Toastmasters: Go to your conclusion


Have you ever heard a timer briefing that included this line: “…and when you see the green light, that means you are good to go…when you see the red light, that means it is time to wrap it up”?

I’ve noticed this too, and it seems to lead to one of these primary outcomes:

1. Speeches going over time
2. Ridiculously short conclusions
3. Both

What is my idea to fix it? Simple – let’s change our normal timer briefing and use the Go To Your Conclusion approach.

“As Timer, I am responsible for helping the speaker stay within their time requirement. There are three lights [cards] to assist you, one green, one yellow and one red. To stay within time, treat the green light as your signal to ‘go to your conclusion.’ Yellow means your time is almost up, and red is your signal to return control to the Toastmaster.

For a 5-7 minute speech, you will see the green light at five minutes, yellow at six minutes, and red at seven minutes. The red light will stay on until you finish your presentation. For Evaluators the times are two minutes for green, two and a half for yellow, and three minutes for red. For Table Topic Speakers, The green light will come on in one minute, yellow in one and a half, and the red at two minutes. To be considered ‘in time’ you must be within 30 seconds of the minimum and maximum time controls.”

By defining green as Go To Your Conclusion, you can help you member meet their time goals and help to keep your meeting running on time too.


  1. Interesting take on this. I like your term “go to you conclusion”. What if my conclusion is 30 seconds? Would it not better to do this at yellow?

    From my experience it takes almost the full 7 minutes to win a contest. I’ll have a 20 second conlusion and then also a 45 second conclusion.

    I’ll have a point marked in my speech. If the orange light is on at that point, then I’ll instert the 20 second conclusion and/or take out a part. Also, I’ll have another short conclusion ready just in case the red light is on. Keep up the good writing.

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