My journey to improve my skills as a motivational speaker drew me to our local Speakeasy Toastmaster\’s Club. Since August of this past year, twice a month, Wednesday\’s at 7 PM I have been attending the club meetings at the Elaine Center in Hadley. We have a vibrant group of great speakers with very diverse backgrounds and experiences. I highly encourage everyone to check out your local Toastmasters Club as a great opportunity to increase leadership and speaking skills! One of the best parts of the meeting is the Table Topics competition. It\’s a friendly competition where members are asked to give an impromptu 2-3 minute talk and then the club votes on the best talk to be awarded. Table Topics helps to train members to quickly organize and express their thoughts. As the Topics Master you are asked to great creative on how best to ignite some creative talks from the members.
When you are the Table Topic Master…
Taking on this role improves organization skills, time management and facilitation skills. As the Table Topics Master here are some things to help you get organized.
- Select topics in advance of the meeting that allow speakers to offer opinions. Get creative and make it fun!
- Decide if you want to share the question / photo / object prior to asking for a volunteer speaker or ask for the speaker and then surprise them with the question.
- Give members who aren\’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting by assigning impromptu talks on non-specialized themes or topics.
- If all guests and members without a speaking role have already participated in Table Topics, you may then invite members who have spoken to participate.
- Don\’t ask two people the same thing unless you specify that it is to generate opposing viewpoints.
- Make a list of the speakers that volunteer and a quick note about their talk to summarize when it comes time to vote. Read the list for all to remember the talks and may the best speaker win!
- Pass out the voting papers prior to the meeting, and collect them after the completion of the Table Topics section. Tally the votes, then present Best Table Topics speaker award when invited to do so.
- Celebrate the winners with a round of applause and a photo – recognition is the best award to give and encourage others to \”play along\” next time!
Below are a couple of ideas I have recently used as Table Topics at our meetings. The first time that I was Topics Master I brought in a cloth bag with items from my house – mostly children\’s toys from my storage in the basement. I asked the members to tell a story about the item or about a memory or experience that the item spurred in their mind. Have fun with table topics! It\’s a great way to involve every one in the room!
Toastmasters table topics for Winter
It might seem normal for some, but for others, winter is something they’ve never experienced. Snow, ice, and everything related to this time of year is something many will never see.
- What is your favorite winter vacation destination and why?
- Describe the perfect snow day!
- Which is your favorite winter sport? Skiing, skating, snowboarding, or sledding? Or tell us about something you love to do inside in the winter?
- Have you or would you ever go ice-fishing? Why?
- Did you ever have the chance to make a snowman? If so, what was your best one? If not share something fun you can do outside in the winter?
- What do you think about Santa Claus? Share a childhood memory of how you celebrate this holiday season?
- Do you decorate with Christmas decorations outside and/or inside? Tell us about your decorations or of someone else’s house that you admire and why?
- Have you ever gone caroling? What is your favorite holiday song to sing or musical instrument to play or listen to?
- If you could have anything you want for Christmas or this holiday season wrapped under the tree what would it be?
- What are some things you enjoy in cold weather that you can’t do in warm weather?
- Would you prefer to be in a snowstorm or a thunderstorm and why?
- Do you like snow? Why or why not?
- Would you live in an igloo? Why or why not?
- Describe winter using your 5 senses, what do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you taste and what do you smell?
- Would you participate in a Polar Bear Swim event? Why or why not?
- Has your home ever lost electricity because of a snow or ice storm? Describe the experience? IF not how would you handle life without electricity?
- What is your favorite winter holiday? How does your family celebrate this holiday?
Table Topics for the New Year
1) What is your most memorable new year celebration?
2) I love new year ! Describe your favorite way to celebrate the New Year.
3) I hate making new year resolutions because….
4) What are the changes that you want to see in our community this year?
5) Share with us your new year resolutions!
6) What is the ONE new year resolution that you make every year?
7) 5 things that you would like to stop doing, starting this year?
8) New year resolutions are meant to be broken. What is your favorite resolution to break?
9) What if you got promoted to be the CEO of your company, this year? What would you do?
10) The one BIG THING that you can predict is going to happen in your family in the new year
11) Pick one word that you would like to focus on this year. Tell us why you chose that word and how you might encompass it into your life this year.
12) If you could turn back time and change something from this past year what would you change and why?
13) What can you do today that you couldn\’t do a year ago?
I love being the Topics Master! I am able to use my creativity and encourage all to participate. It\’s fun to hear the quick little talks and celebrate the winner. What is your favorite Table Topics theme or idea? I would love to hear more ideas so please share!
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