How to Assign Time to Each Portion of Your Agenda

WordPress for Toastmasters now makes it a little easier to plan the timing of your meeting agenda on an administration screen where you can assign or adjust the time associated with any role on the agenda or any agenda note. You will see the times change as you make your updates.

Here is what that looks like for my home club, Club Awesome Toastmasters:

New Agenda Timing planner.

You find your way to this screen from the Agenda Timing links that appear on the signup form menu …

Agenda Timing options on menu.

… or on the editing screen for an event or event template.

Agenda Timing link on the event editor screen.

Planning Agenda Time

You can assign the time consumed by an activity to any role or any agenda note. Make your changes to the agenda event template when you want to change your standard meeting plan. You can also make adjustments for a specific meeting.

For example, if the agenda includes 3 speeches, I need to allocate at least 21 minutes if the speeches will be 7 minutes each and probably want to make that figure a little larger to allow for 10 or 12-minute speeches. The signup form will show a warning if members sign up for speeches that exceed the limit. Use the Extra Time field to pad the agenda for introductions and presentation setup not included in the actual speaking time.

If an agenda note is purely informational, you would not assign any time to it. But one of the primary purposes of agenda notes is to provide stage directions. If the note says, “We take a 5 minute break,” you would want to associate 5 minutes with that note.

At Club Awesome, the Toastmaster of the Day leads a round of introductions for supporting players such as Timer and Vote Counter. Instead of assigning time to each of those roles, I assign it all to the Toastmaster of the Day because he or she leads that portion of the meeting. Here is what that looks like on the agenda:

Times Shown on the Agenda

Once you are happy with your plan, save your changes.

If you changed the template for your standard meeting, the software will prompt you to update all the events based on that template.

Meeting times also can be changed one at a time within the meeting editor. The advantage of the Agenda Timing screen is it allows you to change times for every component of your meeting at once and see the effect of your changes as you go.

Changing the timing for a meeting role.

Sample Agendas

The popup editor in the agenda generates the code WordPress for Toastmasters uses to generate the agenda and signup form. You can see the code by switching the editor from Visual mode to Text (the tabs in the upper right corner of the text editing box). If you are comfortable working with code, you can also make changes in that mode.

Below, I’ve included a couple of examples you can paste into the editor (in Text mode) as starting points. The first is the default for new installations. The second is Club Awesome’s current agenda for a 1.5 hour meeting.

Model agenda code: 1 hour meeting

[agenda_note padding_time="0"  agenda_display="agenda" strong="" italic="" size="" style="" alink="" editable="" time_allowed="1"]Sgt of Arms opens the meeting.[/agenda_note]

[agenda_note padding_time="0"  agenda_display="agenda" strong="" italic="" size="" style="" alink="" editable="" time_allowed="1"]President or Presiding Officer introduces the Toastmaster of the Day[/agenda_note]

[toastmaster role="Toastmaster of the Day" count="1" agenda_note="Introduces supporting roles. Leads the meeting." time="" time_allowed="3" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Ah Counter" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Timer" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Vote Counter" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Grammarian" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="Leads word of the day contest." time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Topics Master" count="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="10" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Speaker" count="3" agenda_note="" time_allowed="24" padding_time="1" indent="0"]

[toastmaster role="Backup Speaker" count="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="General Evaluator" count="1" agenda_note="Explains the importance of evaluations. Introduces Evaluators." indent="0" time_allowed="1" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Evaluator" count="3" agenda_note="" time_allowed="9" padding_time="0" indent="0"]

[agenda_note time_allowed="5"  padding_time="0"  agenda_display="agenda" style="" ]General Evaluator asks for reports from the Grammarian, Ah Counter, and Body Language Monitor. General Evaluator gives an overall assessment of the meeting.[/agenda_note]

[agenda_note padding_time="0"  " agenda_display="agenda" style="" time_allowed="3" ]Toastmaster of the Day presents the awards.[/agenda_note]

[agenda_note padding_time="0"  " agenda_display="agenda" style="" time_allowed="2" ]President wraps up the meeting.[/agenda_note]
 
[agenda_note editable="Theme" comment="Rather than wrapping around content, this agenda note is set up as a user-editable field for the meeting theme that can be changed for every meeting"][/agenda_note]

Club Awesome code: 1.5 hour meeeting

[toastmaster role="Greeter" count="1" agenda_note="" time="" indent="0" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Invocation" count="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="2" padding_time="0" ]

[agenda_note padding_time="0"  agenda_display="agenda" style="" time_allowed="10"]President or Presiding Officer leads the self-introductions Introduces the Toastmaster of the Day[/agenda_note]

[toastmaster role="Toastmaster of the Day" count="1" agenda_note="Introduces supporting roles. Leads the meeting." time="" time_allowed="10" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Ah Counter" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Timer" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Vote Counter" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Body Language Monitor" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Videographer" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Grammarian" count="1" indent="1" agenda_note="Leads word of the day contest." time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Topics Master" count="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="10" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="Humorist" count="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="2" padding_time="0" ]

[agenda_note padding_time="0"  agenda_display="agenda" style="" time_allowed="5"]5-minute break[/agenda_note]

[toastmaster role="Speaker" count="3" agenda_note="" time_allowed="28" padding_time="1" indent="0"]

[toastmaster role="Backup Speaker" count="1" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[toastmaster role="General Evaluator" count="1" agenda_note="Explains the importance of evaluations. Introduces Evaluators. Asks for Grammarian's report (1 minute). Asks for Body Language Monitor's report (1 minute, plus awarding of Best Gestures Ribbon). Gives overall evaluation of the meeting." time_allowed="12" padding_time="0" indent="0"]

[toastmaster role="Evaluator" count="3" agenda_note="" time="" time_allowed="0" padding_time="0" ]

[agenda_note padding_time="0"  agenda_display="agenda" style="" time_allowed="5"]Toastmaster of the Day gives out the awards. President closes out the meeting.[/agenda_note]

[agenda_note agenda_display="both" strong="" italic="" size="" style="" alink="" editable="Theme and Words of the Day" time_allowed="0"][/agenda_note]

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