The Topicsmaster chairs a session of impromptu speaking topics.
The purpose is to help members think on their feet, by speaking without notice on subjects for 1 to 2 minutes each. It also allows speaking opportunities for those not scheduled for other roles on the Agenda.
Prior to the meeting
Ask the Toastmaster if there is a particular theme for the meeting and if this should be included in the Topics session.
Draw up a list of Topics. Websites and newspapers are useful sources of inspiration. You can use a central idea to tie them together, but be careful not to repeat one that was used by a Topicsmaster in the club recently.
Select Topics that the speakers could be expected to talk about without difficulty. The goal is to generate speeches – not catch them out!
Phrase your Topics simply, so that they will be clearly understood.
Draw up a list of speakers, bearing in mind that you may have to change this when you see who is at the meeting.
Study the Agenda and give lowest priority to those carrying out other speaking roles.
At the meeting
Prior to the start of the Topics session, before the meeting begins or in a break, ask each guest if they would like to respond to a Topic – but do not put any pressure on them to do so.
At the beginning of the session, keep your introductory remarks light. The aim is to relax everyone, or at least not make them any more nervous!
For each Topic, start by giving the Topic then call on the person you wants to speak.
Doing it this way round holds everyone’s attention as, when the Topic is being given, each person is acutely aware that he or she might be the one called on.
In between the Topics, keep your comments short. Your job is to give others a chance to speak, not to give a series of mini-talks yourself.
Adjust the number of Topics to end your session on time, even if it started late, unless the Toastmasters allows you an extension.
Table topics Ideas
Good evening fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests!
Right now—you’re going to have an opportunity to participate in one of the most interesting and exciting portions of a Toastmasters Meeting–The Table Topics session.
The purpose of Table Topics is to have members practice thinking and speaking on their feet. The skill of speaking on your feet will help you throughout your work career, and also will be valuable in your home-life as well. To help you practice today, I have prepared a few topics that hopefully will help you meet this goal.
Table Topics are fairly short. A Table Topic presentation should last from 1 to 2 minutes. NOTE: Ask the Timer to display the timing light while you give the timing requirements.
- At 1 minute the Timer will show the green light;
- At 1.5 minutes the Timer will show the yellow light;
- At 2 minutes the Timer will show the red light.
- Ending: After you see the red light, you have another 30 seconds so begin to finish your talk.
It is important to remember that once you see the green light, you have met your goal and you can start to end your talk.
NOTE: The Table Topics Master can call on members or ask for volunteers (not saying that volunteering is best).
Since the purpose of Table Topics is to have meeting participants practice thinking and speaking on their feet,” I encourage everyone – members and guests – to give it a try. To ensure that this happens, I may call on anyone to participate. Now-let’s begin today’s table topics.
Today’s Table Topic Theme:
NOTE: Ideally, the Table Topics Master should have a theme for the day’s table topics. The individual topics normally relate to the theme. However, a theme is not required.
Today’s theme is: __________________________________.
Thank you all very much for participating in today’s Table Topics segment. I really enjoyed your talks and I’m very proud of you for taking charge of improving your speaking ability.
Return the meeting to the Toastmaster of the Evening!! Mister/Madam Toastmaster. Shake hands and return to your seat