Following is a list of ideas we’ve compiled to assist Table Topics Masters in choosing a theme for their table topics sessions.
- Use a round-robin approach for table topics. Going around the room, every willing Toastmaster or guest continues a story from the last word uttered by the person preceding them. Each person must speak for a set amount of time, and a bell is rung when that time is up indicating the person must stop speaking mid-sentence. Normally a story is introduced by the Table Topics Master, and each respondent adds to the story ensuring continuity between responses.
- A bag of assorted objects is held by the Table Topics Master, and he asks a Toastmaster to retrieve an item without looking. The Toastmaster must them speak on the object. Alternatively, have the Toastmaster leave the object in the bag and have them describe it merely by feel.
- Names of celebrities, politicians or other figures are used as questions and respondents must use gestures as emphatically as possible to convince the audience they are in fact the person in question.
- Give the respondent an article of clothing, and ask them to describe the situation they last wore it in. Spice things up by ignoring gender associations.
- Ask each respondent to describe a scene as a news reporter, and note the difficulty people have with switching roles to an area they’re probably not familiar with.
- A game of Charades is an excellent way to improve gestures!
- Newspaper snippets are always pertinent, and interesting deliveries can be made by handing out pictures or illustrations from newspapers (sans captions.)
- Fortune cookies are popular table topics themes. Note: Chances are you will end up with duplicates; this is okay as it can be interesting to hear others’ takes on the script.
- Give each Toastmaster a word or phrase and ask them to speak on it without using the word or its variations, grunting with ums or uhs or repeating themselves. If the speaker does any of these, the audience must scream out for them to sit down immediately.
- Provide an interesting opening line to a story, and ask Toastmasters to finish it.
- Have each Toastmaster toast the person next to them for an accomplishment specified by the Table Topics Master.
- Dictionaries are full of all sorts of strange and wonderful words no-one has ever heard of. Pick a bunch of the most interesting or obscure sounding ones and ask Toastmasters to define how they interpret them.