(A.K.A Table TopicsMaster)

Taking on this role improves organization skills, time management, and facilitation skills.

The TopicsMaster delivers the Table Topics® portion of the meeting, which helps train members to quickly organize and express their thoughts in an impromptu setting.

As TopicsMaster you:

  • Select topics in advance of the meeting that allow speakers to offer opinions.
  • Give members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting by assigning impromptu talks on non-specialized themes or topics.
  • Don’t ask two people the same thing unless you specify that it is to generate opposing viewpoints.

Before Meeting:

  • Get the meeting Theme from the Toastmaster early in the week.
  • Get Word-of-the-Day from the Grammarian.
  • Create topics related to the Theme and Word-of-the-Day which will inspire a 45 to 75 second response. They can be statements or questions, for example, “Tell us about a time when you…” or “What was your favorite _____ ?”  Try to be creative and fun, providing topics that are broad enough to inspire a variety of answers, and simple enough that they will not stump speakers, or require clarification.

At the meeting, before starting:

  • Note the Word-of-the-Day so you can encourage its use.
  • Identify audience members who do not have speaking roles on the Agenda, and write down their names to remind you who to call upon. Typically plan for 3-5 speakers—depending on the Agenda timing.
  • You may reuse, or rephrase, questions if time permits for more speakers than you planned for.
  • Call on one or two experienced members to speak first, before calling on guests so they can see how it works.
  • Try not to make topics too complex for guests, and give more challenging questions to experienced members. Try not to be get too complex.

During the Meeting:

Intro: Briefly describe Table Topics

  • Explain purpose of Table Topics: “To practice impromptu (or extemporaneous) speaking”, or “thinking and speaking on our feet.”
  • Brief Intro: You may say a few words tying your Table Topics to the meeting Theme. (Be brief—your role is not as a speaker, but to facilitate speaking opportunities for those without scheduled roles.)
  • Remind participants of qualification criteria: (Both criteria must be met to qualify for Best Table Topics Speaker.)
    • use the Word-of-the-Day
    • stay within 45-75 second time limit.

Introduce these topics:

  • Ideally, everyone in the room gets an opportunity to speak, depending on the number of audience members, and if the meeting is running on time. Assume that there is not much time, and that you have to manage that time to get in as many speakers as possible, though you must wrap up your segment in time to get the Evaluation portion of the meeting started on time.
  • READ THE QUESTION FIRST—Then call on someone. Rather than asking someone to come up and then asking a question, asking the question first creates more engagement by causing everyone to have to listen and to think—even if they are not chosen to speak. This also gives the person who has been called upon time to think as they come to front, which makes for more engaging responses, and saves time.
  • Feel free to remind speakers to use the Word-of-the-Day —especially if they are generally forgetting to use it. Someone in the audience can hold up a sign with the word as well.