Toastmasters - UK and Ireland       
Toastmasters - UK and Ireland

HelpNeed to ask a question? - or could you help and answer questions? 



 Remember me

I forgot my password

Don't have an account yet?
You can register for FREE

My Communication


easy-Speak Training

Full Catalogue of Paths & Tasks

District 71 
District 91 

Author Forgotten User  Date 20 Jun 13, 11:48  Views 2315
Description Athenians Club Timekeeper Notes
Category Timekeeper  Type Detail Training
Article scope
General Information



In a programme which often includes contributions from 20-30 people, the control of timing is extremely important. The Timekeeper's function is to provide timing signals to most of the participants and to report specifically on the timing performance of topics speakers, prepared speakers and evaluators. The reports also remind the audience, when they are about to vote, of the names of each person and their subject.


  • If, through extreme and unavoidable circumstances, you find that you are unable to carry out this role you will need to find a replacement. Please liaise with the Chairperson in finding a suitable replacement.


Using the LATEST published 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 - for Green light at 3 minutes (shortest time for the contribution) / Amber at 4 (half way from shortest to maximum time) / Red at 5 (longest time allowed). If a speakers goes significantly past the maximum time (30 seconds for table topics, a minute for other contributions) then the bell should be rung (NOTE: a bell is not used in competitions)

At the meeting

Aim to arrive 15 minutes before the formal start of the meeting in order to check on arrangements and familiarise yourself with the operation of the lights and stopwatch - liaise with the Sergeant-at-Arms (or other members) if you have any problems.

    1. Start operation of the timing lights when the President opens the meeting and for every subsequent function where timings are indicated.

    1. After your introduction by the Chairperson, explain the role of Timekeeper and the times on the programme and include a demonstration of the lights

    1. Keep a running record of meeting progress and a specific record of the times for each table topics speaker – with their names and subjects.

    1. When called by the Chairperson, briefly announce the names, subjects and times for the table topics speakers and comment on any that seriously overran the target time.

    1. After the break, continue with timings where indicated and specifically record the names, subjects and timings for each prepared speaker and then for each evaluator – remember to include the Topics Evaluator.

Report clearly on these when called by the Toastmaster – for the Speakers and then for the Evaluators.

Notes & Tips

  • Remember: The timekeeping role is a valuable speaking opportunity and it can be quite a challenge to bring some clarity and originality to it.

  • Check the timings with all those doing prepared speeches as different speeches allow different times. For example the icebreaker is 4-6 minutes, speeches 2-9 in the first manual are 5-7 minutes and speech 10 is 8-10 minutes, but advanced speeches can be up to 15 minutes so it is very important to check this first as it could really impact on someone’s progress if you stop them mid flow due to timekeeper’s error.

  • Finally check the lights all work, it would be very embarrassing if you discover a bulb has blown at a crucial moment. The Sergeant-At-Arms is in charge of the equipment, make sure you introduce yourself before the meeting and find out where spare bulbs are kept, just in case.

  • The table topics section can be very confusing for the time keeper but don’t panic, timing is only an aid for the speakers in the table topics, if you encounter a problem you can always make up the time without upsetting anyone!

  • When I give my report I like to say a little something about what I am enjoying, it can be very boring to the audience if I just say the names and the times so I usually mention something funny which was said or give a little one line reminder of what the topic of the speech was. For example last week Paul King spoke about a boat called the Thames Bubbler and mentioned that they may serve champagne, hence the name, in my report I said something like “and Paul King spoke for 1 minute 14 seconds about cork popping fun on the Thames Bubbler.” It serves as a reminder to the voting audience and gives you a chance to say a bit more and be creative with your words.

  • Above all, being time keeper is an opportunity to get involved in the club, an excuse to get talking to people and a really nice and relaxed introduction to speaking in front of an audience, it is really good fun and I would recommend it to everyone.

  • Finally, if you have not completed your Competent Leadership Award and still need this role signed-up you should: (A) give your CL manual to another London Athenians member before the meeting starts with the required role identified and ask her/him to complete the required section; and (B) ensure you cover all of the objectives of the selected CL Project during your performance of the role.

Quick Knowledgebase Navigation 

You cannot post new articles in this category

Powered by Knowledge Base MOD, wGEric & Haplo 2002-2005 MOD

Terms and Conditions (Revised 2018-04-23)       Privacy Policy (Revised 2018-04-23 16:00)
The names Toastmasters International and all other Toastmasters International trademarks and copyrights are the sole property of Toastmasters International
This website is developed, supported and financed by Toastmaster members for use in their own clubs and is only available to Toastmaster clubs. It is not financed or supported by Toastmasters International in any way.