In a programme that can include contributions from 20 – 25 people, the control of timing is extremely important.
The Timekeeper’s function is to provide timing signals to participants and to report specifically on the timing performance of topics speakers, prepared speakers and evaluators. The reports also remind the audience of the name of each person (and their subject) which is useful when voting for ‘best speaker’ etc.
Using the most up to date programme as a checklist, review the activities to be timed – all timings are printed down the right hand column in the form: e.g. 3 / 4 / 5 is for Green light at 3 minutes / Amber at 4 / Red at 5.
Wherever there is a single figure rather than the three times this is for guidance only and does not need to be timed.
At the meeting
Aim to arrive 15 minutes before the formal start of the meeting to check on arrangements and familiarise yourself with the operation of the lights and stopwatch. Liaise with the Sergeant-at-Arms (or others) if you need help.
After your introduction by the Toastmaster, explain the role of Timekeeper and your view of why good timing is important. It is useful to explain the times on the programme and to demonstrate the lights particularly when visitors or new members are present.
Keep a running record of meeting progress and a specific record of the times for each speaker and evaluator – with their names and subjects
When called by the Toastmaster, briefly make two reports announcing the names, subjects and times of:
1. the speakers of the prepared speeches
2. the table topics speakers
3. the Speech Evaluators, including the Topics Evaluator and Grammarian
Comment on anyone that seriously overran the target time. (If necessary, also comment on any lapses in the overall timing of the meeting including the start time, the overall timing of the topics session etc.)
REMEMBER: The timekeeping role is a valuable speaking opportunity. Use your introduction time to bring clarity and originality to it.
Straight after the meeting, please find out who the timekeeper will be at the next meeting and talk to them about performing the role.