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What does the Harkmaster do?

The main purpose of the Harkmaster role is to encourage effective listening during the meeting by compiling questions and running a quiz session towards the end.

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
Why not download our pre-formatted Harkmaster’s Record Form?

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.

Speak to the club Treasurer to get the cost of sweets refunded from club funds. You will need to provide a receipt.

During the meeting

Take notes

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.