Meeting Roles - Sargent At Arms

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SERGEANT AT ARMS TOP TIPS:

  • Arrive early!
  • Welcome the guests as they arrive
  • Pick a creative but simple guest introduction question
  • Collect votes if no vote counter is available
  • Ensure that no guest sits alone!
  • Be friendly and welcoming!

“Today’s guests are tomorrow’s members!” - Unknown Toastmaster Member

Every Toastmaster member was once a guest at a meeting. Your task as Sergeant at Arms is to welcome them to the meeting, introduce them to club members and to leave them with a positive impression of the club and of Toastmasters. The role has many facets but is crucial in ensuring that the meeting runs smoothly and efficiently.

Before the meeting starts
Since one part of your role is to help to prepare the room, aim to arrive at least 20mins before the meeting starts. Guests and members will start trickling in by ringing the intercom. Answer and direct them to the upstairs room where the club meets. As soon as a new guest arrives, welcome them in give them a copy of the guest booklet and direct them to sit anywhere they want. Ideally, guests should sit next to a club member so that they can ask him or her questions.

During the meeting
Sit at the back of the room and be ready to usher in late coming guests or members. If there is an intercom try and prevent it from disturbing the meeting once started.

If a Vote Counter role is not scheduled for the meeting, you’ll then stand-in for the vote counter. You’ll be collecting votes at the following points:

After the timekeepers report on prepared speeches – Best Speaker

After the timekeepers report on the evaluators – Best Evaluator

After the timekeepers report on table topics – Best Table Topic Speaker

Count the vote and when you’re done discreetly pass on a note saying who won to the club President when the General Evaluator does his or her report. You can also mention some of them to the President during the break.

When the time comes to do the introduction of the guests, briefly explain your role and why guests are important to the club. Don’t forget to highlight that all club members were once guests. Follow this procedure for introducing guests:

Asks all the guests to stand-up. If there is a large number of them you can divide this in two and done one side of the room at a time.

Invite them to speak by asking why they came here today and what are they hoping to get out of Toastmasters. Make it very snappy as time is limited!

Lead the applause after each guest introduces himself/herself.

Ask the guest to sit down and move on to the next one.

After all the guests have introduced themselves lead a final round of applause.

After the meeting

Once the meeting has concluded ask the guests their impressions about the meeting and remind them to leave their details if they haven’t already done so. Take note of any feedback or comments guests may have about the meeting and highlight them to the club President.

Lead the cleaning up of the room as needed, by returning chairs in their spot and putting away all rubbish. Don’t forget to recover any unused feedback slips, leaflets or guest booklets.

(based on version from London Victorians, with permission)

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