The Table Topics Master (TTM) gets to run the “informal” part of the meeting!
Based on the Theme of the Day, the TTM creates several questions then selects members to speak “off the cuff” about the question.
There are LOTS of ways to choose questions and to conduct the Table Topics session. Here are some slightly more unorthodox methods:
- Choose one word and ask the speaker to elaborate on the word, or talk about what the word means to them.
- Tell a story – give the first sentence of the story, and ask each consecutive speaker to continue the story
- Seymour Speakers has a couple of “Table Topics Subjects” boxes – draw a subject starter for the speaker. (This is a good method to use in a pinch, for example, if the scheduled TTM called in sick, or you run out of topics.)
Things to keep in mind when you are the TTM:
- Keep the questions short, concise, and EASY TO UNDERSTAND. This isn’t a good place for ambiguous philosophical questions.
- Keep the questions relevant to the theme.
- Don’t patter too much in between the speakers. Keep the Table Topics session about the topics and the speakers.
- Pick people who don’t have a role in the meeting first. If attendance is low, almost anyone else is fair game (try to avoid picking the table topics evaluator), especially those with smaller roles. The timer and/or grammarian can pass their roles to someone else temporarily if needed.
- Choose who will do what question before you head up to the lectern.
- Some guests are not comfortable with table topics and may feel put on the spot if you ask them in front of everyone. If you want to ask a guest to speak, connect with the person during the break, find out their name, and find out at that time if they are comfortable with speaking off the cuff.
- We often have guests who are exchange students taking an ESL course. Be conscious that if you choose these guests to speak that they need to be given a very simple/basic question and you may need to reword it.
- Don’t choose guests to speak before you have chosen members of the club who don’t have a role. Guests often come for a few weeks in a row and on occassion the same guest has been selected for a table topic each week but paying members have been passed over.
- Restate the questions and who answered which one at the end and ask people to vote for the Best Table Topic and Honourable Mention.
- Tally the votes: you don’t have anything else to do once you sit back down.