Sergeant at Arms

As Sergeant-at-Arms, you have one of the key roles in the meeting since you establish the all-important first impression of the club. Your function involves a lot of work and you’ll find it easier if you have help.

Responsibilities

Before the meeting…

  1. Call VP Education to find out the name of the Chairperson and if any special events are planned. Do you need to arrange for any special equipment such as overhead projectors?
  2. Contact Chairperson for biographical material to introduce Chairperson properly.
  3. (See Introducing the Speaker)

At the meeting…

  1. Room Set-up:

    This involves arriving early to lay out all the materials needed during the meeting: club banner, lectern and gavel, timing lights, stopwatch and timing rules, any educational display material, agendas, ballots and evaluation sheets, award ribbons, name tags and head table name plates. You are also responsible for preparing refreshments.

  2. Greeting guests:

    Greet all members and guests warmly as they arrive at the meeting. Ask each guest to sign the guest book and a guest card or you can assign another member to take care of that if you’re too busy. Introduce guests to other members of the club who can explain meeting events. Let each guest know that at the end of the meeting he/she’ll be asked to comment on the meeting.

  3. Set-up of Equipment:

    Help set-up any special equipment members might need such as overhead projector, flip chart, extra table etc.

During the meeting…

  1. Call Meeting to Order:

    Make every effort to begin the meeting on time. (Check with the Chairperson to see if (s)he is ready.) Bang the gavel on the lectern and, in a confident friendly manner, announce that the meeting is called to order.

  2. Announcing the room etiquette:

    In general, room etiquette means showing respect for the speaker to stay seated during the meeting. No eating is allowed in the course of a meeting (cookies are okay after the break but no McDonald’s happy menu or similar thing that takes the person’s attention off the meeting and also causes distraction for others). It’s important for the speakers to see that the audience is interested and listening to them.Most importantly, people should neither leave nor enter the room while the meeting is going on. This is clearly requested by the post on the door and the audience are asked to adhere by it.

  3. Introduction of Chairperson:

    Welcome the audience and then introduce the Chairperson in a few sentences. (Under 1 minute.) Example:

    Good evening, fellow Toastmasters and most distinguished guests. It’s the first meeting of the new year and I know we’re going to have a fantastic meeting tonight. To preside over this event, we have a person who is extremely well qualified for the role.

    She has been a Toastmaster for only nine months but she has already achieved her CTM level. She’s employed in Internal Audit at McGill, is involved in training Work Study students, and she’s currently the President of our club. So if anyone knows about leadership, it’s her. Please welcome warmly our Chairperson for this evening, Toastmaster……………

  4. Collection of Ballots:

    Collect the ballots after the voting for Best Table Topics Speaker, Best Prepared Speech and Best Evaluator. Count them as quickly as possible (enlisting the help of another member if needed). Write the name of the winner(s) on a slip of paper and give it discreetly to the Chairperson. Collect and deliver
    evaluation forms.

  5. Clean up Meeting Room:

    Enlist the aid of the other members of the club to clean up the meeting room.

Guidelines

You help establish the mood for the meeting. So be as enthusiastic and welcoming as possible, both as you welcome guests, and as you call the meeting to order.

As stated earlier, you’ve got a lot of responsibility in the meeting. Ask other members to assist you.

References

  1. Master Your Meetings — Creating the Right Environment
  2. When you are Sergeant-at-Arms