the lectern and you’re done!

Table Topics Participant
When called on by the Toastmaster, come to the lectern, g
ive an introduction to your selected Table Topics for the evening (in general the theme for the meeting).  Remember the purpose: Table Topics is to help speakers learn to respond quickly and creatively.  Don’t give long lengthy lead in lines to have to remember before they stand to respond.  State the question or theme first, then call on your first person after stating what you want them to speak about.  Timing begins once they speak and address the members.  Once concluded, it is your task to ask for a timer’s report and ask the members to vote for the best Table Topic.  You then return control of the meeting to the Toastmaster and take your seat.


Manual speeches have distinct time frames in which they are to be conducted (usually found in the margin in each manual). Specialty speeches such as club series speeches to earn special designations such as a CL (Certified Leader, etc.) also have set  time standards.  Check with your Toastmaster if you are expecting to do a particularly long one such as seminar speech (40-45 minutes) for time availability to work within the time scheduling of our meeting agenda.  Normal speeches for most manuals are between 5-7 minutes and 6-8 minutes.


Usually conducted from manual speeches. Timing is 3 minutes to make your points of the speaker you are evaluating.  Use the sandwich method (best) if possible – start with some positives, sandwich in any constructive observations and end with the positive on overall content and encouragement of the speaker. The best way to support one another is to offer something to improve upon and this sometimes can be difficult, then being as tactful (without the use of the word “criticism” – see our section on Protocol) can be challenging but well worth it.  A member who always hears, “You were wonderful” doesn’t know if they can improve and most likely won’t grow just as a member who feels downtrodden is not as able to keep wanting to take that journey again and again either. Vicious evaluations can cost the club members, create high tension situations and are unwelcome. A good evaluation should  leave the speaker eager to complete his or her next project.

Master/General Evaluator

The Master Evaluator is responsible for calling the Evaluators on the Schedule to remind them of their duty to evaluate at the next meeting.  These calls should be made on either Monday or Tuesday prior to that Thursday night’s meeting.  You should also remind the Evaluators to bring in a short biography on themselves.  Once called upon (you will be introduced by the Toastmaster) to come to the lectern and introduce the Evaluators, you will go, make a small brief description of your duties which will be to first introduce the Evaluators (which you will have their biographies for) and then to over-evaluate the meeting in general.  Try to get there a little early to collect the bios from all your Evaluators.  Write notes during the entire meeting on how the meeting is going, whether it started on time, observed protocol (see Protocol corner), etc. and then best evaluate the meeting based on your observations.  Evaluators are given 3 minutes each so keep that in mind on overall meeting time as well.  Your evaluation should try to remain within that 3 minute to no more than 5 minute limit.   After each Evaluator has completed their evaluation, you will shake their hand as they will return control back to you.  At the end of all the evaluations, before you give your evaluation of the overall meeting, remember to ask for the Timer’s Report and ask the members to vote for not only the Best Evaluator, but also the Most Improved (which could be anyone that spoke that evening.)

Raffle Master: (No longer observed)

The Raffle Master has the duty to sell tickets and collect funds for the 50/50 raffle. He or she should report 15 minutes before the start of the meeting and ask each member if they would like to participate in the 50/50 Raffle as they enter for the meeting. The cost will be 1$ per ticket to enter the drawing. When called upon to do so by the President at the end of the meeting, the Raffle Master will conduct a drawing in which 50% of the funds collected will go to the winning ticket holder and the other 50% will go to the club treasury. Money collected for the club be given to the Treasurer after the meeting is over.