Planning for Fun!
When was the last time Albert Einstein presented a speech in your club meeting? How about Vincent Van Gogh acting as grammarian? While our ordinary club meetings are enjoyable, sometimes club members need something extra to ramp up the fun factor. Fill a room with happy surprises and you’ll enjoy watching the spread of giggles, guffaws and grins.
There are many ways to build surprises into your next meeting, and special guests are only one way to add sizzle. Why not coordinate an entire theme meeting that will leave everyone laughing and applauding? Here are some theme meeting ideas for your consideration:
Have a Blast with the Past
Here’s your chance to invite Einstein for a visit. Slate a theme meeting with scheduled speakers impersonating famous historical figures (complete with costumes, if possible). Then, plan to have those people help with the rest of the meeting while remaining in character.
The rest of the group can add to the fun. If your Topicsmaster knows which historical figures will be portrayed in the scheduled speeches, he or she can design matching Table Topics questions. For example:
“Madame Curie, your husband, Pierre, described how the two of you won the Physics Nobel Prize in 1903 for discovering radioactivity. Please tell us in one-to-two minutes what it was like to be a female scientist when you co-discovered polonium and radium.”
A twist on this game is to give the Table Topics participant the name of a famous person – without sharing the information with the club – and tell the member to portray that person, providing clues about his or her life, in less than two minutes. With the rest of your club members taking one minute to guess the identity of the celebrity, everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a challenge and join in on the game.
Be Judge and Jury
Is there a lawyer in the room? Set up your meeting as a mock trial. You can have two prepared speeches, one for the defense and one for the prosecution. Some clubs enjoy a mock trial of the Big Bad Wolf (from any of several fairy tales). No matter what country or culture you live in, there’s sure to be a children’s story with an evil character. Conduct a trial and see if your defense attorney can get him acquitted!
If you’d prefer something closer to home, conduct a trial for the crime of running a red light, tax evasion, destroying public property, etc. – any kind of simple nonviolent crime. For those who seek a creative challenge, make it a wild crime, such as stealing the elephants from a visiting three-ring circus. Find a volunteer to play the role of the defendant, and let the trial begin! Select a jury, who must answer Table Topics questions on whether they’ve seen a crime like this before. Your only limit is the timeframe.
Play “You’re a Star!”
If any member can bring in a video camera on a tripod, you’re in business – show business, that is! Run your meeting as though everyone were a famous movie star. Plan speeches and Table Topics to accommodate this plan. Can “Tom Cruise” tell us what it’s like to star in an action thriller? Can “Nicole Kidman” describe her favorite role? If you can post the video on your club’s website, that’s great. If not, plan to show portions of the video at a future meeting. It can even become a presentation by the videographer.
Enjoy a Very Merry Unbirthday
Set aside a meeting to celebrate everyone’s “unbirthday” instead of their real ones. Ask everyone to wear something that has birthday significance – their birthstone, zodiac sign or something they have received as a birthday gift. Encourage your scheduled speakers to talk about birthday themes – a favorite party or what it was like the year of their birth. The Table Topicsmaster can ask questions like, “Where would you like to celebrate your next birthday?”
Remember: A Fun Group is a Thriving Group
The truth is, when members make fun a goal, they’re reaching their educational goals too. Toastmasters’ founder, Ralph Smedley, summed it up best when he said, “We learn best in moments of enjoyment.” When your members are having fun, they’re coming back for more ... and improving their skills. Now, that’s good planning!
Do you have any good tips on making meetings extra fun? Email your story in 400 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org and it might appear here.