Table topics

The table topics session is one of the most exciting and fun parts of the meeting. Benefits of taking part include

More practice at speaking
Learning to speak off the cuff
Thinking quickly and clearly under pressure
Discovering ideas for later speeches!

Answering table topics can be awfully nervewracking but it does not need to be difficult. The key is practice.

The first thing to do is stop escaping every table topics question that comes your way and start leaping to the floor and bowling your audience over with enthusiasm! It is the best method of improvement.

You do not need to answer the question straight away and then sit down! The key to table topics is this: turning that one idea into a mini-speech.

Your little molehill can become a mountain

You need a strategy that makes the most of your random idea. And the first step is to avoid giving it away in the first ten seconds.

Rather, build up to it with an introduction of some kind, such as a question, observation or setting of the scene. You can even cunningly divert attention away from the subject altogether.

Finally, rather than just sitting down, try and round off with some kind of conclusion - the very least you can do is very briefly summarise the idea again. If possible, you might even think of some relevant concluding observation, question or comment with which to leave your audience.

So each table topic response is like a mini-speech, with an opening, body and conclusion, and as much creative expansion as you can squeeze in along the way.

The method described above makes the whole table topic easier to deliver. You only need one idea, and it hardly matters what that is. The build-up, embellishment and conclusion will all come with practice.

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