Table Topic Master

Impromptu speeches part

Time: 20 minutes (or 15 minutes if 5 prepared speeches are planned)

With Table Topics, the Table Topic Master gives members who aren’t assigned a speaking role the opportunity to speak during the meeting.

The Table Topic Master challenges each member with a subject, and the speaker responds with a one- to two-minute impromptu talk.

Some people underestimate the Table Topic Master role’s importance. Not only does it provide you with an opportunity to practice planning, preparation, organization, time management and facilitation skills; your preparation and topic selection help train members to quickly organize and express their thoughts in an impromptu setting.

Preparation is the key to leading a successful Table Topics session:

Several days before the meeting, check with the Toastmaster to find out if a theme meeting is scheduled. If so, prepare topics reflecting that theme.

  • Select subjects and questions that allow speakers to offer opinions. Don’t make the questions too long or complicated and make sure they don’t require specialized knowledge.
  • Phrase questions so the speakers clearly understand what you want them to talk about.

Remember, too, that your job is to give others a chance to speak, so keep your own comments short.

When the Toastmaster introduces you, walk to the lectern and assume control of the meeting:

  • Briefly state the purpose of Table Topics and mention any theme.
  • Encourage speakers to use word of the day in their response.
  • Remind time limits: 1-2 minutes per speaker


Then begin the program:

  • Start with some experienced person to show example and then proceed with new people. Mainly this session is for newcomers.
  • When the speaker takes the stage, ask his or her name, shake their hand and give the task.
  • Write his or her name on the board for the audience to vote.
  • Give each speaker a different topic or question.
  • Avoid going around the room in the order in which people are sitting.
  • Don’t ask two people the same thing unless you specify that each must give opposing viewpoints.
  • State the question briefly – then call on a respondent.

Watch your total time. You may need to adjust the number of questions so your segment ends on time. Even if your portion started late, try to end on time to avoid the total meeting running overtime. Timer will give you signal when time is over.

Ask members to vote for best Table Topics speaker and pass their votes to the Secretary.