Dienstag, August 21, 2007

Table Topics Master - Unusual things

Today I was Table Topics Master again. In order to reduce preparation I though of something easy.

One thing to remember: All attendees should have a chance to speak. So get a list of all attendees and check off all those people how already have a role. Pick those how are left on the paper first.

Get into Action: Receive control from the Toastmaster of the Evening.

"Mr. Toastmaster of The Evening, thank you for the introduction.

I have the honour to lead you through the Table Topics section of this evening today.

As the Table Topic Master I will conduct the impromptu speeches - they are 1.5 to 2 Minute ad hoc speeches, that help you to learn to speak unprepared, and still deliver a coherent speech while thinking on the feet.

The traditional strategy to Table Topics is similar to the prepared speaches: Present sensible, worthwhile ideas that add to the knowledge of others. Seeking to entertain, rather to inform is a popular alternative strategy.

But there are very powerful "nontraditional stategies" as well:
  • Lie
  • Cheat
  • Steal
What is that?
  • Sometimes, we just don't have an honest response that we want to share. That's okay. We are here to have fun and give a good speach, not to turn our pockets inside out. There is no lie detector in Table Topics.
  • Exploring the question rather than answering can very interesting. Or answer the question "the way you thought is was asked" can be very entertaining. This is cheating but it can be as long as you give a coherent speach it is okay.
  • If you cannot draw from you own experience or knowledge, you those of others. Originality is encouraged, but it is not a requirement
No matter what strategy you use, commit to it! Save time by simply grabbing one and developing it.

So let's get it started.

Something really unusual happened to me while I was on a seminar weekend some years ago. On the first day people were brought together in groups of two. They were asked to talk to each other and find out something they had in common. Most pairs found out the usual things: They had seen the same film, they had visited the same countries or liked the same food. One group of two, a man and a woman, found out something rather unusual: They had been to the same country, visited the same beach and had sex with their respective partners at this beach. Impressive what you can find out in just five minutes...

Now that I have set the mood I will ask you about the unusual things in your life.
  • most unusual place you took a bath
  • ... situation wearing pyjamas
  • ... food eaten
  • .... car driven
  • most unusal music listened to
  • ... dress worn
  • ... discussion you had
Thank you for sharing all those unusual things with us. Now please take one of the prepared slips of paper and write down you personal favourite for the best Table Topics speach given tonight. I will repeat the topics and the names."

Hand over control to the Toastmaster of the Evening.


I skipped most of the preparation and drew on my papers from January. It turned out to be a bad move. A bit more preparation would have made it is much better experience for the audience.

This time i made a list of attendees and made sure that everybody had his/her chance to speak. I even asked one of the guests. That was good.

But I forgot two things:
  • The part about how to approach the Table Topics. I brought it in between the first and the second topic and gave an example for each of the three infamous rules. That was good and made it easier to understand.
  • I forgot mentioning the voting for the best table topics speach.
Things I took from other speakers:
  • drawings as visual aids should not be too small (A4 ist not big enough)
  • "too much information" is a common problem (not only mine)
  • be prepared to take more than one role
Objective Feedback
  • Ahs: about 10

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