The Sergeant at Arms is responsible for helping to set up the meeting and welcome the guests. 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 and is crucial in ensuring that the meeting runs smoothly and efficiently. The Sergeant at Arms opens the meeting with a short housekeeping slot and then by welcoming the president. They introduce all the guests before the break (these slots can be performed by one person or two).
There is a permanent Sergeant at Arms on the club committee who can help you to get familiar with the role.
Key Skills: Organisation, Networking
Before the meeting starts
- One part of your role is to help prepare the room, so aim to arrive at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts.
- Welcome guests as they arrive and direct them to the information table where they can sign-in and get more information about the club.
- Ideally guests should sit next to a club member so that they can ask him or her questions.
Call to Order Speaking Slot – YOU will Start the meeting (1 min 30 seconds)
Call to order the meeting. With a very loud and energetic voice:
- Announce the meeting is to start.
- Welcome everyone to St Paul’s Speakers Toastmasters club.
- Raise the energy, ask a question to raise levels…”Are you ready…” or ask for a big cheer etc.
- Toilet is at the back of the Church to the left.
- Turn off mobile phones.
- Water by the entrance in kitchen area.
- Introduce the President…mention their name and leave the stage after shaking hands.
Guest Introduction Speaking Slot (2 minutes plus Guest intro max 5 mins)
You will introduce the guests to the Meeting:
- Introduce yourself.
- Thank and welcome guests to the St Paul’s Speakers
- Provide a short introduction to ease nerves and gently introduce guests examples:
- Story of your first time being a guest.
- How guests start their TM journey here and calm their nerves.
- Short story of how even the most accomplished of speakers were once a guest.
- Ask guests to stand, then be seated after answering their slot.
- Ask guest to call out their names and a short ice-breaker question:
Be conscious of how many guests are in the room. If there are quite a few, ensure the questions you ask induce short, snappy responses in order to keep the guest introductions slot running on time.
Question examples, “what is your favourite food”, “what is the ONE thing you would like to takeaway from tonight”.
- Try to avoid “what brought you here” or “what are your fears of public speaking”. This can turn repetitive and long winded.
- After all the guests have introduced themselves lead a final round of applause.
- Remind guests that they can sign up to a Table Topic (if slots are available once members have been).
- Ask the Table Topic master to stand up and for guests to speak to them during break.
- Remind guests they can mingle with Members during break.
- Hand back to the Toastmaster and shake hands when exiting stage.
During the Meeting
Help to collect votes after the votes for best speaker, evaluator and table topic.
Count the vote and when you’re done discreetly pass on a note saying who won to the club President in advance of their final club business slot.
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 to their correct positions (a committee member can find the plan) and putting away all rubbish. Don’t forget to recover any unused feedback slips, leaflets or marketing materials.