One important part of speaking is to be timely and organized. In Toastmasters, we practice expressing thoughts within a specific time. The timer helps hone the members of toastmasters skills on keeping within our time limits, and organizing our thoughts without preparation.
The timer asks the speaker, or speakers, of the day how long their speech is supposed be (ie 5-7 minutes). They then will sit at the end of the table with the lights and stopwatch to record everyone's time. When the meeting starts, the Toastmaster of the day will ask them to explain their role.
They time the speech turning on the green light at 5 minutes (if the speech is from 5-7 minutes). The yellow light will go on at six minutes, and red at 7 minutes. If the speaker goes over 7 minutes, the red light will remain on until they conclude their speech. Timer records the time of the speech, or speeches so they can report it when called upon by the Toastmasters.
The other job of the timer is to record the times of table topics, so the group knows who qualified in table topics. To qualify a person needs to speak on the question given for one to two minutes, and then the group votes on who had the best speech, and is given the table topic award.
The speech evaluator also is timed for two to three minutes.
At the end of the meeting, the timer will gives each person's time to the secretary so they can include the times in their report.