The Timer


The TIMER helps keep the meeting on track and helps members learn to organize their remarks to fit within specific times. When you are the TIMER; sit where anyone at the lectern can easily see you.

The TIMER warns participants as they approach the end of their assigned times with green, yellow and red signals (or sound codes). They warn the TM, TTM© and GE of approaching time checkpoints.

Most clubs use a sequence of green, yellow, and red colored cards or electric lights, plus a stopwatch. (The Toastmasters app  includes a timer, and a free app from Amazon called “Toastmasters Timer”   includes common times and turns on a green, yellow and red screen at the appropriate times. Both can be used to report the times to the Club Secretary.)

The Green signal shows when minimum time has been met – for example, for Table Topics the minimum time is 1 minute, for evaluations, the minimum time is two minutes.

The red flag signals the end of the allotted time — for Table Topics that’s two minutes, for evaluations it’s three minutes and prepared speeches all have specific time requirements.

The yellow sign signals the halfway point between the minimum and maximum. For Table Topics©, that would be 1 ½ minutes, for evaluations 2 ½ minutes.

When called upon the TIMER reports on the time used by scheduled speakers, Table Topics© speakers and evaluators. They also report the times to the Secretary in a written or electronic report in some clubs.

TIMER’s Tips:

  • If a speaker exceeds his designated time, do not turn the red light off after the maximum time has expiredthe red light always remains on until a speaker is finished!
  • Awards: during Table Topics©, a participant must speak for a minimum of one minute, but not more than two minutes, thirty seconds. A grace period of thirty seconds under or thirty seconds over the assigned time is allowed for prepared speeches and evaluations.
  • Record the time lengths for all speakers in each session that is subject to timing.
  • After each session in which members vote, the Toastmaster will ask for a Timer’s report.  Sometimes he or she will ask you for the time lengths for each participant; in this case, you announce them.  Often, however, the Toastmaster will simply ask, “Did all speakers qualify (for the balloting)”.  In this case, you announce either that all speakers met their requirements or state the names of only those members that failed to meet the required time.

TIMER example video:

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