Toastmasters program has a tradition–every member speaks at a meeting. The table
topics session is that portion of the meeting which insures this tradition. The
purpose of this period is to have members “think on their feet” and speak for a
minute or so. The topics master prepares and issues the topics; originality is
desirable as much as possible. Each speaker may be given an individual subject
or a choice of subjects may be presented from which the members can draw at
PRIOR TO THE
Check with the
Toastmaster to find out if a
theme meeting is scheduled. If so, prepare topics to carry out that theme. If no
theme is scheduled, choose a wide selection of topics. Review
other publications for ideas. You might also check the news pages, such as
CNN Headline News or
This Day in
not repeat the previous week’s table topics ideas or items.
Find out who
the prepared speakers, evaluators, general
evaluator, and Toastmaster are so you can call on the other members first. Only
if time permits at the end of the topics session should you call on program
participants (speakers last).
your specific questions: Select ones that will
inspire the speakers to expound on them, give their opinions, etc. Don’t make
the questions too long or complicated. Phrase them in such a way that the
speaker clearly will know what you want them to talk about.
comments short. Your job is to give others a chance to
speak, not to give a series of mini-talks yourself.
table topics has a twofold purpose: First, to give everyone in
the room an opportunity to speak–especially those who are not on the
program–and, second, to get people to learn to “think and speak on their feet.”
introduced, briefly state the purpose of the topics
Set the stage
for your topics program. Keep your remarks
brief but enthusiastic. If the Club has a “Word of the Day,” encourage speakers
to use the word in their response.
program rolling; be certain everyone understands
the maximum time they have for their response and how the timing lights/device
works (if the timer hasn’t already done so).
question briefly–then call on a respondent.
This serves two purposes: First, it holds everyone’s attention–each one is
thinking of a response should he or she be called on to speak; and second, it
adds to the value of the impromptu element by giving everyone an opportunity to
improve his or her “better listening and thinking” skills.
speakers at random. Avoid going around the room in
the order in which people are sitting. Give each participant a different
question. Don’t ask two people
the same thing unless you ask each specifically to give the “pro” or “con” side.
your total time! Check the printed agenda for the total time
allotted to table topics and adjust the number of questions to end your segment
on time. Even if your portion started late, try to end on time to avoid the
total meeting running overtime.
TIMER'S REPORT - Ask the timer to report those eligible for the
Best Table Topics award. Then ask members to vote and pass their votes to
Sergeant at Arms or vote counter.
♦ Return control of the meeting to