Monday, January 7, 2013

Table Topics Master - Tips for effective performance


Do you know that a Table Topics master plays a key role in improving the club membership and in providing opportunity for every member to speak? How can you be effective in your role as a Table Topics Master? This article provides you some tips for performing your role as a Table Topics master, effectively.

Also read: 

How a Table Topics master can hurt your club membership?

1) Table Topics Master should come to the meeting at least 15 minutes in advance. This will give an opportunity for the Table Topics Master to identify 'who are all playing roles' and 'who are all NOT playing roles' in the club meeting. Most of the times, the role players list changes in the last minute. Table Topics Master should consult with Toastmaster of the Day and General Evaluator to make sure that he/she has the updated list of role players.

10 ways of identifying role players for your meeting

2) Table Topics Master should have a list of identified speech topics - at least 15 different topics. Preferably, a new toastmaster should get those topics reviewed by a mentor or a senior toastmaster in the club. This will help to ensure that the topics(s) provide scope for the participants to speak for at least 2 minutes.

3) Before calling a guest to participate in Table Topics, the Table Topics Master should check with the guest whether he/she would be interested to participate in the Table Topics Segment. Not every guest would be excited to deliver an unprepared / impromptu speech in front of strangers.

4) Table Topics Master should call members in the following order (My personal recommendation!). If you follow this order, even if you had to cut short the Table Topics segment due to lack of time, you would've covered all of your non-role players.
- members who are non-role players
- members who are minor role players (Timer, AH Counter, Grammarian, Ballot Counter etc.,)
- guests (if they are interested)
- members of other toastmasters club(s), who has visited your club

5) Table Topics Master should keep his/her introductions very short. I've seen Table Topics Master who speak for 5 minutes before getting into the Table Topics segment. This denies opportunity for at least 2 Table Topics speakers. A few Table Topics masters talk for about a 1 minute after every table topics speech. This is also not recommended.

6) The purpose of Table Topics segment is to encourage members to think on their feet and speak. If Table Topics master selects topics that are "too tough" or topics that are "too abstract" or topics that lack "clarity", members will find it difficult to speak. For example,

  • "Assume that you are caught by a Traffic Police while speeding and you have to escape without paying fines to him" If you give this topic to a new member, he/she would not have any clue about how to speak and what to speak. 
  • A topic like "Craziness is the welcome mat at the doors of creativity" is too difficult for somebody new to handle. 
  • A topic like "What do you think about economy?!" is too abstract

7) Customize the topic to the person. For example, you can give a relatively easier topic to a new toastmaster or a guest who participates in the Table Topics segment.

"Every member who comes to the toastmasters meetings should get an opportunity to speak" - If you have this as the mantra of your club, I'm quite confident about the success of your club.

Let us give opportunity for everyone to speak, learn and grow!
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