Table Topics Master
The TTM organizes a brief impromptu speaking session for the meeting. Table Topics gives members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting and get people to learn to “think and speak on their feet.” The TTM challenges each member with a subject, and the speakers respond with a one-to 1-1/2-minute impromptu talk. As TTM, you have an opportunity to practice planning, preparation, organization, time management, and facilitation skills; your preparation and topic selection help train members to quickly organize and express their thoughts in an impromptu setting.
There are many creative ways to handle Table Topics; look online for ideas. The basic objective of the questions is not to put the speaker in a tough position; it is to provide a reasonable challenge to develop a brief spontaneous speech. Develop questions that allow the respondents to “show their stuff”.
Before the Meeting
- Prepare up to 8 questions. Generally, the 12 members who participate in the program each week are not eligible. However, if attendance is low, calling on participants is fine.
- Select subjects and questions that allow speakers to offer opinions. Don’t make the questions too long or complicated, and make sure they don’t require specialized knowledge. Select topics that allow the speaker to give an opinion or provide information.
- Phrase questions so the speakers clearly understand what you want them to talk about. State the question briefly – then call on a respondent. This ensures our members practice their listening skills.
- Your job is to give others a chance to speak, so keep your own comments short.
During the Meeting
- When you first arrive, check with the Toastmaster for any last-minute changes on the Agenda.
- When called upon, take over the podium and make brief opening remarks. Set the stage for your program – state the theme, if you have one. Give a brief explanation for this part of the meeting and/or restate the time requirements for new members.
- Keep your remarks brief but enthusiastic. Encourage speakers to use the word of the day. Be certain everyone understands the time limit and how the timing works (if the timer hasn’t already done so). Remind members to use the voting sheets to keep track of the participants and to vote at the conclusion of Table Topics.
- Keep an eye on the Toastmaster to make sure you don’t go over the allotted time. You may need to adjust the number of questions, so you end on time. Even if your portion started late, try to end on time to avoid the total meeting running overtime.
- Track the name of speaker question and general subject each speaker talked about during their responses.
- Recap for the audience each speaker and what they talked about and ask for them to complete their Table Topics Voting card and pass to you as soon as they can.
- Return control of the meeting to the Toastmaster.
- Tally the votes and report on the winner of the Table Topic Sessions at the end of the meeting.