London Cardinals Speech Mark

Top 10 Tips for Table Topics master

Posted by | May 4th, 2011 | Leave a comment

by Gilly Cutts, Past President 2010-2011

  1. Prepare sufficient table-topics for 12-15 speakers – yes, there can occasionally be that many!
  2. Since it’s challenging enough to give an impromptu speech, keep topics simple and easy to understand. Subject matter is entirely the responsibility of the Topics Master. Setting “challenging” topics may result in excellent performances from a few speakers but dismal performances from the rest. The choice is yours!
  3. Arrive half an hour before the meeting and stand at the door to ask everyone as they arrive if they are on the programme. If not, ask if they would like a table-topic and compile your list.
  4. Reserve your seat next to the Toastmaster so that he/she can keep you aware of the time. However, remain at the door until you are called up by the Toastmaster to run the session. This will enable you to catch those latecomers!
  5. Timing is usually for one to one-and-a half minutes but when your list exceeds twelve speakers, reduce the time allowed to one minute and announce the change.
  6. Prioritise speakers as follows:
    • All members who are not on the programme
    • Willing guests (don’t impose Table Topics on a reluctant speaker)
    • It is rarely possible to include guests so do inform them of this.

  7. For each Table-Topic speaker:
    • Keep the energy up and the links really short so that you give more speakers a go!
    • Describe the topic first (10 – 15 seconds maximum)
    • Then, introduce the speaker by name
    • Greet the speaker
    • Thank the speaker on completion of their topic

  8. If possible, keep your hands free by memorising each short topic before you stand up. It really makes a difference.
  9. Try to keep your instructions and introductions brief. Your job is to give others a chance to speak; not to give a series of mini talks yourself.
  10. Above all aim to relax and enjoy your session! Your enthusiasm will inspire each speaker to shine!