How to be Timer of the evening

The Timer role is a relatively easy and fun role to perform. Generally at Toast of Broadway this will be your first official role as it’s a good introduction to the structure of a meeting and speaking in front of the club.

As the Timer it’s your job to remind, record, and report on the time of each speaker. Each role in a meeting has a recommended time frame which will be displayed on the agenda.

Before meeting

  1. Have a look over the agenda that will have been emailed to you, looking at the timing of each item to ensure that all makes sense, ask any questions you may have about the agenda to the Toastmaster of the evening.
  2. Prepare what you will say during your introduction of the role. You have up to two minutes, so it’s nice for you to try be up there for that long. Some things to include:
    1. What you will be doing in your role.
    2. Explain what the three numbers next to each role on the agenda mean (minimum time at green light, getting close to maximum on orange light, maximum time at red light).
    3. Explain the importance of time for people in and outside of Toastmasters.
    4. Anything else you’d like to mention, it could be a fun related quote or something else to spice up the role.
  3. Ensure you have everything required for your role (pen, paper, phone or stopwatch). Our club has a stopwatch that you can use.

As you arrive at the meeting

  1. Grab a copy of the agenda, check you having everything at the Timer table, including all of the information you need to know.
  2. Test the lights and stopwatch to ensure you’re comfortable using these.

During meeting

  1. Introduce your role which you will have prepared earlier. When mentioning the timing and the lights, get someone to turn them on so guests know what to look out for.
  2. Record the timings of speakers. Whenever anyone is on the stage, they should have an allocated time on the agenda. When the minimum time is reached, turn on the green light, when the second number is reached, turn on the orange light, when the maximum time is reached, turn on the red light. If the speaking time goes way over the maximum, you may want to consider flicking the red light on and off to let them know this. There is only so much time in a meeting for everyone to speak!
  3. Report on each speaker’s timings. For prepared speeches it’s good to mention the specific time that they spoke. Mention how the speaking time compares to the time on the agenda. Also report on the general timings of the meeting such as whether it was early, late etc.


  1. The timer should only start the clock once a speaker starts to speak, or makes a non-verbal gesture that is clearly part of the speech. Speakers are allowed some time up on stage in silence to compose themselves, or to set up the stage with props before the timer starts.
  2. Most speeches are 5-7 minutes long, but some such as the Icebreaker are different durations. If you see someone is doing their Icebreaker speech and it’s longer than 4-6 minutes on the agenda, check with the speaker or Toastmaster and update this if it’s incorrect.
  3. You don’t need to mention every single time for people who spoke. An example is the Table Topics speakers, instead of saying the time of each Table Topic speaker, you could say ‘everyone was between 1-2 minutes’ if that was the case.
  4. It can be easy to get absorbed into a speech and forget that you’re doing your role, so make sure you’re paying attention to the clock and turn the lights on at the correct time.
  5. Make sure you are timing every role at the agenda, turning on the lights at the correct time, this includes after you’ve performed your report.
  6. You are also responsible to take note of the time for the meeting in general, what time the meeting starts, ends, if certain segments went over time. You may be asked by the Table Topics master how many more speakers are allowed and you’re the one to decided based on the current time and the agenda.