Brighton & Hove Speakers Club

Home 9 Meeting Roles 9 Timekeeper


The Timekeeper keeps the meeting running to time and provides a soft, but firm reminder to speakers to wrap up their speeches if they are overrunning. As Timekeeper you will need to pay attention, keep a note of times, and report back to the room.

Speaking time

1-minute explanation of your role, followed by three reports for the times for speeches, Table Topics, and evaluations.

Before the Meeting

Get a hold of the agenda. Check with the Toastmaster and Vice President Education in case there have been any last-minute changes to the plan. Find the lights and any other timing equipment you need (gavel or bell).

At the Meeting

  • Prepare your opening remarks to introduce your role once asked by the Toastmaster;
  • It’s probably easiest to introduce your role from the back of the room so you can demonstrate the lights, but if you’d like to get up front ask someone to show the lights when you ask them to;
  • Explain the importance of timing – to help people get used to speaking slots, to keep the meeting running to time, and to prepare some speakers for contests rules – which are strictly timed!
  • Remember to explain the three times on the agenda and how they correspond to the lights (green – minimum speaking time, amber – drawing to a close, red – maximum speaking time);
  • Be clear with the audience if you will ring a bell, or use the gavel if a speaker goes 30 seconds past the maximum (red) speaking time. In the case of an online meeting, you could briefly interrupt the speaker to ensure they get the message!
  • Hand back to the Toastmaster;
  • Throughout the rest of the meeting you’ll need to keep an eye on all timings, and jot down the times for speeches, evaluations (main speech evaluations, Table Topics evaluation, grammarian), and Table Topics;
  • You’ll be called upon by the Toastmaster three times to report the times – there’s no need to note every time on the agenda, just the main ones;
  • A reminder of the person’s name, speech topic or Table Topics question can be helpful for the audience and the speaker!

Online Meetings

Our meetings are held on Zoom, where and there are a number of different methods you can use to keep speakers aware of their timing.

  • Make use of “virtual backgrounds” that you can change. You can download the official Toastmasters Timer backgrounds by clicking here , or simply create your own!
  • Hold up large coloured timing cards in front of the camera