Table Topics Master Duties

Here are a few tips for the role of Table Topics Master.

The Table Topics Master leads the portion of the meeting during which club members answer questions spontaneously. The Table Topics Master prepares a series of questions or topics and then calls on Toastmasters to answer the question or speak on the topic.

The Table Topics Master should call first on members not scheduled to participate in other parts of the program. You can then choose members who are in minor roles like Ah Counter, Time Keeper etc. Table Topics provides an opportunity for other members present to speak. Guests are not called on for Tabletopics. Get there early and have the schedule for the meeting so you know who has main speaking roles.

I would also print out the current roster to help you with member names. You can do that by logging into Turbobase.com and go to:

  • Members
  • Active Members
  • Printable Page
  • Ctrl P
  • More Settings
  • Scale –  change the number so you can get all the members on one page

Cross off everyone who has a large speaking role like speaker, evaluator, toastmaster, general evaluator, jokemaster and president. I would then make a mark by members who are present and can be called.

The main goal is that everyone who comes to a Toastmaster meeting will have some sort of speaking opportunity.

Before the meeting

Prepare fun, interesting and challenging Table Topics questions, preferably on a single theme. Check with the Toastmaster of the Evening to see if they have a theme for the night and confirm which club members are scheduled as Speakers and Evaluators for the evening.  Generally, do not ask guests to participate in Table Topics. An exception would be Toastmasters visiting from another club.

Arrive early and check with everyone entering the room to see if they have a speaking role. Don’t be bashful.

When introduced by the Toastmaster

Briefly state the purpose of Table Topics and set the stage for your presentation by explaining the theme of the questions (if any). Keep your portion short and to the point in order to allow participants more time.

State your first question concisely, pause briefly, and then call on a respondent. Give questions to Toastmasters at random, rather than going around the room. Continue asking questions until the Time Keeper indicates that the time allotted for Table Topics has ended. Usually, Table Topics ends after twenty minutes or at 7:40 PM, whichever comes first.

In general, give newer members relatively easy questions and more seasoned members some harder questions. You want this to be a fun time and not an excruciating experience.

Since you have approximately twenty minutes, I would recommend having 15 questions ready to ask participants.

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