The Timekeeper is responsible for timing items in the meeting, and signaling at appropriate points. (The role is also known as the Timer.)

One of the skills in speech training is expressing oneself within a specific time. The Timekeeper helps those at the meeting practise this.

Prior to the meeting

Study the Agenda and raise any queries with the Toastmaster of the meeting. In particular, note the times of the prepared speeches.

Prepare an explanation of your role. Make it interesting – for example, google ‘time’ for a fascinating fact.

On arrival at the meeting

Get timing equipment from the Sergeant at Arms. Ensure you understand how to operate the stopwatch and signal device, and test that they work.

For virtual meetings, you may find these Timing Backgrounds useful. Practice using them before the meeting so you feel confident. Not every computer is able to use Virtual Backgrounds (it will depend on your graphics abilities). If yours isn’t you can use a simple Google Slides or Powerpoint that you share– or simply hold up a red / yellow / green piece of paper or object.

ONLINE: Be prepared to explain to members how to pin the Timer and ask speakers if they prefer an audible signal of their time (like a chime) or a chat notification.

IN-PERSON: Sit where the signal device can be seen easily by those at the lectern.

During the meeting

When introduced, give an explanation of your role and demonstrate the signal device.

Throughout the meeting, signal each programme participant as required.

Record each participant’s name and time used.

When called to report by the Toastmaster, stand by your chair and announce the participant’s name and the time taken.

When reporting on the time of each Table Topic, remind the audience in a few words of the subject. This is particularly useful if there is a vote for Best Topics Speaker.

After the meeting

Return the stopwatch and timing signal device to the Sergeant at Arms.

Give the completed Timekeeper’s report to the Secretary for recording speech times.