How to be Table Topics Master of the evening

Before meeting

  1. Prepare table topics theme and/or questions. Have easy ones ready for guests ‘Tell us about your favourite holiday’, ‘tell us about your home town’ etc. Try to have enough questions so you won’t run out – 15 is a good number.
  2. Have a look over the agenda to think about what members to bring up (try to get members without other speaking roles for the night, so that all or most members get up to speak). You don’t need to ask members if they want to participate, just guests.
  3. Prepare a wee 1-2 minute introduction of TT, explaining its purpose, how it will work, and why it’s good to learn impromptu speaking. Also explain the timing of 1, 1.5, 2 minutes, and that its fine if guests don’t speak for the full time.

During meeting

  • At the break, go around to guests and ask if they would like to participate, encourage them but don’t be pushy if they don’t want to. Explain that its jut a bit of fun!
  • Perform your wee prepared speech. Encourage everyone to include the word of the day in their table topics speeches.
  • Confirm with TT evaluators that they know who is doing odds and events (sometimes TM does this).
  • Bring up an experienced member first, so guests can see what to expect.
  • Have a question ready for the next speaker so everything runs smoothly.

Introducing a speaker

First say the question, this gives everyone a little bit of time to think about what their answer is. Then invite up the speaker, ensuring you lead the applause. Shake their hand and repeat the question, and take a seat. Once the speaker has finished, be up there quickly to lead the applause, thank them and shake their hand.

After meeting

Get your Competent Leadership manual signed off by someone.

Other notes

  • Try to include as many guests that want to participate, but don’t make it exclusively guests, especially not for the first speaker as they will not know what to do without seeing a member do a TT first.
  • Ensure someone is always up on the stage.  Sit somewhere in the front row so you can quickly jump up to shake the speaker’s hand and thank them.
  • Lead the applause when welcoming and thanking speakers.
  • If you are going to invite up a TT evaluator, ask them up when it’s not their turn to evaluate.
  • Google is a great place to find suggested topics or themes.
  • More information can be found on page 70 of the Competent Communication manual.