Here are a few more ideas to help the Topicsmaster lead a creative, fun Table Topics session.
The Time Machine: Ask participants any—or all—of the following questions: If you had a time machine with room for one more, who would you take and to what time period would you go? If you travel two years into the future, will you find anything good that has come of this pandemic? Is there anything you’d like to go backward in time to “un-invent”? (Thanks to Tim Barden, a member of Lift Every Voice Toastmasters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the Time Machine suggestion.)
Critters: At the beginning of the session, ask everyone to submit the name of an animal with which they identify. Then have speakers select a submission and state which member they think identified with that animal, and why. If you have time, you can also let submitters explain what that particular animal means to them.
Fractured Fables: Tell a well-known fable or fairy tale and ask speakers to give it a surprise ending.
Lightning Round: Try this quick activity if you have extra time. The Topicsmaster (or Toastmaster) calls on each member to say what’s on their mind in one or two sentences. It’s remarkable how much bonding will happen when we have this precious opportunity to share ourselves.
The Topicsmaster’s role is to ask questions that everyone will want to answer. And don’t forget: The spotlight is on the members. A brief set-up and an even briefer segue to the next question is the Topicsmaster’s task, not a lengthy rebuttal to the member’s response. Keep the energy flowing!
Beverly Wise, DTM is a neuropsychologist turned stand-up comic whose two biggest life-changers have been Mt. Holyoke College and Toastmasters. She is a member of North Hills Club and Lift Every Voice Toastmasters, both near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.