This is a tried-and-true meeting format that can be used as a starting point for your own meeting design. This is just a suggestion of how roles could be ordered.
In this section only the general ordering and suggested timings are explained, but no details are given about how each of the roles work. This information can be obtained in the “Club Meeting Roles” chapter.
Before the Meeting
The Meeting Facilitator should arrive well in advance of the scheduled starting time of the meeting. He or she should:
- Prepare the venue - tables, chairs, lectern, location of club and Agora symbols, etc.
- Prepare the tools that the Timer is going to use to measure and signal the time (stopwatch, “traffic” lights colored cardboard, etc.)
- Print the agenda
- If applicable, check that the lighting, sound system and projection equipment work properly
- If the club has recording equipment, set it up and prepare it for recording.
For a club meeting, you will need the following minimum materials:
- A stopwatch for timing speeches
- Some way to signal time limits to the speaker. This is done via a green, yellow and red indicator. You can use lights, or simply colored pieces of paper
- Feedback forms for the audience. On these feedback forms, all members from the audience (even guests) can give their evaluation to every speaker.You can get customizable templates for feedback forms - such as the one below - from the Branding portal (www.agoraspeakers.org/brand.jsp).
You can use the provided template or you can create your own.
- Pens for the audience and (especially) for the Timer and the Grammarian
- Printed agendas for the meeting
- The Word of the Day, printed on one or two sheets of paper, in big letters, so that it can be seen by the speakers and by the audience at a distance.
- Sheets of paper (or preferably, templates) for the Grammarian, Timer and Filler Word Counter.
Part I - Initiation
1. Usually the Meeting Facilitator calls to order an opens the meeting, welcomes everyone, then provides a very short introduction to the person in the role of Meeting Leader for the day and gives the floor to him.
2. The Meeting Leader welcomes everyone. Some good things that a Meeting Leader can do at this point are:
- Reminding everyone to turn off their mobile phones.
- Reminding everyone not to walk across the room during the speeches
- If there are any guests, providing a general introduction about Agora Speakers, its purpose, mission and what we do and in which way.
- If there are any guests, this is also a good opportunity to have each of them stand up and introduce themselves to the audience. Usually the Meeting Leader can also ask a simple question like “how do you know us?” or “what brought you here?”, etc.
Part II - The Evaluation Team
3. The Meeting Leader gives the floor to the Timer for 1-2 min, who explains his role, why timing is important, and how the time signals work
4. The Meeting Leader gives the floor to the Grammarian for 1-2 min, who explains his role, and the things he is going to look for.
5. The Meeting Leader gives the floor to the Filler Word Counter for 1-2 min, who explains his role, the importance of not using filler words as well as some examples of them.
Options: In some meetings, the Grammarian and the Filler Word Counter roles are performed by the same person. Also, one of them can introduce the “Word of The Day” . The goal of the Word of the Day is to train people in being flexible when they speak and adapt to changes instead of learning speeches by heart.
Part III- Projects
6. For each Project, the Meeting leader:
- Calls upon the Speech Evaluator to explain the objectives of the speech
- Calls upon the Speaker to deliver the speech
- Gives the audience between 1-2 minutes so that everyone can write their feedback to the speaker.
Suggestion: It is recommended that projects be ordered in increasing order of difficulty, to avoid having a very strong performer come before an inexperienced speaker.
7. After the prepared speeches part is over, the Meeting Leader gives the floor to the Hot Questions Master, who proceeds with this section. Usually this section is about 15 minutes long, with each answer to Hot Question being between 1-2 minutes long.
Options: This is a good moment for a short break if the club has this tradition, as it gives more time for evaluators to finish their evaluations. Also, some clubs like to vote for the best speaker and best hot questions answer. This would also be a good time to ask for everyone to vote and collect their votes. If there is a voting session, you should repeat (and preferably write down in a visible place) the names of the speakers and the names of all the participants in the Hot Questions part.
Part IV - Speech Evaluations
8. After the previous section is done, the Meeting Evaluator calls the Speech Evaluators to deliver their evaluations, each evaluation being 3-5 minutes long.
9. After all the Speech Evaluations are delivered, the Hot Questions Evaluator takes the stage and presents his report. This evaluation is about 5-7 minutes long
10. Optional. If your club has a Listening Evaluator, now it would be a good opportunity for that role.
Part V - Technical Evaluations and Conclusion
11. After the previous part is finished, the Filler Word Counter, Grammarian and Timer present their reports, for 1-2 minutes each, usually in reverse order in which they participated at the beginning of the meeting
12. Finally, the Meeting Evaluator. presents his overall evaluation of the meeting and of all the evaluators. This part usually lasts for 5-7 minutes
13. The Meeting Leader gives the floor to anyone (especially club officers) that need to make announcements.
options: This is a good point also for the Meeting Leader to ask guests about their opinions on the meeting, how they felt, etc.
14. The Meeting Leader gives the floor to the Meeting Facilitator, who closes the meeting.
Required Meeting Roles
While clubs are free to introduce new roles, change the ordering of sections, introduce completely new ones or try other innovative ideas, there are a set of very minimal required meeting elements that must be present in each regular club meeting (basically : at least one speech and some hot questions), in order to accomplish the main function of the meeting, which is the education of members in public speaking skills following the educational program of Agora Speakers International, and also in order to ensure a minimum amount of consistency among clubs worldwide.
More specifically, the minimum required elements in a regular meeting are the following:
- There needs to be one single Meeting Leader throughout the whole meeting.
- There needs to be at least one project speech ( a speech that is done in accordance to one of the projects in the Educational Program ).
- All speeches need to be evaluated. If they are project speeches, they need to be evaluated according to the evaluation sheets of the project by at least one evaluator. If they are non-project speeches, they need to be evaluated according to the specific goals and objectives that the speaker has set for himself, which need to be known in advance. Note that a club can choose to have more than one evaluator evaluate the same speech, delivering what are usually called “panel evaluations”.
- At least one evaluator should also explain the objectives of the speech before the speech itself, so that the audience knows what to expect and what to give feedback on. This is not necessary if the objectives are the same as a previous speech and have already been explained (which can happen, for example, if two or more speakers in meeting deliver the same project)
- The evaluation of every speech must be delivered orally and publicly by the evaluator(s), in the same meeting, so that both the speaker and the audience can benefit from the feedback provided.
- The audience needs to be given 1-2 minutes after the speech, to provide written feedback to the speaker.
- There needs to be a section with improvised speeches (Hot Questions).
- All speeches (project, nonproject and improvised speeches) and their evaluations must be timed and their filler words counted and reported.
These are the requirements for the regular, periodic meetings. For special occasions, parties, gatherings, special sessions, contests, debates, etc. the format is free, however the number of these special meetings cannot be greater, per month, than the number of regular meetings.