Table topics help members improve their confidence and impromptu speaking skills. They do that by challenging speakers to create a mini speech (with an intro, a body and a conclusion) within 2 minutes long from an unexpected question.

What is in it for the Topics Master? It helps them improve their time management, and their organisation and facilitation skills.

 

Here there are some tasks that an excellent Topics Masters must perform:

  • Prior to the meeting, Topics Masters:
    1. check with the Toastmaster of the Evening what the theme for the night is;
    2. write 10 to 15 original short questions of various difficulty that match the theme, and
    3. ensure that those questions allow speakers to offer opinions.
  • Before the meeting starts, Topics Masters:
    1. find a sit near the stage so they can go in and out of the stage easily;
    2. check the agenda for members without a role or a very small speaking role, and call on those members first;
    3. match the difficulty of the question with the level of confidence of the speaker: the more advanced the speaker, the more difficult the question they ask.
  • During the meeting, Topics Masters:
    1. ensure that everyone listens by first asking a question and then calling on a name randomly. If you do not know someone’s name, ask them;
    2. never repeat the same question unless it is to ask the opposite viewpoint, and never ask for volunteers;
    3. regularly check with the TME how much more time they have left, and
    4. invite some guests to answer an easy question providing there is enough time; remember that, although members must always take the question, guests can refuse to respond.
  • After each intervention, the Topics Master offers a brief comment to show they were listening, and
  • At the end, they briefly summarise the whole session in order to practise their analytical skills.

 

Three important points for the Topics Master to remember:

  1. You are responsible that no club member leaves the meeting without having spoken.
  2. It is speakers’ time so keep your questions and comments short.
  3. It is the speakers’ stage so sit back down.

 

Table Topics Master is perhaps the most fun role of all so volunteer for it, and let your imagination guide you.

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