When you attend a couple of Toastmasters 7 meetings, you will recognize how the meeting is divided into three main sections – Table Topics, Prepared Speeches, and Evaluations. A week ago, Salam Alchi, a seasoned Toastmaster who recently joined our club was the Table Topics Master (TT Master) and his explanation for the purpose of Table Topics was on point:
“The purpose of Table Topics is to help us sharpen our skills in impromptu speaking. Our goal is not just to simply speak for one minute and provide an answer to the question. Rather, it is to perform a miniature well-organized 1 to 2 minute speech addressing the question concisely and articulately.
The response should be given with purpose, whether to teach, inspire, confound, or amuse the audience. Tying the response to the theme is an added bonus.
The reason we are here is to hold space for each other to improve. The most crucial part of Table Topics is to do your best and have fun. Our inner critic is often the harshest one.
As the TT master, I believe it’s important to set up the participants for success by asking thought provoking and understandable questions. This provides participants a better opportunity to develop confidence and improve.”
Salam’s approach, which is a good example on how to conduct a Table Topics session, was to ask the question first then call on a member. This allows everyone to digest the question and start thinking about on how to answer it appropriately. Typically, the TT Master would call on a few members, then give an opportunity for guests to participate.
What does it mean to be satisfied?
What should be the goal of humanity?
Is suffering a necessary part of pleasure or satisfaction? Why?
How would you define genius?
If you’d like to take a stab at these questions and share it with us, write in the comment section below! And if this is something that you’re interested in participating, you’re welcome to attend our meetings as a guest. Check out our Meeting Info page for location and time.