As Timer of the meeting, you help the meeting participants to be aware of the timing of their functions. You help keep the meeting on schedule.


Before the meeting…

  • Check with VP Education, individual speaker, or the Toastmaster of the meeting for any special timing requirements.
  • Make sure you have a functioning stopwatch and test the timing lights before the meeting starts. Keep backup green, yellow and red cards in case the timing lights don’t work.

During the meeting…

  • When asked to explain the timing procedures, stand up, address the Toastmaster and announce the applicable timing rules (See Timing Rules).
  • Time each participant according to the timing rules even if you have not been specifically asked to do so.
  • If a speaker has gone overtime, first try to catch his/her attention and flick the red light again as a reminder. But do it gently and thoughtfully or at least in a way that doesn’t look annoying and distracting (this is important to follow
    especially for ice-breaking speeches. Remind all the speakers, especially ice-breakers and table topics participants, that they shouldn’t go undertime as well.
  • Keep track of the times of Table Topics Speakers, Prepared Speakers and Evaluators. When asked by the Toastmaster if any Speakers are disqualified, rise and state their names only (no other comments are needed).


Read the timing rules loudly and clearly so there are no misunderstandings. (Use your own words so that your delivery comes across in a more natural manner.)

Try to use your judgment about when to applaud someone who speaks beyond the red light. This should be restricted to members who have ignored your signals to conclude their presentation. For example, Non-Toastmasters guests should never be embarrassed.

Begin the timing as soon as the Speaker first starts speaking or makes any non-verbal communication whatsoever. Do not wait until the Speaker has addressed the Toastmaster and audience.