Table topics are primarily for members who do not have any assigned role or prepared speech for the evening. It gives them the opportunity to practice speaking to an audience, even if they do not have a planned speech or a role.
- Be prepared to explain why we have table topics (mainly so that we can practice thinking on our feet – most of our “speeches” in our daily lives are unprepared).
- Remind us that we can answer the questions in Swedish or English; that we can “lie” or make up a story; and we they can take up to 30 seconds to think about what we want to say before we start.
- You may ask for volunteers first. Then call on members who do not have a role or prepared speech for the evening. Finally, call on members who already have a role or speech, and/or guests.
Note: Guests will rarely volunteer of their own accord, but they often appreciate being included. However, be sure that they understand that they can decline if they wish.
Check the agenda before the meeting and see how many speeches are scheduled. If fewer than three speeches are scheduled, you might need six or eight topics. If all three speech slots are scheduled, you will not need so many table topics, but it is wise to prepare that many anyway, in case a speaker cancels.
Talk briefly with the Toastmaster before the meeting starts, and ask how many table topics he or she wants you to use.
There are so many possible table topics. If you find it difficult to come up with topic ideas, just search the Internet for “ideas for table topics” (or similar). Be creative! Have fun!
Remember: Participation in table topics is always voluntary.
Ask another member to fill in your Leadership manual after the meeting, so that you get feedback and credit toward your Competent Leader award.