Toastmasters Table Topic - Best Practice

Table Topics are a fun and challenging task. Even long term Toastmasters struggle sometimes in presenting an eloquent impromptu speech. The good news is, there is a structure! A structure you can use to prepare yourself for Table Topics at home and to become a better speaker.


I created a cheatsheet that shows the elements of a Table Topic Speech and hope you can use it for training purposes or even at your Toastmaster Club.


HOW TO READ: The cheatsheet starts with a little reminder that in a Toastmaster Club you usually have 30 seconds to prepare your speech mentally. Then you see three columns showing the main elements of every good speech, the start, the body and the end. At the bottom there is a reminder, that the result is often best, when the answer is part of the body of your speech.


HOW TO USE: Start using one of the elements in the first column like a quote that fits the questions raised. You carry on telling a story (in best case) and / or use a structure of three bullet points using patterns like "small - medium - large", "past - present - future", or "sea - land - air" as depicted.


The good news is,

there is a structure!


If you have no pattern in mind you can still use the power of three by saying for example: "I would like to address your question from three different perspectives...", starting with the first one, trusting yourself a second and a third will come to your mind in time. Sounds weird? Give it a try and be surprised!

Finally you can finish off with one of the elements in the last column. If you can herein connect the closing with the opening of the speech, you put the cherry on the cake!



HOW TO TRAIN: For training purposes use the cheatsheet by raising a question using a TT card game for example and use different elements to articulate a 1-2 minute impromptu speech. By answering the same question in different ways, you easily figure out which elements work best, or if there is some research necessary to find a good quote that fits a specific context. Practicing Table Topics makes you appear spontaneous and more eloquent.


Connecting the closing

with the opening of a speech,

puts the cherry on the cake!


Since there is nothing perfect in the world also the cheatsheet is far from complete. I am sure you will find elements that are not listed and I am more than happy if you give me feedback on things you miss.


HOW TO SHARE: Please use this cheatsheet for training purposes and at your Toastmaster Club in accordance to the cc-licence mentioned below. Simply hit the picture with your right mouse button and download it.



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