Table Topics Speakers

That’s why the “Table Topics” portion of the Toastmasters club meeting was developed. Table Topics provides you with the opportunity to practice impromptu speaking.. By answering brief Table Topics questions, you learn how to present your thoughts clearly and convincingly, with no more than a few seconds of preparation. You also learn to listen constructively, and to think flexibly.

Here are some suggestions on how to talk without preparation on virtually any subject. Review these outlines and select the most appropriate one for each time you are asked a question:


  • Give an opinion, and then justify it with two or three specific reasons. For example, talk about your favorite film and give some reasons you like it.
  • State a problem and show its causes. For instance, you might explain how traffic became a problem in your city.
  • Offer a viewpoint – yours or someone else’s – and elaborate on it. Did your city council ban smoking in government offices? What arguments were given by the ban’s supporters?
  • State a goal or problem and then tell what must be done to achieve the goal or solve the problem. If you recently found a new job, tell about the steps you took to reach your goal.
  • Describe a process, such as how to plant a tree.
  • Break a problem, situation or object into its components and discuss them. For example, describe the branches of your country’s government.

By participating in Table Topics, you become more fluent. You learn to listen carefully and to create a mini-speech, with a beginning, middle and end. You also draw on your own experiences or knowledge on the topic in relation to the needs and interests of those present.

How it helps 
People in a variety of public speaking situations have found Table Topics helpful. From beauty contestants to tour bus operators, thinking and speaking eloquently off the cuff is a cherished goal. Erika Ebbel, Miss Massachusetts, 2004, says, “Table Topics and two-minute responses gave me the ability to talk about anything and the capacity to quickly respond.” When she was asked questions onstage, she was prepared to answer intelligently. Others find it valuable, as well.

Bob Brousseau’s difficulties with stuttering were affecting his career. “I had been missing sales contracts, and I knew I needed help,” he says, “I thought that things like impromptu speaking would help in reaping the benefits.” Table Topics practice allowed Brousseau to overcome his difficulties in a safe environment.

Table Topics allows its participants to grow while enjoying the camaraderie and gentle humor of fellow members. Everyone’s in the same boat. They want to think faster, and speak better. Table Topics may begin to feel like a game, but it’s one in which the prize you take away is truly fabulous —a new set of skills to get you through your day!



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