The main responsibilities of the Harkmaster are:
- To explain the Harkmaster role at the start of the meeting when prompted by the Toastmaster
- To take notes during the meeting and devise questions with which to test the audience’s listening skills
- To reward correct answers by handing out small rewards – usually wrapped sweets
Prior to the meeting
Prepare your introduction
Write a short introduction which stresses the importance of good listening (you might want to mention that the word “hark” means to listen) and explains the basic function of the role – i.e. that you will asking questions at the end of the meeting based on what is said during the meeting and correct answers will be rewarded with treats!
Buy the rewards
Make sure you have some rewards to hand out at the end of the meeting. A small box of chocolates or a bag of wrapped sweets is usual.
During the meeting
Take notes on what is said by all meeting participants, starting with the President’s introduction. The aim is not to capture every detail of what is said, but to pick out information that might help you to compile questions later.
Give your introduction
Give your introduction when prompted by the Toastmaster at the start of the meeting.
Compile your questions
Devise a number of questions based on your notes – around 6 to 8 questions is probably about right. Make sure your questions are relatively simple to explain. Include one or two easy ones to start with and some harder ones for later.
Here are some example questions:
Our first speaker, John, introduced us to the three Rs of long distance running. Who can tell me what they were?
In her evaluation of Tom’s speech about his recent trip to India, what was Kate’s main recommendation?
Based on the Timekeeper’s report, which of our table topics speakers spoke for the longest?
Give your report
When prompted by the Toastmaster, go to the front of the room and deliver your questions, starting with the easiest. Throw a sweet (or other edible reward) to the first person to call out the correct answer.
Keep an eye on the Timekeeper to ensure that you don’t go over time.