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Table Topics Master

Victoria Guidelines


Note: Consider getting your role to be evaluated as part of the Competent Leader (CL) track.  If you opt to make it part of the CL track (you may as well!), then speak to Karen Chow.  Make sure the Easy-Speak portal registers your CL role, and bring your CL manual to the meeting for evaluation.

- Watch time - end on time according to agenda
- Do not involve guests - be clear who's a guest!
- Short intro, maximum time for speakers
- Have more speakers
- Always choose who to speak, never ask for volunteers
- tell everyone that you won't repeat the question, so everyone must pay attention.
- WRITE ALL SPEAKERS' NAMES ON THE BOARD so audience knows who to vote for.

TI Guidelines:


You Are the Table Topics Master, Congratulations!

Q.           What is the most important point about this role?
A.           Called speakers randomly, do not ask for volunteers.
Q.           Why is this important?
A.           The purpose of the Table Topics session is to train members to think on their feet and speak for ninety seconds and give an answer which contains an opening, body and conclusion.
             Volunteers will choose to answer questions they are comfortable with and this is not what we want. We want our members to be good even when they face difficult questions.
             Besides if you do not have volunteers, you will wait, wasting valuable time and then you are forced to pick someone anyway. This waiting hinders the continuity and impedes the excitement of the session.
Q.           Is it a good idea to repeat the question?
A.           No! This only reinforces a negative. Members should pay attention when the session starts and be ready to respond immediately.
Q.           What if the member cannot hear the question because of distraction or the question may not be all that clear?
A.           This is where the "thinking on your feet" comes to play. A member can easily say he/she did not hear or understand the question exactly, reframe the question and continue with his comments.
Q.           What if the speaker turns the topic around?
A.           We do not expect any member to always agree with the TTM's view. It is how the member's response that matters.
Q.           How many questions should I prepare?
A.           Somewhere between 6-8 questions, a speaker may cancel at the last minute and you may have more time or some members may not speak the full 90 seconds. Try to keep your questions short and easy to understand. This saves time and allows more members to participate.
Q.           What should I do before my role starts?
A.           Check to see who has arrived and are possible candidates. It is embarrassing to call a name then find that person is not at the meeting.
             You can talk to members to ask or tell them you will be thinking about their participation.
             Prepare a list of possible names and match the members with questions that will give the best response to your questions.
Q.           Any advice of how to make the session flow smoothly?
A.           It's a good idea start with a more experienced member. They will set a good example for others to follow. Work to sandwich experienced and newer members to ensure the process runs smoothly. This will make your work easier and fun to behold.
Q.           What if the more seasoned members have roles?
A.           You can call any member to perform except for the prepared speakers. Also, there is no rule that says you cannot call on a member to speak more than once. Some clubs do this so the speaker who already has spoken will continue to listen as he or she can still be called to speak again.
Q.           Why can't we call on prepared speech speakers?
A.           They are new to the club and usually are nervous and anxious before their speech and calling on them to perform brings added pressure. Remember their turn to speak is right after the Table Topics session.
Q.           What should I be doing when the session starts?
A.           You should listen attentively to what the speaker is saying and when he stopped speaking, lead the applause, bridge the speakers comments, and introduce the next question call the next speaker, this can be summarized as: BRIDGE, TRANSITION, INVITE.
Q.           What do I do at the end of the session?
A.           This is Toastmasters so you should end with a conclusion.
Q.           What should I say?
A.           It's up to you but you could consider some of the following (and don't make it too long)
             Thank the members, say what you think of their replies or attitudes or which answers impressed you or what ideas gave you new insights. Nothing is carved in stone, say whatever you feel is appropriate.